Thursday, 29 December 2016

Music

My daughter the Maddionette has been busy writing her musical reviews of the year which you can read here;  http://maddionette.blogspot.co.uk/#!
She challenged me to write a review of my favourite music of 2016.  This is a little difficult because I very rarely buy new releases so I'll have to bend the rules a little and include music I've discovered or have a new appreciation for, in 2016.

First up is an album that I bought this year but was actually released in 2015, so it almost counts as new.  I've loved Paul Weller's music for a long time and his latest release "Saturn's Pattern" see's the old wrinkly in top form.  It's a good listen all the way through but I particularly like the opening two tunes; Roaring rock guitar in 'White Sky' and the melodic piano hook of the title track.

Latitude is seven months away and I'm looking forward to it already.  Over the last six years this festival has been the source of the majority of my new musical discoveries.  This year there were several treats.  Grimes played a really enjoyable, high energy set and from what I've heard 'Art Angels' is a good listen too.

Weaves were a big surprise and I really enjoyed watching them in the middle of the day at Latitude.  A hard rock sound with a quirky female vocal, it shouldn't work but it really does.

Soulwax have been around for years but sadly passed me by.  Some of their music sounds like classy indie rock, some is pure dance.  I am growing to love them and their awesome dance set on Saturday night at Latitude was the musical highlight of the weekend.

Maddionette had played me a bit of Panic! at the Disco in the past and I quite liked it.  Seeing them play at Alexandra Palace in November gave me an excuse to investigate them further.  It was a really good show and I've enjoyed discovering this band, in particular the "To weird to live, too rare to die" and "Death of a Bachelor" albums.  As the latter is a 2016 release it actually fits the criteria.

Another band introduced to me by Maddie and Isaac is Twenty one Pilots, really like the "Blurryface" cd, kick arse synth rock! I'm liking 'Vessel' after a few listens too.  This would sound good live so a band to look out for in the future.

Father Xmas (Maddie) brought me a copy of the latest Green Day CD "Revolution Radio" which is a 2016 release.  Not much to say about this but after just two listens I'm liking it, 'Bang bang' and 'Youngblood' in particular stand out.

Finally a proper mention for an album release in 2016!  I liked Red Hot Chilli Peppers 'The Getaway' on the first listen and have grown to love it over the weeks.  'Longest Wave' leaped out at me on that first play (driving to Norfolk) and remains a favourite. 'Dreams of a Samurai' was awesome when we saw them live earlier this month.  There isn't a dodgy song on the album and it's their best release for years.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

What does it mean?

Don't feel obliged to wish me a happy Christmas because I don't really know what it means, do you?  How many people who utter the words are actually celebrating the birth of Christ.  The ghastly "happy holiday" is actually more appropriate but no.  Happy gluttons day.  Happy piss up.  Happy madspend.  Happy I'm going to forget the bastard I am for the rest of the year and be drunk/nice/stupid for a couple of days.

Why are we celebrating?  Presents for children. A few days of work and an excuse to overindulge for most adults.  Celebrate the festival of greed.  Apt when you look at the world around us where greed is worshiped.

It's good to laugh with friends and family, fun things in good company.  Sharing. giving, smiling, followed by eating, drinking, singing and who knows?  It serves as an excuse to bring people together.  If that's what it means nowadays then hell I'll buy into it.  Happy Christmas.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Battered in Chennai!

The fifth test was a major case of deja vu.  England won the toss and batted, making a decent score of 477, built mainly around 146 from Moeen Ali.  In return India battered England and amassed a record score of 757-7 dec.  Rahul made 199 and Nair in only his third test turned a maiden century into 303*  England should have been able to bat through the final day and save the match, especially as they hadn't lost a wicket by lunch.  Unfortunately they bottled it and allowed Jadeja to take 7-48, India won by an innings again.

We should have beaten Bangladesh but no one should be surprised at India winning the series 4-0, England were clear underdogs before the series and the result is what many predicted.  The simple truth is; England's current batting line up does not have anywhere enough experience in facing good spinners in helpful conditions.  Kohli was different class this series.  Although our spinners are improving they are not in the same league as Ashwin and Jadeja.  We were outperformed by a better team this year but if the two sides met in England next year, we would win comfortably.

Despite this heavy defeat I think this has been a good autumn for the development of this England team.  After a couple of years of selections that have found little but ruled several players out, it seems as if we are starting to know what our best team is.  Naseeb Hameed looks like he could be a world class player and open the batting for years to come, the search for Cook's partner is finally over.  Keaton Jennings has done enough in a couple of knocks to cement his own spot, probably at no.3.  Ben Duckett and Gary Ballance will go back to their counties, the latter probably permanently.  
There has been talk about the captaincy, will Cook stay on?  Is Root ready?  I hope Cook allowed to continue for as long as he wants the job but if he's had enough then fine.  I'm sure he'll make more runs for the team if he isn't captain, how Root goes remains to be seen.

We don't have another test match until next July now.  A lot can change in that time but from what we've seen this year, my team for the next home test match would be...

Cook, Hammed, Jennings, Root, Ali, Stokes, Bairstow, Woakes, Rashid, Broad, Anderson



Monday, 19 December 2016

Anti Xmas music advent Calendar Part 3

It's here oh blessed relief!  The collective madness has peaked, the annual festival of spending is nearly over and we are sliding helplessly into what all the bloody fuss is about, Xmas day.  Now you can't guarantee everything will be rosy but you can be sure that things will start to return to normal.  After the sales, which I won't go near anyway (actually shouldn't natural selection have sorted these fuckers out by now?) and New year.  As this is the most overrated night and day on the calendar it makes sense to get it over with right away.  But after all that shite things will get back to normal.  Yes we're going back to work and it'll probably be bloody cold but the days will be gradually getting longer and spring will be hear before you know it.

No carols, no Noddy, no Wizard, no fucking Wham.  Play these instead, loud.


OK I'm going soft for a second.  This is a brilliant song, written by a drunken genius and co-sung by an angel who was tragically and ironically killed at Xmas.  It should not be classed as a Xmas song, its a musical story that just happens to be set at Xmas.  None of which will stop shark like music business execs from cashing in year after year but what the hell.


Having endured the hellish first three weeks of December, having spent far too much money then followed this with hours of preparation; clogging the house with decorations, peeling veg and stuffing the fucking turkey for the most overrated meal of the year...  The day itself should be perfect but it rarely is. 



Xmas presents; Socks, deodorant gift packs and loads of total cack that will be in a charity shop by January.  That's not what we want is it?  Xmas presents should be easy...
 



I'm lucky that I enjoy being around my family and being in an overcrowded house full of relatives isn't a nightmare for me.  However I know there are families out there that can barely tolerate the sight of each other.




Whatever happens, overindulgence is impossible to avoid.  Painkillers required for mind, body and soul.



Sorry kids but Santa can't make it this year because he's a lazy fat bastard, either that or he doesn't fucking exist, you decide.  Don't worry though, we've lined up a replacement to slip down your chimney.  Don't have nightmares.





