notes from a rum soaked England fan…

November 22, 2007

The end of the road…

I was appalled when Steve Mclaren was given the top job in the wake of our failure at the 2006 world cup tournament. Shocked even. Because he was obviously unsuited to the role…I remember his last game as Boss of Boro. A 4-0 mauling at the hands of Spanish conquistadors, Seville…It was of course a great achievement to get Boro to the final, but to see any team capitulate in such brutal fashion, in what was undoubtedly the highest ground many of the Boro players are ever to reach, was disgusting. I was very unimpressed.

As Fergie’s number two at United, Mclaren excelled, proving his worth as the Reds developed into the most powerful team in the country. But as the first team coach at Boro, he did not show the guile, character or style which is required to be successful as Top Man at any important club…Perhaps he is a world class Number Two, and a woeful Number One…Only time will tell…What is for sure, however, more-so after tonight’s pitiful showing against Croatia, is that Steve Mclaren has been, for several reasons, the worst England Manager I have had the misfortune of having to support.

It was not just the scoreline of the 2-3 home defeat suffered this evening, on our own turf, against the well organized Croatians, which sickened but didn’t surprise me, it was the performance…We gave the world football. Maintained our position for decades as one of the always decent, now and then superb, international teams, but now, 7 years into the 21s century, we are wretched…

Worse than the unforgivable failure to qualify from a group which contained only one other team who can be considered a threat to any of the greatest sides in the world, is the manner which we went down tonight. There was no passion, no grit, no pride…Those three attributes are essential for any team who want to win a match. Without them, even the most wonderful collection of players cannot perform anywhere near to finding the sum of their collected parts…

Lampard and Gerrard, at club level are quality players, now and then dipping into rich veins of form which makes them unstoppable, unplayable, and ultimately world class. Yet when they play for their country, they change into average players who, at times, would have trouble getting into the Gillingham FC starting XI…Though Beckham’s teeth are lengthening, he can still piss in a pint glass from 50 yards, and for that reason alone, he is an essential part of any plan to beat world class opposition. Yet, after the 2006 World Cup, one of the first major decisions of the then newly crowned England Manager, was to send unarguably the finest player this country has had over the last half decade or so, into exile…That didn’t make sense at the time to me…Relinquishing Beckham of his Captaincy duties and demoting him to a squad player would have been enough of a symbol to herald Mclaren’s intention of bringing in the youth to replace the Old Guard. But he went further, axing from the squad the one player from our team who was capable of consistently performing at least one essential element of the beautiful game, namely Distribution…He has no pace, little chance of successfully taking players on with the ball at his feet and the mentality of an 7 year old sweet natured townie, but Beckham’s vast repertoire and god given talent of Passing a football to any position on the pitch- often just with one touch from his blessed toes, as was seen tonight when he set up Crouchy’s strike- is simply amazing…All the greatest teams have a defensive system which combines brute strength, military organization, wise minds which can read the flow of the game for 90 minutes and Heart. To break down such formidable human barricades, a team must have a player capable of Magic or impeccable passing technique and vision. The only player we have like that is David Beckham…Though flashes reported to be Rooney’s star have been spotted, the brightness of which is said to be blinding, his position in the celestial realms as the most special player wearing an English shirt, is yet to be confirmed…I remember feeling such compassion for Beckham, when I read the story of Mclaren calling him to let him know he was out. I imagined the tears welling up inside him as his former mentor at Old Trafford informed him that not only had he lost his captain’s armband but that he was OUT THE SQUAD…At that point, I considered almost daily, for a week or two, that Mclaren should be hung, on charges of Treason…That isn’t how I feel now.

I can point the finger at the lack of opportunities afforded to young English players in the top flight of our domestic football leagues as a possible reason for the current State of Things, but that is an area which can’t, due to European law, be changed…It is easy to misjudge the quality of our football when the Premiership is one of the most lucrative footballing products on the globe. TV audiences may well prove that there is exciting, attractive football played in this country but how many of the players who regularly wow the hoardes of Premiership addicts stationed all around the planet, are English***…Other than John Terry, whose injury problems have forced him into missing large chunks of playing time over the last year, only Gerrard and Rooney could make that group, and they are both currently outshone by the likes of Berbatov, Ronaldo, Adebayor, Vidic, Robbie Keane, Ryan Nelson, Van Persie…With European Law demanding free movement of trade and services, as long as certain rules are met, it is impossible to limit the amount of foreign players in English domestic clubs. The flood of foreign football imports over the last decade has made it harder and less likely for a home grown british footballer to rise to the top and become a national hero…Financial aspects of the game have intensified to such staggering levels that Club football has overtaken the national game in this country. That is where the Money is…The Premiership is the main focus of the top players in England…Sadly, the logical reasoning points to the suggestion that English players are materialistic, money grabbing tossers, who care more for their weekly wage packet, which could finance a humble lifestyle like my own for 20 years, than they do for their nation…Maybe there is more to this than meets the eye of a mere glance. Maybe this lack of passion and pride at being English and flying the flag on a global level, is indicative of an identity crisis decaying at the very foundations of what it means to be English…

