Wednesday, 19 July 2017

England 1 South Africa 1

Well I got that prediction very wrong but thankfully (?) I was unable to follow the carnage.  I always seem to miss one test per year, usually Lords, and every time England plunge to defeat.  In previous years we've bounced back in style but to do so England have to make changes.  A look at the scorecard says some players are not performing.  Ballance has done better than some but hasn't done nearly enough, he probably deserved another go but now he surely must be gone for good.  Alex Hales looked class in the one day final of weeks ago, he must find a way back.  Jennings had a poor test and is on borrowed time, if Hameed finds some form he'll put pressure on.  Mark Wood isn't doing his job, hopefully Woakes will be fit soon and finally if England insist on playing two spinners then Adil Rashid must play.

England's team has a backbone of top quality players and shouldn't lose as often as they have been.  The selectors must take blame for not being able to find our best XI over a period of two years or more.  I think we have enough good bowlers when all are fit but the batting is starting to be a worry, especially the top three.
If both teams play at their best then I still think England are the stronger.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

England 1 South Africa 0

The first morning was a tough.  Seven months without test cricket and then a mini England collapse!  But there is a feeling nowadays that England can and will fight back, especially on home soil.  After that England dominated with contributions from everyone and Moeen Ali just pipping Root to the Man of the match award.

England have already named an unchanged side for the next test at Trent Bridge but as always there are players under scrutiny.  Most notably Ballance and Jennings who had quiet games if you look at the scorecard but taken in context their second innings 30+ scores were decent scores.  Dawson bagged a pair but picked up a couple in each innings.  I hope he does well but Rashid should be playing.

England have a good record at Trent Bridge but South Africa can surely only improve?  Given the players who will take the field on Friday, England at their best will beat South Africa at their best.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

England vs South Africa

England last played test cricket way back in December, after the 4-0 loss to India I unwisely picked an XI for the first test this summer;
Cook, Hameed, Jennings, Root, Ali, Stokes, Bairstow, Woakes, Rashid, Broad, Anderson

At the moment Woakes in injured and Hameed out of nick but the rest of that XI has been performing well in whatever competition they happened to be playing in.  If there's a bowling place up for grabs Wood and Plunkett could get a call or maybe the Yorkshire youngster Ben Coad?
Gary Ballance has scored loads of runs this year but surely he won't get yet another chance?

The team was announced this morning and eight of the players I nominated in December will play.  Woakes is injured and Mark Wood comes into the side.  Hameed is out of form so Ballance has got another chance, he's a lucky man.  I can't believe Adil Rashid has been left out with Dawson preferred!!

England have picked two spinners for the Lords test which definitely took a bit of spin for the one day final last week.  We also have four seamers making six bowlers and we bat all the way down.  We have plenty of good players in and around this team.  Alex Hales looked brilliant at Lords last week and must play test cricket again soon.  Woakes is starting to look like a top class bowling all rounder and will come back soon.  Hameed is made to open in test cricket.  The future is bright and it starts with a test series win over South Africa over the next few weeks!

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Redemption

A week is a long time in politics, who would have thought that Jeremy Corbyn would be legitimately be seen as the strong and stable leader whilst the Tory party would cosy up to terrorist sympathisers.

Funny Facebook excuses; “It’s all the fault of the young you know, how dare they exercise their democratic right and vote for a better future for themselves?  How selfish, what do they know about life?”  But it wasn’t just the young, people of all ages have seen through the Tory bullshit and have had enough.  I’m even beginning to think that the age of Murdoch and the other arch villains manipulating people’s opinions is coming to an end.  The way people are informed has changed, the internet is full of independent sources of news that are not slanted to the agenda of a few billionaires.

“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our own mind”

No Labour didn’t win.  Yes we still have a Tory government but Labour was supposed to be wiped off the map and this didn’t happen.  Instead the Labour party has gained seats and is in a position to influence policy going forward.  Already the Tories have announced the end of austerity, how kind, what took them so fucking long?  http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/conservatives-chancellor-george-osborne-ideology-austerity-economics-working-families-a7787776.html

New Labour is dead, the Blairites will be consigned to an embarrassing corner of history, the people have their party back, and there is hope for democracy.  For the first time in my adult life there is real optimism, the tide has turned!  But I don’t want to be interested in politics, I want to go back to ignoring it all and I definitely don’t want to care.  That’s the trouble with Jeremy Corbyn, I can’t ignore him and when all the bullshit is swept aside he’s on our side and deserves our support.


