Sunday, February 28, 2010


Currently on my grooveshark playlist:

/In no particular order/

Ash: Goldfinger.

Not because of the obvious James Bond reference but because it is fantastic. They wrote this when they were 17. Seventeen!

Goldfrapp: Slide In (DFA Remix).

It's just an orgy of high hat and drums along with the seductive, spacey tones of Ms Goldfrapp. All about 20 minutes of it all.

Blur: Music is my Radar.

A slow burner. 'Hidden' at the end of the 'Best of' and probably overlooked. I don't imagine it got an airing during last year's 'tour'. The video is very retro, very Kubrick.

Delphic: This Momentary.

This year's new hope by all accounts but found on Kitsune last year. New 'New Order'. Perhaps. Tipped for big things but when has that ever really matter. If it sounds good, then that's enough.

The Drums: Let's Go Surfing.

It shouldn't really work but does it ever. The bassline and a chorus to die for and one that is a bit of a rip off of a certain 'song in Tom Hank's 'Big' but why not? Down down by the rollercoasters...

Snow Patrol ft. Martha Wainwright: Set Fire to the Third Bar.

A controversial choice. Snow Patrol aka bedwetters in the Coldplay vain. Certainly not a fan of them per se. Even more surprising is the fact that this song was first introduced to me, not with the sweet voice of Martha Wainwright but the almost identical tones of Cheryl Cole. I must be selling out but you can't argue with the song. I think Snow Patrol have a 'thing' for 'lying down'. Strange.

Metallica: St Anger.

They got a bit of a slating over this album. It was essentially the 'break up' album and it has that kind of a feel to it. This song however, is brutal. It's an assault in every sense. The crunch of the guitar's are unlike what they have sounded like on previous albums; that, couple with the beating of steel sound of the snare drum makes this something of a 'departure'. Not sure about the 'whoooo' bit though.

Two Door Cinema: Something Good Can Work.

The most 'hopeful' song on the list. It's a ray of sunshine.

Phoenix: Litzomania.

The best song ever about a composer and that includes 'Rock me Amadeus'! I could listen to Phoenix all day. French to!

Any other suggestions?

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Another defeat for Scotland.
Wooden spoon ahoy unless we can beat the English at Murrayfield and hope for a minor miracle against the Irish.

It didn't need to be this way. We should have stuffed the Welsh; my god we should, at the very least, have drawn with them. But no. We just can't do it. Then, the Italians. Home or away we can't beat them. It's embarrassing. Today was case in point. They might be improving but certainly we're not getting any better. Although, we are totally inconsistent. We beat Fiji and the Australians back in November so we have potential. We should have beaten Argentina and Wales. Had we done that, things would be looking very rosy. Instead, they aren't.

That is in contrast to the Magner's League in which the club sides are in the top four. /sigh/. So depressing. Even a win against England might not arrest it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Things wrong with Scottish football.

1. Money, or lack of. To me, it's quite a simple thing. The more paying customers coming through the turnstiles, the more money that will come in and with that, more revenue. I mean, who just goes to a game and watches? No, they go to a game buy a pie or a bovril and a programme. Where is the sense in charging £25 for a ticket and only getting 5, 000 people. Surely it would make sense to charge £10 to get in and get 10, 000 people. The atmsphere is improved and there is more chance of add on's. Dad's might take there kids at £5 a ticket. It might not look great in the short term but in the mid to long term, it's better. Get them into the stadium.

2. Weather. Traditionally, football is a winter sport. No argument there whatsoever. Can you expect people to come out or travel across the country to watch their team when it's freezing cold or a midweek night. Or alternatively, when the pitches look like tatty fields. The winter shutdown was a brilliant idea. Ok, January may not be the worst month and indeed February could be worse but the pitches get a chance to grow, people have time to save their money and if games are played in warmer days, surely more people will go.

3. Moving the Season. Scottish teams now have to pre-qualify for Europe in July. Fact. The Scottish League season starts in August. Fact. Is it any wonder that we can't get through the qualifying rounds? No, it isn't. Start the season in July. Have a winter break. Let's face the facts and tackle them.

4. Quit moaning. We were a strong footballing nation. Now we're not. That is a sad fact. Yet we can get 50, 000 people for an international game on a cold and driech Wednesday. How many other nations can claim that? Not many. I'm fed up of the moaning and groaning about money, facilities, referees blah, blah. We're crap. If we're crap, their must be some reasons for it. The SFA and League need to address them. Short termism hasn't worked. Common sense please. Action point, number 1.