We need a new Manager. Whether Mclaren wants to leave or not is irrevelant. He should count himself mighty lucky not to be standing, right now, in front of a firing squad…Who will replace him, is more of a riddle. Because all the Top managers are currently employed elsewhere…except, the cigar smoking, silver haired Paul Newman lookalike, Marcello Lippi, and a maverick, amusingly arrogant, Portuguese Man At War named Jose Mourinho…I doubt Lippi would want the job, there is more chance he will replace Donadoni as the Italian Allenatore…As for Mourinho, he might just accept it, if offered, but his volatile, abrasive personality and style may be too much for the FA to deal with. They are Suits, who place too much emphasis in their thinking, on Image, when all that really matters is Substance…Out of the English managers, nobody seems qualified for the job. We must look further afield when deciding who we think is capable of building a team over the next couple of years which is capable of making this country proud in the 2010 world cup.

In conclusion, Mclaren, as England Manager, has been inept tactically, never quite deciding on a definite system to adopt and train into the blood of the constantly changing squad…And also horribly unable to galvanize his troops into showing even a spark of real passion when they don the England shirt and step into battle. The players must shoulder some of the blame for what has happened, and I am sure they will, but secretly in the back of their minds, perhaps some of our ‘star players’ are happy to have next summer free when they can spend some of their millions on a well earned holiday…Bastards.

For an alternative perspective on England’s embarrassing exit from the European Championships, I asked an acquaintance, known appropriately, as John the Baptist, for his views… His reply disturbed me…
It’s simple, dannyboy, we got kicked out by the Arabs…all politics of course
same ol story, guv…we’ll pay back those towel heads come next year…an invasion is planned…first Kuwait, then we take Iraq, from the Yankees…next we gunna take Afghanistan, and sell it off, mile by mile, to the Chinese…by then we will have amassed , by enslaving all afghans, Iraqis, Kuwaitis, into our army, a vast military machine capable of taking on Russia…with the help of the Yankees, who by then will have forgiven us for stealing Iraq from right under their noses…that is the way it is going to pan out, dannyboy and you know it deep down…’

I didn’t know it deep down, and though I admired John, in a comical way, for taking my question as an opportunity to preach from his doomsday pulpit, his total disconnection with reality was beginning to unnerve me…it was time to deliver a few lines of bewildering nonsense, then flee like a gazelle in heat, hot on the scent of an accommodating female…So I asked him to Keep Me Informed, wished him good luck in Hell then ran back to my cave.

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a rose bush in the desert…

November 14, 2007

This job, for all its rich social contact, is beginning to curdle my brain. To be fair I could be earning my sterlings in more strenuous and decidedly less satisfying vocations so perhaps I should focus my mind’s eye more widely and indulge the scope of this critique of my growing feeling of stagnation to include my extra-curricular activities, this town, this country, and looking more broadly still, the Western Way of Life which is rigidly enforced here in the UK and similarly in that barren outpost at the bottom of the planet where I habitually escape, Australia.

If the sole aim of my existence is merely to survive, to cement myself in a comfortable, ongoing position which causes me little drama or adversity, I am a successful man. But Security and Routine are neither my aspirations nor enemies. Which makes little sense to my long suffering mother who deigns my reluctance to settle, to accept my Lot, to set down roots; as nothing more complicated as puerile rebellion. What she fails to grasp is that while like a Tree I possess a propensity to grow, to reach higher into the sky, adding branches and leafs to my trunk as I head for the stars, thus far, when it comes to marking an X on the Earth, calling it my own and laying down roots, I have behaved more like a ship; plunging my anchor not in the ground but into the watery depths of the marina, whence an Escape is always a possibility, even an inevitability…It is the society here, not the Earth, which lacks fertility. And without adequate nutrition, my soul loses health and vitality like a rose bush in the desert…

What is really missing from this situation is a demand for attention to the Now…Too much of the Now is borderline mechanical, requiring little thought or enterprise. And it is this Automation of Existence which grates against my ideals, my instincts, and my zeal to feel Alive. So as my mind lapses more into pondering the Past and creating dizzying flights of fantasy out of the future, I am growing restless and more aware, day by day, of this clouding of the sky of my Psyche, my essence…less light is coming in as the depths of the Beast that is Daniel cocoons itself from the tedium and banality of the Now…Greenhouse effect of the soul, internal temperature is rising. It will continue to do so until the latent fire within reaches such intensity that it will burn a path through the clouds, like a blowhole in the ice, erupting in a cataclysmic explosion of Daniel Lava…That kind of Show must be avoided…Something must be done before I reach that very definite point of no return.

