Oscars. Justice was done.


Of the categories that I cared about. The Academy did their job.

Best Director. Scorsese. Yeah Come on Marty and what a speech. Arf. Arf. About bloody time.

Best Film. The Departed. Undoubtedly.

Best Documentary. Al Gore. Say no more.

Best Actor. Forrest. Agreed.

Best Actress. Queenie. Good lass (thought Penelope might nick it though, but not seen either so what do I know?)

Best Supporting Actor. Actually I thought it was Jack’s turn again, but Alan Arkin was a hoot in Little Miss Sunshine; so that’s OK.

Best supporting actress. Not a great category this year, so not bovvered. I liked the Babelers, both of them, and that’s who I’d like to have seen win it: either of them. Dream Girls had to get a proper award I suppose.

Not seen the rest as I’ve been working since 6.30 am and it’s bedtime.

Sports books. they’re not proper books are they?


My mate Ian Dommett’s son, Michael,  lent me this irresistable book on Friday and I’m half way through it already.

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It’s an amazing “fictional” (aye right) account of Brian Clough’s very short reign as manager of Leeds United.  He despises them – but they despise him even more.  It’s a vicious force ten gale assault of the senses.   It really is unputdownable and brilliantly written.  A cross between an epic poem and Trainspotting.  Not for the faint hearted.

It got me thinking that although I profess never to read sports books, I’ve actually read a number of very good ones and so, in no particular order, here are my recommended reads.  Please comment with your own suggestions.

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Another footie classic.  Fever Pitch, by Nick Hornby.

Everyone’s read it.  And so they should.  I actually annotated my copy to try to show my wife how the footie fan’s mind works.  Whether you follow a big team lkie ‘The Arsenal’ or fashionable losers like Cambridge United it should strike a chord with you.  The film’s pish by the way.

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The only boxing book I’ve read is Norman Mailer’s ‘The Fight’ which is about his time ’embedded’ in Ali’s camp whilst he prepares for The Rumble in the Jungle.  This is a masterpiece.  It is so beautifully written.  Not many sports books are so crafted, so much so that the story isn’t the most important thing here, it’s the sense of place that it evokes that is amazing.  It feels pretty voyeuristic reading it actually.

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Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand is another corker.  It tells the story of America’s most loved racehorse, Seabiscuit, but it’s really a story about class and the unlikely success of a knackered horse, knackered trainer and knackered jockey, in a knackered 1930’s USA.  Now this one IS about the story.  Highly recommended.

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Two cycling books I can strongly endorse are both (at their core) about drugs. Rough Ride by Paul Kimmage (the least famous of Ireland’s  Roche, Kelly, Kimmage…who?… aristocracy) is about how to do the Tour De France without taking performance enhancing drugs and failing spectacularly as a result.  It can’t be done he argues.  I believed him.

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It’s not about the Bike by Lance Armstrong is about Armstrong’s fight with cancer, but in reality it’s a big defence of his strict abstention from the aforementioned drugs use.  Armstrong was never found guilty of taking dope.  I wish it was true.  I am almost niaive enough to believe him and this book certainly makes me want to.  It is a very moving account of his cancer fight.  And I should take this opportunity to warn you away from the massively inferior Every Second Counts.

Gigging tonight


Off to the Corn Exchangewith my daughter Amy and her pals to see The Fratellis tonight.

I know they’re a bit of a one trick pony and I’m far too old for this sort of thing but, hey..
Rock’n’ roll man.

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Just back and they were pretty good. Amy and her pals loved them. Very, very tight, very good musicians and their songs translate well live. Only one new one which was a bit disappointing. despite all of the above I felt they needed to engage more with the audience and that spoiled it a bit for me. My ears are ringing. Not had that feeling for years. My gig going must have got a bit MOR of late.

On a plus point; check out Figure 5, the support band. The best rock and roll band in the world ever with a no armed drummer! He was obviously disabled and had his sticks taped to his very short arms but Jeez, could he lick those skins. Great band, a cross between the Jam and The Ruts. They will appear on the radar . You read it here first.

Capability


In my business life, yes I do have one, I pitched today for a really interesting project with 60 Watt my great, great pals and uber experienced creative guys for Capablility Scotland’s advertising account.  And we were told at lunchtime that we’d won their business.

It’s not every day you sing in a pitch.  Or strip off.   But Pete Mill and I did both.  Iain Hawk looked on as we sang, but he did strip off.  It wasn’t, collectively, a pretty sight.
By thinking positively disabled people can do more than most of us give them credit for.  That’s what our strategy dramatised.

I’m very happy about this.

So, how hot IS Hot Fuzz?


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This is the picture…

Boring…

belly laugh…

boring…

snigger…

boring…

Woops, fell asleep for a mo…

belly laugh…

boring…

boring…

Not again, how could I doze off twice?

boring…

belly laugh…

scream with laughter…

recoil from nasty bit…

wide awake now…

belly laugh…

the end…

In short…

5 out of 10.

A disapointment.

Snorah Jones?


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I know, I know, it’s really uncool. It shatters what little credibility I have…but I DO like Norah Jones. Sorry. but it’s true. I’ve only listened to her latest album twice and I’m not going crazy about it. But that’s not what she’s about. Is it?

It seems a lot more mature, quieter than her first two albums. All songs are written by her and her beau and on first listnings it’s a good and fairly grown up progression into an even more laid back territory. I confess I’ve not read the lyrics yet or really concentrated on it much yet. But hey, it’s good, so far.

It won’t change your mind if you don’t like her though. In fact if you don’t like her you might think it’s her worst yet. But you know what, with a voice that great and a band as solid as hers, I don’t give a damn.

Mikakakaka!


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I took Ria to Livingston for her gymnastics this morning and in the time it took to drive there and back I grinned from ear to ear as I listened to Mika’s much trumpeted debut album.  I’ve heard him being interviewed a couple of times and he struck me a s a classic Youth Theatre luvvie, sexually unsure of himself (probably swings/swung both ways) and all-in-all a bit of a precocious, trumped up twit.

But, and it’s a big but, you have to give it to him that Grace Kelly is the song of the year so far and might see out 2007 as 2006’s ‘Crazy’.  So I was interested in what it would be like.  Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way first.  Yes, he does sound like Scissor Sisters on some of the (least good I have to say) tracks.  And there’s a bit of the Freddie Mercury in there, not just in the voice but in some of the string arrangements too.

Now for the good news; apart from Grace Kelly there are another 5 songs on this album that would grace any album this year.  Lollipop is surely the next number one single, Billy Brown is great fun and could do it too – I think he’s listened to Zappa too by the way.  Big Girl is a rumbustuous ode to the beayuty of Big Girls which I think will really touch a nerve in these anti-waif days.  But two amazing ballads almost steal the show – Any Other World which sounds like his Yiddish grannie has been brought in for a touch of the David Attenburgh’s and Happy Ending, the last track (It sounds like one of those happy clappy, god squad songs you learn at certain kinds of summer camps but it is brilliant.)

Cast aside your concerns, aside from the Scissor Scisters excesses this is a magic pop album to rival Lilly Allen.  Expect a massive showing at The Brits next year.

Nice


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Got this a fortnight ago and have been listening to it a lot. It has been out for a while and got good reviews that didn’t really turn into sales.  Joan has a long history in bands but perhaps her claim to fame is playing with Anthony and the Johnsons.  It is a very nice jazz album.  Cool.  I recommend it.  Quite unusual too.