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>Where do the days go?

11 February, 2010 2 comments

>Today’s soundtrack:  Various Artists – Blaxploitation – The Sequel

Is it that long since I last posted?  It’s not even as if my days have been crammed with loads and load of activity either!  Still, I’m back now, with a cracking football match to report on.

After being booted off the park (quite literally) by the shower across the park at the weekend, and missing our two best players as a consequence – I didn’t hold out too much hope for last night’s game against Chelsea.

Actually, before we get to the Chelsea game, let’s vent for a bit.

How disappointing is it when a team of Liverpool’s (supposed) stature can take to the field with a single aim in mind – that being to nullify the threat of the opposition by deliberately setting out to injure your team’s two best players?  The tone was set in the first few seconds, when Carragher flattened Pienaar with a forearm smash after the ball had gone – which went completely unpunished by the referee.  Of course, Carragher ‘isn’t that kind of player’, is he?  If he’d walked – or at least been booked – as he should have, then the game might have been played in a decent spirit.  Unfortunately, the tone had been set.  Henceforth, Pienaar was either fouled – or fouling – for the rest of the game.  Threat nullified.  And whilst he could easily have walked for the tackle on Mascherano, the way in which Gerrard eventually got him sent off (falling to the ground, clutching his face after Pienaar jumped gently into his back) was again distasteful.

But Stevie G’s ‘not that kind of player’ either, is he?

And so to the Fellaini incident.  Having managed to avoid a crippling lunge from Mascherano, the big man was victim to a two-footed lunge by the big fat Greek lad, who got himself injured in the process.  Commentators seemed to make great play of the fact that Fellaini himself was guilty of lifting his foot and thereby going over the top into the Greek’s leg with his studs.  Well let’s be clear here – had he kept his foot on the ground, the likelihood is his ankle would have been snapped in two.  I’d have lifted my foot as well!

A shame that the FSW has reduced that team to a bunch of opportunistic cloggers.

Anyway, rant over.  On to more pleasing things.

With Arteta and Bilyaletdinov in for Pienaar and Fellaini, we had a very skilful, but worryingly lightweight midfield lining up against a strong Chelsea side.  And for the first twenty minutes or so, it looked like we’d suffer as a result.  They showed huge amounts of quality to pin us back in our half, and the goal when it came had a certain amount of inevitability about it.  Route one stuff, with Drogba flicking a header into the path of Malouda, who outmuscled and outran Philip Neville to push the ball into the far corner.

Oh dear.  At this point, it looked like it might end up four or five nil.

But the Blues rallied, and slowly managed to get a foothold in the game.  After a succession of corners, with interchanging corner takers, Donovan drilled a corner from the far side just over the despairing head of the hapless John Terry, onto the head of Louis Saha who buried the ball in the net.

1-1, and game on.  From this point on, the tide began to turn and we took a grip on the game, with Donovan visibly growing in confidence – a realisation, perhaps, that he was not out of his depth in this company.  On the stroke of half time, he was put through one on one with Carvalho, who  was fooled by his turn in the box sufficiently to bring the American down.  Penalty!  Up stepped Louis, having turned Arteta away, to see his shot saved by Cech to his left.  Not the best penalty in the world but still a good save.

Oh dear again.  What would this do to the players’ confidence?  1-1 at half time, which I’d have taken at kick-off, but a nagging feeling that you’ve got to take your chances against these teams.  Would we live to regret that penalty miss?

Well no, as it happens.  We kept up the pace, and the pressure, and with fifteen minutes to go, it paid off.  A long ball from Distin towards Saha.  Terry misjudged the flight of the ball which went over his head onto the chest of Saha.  Cute bit of control, left footed volley with pace past Cech.  Fantastic goal, and a deserved 2-1 lead.

Could we hold on?  As you would expect, this stung Chelsea into action, and we withstood some sustained pressure over the course of the last fifteen minutes, with Distin and the wonderful Johnny Heitinga majestic in the heart of the defence.  I am definitely beginning to feel a bit of man-love for our Johnny.  Yes, he’s a grock, but he’s our grock.

After a ludicrous five (five!) minutes of injury time, the whistle finally blew.  A stunning result in a high quality game,which went a long way to removing the nasty taste left in my mouth after the derby.

Soundtrack today is from the second of three (possibly more, actually) compilations of soul and funk music under the ‘Blaxploitation’ banner.  The compilations largely comprise extended mixes of ’70s sould tunes, loosely associated with the Blaxploitation film genre that was prevalent for a while in the decade.  Which means lots of tunes with the word ‘Ghetto’ in the title, lots of Curtis, Quincy, James and Sly.  And which of course means tons and tons of high quality tunes.