I have my punk obsessed friend Giles to thank for finding this mad masterpiece.  You just have to love the sentiment.




When all the bollocks and bullshit is booted aside, this is what Xmas should really be about.  Sing it loud, "Come together, as one..."  Have a happy one.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Red Hot Chilli Peppers 11/12/16

I love the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and have done since I first heard "Fight Like a Brave" on the BBC way back in the eighties.  A couple of years later they released "Blood Sugar Sex Magik" and became the global superstars they remain today.  I got a chance of four tickets and i didn't have to think about it, has to be done!  So on a damp Sunday afternoon in December I pointed the car westwards and off we set.  I say "we" as I was joined by the Purple Princess, My daughter Maddie and beloved friend Trev, who like me, had seen RHCP before.  The journey along the A14/M6 wen't almost without a hitch (but not quite!) and we pulled up in the car park with time to spare.

The venue, Birmingham NEC is one I've visited many times.  It's further away than the London venues but less hassle to reach.  As we walked from the car park to the arena it became it had been spruced up considerably since my last visit, maybe a decade ago?  There's now a retail area that I hadn't noticed before with high street names in big lights.  The venue too is now named the "Genting arena" after it's sponsor, a casino apparently.

We joined a throng of people and were steadily drawn into the arena.  A quick stop for a Tee shirt then off in search of our seats.  We found ourselves towards the back of the arena, way up high near the roof.  this may have the disadvantage of not being in the thick of the atmosphere below but our view would be better.  Normally I find myself trying to peer over the shoulders of giants so a clear view of the stage makes a nice change.

Anyway, back up a bit.  By the time we found our seats the support were already in full flow.  This was "Baby Metal".  This band are unique to say the least, how could I describe it?  Imagine a Japanese 'Little Mix' singing in front of a 'Metallica' style hard rock band dressed in strange outfits.  (They look a bit like the band 'Goat'.  If you are unfamiliar with Goat, type it into YouTube, ignore anything dodgy and try to find the mad Swedish rock band.  You'll thank me.)  Anyway, three sweet Japanese girls dancing in perfect synch in front of a hard rock band shouldn't really work, should it?  Well it kind of does, in as much as it was entertaining and good fun.  We all enjoyed it and Maddie in particular loved it so its a thumbs up for Baby Metal.

Most concerts start off with some kind of dramatic intro but not the Peppers.  There's a bit of freaky clarinet warbling as they casually stroll on to stage.  Chad climbs onto the drum riser, Flea straps on the bass, Josh walks on with guitar and they launch into a jam, pounding rhythm and wailing guitar.  The rhythm increases, the sound builds and builds, these are seriously good musicians.  Anthony bops on and the band smashes into "Can't Stop", fucking awesome!  Then it's straight into "Dani California" followed by "Scar Tissue", what a way to start the gig!  "With the birds I share this lonely view..."

From this point on I can't remember what order the songs came in but there were several from the latest album "The Getaway".  these included the title track, "Dark Necessities", "Sick Love" and "Go Robot", I love this album and was looking forward to hearing it played live but was disappointed they didn't find time for "Longest Wave".  Mingled in with these were more familiar tunes like "Did I let you know", "Tell me baby" and "Parallel Universe".  At times tonight it seemed that the atmosphere dipped a little and also the sound wasn't quite right to my ears but these could both have been due to our position in the arena.  When a band has a back catalogue as large as the Peppers there are alway going to be tunes that are left out.  In particular the absence of"Californication" left a big hole in the show.  I would have loved to have heard "Snow" and "Brendan's Death Song".  I hear the band mixes the set up every night which is to their credit.

When Trev and I saw the Peppers play before in 2006 a feature of the show had been the band Jamming between songs and I loved this.  There wasn't much of this improvisation tonight but they did squeeze in a few bars of Led Zeppelin's "Heartbreaker" and Sabbath's "Iron Man".  There wasn't much audience interaction tonight either, just a few words from Flea and Anthony but that's fine with me.  By jamming and talking less maybe they could squeeze more tunes in?  Whatever, when the Peppers are on stage they look like they are loving it.

I have to mention the lighting.  Apart from the usual effects we've become used to RHCP used hundreds of thin, tubular, ever changing lights suspended above the stage and crowd.  These rose and fell, ebbed and flowed, formed shapes and patterns.  I can't recall seeing anything like this before and it was really effective.  Maybe our row high seats gave us a different angle and allowed us to fully appreciate this?

The band played on...  "Under the Bridge" sounded brilliant with the crowd singing every word.  This was followed by a blistering "By the Way" and once again the atmosphere was sparking.  Another banging tune now would have lifted the roof... But the band left the stage.

The inevitable encore charade followed.  The band returned with another new song "Dream of a Samurai", a strange choice at this stage but it's a great tune and it sounded superb.  Then came the awesome funky punky "Give it away" which had the roof straining once again...
"Unimpressed with material excess, love is free love me say Hell Yes!"  Chad paid homage to some great British rock bands.  Then they were gone.

Walking back to the car we all agreed we'd enjoyed the show.  For me the measure is how I feel when it ends, am I ready to go home or do I want more?  Tonight I definitely wanted more, I loved it!  That said I think RHCP played a better show when I saw them the first time in 2006.  All in all this was a very, very good gig but one that fell a little short of being great.  I'd go see them again for sure!


Meanwhile...
India have taken an unassailable 3-0 lead in the test series against England.  We won the test and the latest opener Jennings scored an impressive ton on debut to help England to 400.  It seemed a good total but India have a master batsman in Virat Kholi who is having a remarkable series.  His 230+ helped the home side to a total over 600.  With Ashwin bowling superbly the win was a matter of when, not if.  It's a bit embarrassing for England to lose by an innings after posting 400.  The fifth and final test starts in a couple of days, we could play much better and still lose!

Monday, 12 December 2016

Anti Xmas music advent Calendar Part 2

It's getting serious now.  "The big day" is getting too close for comfort but not close enough to be actually enjoyable for even the most indoctrinated, enthusiastic, brain dead Xmas lover.  By this time most sane people have had enough and just want all the bullshit to be over for another year.

Getting excited/annoyed/frustrated.


Simply the best Xmas No. 1 ever.  Smash the Establishment, smash the X factor monopoly, (NB In this equation X = shit) kick Simon Cowell in the bollocks.  Come to think of it even Cowell's shit was better than the bilge spewed out by suspected paedo (allegedly) Cliff fucking Richard year after year.  




"Burn down tinsel town..."  But don't stop there.  Burn down the tinsel, the tree, the baubels.  Smash the sleigh, eat the reindeer and torch the fucking coke lorry while you're at it.





So you're wearing a Xmas jumper?  How fucking hilarious, you quirky little individual.  I've got news for you, it's shit and you look a twat.  No need...






Why all the snow scenes?  It never fucking snows at Xmas, ever.  Snow is shit anyway, fun for a day then a total pain in the Khyber while it lingers around, clogging everything up, then it melts and becomes a fucking mess.  Not all snow is bad however, one of the good varieties is...
 



