Och, poor wee sky


Regular readers of my blog will be aware of my relationship with Sky (yes, box 14 is still working – before you ask).

So I am low on sympathy for their order to write down £343 million in an enforced sale of its aggressive build up of shareholding in ITV by the Competition Commision.

ITV has its problems but, you know what,  we need them more than we need a Sky monopoly.

oops. I did it again

No reference to the previous post but I am inclined to do a bit of this.


I did it tonight.

I ain’t Mr populoso in these parts.

In my defence, I was trying to fix Amy’s computer which has been out of commission one way or another for months.

It had just come back.  It was STILL out of commission.  So’s her desk now.

(But the computer works.)

Edinburgh Festival to be bombed. Fact.


Is it just me or is Supt Lovegrove just being a bit of a scaremonger? “It’s not just a case of “if” but “when” he tells us.

I appreciate that the public needs to be vigilant. But does it have to be terrified, and does he have to put out a message that can only damage the festival.

One of Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officers last night warned it was only a matter of time before Edinburgh was subjected to a devastating attack.

Superintendent Brett Lovegrove said Scotland’s capital would be an “extremely attractive” objective for terrorists – and said the Edinburgh International Festival, which last year attracted 380,000 visitors, was a prime target.

Speaking at an anti-terrorism seminar in the capital, Mr Lovegrove, the head of counter-terrorism for the City of London Police, said: “Edinburgh is an extremely attractive proposition to terrorists, as it has many international businesses, an airport, sports stadiums and crowded streets.

“In particular, the Festival ticks all the right boxes, so it’s essential the public are made aware of the threat and what action should be taken.

“Like London and New York, it is also an iconic city which is flooded with tourists all year round.

“Last year’s Glasgow airport attack proved Scotland isn’t immune to the threat of terrorism. Unfortunately, it isn’t a case of ‘if’ there will be an attack on Edinburgh but ‘when’.”

Read the whole article here. And the comments – most of which subscribe to my point of view (other than the person who wittily exclaims that a bomb going off at the Edinburgh Festival would be a good thing. Oh really? a few hundred Edinburghers and arty tourists dead and maimed would be a good thing? An interesting take on terrorism).

Should The Scotsman have risen to this sensationalism and printed the story?

You tell me…

A book of two halves


“I wouldn’t say I was the best manager in the business. But I was in the top one.”

So said Brian Clough; reflecting on his up and down career.

I have written elsewhere about the Clough phenomenon, in my review of the quite remarkable David Peace novel, Damned Utd but this is something different and just as touching.

The man is truly unique and I bought Provided you don’t kiss me, the 2007 William Hill Book of The Year, on the basis that I thought it would be full of ascerbic and hilarious insights into his career as seen by an insider.

It’s written by the previously unknown (in book terms at least) Duncan Hamilton, but surely we can’t have seen the last of him. Hamilton was a rookie sportswriter/reporter on the Nottingham Evening Post and so got first dibs on Cloughie for over 20 years. The relationship he built with Clough is at the heart of this book.

It is a thing of great beauty.

It’s no kiss and tell, despite the title, rather it is a heart felt, honest, even loving reminiscence of how a provincial reporter built an intimate, trusting relationship with the greatest football manager in history; and let’s not overlook this fact. He was.

Let’s get this in perspective. Nottingham Forest winning a League title and two European cups in the late seventies was the equivelant of someone like Stoke, or Colchester doing it now. Provincial, modest crowds (never above 25,000 even at their peak) and peniless.

And yet. And yet.

And yet Clough (and let’s not forget Taylor – Hamilton sure doesn’t) built Nottingham Forest into the greatest team in Europe.

They pissed on the mighty Liverpool.

But the book is not a football borefest. It ain’t for anoraks, it’s for people who love people. Clough was like a surrogate father to Hamilton. It was a love affair of sorts. A truly symbiotic relationship.

As the book moves through the glory years and into Clough’s decline it is sad beyond belief. At several points I was close to tears as Hamilton recounts Cloughie’s decline into alcoholism, his loss of dignity and confidence and his eventual, rather sad, retirement and most heartfelt of all; his death.

This book is a window into the human soul. A historical insight that no-one else could have written.

It IS funny in parts; because Cloughie was a star comedian (indeed he was a mate of Eric Morecambe’s).

But poignancy is its greates virtue.