5. There are more.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Strange sights:

1. The bloke behind me in the queue at the supermarket unpacked his shopping trolley. Nothing unusual there; the only item he was unpacked was Worcester Sauce. 30 bottles of it. I counted. In my book, that isn't normal. Perhaps his wife was pregnant or something. Even still.

2. A TV camera crew running about said supermarket following a local couple. First, it was a 'piece to camera' at the entrance, then the fruit and veg section, then to the meat counter; then finally, at the checkout. Needless to say, they didn't need to wait in a queue at the checkout as they had one specially opened for them. It could be the UAE equivalent of the Osbourne's? A reality TV show of the perils of going to the supermarket and having to put things in the shopping trolley and pack your own stuff without the aid of either a. your maid or b. the little Indian guy employed by the supermarket doing it.

3. Some random woman asking me to close her passenger side car door. Not strange in itself. The fact that she had wedged it between that very narrow gap between the front and back doors of the neighbouring car made it strange. Is it even possible to do that?

4. Waking yourself up through a. farting and b. snoring.

5. In the same vain as number 4 - kind of - some old bloke going infront of you on the escalator and proceeding to left off a big, loud fart. Thankfully, he was about 5 steps 'above' me otherwise it would have been way worse that it already was. And let me tell you, it wasn't pleasant as it was.

6. A class full of students copying one of the other students by listing their nationality as 'Nepal' when quite clearly they weren't.

7. Yours truly playing pretty well at football.

That's your lot.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Seat J

It's all kicking off over here, isn't it?

Not only do we get stage managed reports of 'love cheat John Terry reconciling with his wife' at the swimming pool of his Dubai hotel: 'We're so in love'. Pass the bucket please. To badly paraphrase Mrs Merton, 'Mrs Terry, what continues to attract you to the multi-millionaire husband of yours?'

But, the breaking news is that some Hamas leader was in Dubai staying at a hotel about 10 minutes walk from me. Nothing exciting about that one could argue. However, he never did make it home alive. Within hours of arriving, he was bumped off in his hotel room. Seemingly it was not the work of some high class lady of the night. It was, it is alleged, by Mossad!

This is a job for a certain Bond...instead, we get the Dubai polices finest on the case. God forbid. But, this time they are '99%' certain that they have a list of 11 people they want in connection with it and have implicated Israel as having a central role in it. The Police have released footage of the people they want for it including CCTV footage of people at the hotel who are totally bald one moment, yet appear with a full head of hair the next. The art of disguise is not dead. Yet.

To make matters more interesting, the majority of those wanted actually came in and out of Dubai on British passports or at the very least, European passports. The passports are reported to be real and not tampered with or fake. I couldn't comment on that but if the police I 'deal' with at the airport are representative of the wider police and immigration officials at the airport, then they could have come in and out of the country with a copy of today's newspaper as proof of nationality. But, I digress. The U.K isn't best pleased and has summoned Israel officials to explain themselves.

Watch this space. It could be interesting. If I disappear for any length of time, you know why.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


It is indeed Valentine's Day. Oh the joys of commercialism. Do you really love your significant other more on this one day of the year? Do you think of her / or him / any more on this particular day? Is it a cause of stress deciding on what to get?

Oh joy.

And to have a birthday on this day too!

But, I'm not dwelling on the fact it is Valentine's Day and a birthday for some. It's the 14th of February. That's all.

Instead, my thoughts turn to how on earth Scotland managed to invent yet another way of losing a game of rugby. To the Welsh of all people. Winning thought the game and indeed right upto the last moment. Then, in injury time, they score to win it. 17 points scored against us in the last 5 minutes. How is that even possible. Why wasn't the ball punted into touch when they drew level. A draw would have been disappointing given what went before it but against the background of not won away from home for about 3 years, I would have taken a draw. But no. We played on. And lost. Not so much a kick in the teeth but a murder. Shocking.

Not sure how we'll bounce back from that. That is a scar that may not heal. That said, if we proceed to beat Italy and England then perhaps we will have some form of closure. It's a long shot but who knows. We are eternally optimistic. Some of the time.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


I'm just sitting here on the balcony having a coffee and looking over to the Tennis Stadium which is literally 400 metres away. It's currently a hive of activity and busier than it's been for a while. Two huge TV screens have been build at the top of each of the stands, flags are flying in the wind and a whole bunch of men are out the front carrying stuff and generally running around looking busy.

