Monday, 23 November 2015


A few years ago I saw a comedian named Stephen Hughes, (he's an Aussie but I didn't hold that against him.) this was at a festival, during the day and there were quite a few children watching.  He started the gig by drawing attention to the young audience and saying "I don't usually get many kids at my shows... maybe because I say 'Cunt' a lot...".  Some in the audience gasped but most, (including me) roared with laughter.  That set the tone for the show, the theme of which was 'Offence is relative', what offends one person won't necessarily offend someone else.  Stephen Hughes didn't offend me at all that day, he was hilarious and absolutely correct.

The other day I had a couple of bottles of beer and whilst I was in this enlightened frame of mind a picture of Ricky Gervais appeared on my Facebook wall with the caption "Just because you're offended doesn't mean you're right".  Now I agree with this statement but I find RG smug, irritating and just not funny.  Normally I would delete something like this but maybe because I'd been drinking?  I decided to comment with "Just because you're rich doesn't mean you're not a cunt".  I thought this was ironic and funny and a few people seemed to agree with me.  However a few others didn't, ironically they took offence to my use of 'cunt'.

My use of such vulgarity gave one poster an excuse to take the moral and intellectual high ground.  My use of that naughty little word obviously means I'm ignorant and have a poor vocabulary, I've been prejudged!  It didn't cross these peoples minds that after reviewing several options I carefully selected that word for effect.

I have to confess that I do like to push the boundaries of offence but then so does many of the things I enjoy; music, literature, art I suppose?  I'm not offended by a word, without context it means nothing.  I'm not offended by sex, swearing, drugs and violence on TV but I am offended by TOWIE, boy bands and David Cameron.

Try this quiz, I only scored 58/70 so I must practice more.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Test squad

The England selectors named the test squad to tour South Africa today and there were several surprises but before we get to that the obvious;  Cook will captain and Root, Anderson, Broad and Stokes will be on the plane.

The glaring omission is Ian Bell who has been treated harshly in my opinion.  Its true he hasn't been in the best of form for a while but class is permanent, I'd have him on the trip for his experience.  Maybe enjoying a winter at home with his family will put him in the right frame of mind to come back stronger next year?  I'm sure we haven't seen the last of him in an England shirt.

Another unlucky player is Adil Rashid who done as well as any England spinner in UAE and was the only one who looked likely to win us a match.  His place has been taken by Samit Patel who will do little more than carry the drinks in South Africa, what a waste of time.  Both he and Moeen Ali have something in common, they aren't good enough to bowl spin at test level so we would have been better served picking a youngster, or Rashid.

Both Finn and Wood will not make the trip through injury so Woakes and Jordan get the nod along with the left armer Mark Footit who was knocking on the door last summer.  He must be the next cab on the rank and I hope he gets a chance.

There are places up for grabs at the top of the batting order; an opening partner for Cook and a no. 3.   Whoever gets selected will be treated to the best pace attack in world cricket.   For these positions pick two from Alex Hales, who has been waiting in the wings for a while.  Nick Compton who was harshly treated in 2013 and Gary Ballance who had a good start to his test career but faltered this summer.  James Taylor should keep his place in the middle order.

The keepers job will be a straight shoot out between Bairstow and Buttler, neither of whom has made the spot their own despite having the opportunities.

Given the squad my XI for the first test vs South Africa (for what little its worth).

Cook, Compton, Hales, Root, Taylor, Stokes, Buttler, Ali, Broad, Anderson, Footit.

Sunday, 15 November 2015


I was on the Broads, sitting in my boat with Radio 6 music playing as usual but its just background noise most of the time.  The news came on, I heard the words "terrorist attack in Paris...", I couldn't believe what I was hearing after that.

The first thing I think is why?  Is this because of western intervention in Syria?  Or even the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?  Is this the fault of "the West"?  Should "we" just back off?  How many innocents die there in bombing raids every day?  Is this really all about oil?  Is this just people arguing over whose God is best?

The cynic in me wonders if, right now politicians are thinking how best they can spin this to their advantage.  The "right to privacy bill" for a start.  I believe they will.  In fact Lord Carlisle is on BBC news doing it right now, what an utter contemptuous prick.  I better watch out, I drive a black Seat.  (I made the notes for this while still sitting in my boat, the odious politician appeared while I was typing them up).

Back up a bit.  This is an atrocity with no justification.  Any sane person condemns it and sends love to the people of Paris.  99% of Muslims will be just as horrified as everyone else but will they be given as much air time as the 1% of nutters?  I don't believe religion has anything to do with this, these people are just plain evil and any religious claims on their part are false.