Driving into the town centre for the annual ritual riot known as Xmas shopping?  Everywhere packed out with people buying crap, nose to head, elbow to elbow.  Can't move, can't drive and definitely can't park.  You know where you're heading...




While you're at it, all that money you're wasting on tat and shite that nobody really wants.  Put the word 'Christmas' on something with a picture of a fucking robin, then double the price, fucking bandits.  At least Dick Turpin wore a mask.







I don't feel the slightest bit spiritual at this time of year, any religious significance has been long forgotten.  Should I feel the need to attend a ceremony I like the thought of this bloke presiding.




And to get into the spirit properly we all need to see a stylist for a suitable religious look!  Come to think of it, loads of hipster shits are sporting it already.  Scrub that, shave and get a crew cut.


Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Anti Xmas music advent Calendar Part 1

The 'Xmas single' has to be one of the biggest crimes against humanity ever unleashed upon the masses.  They are, almost without exception, a hastily thrown together musical bucket of vomit spewed all over our ears.  The Xmas No.1 is coveted only because it's the single that will make the most cash for the industry throughout the fifty two weeks and the pretense that quality of music actually matters has long been shattered.  Everyone knows the Xmas single is a pile of shite but the industry knows the sheeple will go out and buy it anyway.

If that isn't bad enough, every December we get all this utter filth thrown at us again.  Year after year we are subjected to Noddy fucking Holder screaming you know what and Roy bloody Wood lying through his teeth, wishing it could be Xmas everyday.  Fucking Wham and their sickeningly sweet loveliness and all those other horrors we've heard a million times.  I expect these criminals still lap up the royalties ta very much, bastards.

Anyway, the dreaded main event is still a couple of weeks away but normally rational people are still allowing themselves to get wrapped up in something they call...

 'Xmas spirit'

I live in dread of December.  I can handle the shitty weather but the bullshit gets me down.  Halloween isn't scary, it's just more bollocks, a prelude to the real nightmare approaching.




"It's the most wonderful time of the year..." So says the song, can't remember who sung it but that is irrelevant because its just more cheesy Xmas shit.  Anyway, fuck that, D D D Don't believe the hype!







Drink yourself to death "because its Xmas...".  Stuff your gullet full of shit, wear a permanent prozac grin.  Dress like a knob..."Because..."

"Because its Xmas..." the age old excuse for acting like a total cock.   Or to put it a bit more politely acting a little..




Collective lunacy caused by the season.  Faux forced madness, "I'm mad me, I just don't care..."  Chase them outa town!




Marvin wasn't really talking about Xmas but he could have been and everything else he sings about is still going on today.  Mankind hasn't learnt a damn thing but forget all that, cheer up its fucking Xmas...




In the year of brexit, here's one for all the mugs who didn't really have a clue what they were voting for.  This is what we're left with.  At least the soundtrack is class.





Yes it's been a mad year.  Here's one for our American brothers who managed to hold an election contested by two of the worst candidates it is possible to imagine.  When Xmas passes the New Year heralds...





We need an antidote to the madness.  Xmas is the poison, this is the remedy.  Turn it right up, drown out the carols and cheesy Xmas shite.  Do it Now!


Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Third test

Day one, England won the toss and batted!  But fluffed their lines and posted an inadequate 283 thanks mostly to 89 from Bairstow.  On day two good bowling and fielding kept England in the match, Stokes and Rashid were particularly impressive.  The third day saw India's lower order take the game away, Jadeja scored 90 on the way to an challenging total of 417.  A lead of 130 looked daunting and proved too much for England who lost four wickets before the close.  On the fourth day Root scored 78 and an injured Hameed made an unbeaten 59 but England could only set a target of 103 which India knocked off with eight wickets to spare.

This was a poor performance from England's batting unit who don't face high class spin often enough to be proficient at tackling it.  The bowlers are doing better than I expected on this tour but England's batting remains a worry.  Unfortunately Haseeb Hameed has a broken finger and will have to return home for surgery.  He's done enough in three matches to make himself a fixture of the England team for a long time to come.  Keaton Jennings of Durham has been called up as a replacement, to be honest I know nothing about him but its good to see another fresh face getting a chance.  Likewise Liam Dawson will come in to replace Ansari who is struggling with a back injury.

Two down with two to play it's hard to imagine England coming back to get a draw in this series but we England fans are forever optimistic.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Second test. Don't Panic!

The second test went as to script.  India won the toss and piled on 450+, Kohli was superb.  England went into bat and fluffed it, conceding a 200 deficit.  England's bowlers fought back to bowl the home side for 200 but were never likely to come anywhere near a 400+ victory target.  In the end it was an achievement to take the game into the fifth day, by which time the pitch looked like a chess board.  Eventually India won by 248 runs with Ashwin taking eight wickets in the match.

For England there were decent performances from Cook, Stokes, Root and Bairstow with the bat.  Hammed continues to impress too.  With the ball Anderson, Broad and notably Rashid done very well.  The next test begins on Saturday and despite the heavy defeat this time, I think England are capable of competing with India.  If all goes well this tour doesn't have to be as one sided as I predicted.  I think this England team has a bright future, more on this at a later date...

On Sunday 20th I went to see "Panic! at the disco" play at the Alexandra Palace.  I was going to write a review of the gig on here but my daughter has already done a better job than I could which if inclined, you can read here;

http://maddionette.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/concert-diaries-panic-at-disco.html

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

First test, second test.

The first test at Rajkot didn't go as expected.  England batted brilliantly with centuries for Root, Ali, Stokes and Cook.  We bowled excellently, the spinners threatened and the seamers kept it tight.  England fielded very well but there were a couple of dropped chances that might have swung things. In fact England outplayed India and were perhaps unlucky not to win.  However this was a good pitch and there will be far more difficult ones to come.  That said England will take confidence into the next match they suddenly look like a team.  The star of the show was nineteen year old debutant Haseeb Hamed who looked at home as a test opener scoring 37 and 82 in the match.  It looks like England have found a special player, if the openers role is filled this could become a great England team in the future.

Before I get carried away the second test starts very soon and this will be another very tough match.  Despite England's strong performance, India remain as favourites.  England can't play much better than they did in Rajkot but India can.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

England vs India

The first test starts tomorrow in Rajkot.  It looks like England will play the batting line up I wished for a week or two back, Hameed will open and Ducket replace Ballance at 4. The bowlers are undecided as yet but the smart money is on Gareth Batty returning.

It's impossible to predict how England will go these days but against the No.1 team in the world in spinning conditions, we will definitely be the underdogs.  We could play much better than we did in Bangladesh and still get battered.  Statistics show England have the best record of all teams to tour India since 2000 and are the only away team to win a series here in the last decade.  We could be brilliant and play out of our skins... But we don't have Swann or Panesar any more.  I'll stick my neck out and predict a 3-1 India win.