Maybe it is this internal greenhouse effect, the build up of psychological energy and pure passion, suffocated beneath the thickening clouds of Now, which is responsible for the sporadic incidents of Spontaneous Combustion which fit as cozily into the annals of human history as a Right Wing Rabbi setting up a pork-pie stand in the heart of the Gaza Strip.


Tales from the counter Volume1:cum stained teeth

November 14, 2007

Sainsbury’s, at 2pm on a Wednesday afternoon, is not the Right kind of scene for drunk and disorderly townie hags, yet here they are, hooting and whooping, cackling like witches in heat, bearing rotten cum-stained teeth with every hyena laugh.… “Don’t come to me you wenches!”, I whisper in my head…but alas, it’s too late…I just can’t help but stare when I see someone either naturally beautiful or brutally repulsive…extremes excite my senses.
got tooth ache, darling…heeheeeheee…so we been down the pub” the crone wails across the counter at me, her breath putrid with the bitter aroma of stale lager and pork scratchings…
I’ll have a bag of mussels, please…hahahhahahhahahahah’ she continues, blissfully unaffected by my complete reluctance to return her high spirits with anything but the steely gaze of a tiger shark mulling over whether to swim by or rip to shreds the bloated creature serving itself up for perusal.
I guess it will numb the pain, the alcohol I mean…try single malt…se ya round” is as warm as I can be as I hand her the quickly wrapped bag of mussels. She leaves the counter and rejoins the human caravan…Screwing up her face in disgust, her friend notices the marine purchase…
“For fucks sake!…I can’t be doing with anything with eyes” she quips before roaring into more raucous laughter..
Eyes…Mussels with Eyes…If I was King these swine breeds would be put to the sword or sold to the Chinese as fuel.Hohoho!


warped musings from the Stag Do…

November 8, 2007

The decision to give up the rollies two days before the stag-do was a poor one. Yes I managed to go almost 48 hours without any nicotine but on Friday evening, after dumbing my senses down to Sloppy with half a bottle of rum, the reality of cutting out a drug which my body has been eagerly consuming for 13 years hit home with a vengeance. Try as I might I just couldn’t sleep. Cold sweats, tightening of my mind and horribly contorted muscles combined to refuse me even several hours of decent rest…I awoke with a roar at 11am, shaved the tash then blasted off to Chimpy’s place like an angry, heavily fatigued hobo, stopping only to give in to temptation, to weakness, and purchase a pouch of Mild Drum.

Upon entering his flat I was all too aware of the fact that I was amongst creatures of a very different species to my own stock. One of them was pleased to see me appear but generally I felt as welcome as a drunk paedophile at a children’s party…Paintball was the main event of the day and I was happy to find myself sitting in the front seat of Paul’s car for the journey to the battlefield. I have always liked Paul, having known him since Chimpy’s infamous Uni days in London. He may look like a demented professor of carnal psychology but his fierce outer shell belies the warmest of souls beneath. While driving he made the fatal error of asking me to fill him in on my misdemeanors of the last few years since we had last locked horns. He was visibly shaken by my tales of flitting between Himalayan peaks of bliss and hellish catacombs of woe but the conversation served it’s purpose of staving off the boredom of the road work…Upon arriving at the arena of Death I was pleasantly surprised to see Chimpy’s brother, John and the lovable but not fuckable, smiling goon Mikey. Two faces from the past which may look slightly jaded but nonetheless both bring a glimmer of joy to my volatile eyes. John and I have never been the best of buddies, a relationship which was worsened beyond repair many years ago when after typical cajoling from Chimpy I decided to deface the buxom wenches found in John’s prized collection of Escort magazines…Still, it was wicked to see the bastard and the same can be said of Mikey whose good humour and constant desire to laugh like a hyena on meth makes him good fun to be around even at the worst of times. I always warm to happy, real people and Mikey falls into that category…After a brief pep talk from a burly, foul mouthed thug, battle commenced…Right from the Off it was clear that there was too many soldiers scrapping for too little ground. It was chaos and no surprise that I took one bang on the forehead within seconds of the ‘GOGOGO’ scream of the marshals. ‘fuck it’ I thought, ‘nobody will notice’ but how wrong I was because the top third of my head was glowing orange with oily paint. Before I had the chance to pump anyone with lead the shout was raised of ‘MAN DOWN’ and true enough a few yards behind my dangerously exposed position amid the summit of the hill of Doom, a team-mate lay face down and lifeless in the mud…I can’t say that I enjoyed the games that followed but I did find John Rambo exciting to observe. He moved like a man possessed, like a vet returning to Nam, the lone sergeant who had lost the rest of his squadron and instead of retreating from enemy territory was determined to go it alone. Pure kamikaze. At one point I caught him skinning a rabbit and gathering branches with the idea of making a camp fire…It was only at the very end of the session when I got involved enough to get nailed by a firing squad that I felt like I was getting value for money. However the energy exerted in the final dash for safety plunged me into a state of near total exhaustion. I hardly spoke on the journey home and was thankful when we reached Brighton where my trusty steed was primed and willing to return me at high speed to Base Camp in Hanover….

