Sunday, 24 March 2013

Of Train Journeys And Inflationary Spirals

It's amazing how much can happen to your average social commentator on one day. Wednesday passed was such a day.  These are things I am reminded I don't like.
  • Crowded trains, especially when first class is full and I am thrown in with the sweaty masses.
  • People on crowded trains who occupy a second seat with their grubby baggage.
  • People on crowded trains who occupy a second seat with their grubby baggage and sit there insouciantly playing on their mobile phones.
  • People on crowded trains who occupy a second seat with their grubby baggage and sit there insouciantly playing on their mobile phones and listening to loud shit music on their MP3 players.
Yes, I'm talking about you, you fat pikey.

And another thing - George Osborne and his ridiculous Budget with its pathetic attempts to rig the housing market and to stoke up a fresh inflationary spiral fuelled by easy credit. Will we ever even make a meaningful effort to wean ourselves off our addiction to debt? I've got a borrowed tenner says no.

Ooh ooh, Mr Peebly
However one good thing which happened in the last week was the outright destruction of an English scrummage by a fat looking bloke with bad hair. Adam Jones was the real star of Wales's evisceration of an over-hyped though honourable England team and gave hope to all of us who aim to maintain rugby as the game for warriors of all shapes. England's 2015 RWC group containing both Wales and Australia begins to look very tasty. As for the Welsh I repeat my mantra that they really do have to start caring less about beating England and rather more about giving a pasting to the likes of Australia, because they are good enough, notwithstanding they are also good enough to lose to Samoa. Go figure. They need to tap into that pathology that occupies them when the damned English hove into view.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Through A Glass Lightly

The best sporting (spectating category) week of the year has been and gone and the Roberts wallet has emptied itself all over Cheltenham - bookies the principal beneficiaries but with a passing mention for the kind people of the Cornish Pasty Company who have now replaced in my affections the Foot Long Hotdog Company, of whom no sighting this year. I do hope all is well and that our paths will cross again.

On Tuesday I travelled by National Express coach which was far, far better than I had snobbishly imagined. On the way I enjoyed the excited hubbub of five lads behind me. The efforts of the most knowledgeable to explain each way betting to the uninitiated was worth the price of admission alone. Also memorable was the reaction to certain horse names being read aloud. To Pete The Feat came the raucous imparting of the fact that there was someone known as Pete The Feet 'down the cricket club - he's got two wooden feet and never wears any shoes.' I saw the lads again on the return trip and they seemed to have enjoyed it. On that leg of the trip I was sat next to a loquacious Irishman who made light conversation and asked if I knew where Spearmint Rhino was - I did but couldn't aver to the cost of a dance.

One thing blessedly missing from my coach trips was any sign of homo chavus but you should catch Paddy Power's brilliant internet commercial which tackles this subject with an apt lack of tact.

I did Wednesday and Thursday in a shared taxi which came to about as much as the train and delivered us to the door of the Albion Social Club (day membership £2, beer cheap as chips, chips cheaper than chips) for an early start to both sessions. Cracking. Thanks to all concerned in making this another memorable week. If only that French outsider hadn't been pipped on the line it would have been a great week but still I had a nice each way pick-up.
Now attention turns toward the best sporting (participation category) week of the year - The Dunmore East Golf Classic. As avid readers will know my game is in a state of reckless abandonment and beyond rescue, not that I care greatly. I'm not planning any work on  my game between now and the big day but I do plan to get back into triathlon training so that I can fit into my golf trousers by the end of April. Return of Iron Dave. Watch this space.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

I Stand As The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn

A reference to how I always feel in this the week before Cheltenham - we are coming out of winter (although snow today rather gives the lie to that) and Spring brings the last great ticket on earth - any day at the Cheltenham Festival. I am not taking any risks on missing out - I'm going to the first three days, full of the usual mix of optimism and trepidation. Melodic Rendezvous - remember that name and if you hear it called as a winner on the first afternoon then look for me in the champagne bar giving it large. More likely look for me eating philosophically at the Foot Long Hot Dog Company stand, my chosen festival fast-food, where I will be replenishing my energies for the onward battle with the bookies. Get on!

I stand proud as a governor of King Edward VI Aston School, more particularly after seeing the co-production with K.E. Handsworth of Les Miserables. This musical is a big ask of any troupe of amateurs, much less youngsters but bloody hell this was good. Congratulations to all.

I'll tell you what's clever - Sky+ HD. In particular movies on demand suit our viewing habits nicely. Last night we gave 007 a chance. I can't say I'm a Bond fan though I have no particular antipathy (or indeed passion) for any of his incarnations. I was pleasantly taken with Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, in fact Craig was nearly as good as Judi Dench and that is saying something. She is bloody brilliant. Do all Aston Martins come with a defibrillator and a gun? My Jag didn't and I feel short-changed.

Also courtesy of on demand television we have very belatedly caught up with Spaced. Very silly, weird and in racing parlance the form of the performers has been well franked by their later efforts. Other recent discoveries have been The Killing (I reckon that being in a foreign language makes you take it more seriously) and Downton Abbey, which may very well be tosh but is high quality tosh done with professionalism. Hugh Bonneville is quality in all he does.

I'm looking for a banjo and then I'm going to hit
 that cow's arse.
Am I the only one who thinks there is a tad of natural justice in Rory McIlroy having lost the ability to hit the ball straight since arming himself with new clubs that the beast Nike pays him Ireland's GDP to use? I've nothing against the lad, I'm just saying that's all. 

Monday, 4 March 2013

... Are Brilliant Mark XIII

Match of the Day - where it should be, that is to say, Saturday night on BBC1, watched through a boozy haze after an afternoon on the rugby pitch. My haze wasn't particularly boozy this weekend but you know what I'm getting at. One odd observation - why do so many Premier League managers favour the wooly-pully under jacket fashion statement. They look silly.

I mention that the Saturday afternoon in question should be taken up with rugby. Which brings me to my second item - many thanks to Evesham RFC whose match I refereed on Saturday. As fate would have it I found myself having to make a crucial and unpopular decision on the final play of the match. Any rancour was most decidedly kept from me afterwards and I commend both Evesham and their opponents, Old Wheatleyans who seemed to be on the cusp of a proper old style rugby club night when I left them to it. Thank you gentlemen.

Flanders and Swann. I was listening to this amusing duo on the drive up to Anglesey on Saturday night. If you have never heard them, you should track them down. From a more innocent age undoubtedly but nevertheless bloody funny. Not an expletive in sight or sound either.

Nigel Owens - I've said this before I know, but he really is the dog's proverbials as a referee. I caught him in domestic action on S4C.