Elewhere there is the small matter of the US election.  The country that has given the world Neal Armstrong, Bob Dylan, Stephen King, Harper Lee, Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali, Joe Fraxier, George Foreman, Marvin Hagler, Robert de Niro, Johnny Depp, Quinten Tarrantino, Mark Oliver Everett, Kurt Cobain, (insert favourites of your own...you get the point...) Marvin Gaye, Dr Dre, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Earnest Hemmingway, Woody Allen, Iggy Pop, Aretha Franklin, Lauren Hill, Jimi Hendrix, Roosevelt, Lincoln and yes Obama.
How the hell did they end up having to choose between a pair of psychotic clowns ?
Then again, this is a county where mad people are allowed to own guns...

PS  I don't dislike American people, I've known many over the years and have liked almost all of them.  Unfortunately their country is even more corrupt than ours.


Monday, 7 November 2016

Freedom of Speech

I’m confused.  It’s OK for a vile media whore like Katie Hopkins to get paid for spewing nastiness on the pages of some right wing rag but when Gary Lineker says something kind about refugees, another disgusting right wing waste of paper calls for him to lose his job.

It’s not OK to point out that the government hasn’t a fucking clue what to do about Brexit, there will be no control over immigration and the £350 million was total bullshit.  That makes me a whinging remoaner.

The right is the mainstream now, any dissenting voice gets shouted down.  Facism beckons.


But in case you think it couldn’t get any worse, take a look across the Atlantic…

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Piss poor

Most cricket lovers will be pleased to see Bangladesh win their first test match against major opposition but I am an England fan.  To be fair, over the two matches the home side were the better team and deserve their result.  I listened to the grizzly end while fishing in my boat in Norfolk, it was grim.  Will the name Mehidi Hasan Miraz go down in history on the list of great spinners or did England just play badly?

England's selection must come under scrutiny.  What has Ballance done to prolong his run in the team?  Is Duckett really a test opener?  The omission of Broad and Batty in the name of rest and rotation showed naivety at best and arrogance at worst.  The team England put out should still have been good enough to beat Bangladesh, whatever the pitch and conditions but they played badly.  I keep saying it, England are no closer to knowing what their best batting line up is.  There are also big question marks about the bowlers to play in India too.

The next leg of the tour will be even tougher.  England will be playing better, more experienced players on wickets that are bound to turn.  England could improve and play well yet still lose 5-0.
I like playing selector.  XI for the first test against India;
Cook, Hameed, Root, Duckett, Ali, Stokes, Bairstow, Woakes, Rashid, Broad, Batty.

West Indies are playing Pakistan in the UAE at the moment and although they are losing as you'd expect, it's nice to see them at least showing a bit of fight and definite improvement.  They are in with a shout of winning the third test.  Coming up soon is a test series down under between Australia and South Africa, could be spicy!


Meanwhile...
I can't believe I could possibly have been writing all these random whinges without mentioning Halloween at some point.  It's better to be safe than sorry.  When I was a kid 'trick or treat' was just appearing but was seen as cheeky scrounging.  A generation on it's the expected norm and to not take part marks one down as miserable.  Well fuck off then, I'm miserable.

Confession.  Yes, when my kids were young I walked the dark streets keeping an eye on my children while they scrounged sweets off strangers.  If I hadn't done so my kids would have been the only ones in their school that didn't take part.

These days it doesn't stop at kids, adults can't wait to dress like bellends and get pissed in the name of Halloween.  What the fuck is it anyway?  Actually I don't care,  It's an American tradition that has been imported purely to be used as another tool to encourage people to spend a load of money on stuff they don't really want and definitely don't need.  It's bollocks.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Chittagong

Ah test cricket again at last!  But it's only Bangladesh so it should be a doddle!  Oh yes!

Backtrack for a bit, the team selection.  Firstly Moeen Ali moved up to bat at five allowing not one but two spinners to play.  Adil Rashid was picked again which is good because I like watching him bowl, even if he does lack control.  And veteran Gareth Batty got another cap, his first since 2005!  I like this selection, reward for an honest pro, i hope he does well.  Our seamers are strong too, Broad and Woakes along with the world's best all rounder Ben Stokes.  Bairstow retains the gloves and that is the bottom half of the team sorted.  Cook and Root were obvious selections but it was a bit of a surprise to see Ben Duckett picked to open and Gary Ballance is very lucky to retain his place.  The team is freshened up, players have a chance to stake a claim for the tour of India.  Doesn't matter who we pick does it?  We'll beat Bangladesh.  Or will we?

England won the toss and chose to bat.  The ball turned from the first over, our top order was wrecked by spin!  Thankfully Ali and Bairstow rescued the inning and England posted a decent 293.  Bangladesh batted well in home conditions and threatened to take a lead but Stokes knocked the tail over.

Once again the top order got in trouble but this time it was Stokes who got the runs with support from Bairstow again.  A target of 280+ should be way out of reach on the fourth innings but no! Bangladesh dig in again and at the end of day four the match was on a knife edge.  Bangladesh require 33 runs, England need two wickets.  In the end Bangladesh made 11 and Stokes knocked the last two wickets over, England had too much class and won a really good test match.

The two teams go again on Friday, Cook has hinted there may be some rotation so they can have a look at a couple more players ahead of the Indian leg of the tour.  England shouldn't take Bangladesh for granted.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Random Bollocks

Random bollocks & Stuff.

The coup failed, the Labour party re-elected Jeremy Corbyn with an increased majority.  First thing Monday morning the press starts up it's latest round of smears and propaganda, oh so predictable.  Billionaire newspaper owners don't have my best interests at heart.  I don't believe the crap they print.  I don't give a fuck what JC has done in the past, or not.

The Labour party is the only chance my children (and dare I say future grand children?) have of enjoying the privileges that I have benefited from.  Free health care, adequate public services a decent education, a fair crack at university and yes a helping hand if they should ever need it.  My better half enjoyed Downton Abbey and I found the whole class thing interesting.  Since Thatcher, the establishment has ever so slowly led working people down the road to a different kind of servitude.

When I was a kid the Cold war was it its scariest and we were programmed to believe that the Russians wanted us all dead and you couldn't trust anything that came out of Moscow.  At the same time we were led to believe our own government in Westminster was beyond reproach and our friends across the Atlantic in the good ol USA were paragons of honesty and virtue.

Nowadays it has become obvious to even an idiot that all governments tell lies so I ask myself how long has this been going on?  Was the west side of the cold war any more honest than the east?  I seriously doubt it.

Nowadays the lies are more obvious.  Statements are announced without any attempt to supply the evidence behind them.  These statements are repeated and become facts, just look at the EU vote and the US election for examples.  We all know its bullshit but we lap it up anyway?

 Appearance is everything; drive a fancy car that's owned by the bank, use social media to edit your lives and present exactly the image you choose.  Like the media, the truth doesn't match the headline.  Fashion is a brilliant invention for getting people to buy stuff they don't need.  More media brainwashing, the Establishment pays our wages, then tells us how to give the money back to them.  The proles just lap it up.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Things that piss me off part 1

It's good to rant.  I do it a lot, it's one of my hobbies.  Don't worry I'm not that miserable, I actually derive a great deal of pleasure from venting to my nearest and dearest so i thought I'd share this with anyone who is bored enough to read this crap.

So here we go...

Personalised number plates.