Terrorism in the name of religion is a lie, these people have no place in society, they steal oxygen and have no place in the gene pool.  Love and respect to all those who serve in the emergency services, you deserve more help and more pay.  The one love concert in Manchester was the best message, this song made me cry.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

The Wailers Norwich UEA

A few weeks ago…

The Wailers, Peter, Bunny and Bob, joined by the Barrett brothers; Carlton and Aston AKA “Family man”.  A few years later Peter and Bunny left and the group became Bob Marley and the Wailers and conquered the world.  Sometime during the late seventies I became infected with the music which I have loved for a lifetime.  Line ups changed but Bob and the Barrett brothers remained.  After Bob’s death the Wailers continued to tour the world but by 1987 Peter and Carlton were gone, Bunny wouldn’t leave Jamaica so only “Family man” remained but the Wailers still toured.  For some reason I never got round to seeing them, it couldn’t work without Bob, could it?

In 2006 I turned up at the NEC to see UB40 for the third time.  My love of reggae had spread and although much maligned, UB40 were a fucking ace live band.  As I walked into the arena I glanced at the poster and stopped in my tracks; “Special guests, THE WAILERS”!!!  What a brilliant surprise!  After all these years I was going to see the bass player who started it all.  The Wailers walked on and there he was, Aston “Family man” Barrett, the man who provided the rhythm to a large chunk of my life up until then.  I loved the show, Bob’s songs played by authentic musicians, sounding great, getting the crowd moving.  Later UB40 were excellent as ever but couldn’t match the moment when I saw 'Family man' play.

So a decade later and the Wailers are still on tour and as they were playing nearby it would be rude not to go see them.  Unfortunately the first date was cancelled but was rescheduled for this March and the Purple Princess, Maddie and I drove north to the Norwich UEA.  What should we expect?  Well I knew they’d be professional, put on a show and we’d have a good night but are they any more than a tribute act these days?

The band ambled onto the stage, there’s “Family man” settling his seventy year old frame into a chair, minor adjustments then the unmistakable bassline “Natural mystic”.  It sounds great, the band are tight but the crowd is only simmering.  Next is “Buffalo Soldier” the rhythm picks up and the crowd go nuts!  After that it pretty much stayed that way, the Wailers roll out the hits, one after the other; bang, bang, bang.  The audience was hooked, the whole room is dancing and most are singing along.  This is beyond good, this is fucking ace!  I look around, Shelley and Maddie are enjoying it as much as me, this is as good as it gets.

The band look like they are having the time of their lives and this time consists of a few more former bandmates of Marley.  Junior Marvin is on guitar and vocals, Earl “Wire” Linsey on keyboards and Don Kinsey on guitar.  Family man gets the biggest cheer of the night and responds with a trademark grin along with a ‘Black Power’ salute.  Aston junior plays drums and Josh Barrett shares the vocals, I presume these are two of Family Man’s forty one children.  The line-up has an authentic feel and the sound is real, real, real.  This is the nearest thing we’ll ever get to seeing Marley and we are fucking loving it along with the whole room.

The Wailers play for an hour, they don’t let up and the audience doesn’t let them down.  This has taken its toll on Family man who is helped from the stage.  He’s stilling smiling and gives another salute and receives the adulation deserved by genuine A list legend but he doesn’t return for the encore.  The rest of the band play on and replacement bass by Dready Reid (I think?) is up to scratch.  One newer song written by the younger element then a load more classics.  During the night the Wailers played everything on the ‘Legend’ compilation and more; Exodus, No woman no cry, Jammin’, Could you be loved, Lively up yourself, Redemption Song and on and on.  However I have to be a tiny bit picky, “Trenchtown rock” would have been niiiiicce.  Another half hour of music before the Wailers departed for good, they played a blinder and the crowd gave them the reception they deserved.


Some gigs I look forward to for weeks and these are great, other gigs sneak up on me.  I go with no expectations and I’m blown away.  I should have known The Wailers would be good, it shouldn’t have been such a brilliant surprise but it was even more so because of it.
The Wailers in 2006, that's 'Family man' in the background

Thursday, 20 April 2017

I know my place

Maggie May sprung a spring surprise yesterday, a general election in early June.  Now we will find out just how brainwashed the population is.  If there is any hope for our country then the Tory bastards won’t get back in.  I know who I’m going to vote for; I don’t want to live in a George Orwell novel.

Bloody Brexit is a smokescreen, while everyone is distracted by that bollocks the realities of our own society are being ignored.  Baffle me with trade deals and big world bullshit, none of that means jack shit to me.  Talk to me about making our country a better place for the next generations because I don’t believe Brexit will change my life in any tangible way.