It all means that the Dubai International tennis thingy must all be kicking off tomorrow. I've seen some of the adverts and posters around town. I believe that a lot of the men and women's top 10 ranked players are coming to be play. I can't say I'm all that interested in tennis to be honest but to have it on my doorstep is quite nice. In saying that, I might not be quite as positive about it when I can't drive due to the traffic or when there are throngs of people going around. It'll only be for a couple of weeks mind, so I'm sure I'll cope.

I might catch some of it on the TV, whether that be on my small 32 inch TV or the 32 foot one on the top of the stand!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


This month, I seem to have a lot of English testing scheduled for the last 2 hours of the working day. It isn't the most ideal time for it but given that the people who tend to get tested are on a shift pattern, it's pretty much the only time that they can come along without disrupting things. It's quite hard on a Thursday because by the time they arrive at around 1pm, my head is already thinking towards getting out of the office by 3.30pm and starting the weekend. I often hope that the batch that are scheduled for that time are great and that their English is good and I can actually pass them all.

Today however was not one of those days.

Within about 5 minutes of then 7 guys coming to class, I just knew that I was in for a long day. As with any test, you need a pen or at the very least a pencil. Only 3 of them had pens. Ever the professional, I had pens and so handed them over. Next up was the relatively easy task of writing their name, staff number, job title and department on the first sheet of the test. The first 2 of these, I can't really help them with for obvious reasons. The last 2, I wrote on the board for them.

Oh my. It was an ordeal trying to get them to do this. Some where writing the information in the wrong box, some were not even writing, others were misspelling the words I had written on the board. I tried to put a brave face on it and bash on. I even enlisted one of my colleagues to come in and translate as they were all Hindi speakers. Thankfully, we managed to get the tests started and almost completed in time. I've not managed to mark the tests yet but I just know it's not going to be a fun experience. I had a quick look at the first pages when I collected them in. One guy has given his name as the 'department name' and his 'staff number'. I can't wait to see what else that paper has is store for me.

Thankfully though, they got through it and I sent them on their way. Words cannot express how relieved I was knowing that the weekend had arrived.

Saturday, February 06, 2010


Mr John Terry, you are an idiot.

There, I've said it.

He is a footballer. A Chelsea player and indeed their captain. He was the England captain too. He is though consistently been a bit of a liability. Less so on the pitch, where he really should do all his talking, but in the wider world. Of course, I have never met him and have no real idea of what he's like. I'm sure he's perfectly pleasant and on his day, good company. He has however, blown that view entirely out of the water. In fact, he has painted himself as a bit of a knob. More than 'a bit' in actual fact.

He went to court recently in order to prevent all media outlets printing stories about him. I believe that he was given an injunction but the injunction was over turned. This is when the fireworks started. To cut a long story short, he's married with twins, he was fooling around with one of his best mates long term girlfriends who also happened to be an ex-team mate and fellow England internationalist. Without getting on the moral high horse, it doesn't look good at all. At best he was silly at worst he is a total arsehole. I'm not sure many people would disagree with that. He is now battling to save his marriage and his every touch of the ball in Chelsea colours is boo'd.

Last night, the England manager decided to strip him of the England captaincy. That comes as no big surprise. I think that was the correct thing to do and I'm surprised that it didn't happen sooner. The question remains though - how long will it be before he gets given it again? It's probably a token gesture by the England management and I can foresee him getting it back at the World Cup.

I do hope that his wife see's the light and punts him into touch. The same could be said for his sponsors. By all accounts he might lose £20 million in the next 4 years because of it. That'll make him think about unzipping his jeans again. You would think. But, he's a footballer. A multi-millionaire already, will he really learn. The easy answer is, who cares?

Rumour has it that his wife and kids are here in Dubai now to 'get away from it all'. Indeed, it has been reported that Terry is coming over to try to sort things out. I'll look out for him and if I see him I'll give him abuse!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Football is back. It's actually never really gone away but playing it is back. Celebration! Of sorts. New year, same old story. Getting stuffed.

It's all in aid of the competition coming at the end of the month. We need practice. Heaps of it. Seemingly the guys have been playing this team of Nepalese blokes over in Sharjah (next emirate over). I'd heard that the last time 'we' played them, they won about 8-0. I couldn't quite believe it to be honest. I mean, when we play, we get beat but we've never been beaten by that much and we have always scored. They were either gifted or we were crap. I'd like to say that they are gifted but I'd definitely be lying.