My own faith comes through my own experiences of life.  I have seen, heard and felt things that defy rational explanation.  I know there's more to life than this.  Religions are all different paths to the same place.

I've added a couple of links to the right hand side.  One is a good friends music blog which I've been forgetting to put up for some time.  The other is "Another Angry Voice" which will either be right up your street or intensely offensive.  I hope its the former.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

I like Jeremy Corbyn

I once read that as we grow older our political views become increasingly more right wing.  Well I'm happy to say that if anything, mine are going the other way.

I first became aware of Mr Corbyn earlier this year when his name became linked with the Labour leadership with increasing confidence.  I didn't know anything at all about him but because he was eliciting vitriol from people whose opinions I detest I found myself liking him by default.  The more I learnt about JC the more I liked

A real socialist leading the Labour party?  Surely not!  Actually yes, it happened and for the first time in over a decade I find myself taking an increasing interest in politics and I find myself liking Jeremy Corbyn even more.

Since he has been leader of the Labour party he has had even more vitriol spewed in his direction.  Not just from the Tories, (we expect that) or the right wing press (we expect that too) but sadly some has come from within the Labour party itself.  These are the so called moderates who are not socialists at all but capitalists wearing a red tie.  For example the war criminal Tony Blair has been vocal in condemning JC.  I particularly dislike Blair because he was a wolf in sheep's clothing.  I didn't realise he was basically the same as the Tories we were voting out, I was naive and i was duped.

Just to rebuff some of the accusations that have been thrown my way lately; Supporting Jeremy Corbyn does not make me a terrorist sympathiser, it makes me anti war not anti armed forces.

We British have been brain washed into thinking there is no other way than the capitalist society we have endured since Thatcher.  This is not true. Nationalising the railways isn't really such a crazy idea is it?  Are we really better off since our energy became privatised?  Of course not!!  Do we really want to live in a society that bails out the bankers then blames the poorest in society for this country's problems?

We've been lied to and ripped off for too long.  Time for a change.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Pakistan 2 England 0

The third and final test went to Pakistan.  England performed well to dismiss Pakistan for 234 and began batted pretty well to reach 308 and a 74 run lead on first innings.  After two days England seemed to be on top but from the third day onwards Pakistan took over.  They made 355 in their second innings and always looked likely to win from there.  A familiar middle order collapse on the final morning insured this was so.  England's seamers, Broad and Anderson bowled superbly and there was good batting from Cook, Taylor, Patel and Bairstow but it wasn't enough.  Injury to Stokes did not help the cause.

England were unlucky to lose the toss on all three occasions and were competitive throughout the series but the 2-0 scoreline was probably a fair reflection of the series.  Alastair Cook had an excellent series with the bat, Joe Root done well too without converting good innings into match changing scores.  James Taylor's 74 in the third test should see him occupy a middle order position for some time to come and with his form in all formats of the game this year this will be well deserved.  Ian Bell frustrated us as he has all year.  There were good innings but he kept getting out when a player of his class should push on.

By the end of the series Bairstow had replaced Buttler behind the stumps as the latter's form was poor and his confidence seemed low.  Bairstow has now played twenty test matches and still doesn't look like a test class player.  I expect him to start in England's next series but ultimately Joss Buttler will return and become a fixture in the side.

Poor old Moeen Ali seems such a likable bloke but the decision to use him as an opener failed and his bowling was/is just not good enough.  England's spinners were nowhere near as good as Pakistan's, no control and far less threat.  The only exception being the final day of the first test when Adil Rashid nearly spun us to an unlikely victory.  Samit Patel, ditto, sorry not good enough.

England's pacemen, Anderson, Broad and Wood were simply superb, control, accuracy, economy and wickets. Enough said.  Ben Stokes didn't have his best series but we know he is class.  He was injured in the final test but hopefully won't be out for long.

Only a few years ago, under Andrew Strauss' captaincy England had a settled team that virtually picked itself.  This was the team that reached No.1 in the world rankings.  This series was interesting in as much as it showed us England are still a long way short of that.  Only a handful of players are automatic selections; Cook, Root, Stokes, Broad, Anderson and Bell is hanging in there but must get back to top form.  We are no closer to finding an opening partner for Cook, Alex Hales is next in line but in hindsight it looks like Compton and Carberry were discarded too soon.  James Taylor must have played himself into the starting line up for South Africa in December and the third seamer will be a choice between Finn and Wood.  Bairstow is the man in possession of the keepers gloves but I still think Buttler will be the man long term.  Roll on Boxing day!