This is Bobby Womack, with the magnificent ‘Across 110th Street’ – from the soundtrack of the film of the same name, and also used by Tarantino over the opening credits of Jackie Brown, his own homage to the genre.

>As always, the Daily Mash is spot on…

10 December, 2009 Leave a comment

>

RAFAEL Benitez last night said Liverpool have turned their 16th corner of the season and that this time everything was going to be grand.


Image

The Champions League has introduced Benitez to some of Europe’s most beautiful corners

As Liverpool went down to a final Champions League defeat by Fiorentina, Benitez said he was pleased with Alberto Aquilani’s full debut and his ability to fit in to the team’s style of play by running around looking confused and angry while achieving absolutely nothing.

The manager insisted: “We always start slowly in this competition, so being knocked out of it will really give us the motivation we need to go on and win it.

“We have turned many corners this season – some of the corners have led to more corners, while some of the corners have had little shops on them selling failure sandwiches.

“This latest corner seems to have led us into a dark alley that is filled with unstoppable zombies and their werewolf pals.”

He added: “But I believe we have the quality to turn any corner that is thrown our way by the football-corner-throwing gods. Corners. Corrrrnerrrs. Thank you and good corners.”

Assistant manager Sammy Lee clarified Benitez’s post-match comments, adding: “He has his lucid days and the kind of days where he buys Dossena. We’re trying to work out a combination of medication that will stop him from mistaking Voronin for a footballer.

“In the meantime we just humour him by setting some training cones out on the pitch and telling him it’s all the trophies he’s won. It seems to calm him.”

Club captain Steven Gerrard said: “The gaffer pointed out that if you turn a corner 16 times, you’ll be facing the way you’re meant to in the first place. To be honest, I just switch off these days and brush up on my Spanish. No, no reason.”


Link here:  http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/sport/sport-headlines/liverpool-turn-corner-into-terrifying-alley-full-of-zombies-200912102300/

Categories: Daily Mash, Liverpool

>Day 217: And the day started so well…

18 October, 2009 Leave a comment

>Today’s soundtrack:  The Beatles – Mono Masters, Volume 2

“Previously, on ‘Stuck Between Stations’…”

You recall yesterday’s season ticket related trauma?

  • the discovery of the loss.
  • the frantic search of house and car.
  • the phone calls – to shops, club and police.
  • the ‘crime number’

This morning then, it was up and out early to the club, clutching crime number and last year’s season ticket,to try and make everything right.

Now I love Everton with a passion, but the only certainty with the club is that they will let you down.  Time and time again.  They don’t mean to, they don’t actively try to, but they do.

Except today, they didn’t!  (Well they did – later on – but more about that anon.)

Parked up at the ground, queued up at the ticket window and eventually got to the counter.  To be told I was in the wrong queue and needed to go to another window under the main stand.  Which I did.  I told my tale of woe to the young lady there, who took my previous season ticket and crime number away into the back office.

And – wonder of wonders!  She was back in a couple of minutes with a new season ticket!  She did relieve me of a ten quid ‘admin/handling charge’, but I could live with that quite happily.

So, after all yesterday’s trauma, getting the replacement card took all of five minutes.  Well done Everton – efficient and effective service!

Now, would the card actually let me into the ground this afternoon…

Well it did, but to be honest I wished it hadn’t.  The team huffed and puffed against an effective Wolves team, missed a succession of straightforward chances before Joe Yobo gifted a goal to the visitors with fifteen minutes left.  Only an 88th minute equaliser spared the team’s blushes.

Luckily, I’d not engaged in any pre-match banter with Kevin (other than a quick ‘Come on you blues’ text) so I didn’t get too much egg on my face.

Unlike the young Liverpool fan who, no doubt invoking the spirit of ‘Dr Fun’, thought it would be a good wheeze to chuck a Liverpool beach ball onto the pitch at Sunderland.  A beach ball that deflected a shot from Darren Bent into the net, with Pepe Reina making a despairing dive in the direction of the beach ball instead.

Oh, how we laughed.

Apt that in a blog that is focusing heavily on events in and around Liverpool, today’s soundtrack is provided by a bunch of cheeky young Scousers who could go far.  The ‘Mono Masters’ can be found in one of the recently released remastered box sets of Beatles stuff, and Volume 2 collects up all the latter period mono releases not included on any of the regular albums – essentially a few singles releases and some stuff from the Yellow Submarine soundtrack.

