More recent reading


John Gorman

Hmmm.

John Gorman is my late Father’s cousin and has a reputation in football that is considerable.

As I child I was besotted with the rubbed off fame that he bestowed upon me in the playground.  My most vivid memories are of him as captain of Carlisle United.  Top of what is now the premiership.

Football is a fickle mistress though.

Carlisle’s early season winnng streak soon ran out and with that so did John, to Spurs, and injury.

After that Tampa Bay.

Most pros gradually fade away, but not John.  Through his association with Glenn Hoddle he rose increasingly to managerial prominence, culminating in his Assistant managership of England, as a Jock.

So, I was looking forward to this reading with enthusiasm.  There is however, a dreadful back story that permeates the book, the early death, through cancer, of his beloved wife Myra.  This element of the book is truly tragic and it is really quite poignant.

Despite this the book is not something I could recommend to the casual reader I’m sorry to say.  It’s ghost written by journalist Kevin Brennan.  Sadly Kevin Brennan is to literature what Michael Winner is to film making.  It’s not good.

It’s illuminating though and demonstrates ably how thin the line is between success and failure.  John goes through a job or two per chapter and there are 17 of them, so it demonstrates how grim a reality football management is, especially in the lower leagues.

One for the family and the collectors only I have to say.

dunfermline no more


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This credit crunch seems to drive people to very strange decisions.

Clearly the Dunfermline has had an annus horribilis but the view on the non-validity of its balance sheet seems a bit kneejerk.

One argument is that it’s trashed to the tune of over a billion.  The other that £50 million or so would fix it.

So.  What’s the story? My view is that it was a fixable problem.

BUT.

With a government in total freefall;  clueless;  PR stories at farcical levels (the Home Secretary’s porno bill); global meltdown; what chance did The Dunfermline have?

What’s going on man?  It’s bonkers.  This looks like a very fixable problem.  But instead we get the heavy hand of officialdom coming in and messing everything up.

The FSA?

I thought the A in FSA stood for Authority.

LOL.

Bloody Hell, this is good


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I saw Melody Gardot live at The Voodoo Lounge early last year and was instantly a fan.  Buying her debut album from the lady herself I was a touch disappointed on getting home.  In truth it was no more than so so, although the title track sneaked into my best of 2008 b sides compilation.

So you could have knocked me over with a feather on hearing her second outing.

Wow.

Bugger me, this has come on in so many leaps and bounds as to put Bambi in the shade.  I’ll go as far as to say that this will unquestionably, come Christmas, be in the running for my album of the year.

Smooth, smoky, sexy, coooool, loungey Jazz with a perfect voice and a mood that I haven’t heard in a long time.

OK it’s easy to make comparisons with Norah Jones, but I’d err more towards Camille.  In truth she is her own thing but certainly from the torch singing Jazz classic side of the tracks.

It is  a wonderful record.  Get out there now and buy it.  Then you too can claim to have spotted one of the next superstars in their ascendancy.

Recent reading


peace

You will now presumably be aware of David Peace’s rapidly growing repuation (The Damned Utd, The Red Riding Trilogy).

I am pleased (smug? Ed.) to say I’ve been ahead of the curve on all this as previous posts will testify and one of his books that hasn’t hit the big screen is the subject of my latest bibliographic indulgence.

GB 84 is an epic piece of writing.  Coming in at well over 400 pages it does not set out to make life easy for the reader and it succeeds in holding that to the end.

In parts it’s quite staggeringly brilliant but mostly it’s rather turgid and verging on the contrived.  David Peace is a very clever writer, the trouble is that in this book he seems to want to prove the point and actually ends up just annoying the fuck out of you.

It’s a true life act of fiction set around the 1984 miner’s strike with a cast of real life characters, Scargill – The President – and Thatcher chief of all, but is surrounded by characters that are clearly based on real life people, ‘The Jew’ for instance, is an odious spin doctor.

As an elegy to the strike, the great strike one has to say, it is quite breathtaking.  It is so detailed, so harrowing that at times you have to look away – the scenes of violence involving police versus flying picket, with the dice so clearly laden in the former’s favour, take your breath away at times  But it just goes on and on and.  Like the strike itself I guess.

And it has more sub plots than a year’s worth of Coronation Street and in the end that’s all too much.  Corruption is the key subplot, but you’ve got loyalty (scabbing), deception (infidelity), espionage, murder, brutality and love (sort of) too to deal with.

Frankly it’s all a bit of a mess, and a long winded one at that.

Could I recommend it?

Sadly, no.

Is it well written?

Well, technically, yes.

Am I glad it’s over?

Oh yes.

Has it put me off David Peace?

No way.

Yup. Busy


I realise my posting, for now, is a time  squeezed challenge so I hope I can, on the whole, only present quality.

What I’d like to share with you for now was the event I staged with Trevor Beattie (Sir Trevor in my post event opinion.  He did it and donated his fee to Operation Overlord.)