A car is essential for most of us but for some it is also a way of showing the world how cool and successful they are, even if it is mostly owned by the bank.  Personally, I don't care what I drive as long as it is reliable and will carry everything I need it to (i.e. family and fishing gear, not necessarily together).

All cars come complete with a registration plate but for some the fancy car is not enough and they have to extend their penis further by forking out more cash for a personalised plate.  These plates are supposed to represent the name of the owner but in reality it rarely comes close, even with the addition of an over sized black bolt or even a strip of tape.  In my opinion these people are C1_1NT5.  If these PR1CK5 really have cash to burn then why not give it to charity?  Why?  Because they are self obsessed AR50LE5 and the silly reg plate makes them look like 1D10T5.  When I pass one of these on the road I'm not impressed, I just think D1CKH34D!

Staying with cars I'm not a fan of convertibles, they seem pointless in a climate such as ours when the opportunity to drive with the top down are so rare.  I'll let them off a little because they make me laugh when I see them struggling in a sudden summer shower and on the first sunny spring day in March when they sit behind the wheel shivering in about six layers of clothes, complete with hat and gloves.

Queuing traffic is just a part of life these days, we all have to put up with it because, well we're part of the cause!  I really get the hump with people on dual carriageways who think its acceptable to nip into the inside lane and 'undertake' a few cars before nipping back into the outside lane.  This is also illegal, as far as I know, not that its my job to enforce the law...  A warning to anyone considering this maneuver on East Anglian roads, if you see a black Seat, it might be me and I ain't going to let you in.  As the pompous twat in the silver Mercedes on the M11 found out earlier this week.

Finally for now; I'd like to thank all the many businesses out there who choose to advertise themselves on the sides of their vehicles.  This is very useful as when their drivers behave like fuckwitts I can then make a mental note of which businesses to avoid in future.  If I ever need drainage or sewage consultancy I won't be contacting Binder of Claydon.  Should I get a flat I won't be calling GW Tyres.

I've been doing a lot of driving of late, does it show?

Friday, 26 August 2016

Conrad

Joseph Conrad wrote the following in "The Secret Agent" over a hundred years ago.  It's still true today.

“The imbecile bourgeoise of this country make themselves the accomplices of the very people whose aim is to drive them out of their houses to starve in ditches.  And they have the political power still, if only they had the sense to use it for their preservation… the middle classes are stupid… they have no imagination.  They are blinded by idiotic vanity…”

“He saw capitalism doomed in its cradle, born with the poison of the principle of competition in it’s system.  The great capitalists devouring the little capitalists, concentrating the power and the tools of production in great masses, perfecting industrial processes and in the madness of self aggrandisement only preparing, organising, enriching, making ready the lawful inheritance of the suffering proletariat.”

“The future is as certain as the past, slavery, feudalism, individualism, collectivism…”

“Do you know how I would call the nature of the present economic conditions?  I would call it cannibalistic.  That’s what its is!  They are nourishing their greed on the quivering flesh and the warm blood of the people, nothing else.”

Monday, 15 August 2016

Fourth test. One step forward...

England were supposed to win the fourth test as a demoralised Pakistan team crumbled under pressure, except no one told Pakistan!  In the end England were well beaten, we didn't bat, bowl or field anywhere near the level we've become used to.  For Pakistan, key players re-found form, notably Younis Khan with a brilliant 218 and Yasir Shah with five wickets in the second innings.

It's been a really good series between two well matched teams and 2-2 is probably a fair result.  England would have expected to win this series but in truth, positions 2,4 and 5 have not contributed anywhere near enough runs.  Pakistan have been really impressive in both the cricket they've played and the way they've played it.  Misbah ul Haq is a really good captain and a tough competitor.  Recent Pakistan tours of England have finished with controversy and bad blood, not so this time.

For England its another case of one step forward and two back.  There was a chance of us going to No.1 in the world rankings but this would have been undeserved.  This side is nowhere near as good as the one led by Andrew Strauss a few years ago.  We have a team full of star players but we are lacking key components for a truly world class side.

I think everyone likes Alex Hales at the top of the order, he looks so good but just hasn't made enough runs to make that position his own.  Perhaps sir Geoffrey Boycott is right when he says he would be better off in the middle order?  But who will open??  Maybe Ballance is better suited to playing up front or should Someone like Sam Robson get another chance?  Since dropping Ian Bell England have tried Compton, Ballance, Vince and the unfortunate James Taylor in the middle order but none of whom have contributed to the team in the way Bell would have.  Will he be given another chance?

Pakistan's attack is as good as any in the world so for me, Moeen Ali has proved he is good enough to bat in the top five for England.  This frees up a place in the team for a PROPER SPINNER!!!  Adil Rashid or ???  English cricket is seriously lacking in this department at the moment.  When it comes to pace/seam bowling we seem to have players to spare.  Chris Woakes has had a great series and looks like he could be a star of the future, he has the third seamer's berth nailed down for now.  Waiting in the wings we have Finn and Wood to name but two.

This winter we have two tough tours against Bangladesh and India where the ball will turn and we don't seem to have the bowlers to exploit this.  Last time we played in India we won a hard series but had Swann and Panesar in top form and we beat the home side at their own game.  We don't have the spin bowlers to pose that kind of threat at the moment.

At the moment some players are guaranteed to make the winter tour, assuming they are fit enough;  Cook, Root, Stokes, Ali, Bairstow, Woakes, Broad and Anderson.  The selectors will meet at the end of the county season and another eight tour places will be up for grabs.  Who gets them is anyone's guess at the moment.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Third test, a classic!

Day one.  Pakistan won the toss and put England in...  A surprise that they'd pass up on the first use of the wicket and the opportunity to let Shah bowl on a fourth innings track...
England bat and seem to be making headway but wickets fall regularly.  Cook makes 45, Ballance a patient 70 and Moeen a fluent 63.  At the end of the day England are all out for 297, Sir Geoffery reckons it's a decent score... time will tell.

There are definite problems with the top order.  Hales looks to be going backwards against world class bowlers and Vince has to go, even second innings runs won't ease the doubts.  For Pakistan Sohail Khan takes 5 wickets.  A great day of test cricket!!

Day two.  Time for England's bowlers to turn the screw.  Four balls into the day and Jimmy strikes!!!  Here we go!!  Or not.  After that Pakistan's batsmen dig in and give us a batting lesson and it's painful listening for the England fan.  A great partnership between Azhar and Aslam with the former making a century and the latter unlucky to be run out in the eighties.  Woakes strikes on the last ball of the day but at 257-3, Pakistan are in control.

Day three.  Can Pakistan build a match winning lead?  England's bowlers retain control and chip away with wickets but the lead builds slowly.  When Misbah is out for a half century one end is open and wickets fall more regularly, still the lead is 103 and Michael Vaughan on TMS has researched the stats which say England only have a 3% chance of winning from here.  Also Jimmy has to be taken out of the attack for the innings for following through onto the wicket once too often.

The pressure is on England's openers but they start well and build their way to an unbeaten opening stand of 120 and the deficit is wiped out, both Cook and Hales have half centuries, the latter reaching the milestone from the last ball of the day.  At the end of the day the match is even, if anything England are slightly ahead.  This is turning into a great test match!