There’s been a lot of debate about the relative merits of the new remasters, in either mono or stereo, when compared to the original releases, but given my exposure to the remasters is through some relatively lossy mp3 downloads, I’m not really qualified to comment.  At the end of the day, it’s still The Beatles, isn’t it?

Here’s one of their throwaway b-sides.  Never found a place on any of their albums, was never an a-side…and is quite possibly one of the best songs ever recorded by anyone.  Oasis – and Liam in particular – learned everything they needed from this one song.  All together now:  “When the sun sheeeines….”

Categories: Beatles, Everton, Liverpool

>Day 58: Needles and Pins

12 May, 2009 1 comment

>Today’s soundtrack: Pink Floyd – Live at Pompeii

Would have been good for The Searchers to come up on shuffle today, given the Day’s title – but the title’s got nothing to do with ageing Merseybeat bands and everything to do with today’s major task – that of taking Mrs W into Liverpool for some treatment for her bad back – treatment that includes a combination of back massage and acupuncture! Yow!

Now I’ve never willingly let people stick needles into me, unless they are qualified physicians putting me to sleep before major (or even minor) surgery, no I’m not in any position to comment on the efficacy or otherwise of acupuncture as a treatment for back pain (or indeed any other sort of pain, but if it works for Mrs W, then it works for me.

The acupuncturist is based in the centre of Liverpool, just outside the new Liverpool One shopping centre I mentioned a few days ago. Now Mrs W is not the best of self-navigators, so I agreed to drive her into Liverpool and hang around while she was getting treated.

And why not? It’s been a nice day weatherwise, I get out of the house and also get to see what this new part of Liverpool is all about. So I picked Mrs W up from work and we drove into town. Satnav instantly confused by the new road layout in the centre of Liverpool, so rather than fanny about trying to find my way round to the top of Hanover Street from the Pier Head, I just put the car straight into the Liverpool One car park. A very empty Liverpool One car park as it happens – where was everyone?

Exiting the car park, it turned out we’d actually pitched up just a few hundred yards from where we needed to be – good job, because Mrs W was walking like an OAP at this stage. I left her at the quack’s and wandered back down to the main shopping area.

And pretty decent it is too. Anchored by a flagship John Lewis store, the newer part of the precinct has some interesting stores dotted around the place, in between the ubiquitous chains. A Lakeland that tempted me with some interesting cooking and baking kit, and a big music store (called Head?) that must have been a Zavvi up until very recently. I was very good though and managed to avoid temptation!

The precinct was very empty though, as my picture shows. This was taken at around midday, so it’s not as if I was catching the place at its quietest – you’d expect it to be heaving. A sign of the times, or just because it’s away from the main business area of Liverpool? Who knows.

The entrance to Liverpool One from Hanover Street has this set of framed sculptures in place. The plaque you can see at the base of the frame describes each of the individual sculptures and what they are intending to evoke. The pieces are not really my cup of tea, but I thought it was a brave and intelligent piece of work to put in such a place.

So post-treatment, a (slightly eased) Mrs W was returned to her place of work and I went shopping for tonight’s tea. A nice one tonight, a prawn stir fry using some really fresh and tasty ingredients. To wit, raw king prawns, garlic, ginger, chilli, red pepper, pak choi and spring onions, stirfried in sesame oil and seasoned with sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce, lime and a hint of fish sauce, before being tossed with some cooked, medium egg noodles and dressed with fresh coriander.

Not sure if you are familiar with fish sauce, or nam pla to give it its Thai name. It’s made from fermented anchovies, and given that, smells as you might expect. A little goes a long way, shall we say. Happily, the smell dissipates on cooking, and it give a depth to the flavours in the dish. A bit like garlic, you may not like it individually but you’d miss it if it wasn’t there.

Disappointed with the Smoggies‘ capitulation last night – with Hull almost begging to be relegated, it looks increasingly like Newcastle might escape this year. Drat! Also disappointed to see Preston knocked out of the playoffs – maybe next year? Let’s see if Burnley can do anything tonight – be nice if they came up to the Premiership. Guaranteed six points there!