My body was bruised and weak. A steaming hot shower soothed the soreness before I got stuck into the rum and lucozade and prayed to the Lords of the untamed Hobos for a revitalization of my state of being.

The rest of the Chimpy gang had moved onto a restaurant in town. I had decided to skip that scene for financial reasons. Choosing instead to save all my sterlings for an all out assault on the spirits cabinets in the pubs and clubs we were going to visit after they had finished devouring every nubile damsel in the restaurant like a gang of rabid Huns.

Feeling more awake and suitably primed by the dark rum working it’s way through my system, I swaggered into town to rejoin the party people. As I shook hands and worked the crowd I was struck by that same uneasiness, unwelcome vibrations, as had hit me when I had arrived at Chimpy’s in the morning. Rather than pursue the source of these vibrations I gravitated towards Mikey, John, Paul and the stag himself.

We drank and caught up with each other’s lives. Nobody was getting wild. The heaviest it got, in terms of combined efforts at getting wasted, was a schoolyard drinking game involving downing large gulps of lager. Hardly dramatic, or what was needed to give Chimpy a decent send-off into the world of husbandry…Getting slaughtered is surely essential for a stag-do, especially for the stag. It is his last chance to let loose in ways he will soon after, be swearing in the name of God, never to indulge…One of those loose ways, which traditionally is celebrated on this last stand of the Bachelor in a man, is fidelity. The last chance to ogle without feeling guilty, to touch, to fuck another woman. A whore or stripper is the usual conversion of this horrifying trade-off into the Stag-do. Now, to me this has always seemed a dumb idea and one which shows painfully clearly that the prospective matrimonial union is a sham, a lame excuse for Proper Love, a superficial ratification of nothing more than choosing to be legally bound to another person…When I love a woman, I still find other women attractive- though clearly far less attractive than they would seem if my heart wasn’t captured and focused on One other- but I don’t entertain ideas of having my way with them. If I am going to commit myself to a Woman for Life, the last thing I want is to be with another Woman. They become less interesting in general to me. One is enough to deal with, to grow with, to adore, to give myself to totally…Our souls intertwine, for good or ill…And with intertwined souls, betraying my loyalty to another is the same as betraying myself…If I had a stag-do, none of my mates would organize a stripper or a whore because they know me well enough to realize that I would see such a gesture as an insult, an attack of sorts, and arguably a sign that they weren’t my friends. Something to be avoided. They would organize a buffet of drugs and drink, and a night of heavy hedonism and heart on your sleeve well wishes…Maybe…Anyhow, my point is that while I have never spoken to Chimpy about the subject, I know him deep enough to be sure his sentiments on the Stripper/Whore stag tradition are the same as mine. An unspoken but obvious stance. So when during the paintball session, a chap whose name I have forgotten but his toad face lingers in my memory, whispered in my ear that a private stripper had been arranged for Chimpy for 2am, I was slightly concerned. But more stunned that all of the gang seemed complicit and supportive of the idea, even Chris the ‘best man’ who I thought understood Chimpy better than the others…I mentioned that he wasn’t going to like it, but toadface just winked and smiled. OK, I thought, maybe it is me who has lost touch with Chimpy, maybe we have been living in different worlds for so long that he has changed into something else, something different to the righteous bull-hearted passion-addict who I had classed as my closest chum for 21 years…I tried to shake that idea out of my head soon after, but part of it stuck in my mind like a floater that refuses to flush…
(to be contd)


Looking after your own…

November 8, 2007

Recent studies undertaken by respected plant whisperers have shown the importance of family ties in the green world.