Day four.
Pakistan struck early removing both openers and it was game on again!  If wickets tumbled England would be in trouble but we managed to keep putting partnerships together with all of the top order contributing.  Work was busy which prevented me from following too closely or getting too nervous.  At 282-5 with a lead of just 179 the match was in the balance but a great partnership from Bairstow and Ali, battering a tiring attack swung the game.  Only one team could win from here.

Day five.
I was sitting by a windswept lake in rural Suffolk when play commenced for the fifth and final day.  First Moeen battered the Pakistan bowlers for a bit before the declaration then England picked up a wicket early with the hapless Hafeez playing another poor shot.  When I tidied up the fishing gear at lunch time Pakistan had cruised to lunch and a draw was on the cards.

I settled in front of the tele just after Ali had removed Azhar, does that give us a chance?  Jimmy bowled a great spell removing Younis, reversing the ball and creating pressure.  Finn and Woakes followed and between them took four wickets for one run, the win was on now!  England clinched it after tea, despite a last wicket partnership which threatened to embarrass for a while. The wickets were shared with each bowler picking up two apiece.  Moeen Ali took the final one and with two half centuries in the picked up the man of the match award.

From being a hundred runs adrift on first innings England have played brilliantly to fight back and win this match.  Every one of the eleven players has contributed to this win yet we STILL don't know what our best XI is!  Also, I wonder how the match would have progressed had Azhar Ali survived the final ball of day two?

Monday, 1 August 2016

Third test approaching...

In a couple of days the test series will resume at Edgbaston, a ground where England have a pretty good record in recent years.  So far this series has been a good one, I missed the first test which was competitive and won by Pakistan but England dominated the second to leave it 1-1 with two to play.  It seems the series is being played in an excellent spirit, which has not always been the case when these two sides meet.

England will be without Ben Stokes who is likely to be replaced by Finn or Ball, though I hope Rashid gets a game.

Pakistan have a very good bowling attack which will give England's top order just the test they need.  By the end of the series we'll know how good they are, or not.

I think England will go on to win from here but it won't be easy.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Mad dream

Last night in a dream I was back in the road I grew up in, I haven't lived here since 1983.  I was in trouble because the Yardies were after me, in fact one was shooting at me and I was a scared.  By this time the road had become a river so I dived under and swam away.  I emerged at the corner and after weighing up my options legged it to a friends front door.  His father opened it, welcomed me warmly and invited me in.  He looked different which isn't a surprise as the whole family's ethnicity had changed and they were now Afro-Caribbean.  My friend wasn't in which wasn't too much of a surprise as he would have left home about thirty years ago.  Instead there were about eight young kids who were getting ready to go to school.  Curtley Ambrose was there too and he wasn't afraid of the Yardies so offered to escort me to safety...

There must be a website somewhere that would interpret that lot for me but it would almost certainly be bollocks and I don't think I want to know anyway.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Love won't tear us apart... Latitude 2016

Mid July sees my favourite weekend of the year, the Latitude festival which the Purple Princess and I have been looking forward to for the last fifty one weeks.  I usually type some guff on here by way of a review but this year I will try to keep things brief.

We like to think we are pretty experienced festival goers and have learnt from previous mistakes however this year I arrived at the campsite totally knackered having pushed the barrow about a mile.  I expect to feel a bit of exertion but couldn't understand why I was so exhausted.  Am I even more unfit than I thought?  Had I not put enough fuel in the body before setting off?  Closer examination of the barrow revealed the tyre was as totally fucked as I was.  Next year I'll remember to check it first...

This year the festival started with warm, breezy, perfect weather on Thursday then got progressively hotter and more humid as the days passed.  This means you really have to look after yourself with food and drink intake but it is still less hassle than a rainy festival.  Festival food is generally shit if you look at in terms of value for money but essential to keep the energy levels up.  We always have at least one hot and too expensive meal from the vendors on site and most of the time it is edible, sometimes even enjoyable.  Everything we sampled this year was average at best.  To supplement this we always have tea making kit at the tent and take loads of high energy food that won't go off in the heat.  Digestive biscuits fit this bill perfectly, they fill you up and give you energy.  Drinking is also crucial and I have learnt from experience not to touch beer until the sun is well on the way down again.  I drink pints and pints of water during the day, especially when it is as hot as this year.

After chilling at the campsite we went for a wander around the now familiar arenas.  I probably say it every year but the Latitude festival is held in a beautiful setting and it really comes alive after dark.  Dinner was a Chicken Tikka masala which was ok,  We didn't check any performances out and decided to ease into the weekend with an earlyish night.

Friday ended up being a busy day.  There was nothing much on the line up that floated our boat so wandered around from stage to stage trying to find stuff we liked.  We started at the lake stage and saw a little bit of Cameron AG then a while later Odetta Hartman, neither of which really moved us in any way.  Also a bit of Rajastan Express at the Obelisk which was pretty good. The first full performance we saw was Honne in the big tent, these kept us moving for the full set but not really my cup of tea.

We rarely visit the Sunrise arena so though we'd cross the bridge for a change.  We got there just in time to see Weaves, a four piece band with a charismatic female singer playing what sounded to me like punked up B52's.  Weaves got a big thumbs up from us both.  Next it was back to the Obelisk stage where we chilled in the sun watching British Sea Power.  I saw these play a few years ago and left unimpressed so didn't expect much was was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed them this time around.  By the time they finished I was almost a convert.

After a rest in the tent and dinner consisting of a very average special noodles from Hot Wok we were back to the Obelisk to meet up with Mr & Mrs G & family to see Beruit, who were pleasant enough. We then had a quick march to the Lake stage to see Loyle Carner, a young British rapper who was excellent and looks to have a bright future.  He seemed genuinely overwhelmed by the size of the crowd and the reaction he got.  Final act of the day was in the big tent, a mad, energetic dance set from Grimes which got us all on our toes.  Grimes is a Canadian songwriter/performer with a quirky attitude and loads of energy, this was a brilliant finish to the day's live music.

Friday began with no expectations but once again Latitude surprised us and we discovered some great live experiences.  We'd covered a lot of miles during the day and there wasn't much the DJ's played that hooked us in so had another earlyish night.

I must mention our neighbours, a group in their early twenties who seemed nice enough but didn't realise how loud their voices were so we know everything about Anabella, Grace, Darcy, Imogen, Sophie, Isobel, Louis, Theo and Toby, the worlds leading expert on absolutely fucking everything.  NB  These names are not typical for rural Suffolk.

Festival Saturday usually finds the first two days exertions catching up with us and this was the case again this time.  We trudged around with little energy and were heading towards the Obelisk stage to chill out when the horrible country wails of Sturgil Simpson put up an invisible barrier.  This didn't prevent me hearing a horrible cover of 'When the Levee breaks'  Nothing good could ever come from christening someone 'Sturgil' and he belongs in hell.  We dived into the big tent just in time to see Ratboy belt out a blinding set of short, sharp, singalong punk tunes.  The C&W had done us a favour, we would not have discovered Ratboy if we'd have followed the original plan.