He talked about how to do great advertising without spending lots of money on it.

Of course he was able to show umpteen examples of this.  But the best pure idea he demonstrated was this.

As it coincidentally happens I agree, one of the great pop videos of all time. And I agreewith a minor point he made.  She could have shed the boots.

Budget?

Zero.

As he said on the night.  Be proud to be cheap (but only if you do it well.)

Poor old (happy old) England ladies


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England’s ladies won the World Cup of Ladies Cricket this afternoon in Australia.  Five Live, to their credit, did report the fact and were interviewing the captain but had to break away for a vital, League One, full time scoreline from Cheltenham versus Oldham.

What a load of old patronising cack.  A national team wins a WORLD CUP but a lower league football score that can wait 30 seconds trumps the winning interview?

Come on.

It got worse.

The next question was to confirm the fact that the team was returning home by economy class.

The poor English ladies representative tried to make light of it explaining that when the ECU heard about the win they tried to upgrade “some of them” but the team as a whole wanted to travel together.

This is ridiculous because England were favourites to win the world cup and duly delivered.  Why was it a surprise?

Is it merely a mark of disrespect/patronisation by both Five Live and The ECU?

I think so.

The Curse Of The Starving Class at The Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh


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Sam Shepard’s big story although written in the seventies about America in the fifties is a tale for our times.  It’s set in America somewhere near the Mexican border mid desert and once again the set is magnificent – a cross section of a house plonked in the aforementioned desert.

It’s a long show and it is full of bleak and black comedy, centring on the breakdown of a dysfunctional American family.  Dad, a drunk ex airman, is rarely at home and always in fixes which leads to an accumulation of debt that he solves by ‘selling’ the house to a local thug.  But his plans are scuppered because mum too has ‘sold’ the house to a lawyer ‘friend’ and speculator.  She plans to use the proceeds to visit Europe with her son and daughter to take in a bit of culture.

Clearly both aint gonna be happy with the actions of the other.

The central metaphor, hunger, and an empty fridge to illustrate it, shows how the pursuit of money is often fruitless.  It certainly resonates in these times where the banks’ fridges lie empty.

Just as with the recent Miller production (The man who had all the luck) the cast hold their American characterisation to perfection and to a person they create a world that is wholly believable and tragic.  It is yet another excellent show from Mark Thomson and deserves big audiences and a great deal of respect.

My amazing daughter


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She crashed my car in November last year but she passed her test today at the first time of asking.

I put it down to her brilliant driving instructor, Scott, at Lemon squeezy.  And her mother.

However, I want to take some of the credit.

I had her running chicanes at the car park at the Forth Road Bridge as an infant driver and I’m sure that baptism of fire made all the rest a doddle.

Fleet Foxes


I know I’ve been a bit harsh on the beardy hippy gits with their nauseating critical adulation.  But I’ll give them something.

This, their latest single, is great.  But they came across as total geek nerds on the Culture Show last night.  Frankly I had to look away.  Thankfully I was on my own or I’d have died of embarrassment.

They are notable by ther absence in the video are they not?

Post-ulation


I’ve had a bit of “ooh you’re no bloggin’ that much big boy.” recently.

And a lot of it is put down to the fact that I’m not exactly underemployed.

And I’m not. My golf stinks, consequently.

But if any of you think my bloggin’ is dead.  Forget it.

I aim to entertain.

The phantom band


Good to see the boys showcased on The Culture Show tonight. But they could do with getting their arses in gear and getting some official versions of their wonderful music online.

I mean, what are they doing, living in the web 2.1 world?

Apparently so, because this video of the best song this year, so far, by anyone is still unofficial.

Doh!

Yir no Little Boots are ye?

And so, for punishment… take this…

Sponge Bob Square pants


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We are becoming inveterate theatre goers here in the Gormo family.

Tonight, as I rehearsed, Ria went to see “Sponge Bob Square Pants” at The Festival Theatre on a 14 year old girls night.

To say they loved it would be something of an understatement.

Ria’s highlight of the evening was when the stars came into the foyer at the end of the night, she shouted to Patrick.

“I love your work.”

When she told me I almost wet myself.

And, I have to say, I find SBSP quite depressing.

Best gag ever, by Clement Freud


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This is a story about a man. His wife has told him that if he ever comes home drunk she will leave him.

Nonetheless he goes out. He drinks a lot and throws up all over himself. He turns to his friend and asks what he can do. His friend is helpful.

“Go home,” he says. “Tell your wife someone threw up on you. And put a twenty pound note inside your jacket pocket. Show her the money and tell her the other man gave it to you for the dry cleaning bill.”

So this he does. His wife is at first angry. But he explains. He tells her about the drunk man who threw up on him. He shows her the twenty pounds.

She looks. “But why have you got two £20 notes?” she asks.

“Oh,” he says. “The other one is from the man who shat in my pants.”