Two cuttings taken from one planet were re-housed in a pot full of soil which was watered regularly and filled with nutrients required for growth. Two other cuttings were taken from separate plants (of the same species) and placed in another pot prepared in a similar vein. Measurements were taken to determine how equally the available resources were procured by the various cuttings. The results were intriguing, but probably unsurprising to the many green thumbed growers who swear blind that their prized plants are more alive than the philistines would have us believe…

While the cuttings taken from separate plants fought leave and stem for control and acquisition of the available resources- invariably resulting in one cutting growing faster and more vigorously than it’s neighbour- the cuttings taken from the same plant shared the nutrients and water evenly, allowing them both to grow at a steady, similar rate.

It appears that like most beasts of a more mammalian slant the floral families look after their own. How exactly the plants are able to distinguish between family members is a mystery.

If recognition of family members is passed down the line, I wonder what other information could be imprinted in the DNA of sons and daughters of nettles, oak trees, venus fly traps and the rest of their ilk. Just imagine what the modern day descendents of floral ancestors could tell us, if we could speak to them, about ancient times…

(Other investigations into plant communication have shown that networks of certain floral species develop inter connecting ‘feeler’ shoots which are used as an early warning system. When one of the plants in the network is attacked, perhaps by a gang of famished, merciless caterpillars, a message is relayed to the other plants via the ‘feelers’ prompting the mass production of chemicals which make the plants less desirable, poisonous even, to the attackers. The major drawback of this system is that these connections can expedite the spread of disease throughout a network, proving that safety in numbers can be a false dawn…

I remember reading a while back about certain Trees which when attacked release spores, into the air, that other trees in the area can recognize and react to by stimulating production of toxins in their leaves which deter the Enemy…That method seems safer than the ‘feeler’ shoots in a network…Scientists are as yet unable to determine whether the release of spores is voluntary measure designed to warn the rest of the herd so to speak, or if it is merely the natural defence system of the tree under attack trying to thwart the attack. Whatever the answer, it is clear that the spores released into the air do act as a warning for other trees in the vicinity…

As with many species, solidarity may offer certain securities but it is the self reliant way of the lone wolf who blazes his own trail which offers the greatest potential for adventure and enlightenment. Indeed….


La Bete Humaine…

November 8, 2007

I first took a pop at this book back in April of this year but after consuming the first fifty pages I had to stop. Not because the story was unpalatable but due to my state of mind which at the time in question was dangerously unhinged. Mixing Zola’s epic expose of the ‘dark foundations of the human soul’ with my own morose delirium was plunging me deeper into the hole of horror into which I had dived as the most potent relationship of my life thus far, had disintegrated into a tornado of pain and betrayal…However, six months on, with my vitality and fervour to exist somewhat recovered I took a second stab at La Bete Humaine, this time flying through the three hundred and sixty six pages fully spellbound and absorbed by Zola’s magic…

The narrative centres on a society which lives and breathes a section of the French railway system. Focusing mainly on the Company’s employees the author brings to life the essence of train drivers, signalmen, firemen, conductors, and the faraway board of directors. Landscapes are painted in words with the skill of an impressionist canvass-artist who whilst at the top of his form, suddenly decided to swap his easel for a quill. The geography and ambience is brilliantly rendered throughout, giving the reader that much sought after feeling of being there, in the pages, as a silent observer of the corruption, bloodlust, infidelity and suffering which plagues and shapes the stories of the brutal Rombaud, the genetically disturbed Jacques Lanteau and co.

Zola took great care in elucidating to the mechanics of the railway system. The movement and engines of the trains, the hardships of existing in a world dominated by coal dust, grease and burning hot steam. Rather than diluting the thrust of this tale of Instinct v Civility, understanding the intricacies of reversing gears and coupling rods adds to the overall reading experience.

Brilliantly written. Definitely worth a pop for anyone with eyes and a half decent grasp of the English language…Especially interesting for those, like myself, who make little distinction between the clothed and unclothed beasts of this world.

‘Roubaud’s fury did not abate. As soon as it seemed to calm down a little it came back again at once, like drunkenness, in great, successive waves carrying him away on their swell. He was now quite beside himself, hitting out at the air, carried hither and thither by each squawl of the storm of violence lashing him, reduced now to the single need to appease the roaring beast within him. It was a physical, imperious need, like a hunger for vengeance twisting his guts which would give him no respite as long as he had not satisfied it….’

Zola, like his nephew Gianfranco, was possessed with pure genius…