After that we resumed the plan of chilling the day away at the main stage.  We saw a little bit of Nathaniel Rateliff who threatened to go country but managed to avoid it.  Next up was a band from our childhood who we had to see for nostalgic reasons.  Squeeze came on and played all the hits from the eighties but for some reason it just didn't work for me.  Squeeze sounded squashed.

After another break and an ok ish burger & chips for fuel we were back at the main stage to see Chvrches, a three piece synth pop/rock band that my daughter Maddie had introduced me too.  I enjoyed Chvrches who belted out a good foot stamping rhythm and got a great reception from the crowd.  I particularly liked 'Clearest Blue' and 'Recover'.  We then dragged ourselves up to the big tent where we just about summoned up the energy to dance along to an hour of Soulwax.  This was a treat, a great rhythm belted out from no less than three drum kits and loads of keyboard madness eked the last of our dancing energy out.  We were shattered afterwards but it was worth it, Soulwax were excellent.  "It's not you it's the E talking..."

It was noticeable this year that the fashion for beards seems now to be in decline but there were still very many on display ranging from begrudgingly cool to laughably ridiculous.  There were also a few twats with waxed 'taches.  Dungarees seem to be popular which is odd because denim is horrible in this kind of heat and they make the wearers look like minions.

We were back up with a bounce on Sunday but it was till early afternoon by the time we made it to the lake stage to rendezvous with not only Mr & Mrs G but also other dear friends AKA 'the chemical brothers' who had actually become triplets.  Most of the day was spent in this exalted company, starting off at the Lake arena where we barely listened to a couple of unknown bands whilst chatting and laughing.

First performance of the day was punk trio Skinny Girl Diet who performed a short, high energy set in the Alcove which was packed and a lot of fun.  We also caught a bit of Minor Victories in the big tent which was forgettable, apparently. Sunday was fucking hot so after that we chilled out in the shade woods beside the Sunrise arena and settled for the music coming out of the tent.  First was some almost country from Marlon Williams that actually turned to blues by the ended of the set.  After the dodgy start it wasn't that bad.  Next came Little Green cars who sounded OK but we left before the end.  Dinner today was a Macaroni cheese which was the best meal I had all weekend but it still has to be said, piss poor VFM.

By early evening the big tent was just about habitable and we were in position in time to see Roots Manuva play a cracking set of dub/dance/reggae/rap finishing with a blinding rendition of 'Witness ...'.  After that we all head over to the Obelisk for the final part of the day.  M83 performed and were pretty good overall and very good in a couple of places.  They did a decent job of warming the crowd up for the main event.

We had come together on this glorious sunny Sunday to see a band that none of us had seen before, New Order.  None of us were huge fans but all of us recognise that New Order have influenced a great many of the musicians we like more.  All main stage headliners have the benefit of a big stage and an impressive light show, New Order took full advantage of this.  They started slowly but played a good set, mixing a few new songs into the list of old favourites.  I love 'True Faith' and 'Temptation' sounded great.  It has to be said they don't half look old these days!  They saved 'Blue Monday' for the encore and finished with the crowd singing along to 'Love will tear us apart'.  We all enjoyed the show and I would rate it as a very good performance but not a great one.

After that some had to go home but a few of us were still full of the spirit so roamed the various sound systems in search of something to feed the feet.  Everything sounded good but we eventually found some house anthems being played in the Sunrise and this dragged us in and immersed us.  Unfortunately we got there late in the set and it finished too soon...  Nothing quite hit the mark after that but we managed to stay out almost till the arena close at 0300.

Monday was seriously fucking hot which prevented us laying in the tent for hours.  Instead we had to get up early and pack away.  I'd been dreading pushing the busted barrow all the way back to the car since Thursday but I managed to complete the task without killing myself.


Best performances:-     Soulwax, New Order, Grimes
Honourable mentions:-     Chvrches, Roots Manuva, Loyle Carner
Pleasant surprises:-    Loyle Carner, Ratboy, Weaves.
Blast straight to hell:-     Sturgil Simpson
Go away and Practice:-    Squeeze
Next year:-     Remember to check the fucking tyre.

A couple of moans:-   Toilets on the arenas weren't particularly well looked after and there were cases of Flushing roulette this year.
The first time we went to Latitude the food was very good but has got steadily worse each year since.  We didn't eat anything that wasn't overpriced and it was all pretty bland.

This years was a strange festival as I didn't see any performance that really blew me away yet the Purple Princess and I loved Latitude again and probably enjoyed it as much as any.  This year we rediscovered one of the joys of the festival; wandering around checking things out and finding surprises.  Latitude is a great festival in a beautiful setting with the most chilled out vibe you can imagine.  We'll definitely be back next year whatever.


Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Someone pays for every bullet.

I'm just back from a few days at a festival, out of the world.  Before I left the Brexit leaders had all ran to the hills in embarrassment at the lies they had told and we have a new PM (Maggie May), that nobody voted for.  I thought the EU was supposed to be undemocratic?

I come back to find another terrorist atrocity in France, possibly one in Germany too and is that a coup attempt in Turkey?

To make us all feel safer from terrorists the commons has voted to spend £41 billion on upgrading our nuclear "deterrent" which our new unelected PM has said she has no problem pressing the button to use...  Wait a minute, press the button first and bring down the end of the world.  Press the button second and well whats the fucking point?  We're all fucked any way.

We could spend that £41 billion on the NHS or schools or public services but instead we are giving it to the real global terrorists, arms manufacturers/dealers who are far too rich and powerful already. Someone, somewhere profits from every single bullet that is fired in this world.

Also England lost what looks to have been a really good test match against Pakistan.  The rest of this test summer should be really interesting now!

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Coming soon...

There was some ODI cricket and England dominated pretty much throughout and a demoralised Sri Lankan team left these shores having failed to beat England in any format. I like watching white ball cricket when England play well and they have certainly done that in recent weeks.

Another test series starts in a couple of days and usually I would have written a load of crap about who might or might not get selected but the selectors have spoken.  Jimmy is injured so Toby Rowland-Jones, another all rounder has made the squad but hopefully Jake Ball will get the call up having been selected all summer.  Stokes is not yet fully fit so Woakes keeps his place and Gary Ballance has another chance but is in a similar position to the man he replaces as like Nick Compton, he knows his international career is on the line..  I can't believe Joss Buttler won't feature in future test teams and I still think Ian Bell has something to offer.

England are confident and should be expected to win this series however Pakistan have some class players and will be much more of a threat than Sri Lanka have been.  Amir and Riaz are as good as any opening bowlers in the world and will really show how good our batsmen are, or not.  If Pakistan's batsmen can cope with English conditions then this could be a tight series.

Elsewhere...  Now that we as a country have opted to leave the undemocratic EU we will have a new Prime minister that absolutely no one has voted for... fucking great.  Actually I'm enjoying the anarchy...

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Biting my tongue

It's over a week since the country voted out and it still won't go away.  People are protesting the result and campaigning for another referendum, God no!  It's done get over it!