So, we played today straight after work. I was determined to put on a show. I did and I didn't. I tried but the problem is we just haven't got the know how to play. We have a couple of guys who can play but not to any great standard. They know to tackle and hoof the ball when it comes near but don't ask them to do anything like running or taking a touch or passing to a team mate. Needless to say, they are defenders. Also, they don't - and others, it must be said - don't quite have the tactic or positional nous that you get from playing football for years and years. I would know that when we have a corner kick, our defence doesn't sit 10 yards in front of our own penalty box. In addition, people would know when to move forward or in what position to maintain.

I feel that's the big problem for us. We need strong people in defence, in midfield and up front. People that know what's what and who talk and organise those around them. We lack that. Not only that, I'm not convinced we all play in the best possible positions either. We don't talk about where we are going to play particularly or how to we are going to play. It's more of a 'you go there' thing. It really shows. This Nepalese team, are organised and with it relatively quick. That is there strength. They have 3 defenders who aren't the most skillful or silky but they get the job done. They get the ball and pass it to a team mate. They have a couple of strong runners in midfield who get things going. And that's it. It's just we can't deal with that. We don't build from defence. Our goally just kicks. Our midfielders have decent skill and are good in the tackle but they don't have the stamina to get back to defend when needed and conversely can't get to the other end of the field to help out when we attack. It's a chicken and the egg thing. We need people to get forward to help but we can't. Our strikers aren't getting the support and it's hard. As a 'striker' I have to put my hand up and say I was poor. My touch wasn't there. I kind of lost my enthusiasm as the game went on. I did 'do' my job though by scoring with the only shot I had *.

The upshot is that we need to sort ourselves out. I would change peoples positions and make it clear what that position entails. We need to put people where they can do some good and be able to play and be effective.

OK, I sound like a mini-dictator but we can't continue to be crap and not have a look at how things are going. It would be silly just to accept things as they are, even if it is 'only' a friendly game of football. If we can't do it in a friendly, then how can we step up and do it when it matters in the competition?

We can't.

I might have a word but no doubt someone will have there noise put out by it. Tough tolly as they say!

* the goal was something of a peach, incidently, even if I do say myself.  Just outside the penalty area. The other striker had his back to goal but received the ball. He kind of flicked it up to me. I was about 5 yards from him. The ball was up in the air as it came to me. I saw it coming and thought 'hmm, interesting'. I took a step forward and clipped it perfectly with my left foot. Generally, I can hit balls like that but where they end up isn't always were they should; mostly miles over. This own though kept low and went straight. A good clean hit. straight towards the goalkeepers neck actually. He saw it coming but decided that he wasn't fancying it and actually sidestepped it! Fair enough because it would have hurt had it hit him. It was good. No mass celebration ensued but it was good to know that I'm not always totally crap.

Oh, I did whack someone though. Kind of on purpose. Well, I had the clear the ball and he was too close. I punted it and it hit this guy on the hand. He was in a lot of pain. Ouch. He should have got out the way.

Enough football chat for now.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


Oh oh oh, another football competition ahead. At work that is. This time it's a 7-a-side. Again. The last one was as well. I didn't get to play in it though because it ad been postponed due to bad weather and I couldn't make the rearranged competition. Which, was probably a good idea as we were stuffed in all 3 games, scoring only once. Not good.

This time I might well be able to play. Not that I will improve the team much. I'd like to think I do but I suspect that I don't. I've not been to the gym or done much in the way of exercise this year so that is one aspect that will need to get addressed as soon as possible. Time up at the gym is a must. That, and more practice which has been lined up for Wednesday.

Get in.

Monday, February 01, 2010


...and that was the end of the January football transfer window. What a pile of poop. It wasn't up to much this year with little or no money spent by anyone really.

In fact, the only people in Scotland who really did any business was Celtic and boy, do they need to. They are pretty poor at the moment. They are lacking all over in fairness. They make chances but couldn't score in a certain establishment. And the back, they are leaking goals. Out have gone around 8 players and in have come a bunch of players that not many people have heard of and who were playing in Northern European leagues. Not exactly anything to set the punters into raptures. The last day of the transfer window did see Robbie Keane join until the end of the season. It's an interesting one. He's not playing that much for Spurs so in some ways it makes sense. I just wonder if he really is the 'saviour' or if he's simply just a very naughty boy. Either way, he'll have to hit the ground running like all of the new recruits. Goals need to be scored, none conceded and games won otherwise the League will be all over by Easter.