When I left school in 1984, (coincidentally; though we didn’t study that novel, instead we read ‘Animal Farm and learnt to fear communism, strange that…) we were in the middle of a recession but things were much better then than they are now!  Ordinary people had more money in their pockets than they do in 2017 but I digress…  However over the next ten years I was able to earn enough money to travel around the world and put down enough money for a mortgage on a house.  I could have gone to sixth form, polytechnic would have been feasible had I chosen to go down that path and this would not have seen me in debt to the government.

A family member finished her degree course last year and we are all proud of her becoming a nurse in the NHS.  She has had to pay a high price for this education that has trained her to become one of the most valuable members of our society, working in our most treasured national institution and witnesses the reality of underfunding on a daily basis.  The next generation of my family are aged between 14 and 24, the stark reality is they will all struggle to buy houses in the same area that we have lived all our lives.  Rural Britain is being bought up as second houses but that’s yet another issue…

Ever since I’ve been old enough to vote it’s been the same old shit. The faces changed, some wore blue and some wore red but it’s still the same old shit.  Forget party politics red vs blue that’s just another distraction when the plain reality is it’s down to Us vs Them.  Look out of the window, things aren’t as good as they were a generation ago.  Do you really believe this is because of immigrants or Europe?  Don’t you think it’s more likely to be down to greedy men in suits  I’ve read all the Corbyn smears and I’ve read the truth.  He’s not just taking on the Conservative party, he will have to fight the entire Establishment.  Whatever anyone says about him he still has more integrity than this current crop of piss taking Tories, which isn’t actually saying a lot now I come to think of it. For the first time in twenty years I’m voting Labour and there is absolutely nothing any of the campaigns can do to change my mind.  If anyone has managed to reach the bottom of the page I’m not going to ask you to vote Labour but please think long and hard before you vote Tory and if you do so, well you obviously know your place, don’t forget to tug your forelock on the way out.

Now hopefully this will be my first and only word on the subject.  I intend to tune out of all the media bullshit and do my absolute best to ignore the whole shit storm.  Cricket soon!

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Still here

I decided to go back to my normal custom of doing everything I can to ignore politics and current affairs but things have got so ridiculous that its proving impossible.  There is so much madness in the world I've found myself drawn back into commenting.

I'll have to start with Trump, even though I live on the saner side of the Atlantic.  I don't accept he is the democratically elected leader of the free world because, for starters, I don't accept a democracy where the candidate who receives the fewest votes can end up elected.  As I have said before, the 'first past the post' system we use in the UK is just as crooked.  We know politicians tell lies, that is a given but Trump is so brazen he doesn't even try to hide the fact.  According to him the truth is whatever he wants it to be at the time.  The Irish PM Enda Kelly is a gutsy man, standing in the White house and delivering a speech critical of the mop haired moron's stance on immigration, fair play!  Contrast this with our own Theresa May who went to Washington and done everything but give him a gobble, the sniveling little witch.  (NB  I say 'our own' but I totally disown the unelected PM of our country).  Finally there are British people celebrating Trump on social media, if you are one of these then you are an utter fuckwitt.

The trouble with Trump is he distracts people from things that really matter.  For example the Tory party has been found guilty of  and fined for electoral fraud which should be big news, another example of our so called democracy being undermined.  This is just shrugged off by the brain washed British masses who are more interested by Trump's latest moronic tweet or Farage's latest borderline racist rant.

There has been more of this crap from Farage in the light of the murderous attack in Westminster last week, he says we should think about a Trump style travel ban on certain nationalities.  How would this prevent a British born murderer is anyone's guess but it did give the twat a soundbite opportunity.  What we have here is a murderous lunatic going on a killing spree and no one should use this for political capital, so far it seems as if this is the case.  Unfortunately there is nothing to stop fuckwitts on social media going on anti-Muslim rants.  No one tried to ban Irish or Catholics from entering the country in the aftermath of the IRA attacks in the seventies and eighties...

Earlier this month the England ODI team went to the Carribbean for a short, three match series.  We absolutely battered them and it was barely competitive.  Once again we have a reminder of just how far the once great cricketing nation(s) has fallen.  Of equal concern was the state of the crowds in Antigua and Barbados.  What has happened to the traditional West Indian cricket atmosphere?  The locals have been priced out of the grounds which were full of pissed up, over weight, middle aged Brits.  Instead of reggae and calypso sound systems the crowds were moving to modern dance music, of sorts.  Sad...