The Floyd on the soundtrack today – this is an ‘audio rip’ from the Live at Pompeii DVD using a nifty little piece of software called, remarkably, ‘DVD Audio Ripper‘. The concert, filmed in the old amphitheatre at Pompeii, captures Pink Floyd just on the cusp of becoming absolutely massive – ie just before the release of ‘Dark Side of the Moon’. The rip is interesting because it also captures some dialogue with the group, not just the music, and includes early versions of tunes (and snatches of music) that found their way onto DSOTM. The centrepiece of the performance is a lovely version of ‘Echoes’, a side-long piece of music in its studio form that comes alive on the DVD.

Here’s the first part of ‘Echoes’ from the DVD – the rest of the performance can be found close by on YouTube if you’re interested.

>Day 48: Oh my aching head….

3 May, 2009 1 comment

>Today’s soundtrack: Various Artists – Sound 07

Everton 2, Liverpool One.

No, it’s not a result, or even a bit of wishful thinking. Everton are finally getting round to opening a ‘flagship’ merchandise store in the City Centre – actually in the newly remodelled shopping area in the centre of Liverpool. I understand that the store will be called ‘Everton 2′ (the original megastore up by the ground being renamed ‘Everton 1′, you see). Those of you from the area will know that the new shopping centre has been renamed ‘Liverpool One‘.

So the address of the new megastore will be…..(drum roll)….

Everton 2, Liverpool One.

Do you see what they did there? I think that is genius.

Anyway, where were we? Let’s get the soundtrack for the day out of the way as it follows on quite nicely from the above. I have no idea where I got the above album from, it must have come free with a magazine or something, but it’s as good a freebie as you could hope for – basically a set of songs covered – or performed – by various artists from Liverpool. I’m currently listening to Ian McCulloch singing Leonard Cohen’s ‘Suzanne’. The album also includes Shack performing ‘A House is Not a Motel’ originally by Love, and the great Pete Wylie performs his own ‘Heart as Big as Liverpool’, one of my favourite songs about the city. Great stuff.

Living were we do, and working (when I do work!) for the most part in Manchester, I don’t get into Liverpool as much as I used to – other than for the match, which is out of the city centre – but when I do go, I still get more of a buzz out of the city than just about any other. I don’t want to over-romanticise it, but there is just something about Liverpool that I don’t ‘get’ about Manchester, Leeds, or any other big equivalent northern city. Not sure what it is – it might be the river, it might be the Pier Head and the Three Graces – but Liverpool remains special to me.

I should go more often.

After the exertions and stresses of Friday, we spent the day doing very little, actually. The day started with me feeling like something had crawled into my mouth and died…nothing at all to do with the previous night’s bottle of red, I’m sure…so it took a gallon of coffee, a litre of Resolve and a lot of time to start feeling vaguely human again.

What really sorted me out was brunchtime though. Plans to have a quick sausage sandwich turned into a full-scale fry-up…bacon, sausage, double fried egg, hash browns, beans and fried bread…just what the doctor ordered!

Suitably regenerated, we drove off to see the parents, who were looking after my brother’s dog, Alfie, while he and his family were away at a football tournament in Blackpool. Now I’m not a doggie person, and Alfie, although a perfectly well-tempered dog, does have a tendency to get overexcited and jumpy-uppy, which doesn’t do it for Paul.

Mrs W, in contrast, was in her element, and happily fussed and played with Alfie while we were there, rolling round on the grass (that’s Mrs W, not just the dog) in complete disregard for dignity and without a care in the world. And why not? It was good to see and Alfie now has a soulmate for life! Daft as each other, if you ask me.

Home, and enchiladas whilst watching a surprisingly good little film called ‘The Children’ – a British film about two (related) families celebrating a snowy Christmas together. Things take a turn for the worse when the kiddies start getting infected by some form of virus that turns the little darlings into psychopathic killers…..mayhem ensues….

I know, I know, but trust me, it had some genuinely creepy and shocking moments. Not Oscar material (obviously) but good fun for an hour or two.

>The other best song written about Liverpool…

13 September, 2007 Leave a comment

>…etc etc, is of course ‘Heart as Big as Liverpool’ by The Mighty Wah!, one of Pete Wylie’s various alter egos (and variations on the Wah! theme) and one of the great anthems connected with the ‘pool (has any other UK city had so many great songs written about it?). Despite the red shower over the park adopting it for themselves, I refuse to let the song be associated with them (unlike that dirge from Carousel, which they’re welcome to). For me, it encapsulates all that’s good about ‘Merseypride’ and is free of the victim, us against the world mentality that we are often accused of.

God bless Peter Wylie, as Mr Prowse once said.

Categories: Liverpool, wah, wylie