I'm seeing a lot of social media smugness from the brexiters, even people I consider friends.  I am biting my tongue when I really want to say...

For fuck sake how can you possibly be so naive?  Your life isn't going to improve one little bit because of this fuck up.  It doesn't matter who leads the Tory party, they all want to fuck you.  You are getting excited over fuck all.  You have made it easier for the politicians to fuck you in the arse some more, congratulations on being so fucking clever.  But on the plus side I don't really think you are a racist.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Questions arising...

Europe has always been a Tory argument but when the Tory government holds a referendum (to appease the right & UKIP) that sees Britain leave the EU, yet according to the media it's all the fault of the Labour party.  How the fuck does that work??

What happened to the £350 million?  Was that a lie?



Sunday, 26 June 2016

Goldfinches

I like Goldfinches.  They are colourful, chirp a pleasant sound and are not too common in my neck of the woods.  It was a nice surprise when they started to appear in the garden this spring and as time has passed it became apparent that there was a pair that was almost always in the garden.



 Whenever I was outside the finches would be on the wires above me, providing plenty of photo opportunities and singing a pleasant song.  I got the feeling they were here for a reason and seemed like they were as interested in me as I was them but as far as I know they don't have a camera.


When I saw one of the finches fly out of the hedge it gave the game away and after a careful look I managed to locate the nest.  I tried to leave it as undisturbed as possible but couldn't resist sneaking a look every now and then.  Looking from below I couldn't tell what was going on, whether there were eggs or chicks but I daren't investigate any more.


 I was in the garden Saturday morning but there was no sign of the Goldfinches, until I started to tidy up and this little one flew out off the top of a compost bag.  It barely made it across the yard and landed again giving me time to get the camera.  I was able to get quite close without freaking it out too much but it does look pissed off in the last photo.

I kept checking on the little finch and after an hour or so he/she was gone.  Hopefully there's a brood of young goldfinches out there and I hope some come back next spring.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Mr Angry's referendum rant

2250  The news is telling me the result will be close.  The bookies are saying we will stay in Europe.  Cameron has tweeted thanking everyone who voted to stay, fuck off Dave.  BJ & Gove have apparently signed a letter urging the pig fucker to stay as PM. Well well!  Is that a concession?  Give us a job Dave?
2340  FFS Farage is on TV thanking people for having the guts to "defy the establishment..."  Double speak!
1230  Leave seems to be doing better than early predictions suggested.  The value of the pound is plummeting.
0100  Going to bed.  It's looking like the country is going out of Europe...
0700  Awake. 51% of the British people have voted to leave the EU.


I didn't make my mind up completely which way to vote  until a couple of weeks ago but once I did I was certain and this gut feeling only increased since.  The two horrible campaigns cancelled each other out and I don't have the inclination to try to understand statistics I can't trust.  The deciding factor for me was what will happen next in Westminster.  The far right are trying to take over Britain, Brexit is a Trojan horse.  Immigration is the skeleton key.  The country will be lead out of Europe and the current government are likely to be ousted and replaced by an even worse bunch of bastards.

The vote is interesting.  The majority of people under 50 voted to remain, it was the 50 to 65 year olds that voted us out.  These are the people that voted for and benefited from Thatcher.  They had free education, free health care and good pensions, Thanks...

Mid morning, Cameron resigns...  Which of these bastards will replace him?

Boris Johnson is a dishonest wanker who cheats on his family and has lied and maneuvered his way to the top.  His foolish, bumbling, affable persona as a scam to lull us into a false sense of security and win our votes because he's a bit of a laugh.  Johnson is too expensively educated to be as thick as he claims to be yet at Bejing in 2008 he couldn't even wave a flag.   Now he is being touted as a potential future Prime Minister.  BJ didn't come out in support of Brexit until the eleventh hour.  Was he in deep meditation, probing his conscience as to what was best for the country and the people?  Or was he weighing up the options and trying to steer the path of his own career?

Michael fucking Gove claims people in this country have "had enough of experts".  This is the man who in describing WW1 said it was "not a series of catastrophes perpetrated by an out of touch elite but actually a successful campaign full of willing, patriotic participants".  To not share Gove's opinion apparently makes me a loony leftie...  The WW1 quote is ironic considering we have just witnessed the biggest establishment con job for 100 years.  The right wing has been unable to do its own dirty work so have managed to con the working man into doing it for them.  The establishment has triumphed from an "anti-establishment" vote?  Double speak.

Iain smokin' spliff says more austerity is "a price worth paying" if Britain leaves EU.  Well dickhead you ain't the one who will be paying the price are you?  FFS.  Its OK to give business a tax break but not someone claiming a legitimate benefit.  Heartless bag of shite.

He will never be PM but I have to have a word about Nigel Farage, former commodities broker, wanker banker, Tory reject is part of the establishment.  In what reality is he the voice of reason? He was lying all along and within hours had admitted the £350 million was a figure he'd invented.  UKIP are not the voice of the people, they are so far right they make Cameron look almost human.  Cameron stuck his cock in a dead pig years before he started fucking the rest of us.

This campaign has been horrendous, both sides have been equally badly behaved as have many of their supporters.  Social media has seen armchair experts appearing from all directions.  The Brexiters seem the more numerous but maybe its because like travelling sports fans, they are out numbered but make more noise.  I hate what this referendum has done to our country, I can't remember a time when this country has felt more divided.  We are being used as the soldiers in a right wing civil war.

A vote to remain is not unpatriotic, it doesn't hand power to EU.  The problems I see come from Westminster, not Brussels.  It was the British government that bailed out the banks with OUR tax revenue.  Westminster introduced charges that could limit my children's further education and created a housing market they will struggle to buy into.  Brussels isn't breaking up and privatising the NHS.

Why did so many people get up in arms when Obama offered an opinion yet remain silent when the Australian born US citizen, Rupert total cunt Murdoch told us what to do?  Fucking Murdoch... who said "When I go to Downing street they do as I tell them, when I go to Brussels they ignore me."

What next?
Well despite the vote not going the way I wanted I definitely won't be signing any petitions because I don't want to go through all this shit for a second time.  I don't believe being in or out of Europe will make the slightest difference to my day to day life.  I won't be any better off, I won't have any more money in my pocket.  We still live in an unequal, unfair society where the greedy elite continue to hoard 90% of the wealth.  I hope the passion that has been displayed this spring can be diverted to attack the establishment.  I can't see it happening though, the media will collude to keep people mollified.



 And while I'm at it... I hate the society we have created which measures success in pounds and pence.  This success is displayed for all to see by designer labels and German cars with personalised number plates.  All advertising is a lie.  Fashion is a device created to make people spend money on things they don't need.  I hate the fact that young people feel obliged to join a gym and 'work out' in order to conform to an unnatural and unrealistic 'body image'.  I don't want to live in a world where everyone looks the same like the fucking Kardashians.  Beauty is in diversity.  I hate the fact that beards are fashionable and waxed mustaches are for cunts.

The children of the punk generation can't think for themselves, they mindlessly parrot what the media tells them.  Take your Soma and do as you are told.