Marmiteboy - Urbane Warrior.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Can We Have The Slits Again!

Lily and Sybil came round for tea last night and when they arrived I was playing the seminal first album by the Punk-Dub band The Slits. Realeased in 1979 on the back of the punk explosion it is a marvellous cacophony of shrieking vocals, jagged guitar and heavy basslines.

Anyway, when they arrived at Chez Marmite I turned off the cd player and turned on Boomerang on cable for Sybil to watch as she has recently become a cartoon fan. Sybil then asked me to put the music on. I then had to play the album no less than four times.

Lily is not a fan of my type of music generally and was complaining how dreadful it was. I had to laugh. Everytime the album finished Sybil said 'Can we have The Slits again?' I even gave her the option of something else but she was insistant 'No, The Slits'.

I'm extremely happy about this turn of events. Sybils tastes in music are quite varied. Up until now she has listened to R&B, which isn't a favourite of mine I can tell you. It seems I may have an Indy Kid on my hands which is fantastic. I'm trying her with The Fall and The Gang Of Four next.

Happy days!!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

An Editor Honoured.

Today the Queens birthday hounours were announced. Usually I don't take much notice of the honours system for reasons far to long winded and dogmatic to go into here, but today was different. The reason? Well one of my best mates has received a gong.

The Editor at Lady Bracknell's marvellous blog has been honoured . That means that from now on she should be referred to as The Editor MBE!!!

This richly deserved honour came about because of The Editor MBE's other job. She works for a large public sector organisation and she chaired that organisation's staff Disability Network from 1998, until it's untimely demise last year. In that time, although officially she should have been working for 50% of her time on this task, she put in a great deal more time than that outside work. Her commitment to the job was outstanding and many, many disabled people within that organisation owe a great debt to The Editor MBE (okay I'll stop using it now!!), myself included.

Disabled people within that particular organisation would be in a far worse place if it hadn't been for The Editor. She had a great deal to do with both shaping policy and had a great input into how the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 was implimented. She also has done an awful lot of work outside the organisation too, for local universities, as a mentor for disabled people.

I did have a small hand in The Editor MBE (okay I lied) being awarded this honour. It was her direct management chain that came up with the fabulous idea of getting recognition for The Editor for her contribution to disabled people. They contacted both me and Auntie Jan for some input into the nomination. I wrote the first draft and gave details of The Editors great age etc and Auntie Jan corrected my appalling grammar and spelling and added extra information.

I thought that nothing had happened at all until I received a text message of some ambiguity recently from The Editor. This lead me to believe that something was afoot in the Kingdom of The Editor. Since then I have been sworn to secrecy until that is today!! It is official! The Editor is indeed a Member of the Order of the British Empire.

The Editor received a very formal letter from 10 Downing Street nearly five weeks ago telling her that the:

"Prime Minister ... has it in mind, on the occasion of the forthcoming list of Birthday Honours, to submit your name to the Queen with a recommendation that Her Majesty may be graciously pleased to approve that you be appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire".

The rest, as they say, is history. May I be one of the first people to say congratulations to The Editor (publically at least, seeing as I sent her a text at one second past mid-night this morning). This is a very, very richly deserved award. I know that Lady Bracknell will be a bit put out because her title, esteemed as it is, is handed down through her family and she hasn't really done anything to deserve it. Maybe The Editor can get a raise in wages from the paltry five shillings and hour and as many cucumber sandwiches that she can eat now she is so honoured.

Once again, very well down mate. Can't think of anyone who deserves it more.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Anyone But Brazil.

The World Cup is upon us and so far it's been a cracking tournament. With very few exceptions (England v Paraguay and France v Switzerland) the games have been a great advert for football. However, there is one thing that has been bugging me about this years event.

What is it with the British media and Brazil? I'm getting really pissed off with the fawning when any commentator speaks about Brazil. Last night for instance Mark Lawrenceson said that the tournament hadn't started properly until Brazil took to the field. Well excuse me I 've been watching it since last Friday mate. I think you'll find it has started. What's more, John Motson kept giggling with delight everytime a Brazillian touched the ball. And made some crappy excuse when their passes went astray. From what I saw Croatia were giving them a good run for their money and played some lovely stuff themselves but the commentry team couldn't praise them because they aren't the adored Brazil.

Yesterday afternoon I found myself shouting at the radio (something I do quite a lot these days as I enter grumpy old manhood).The reason, the presenter told me that everybodies second team were Brazil!! Bollocks they are. Supporting Brazil is such an easy option. It is like supporting Manchester United because they win all the time (when they did that is). Why would I want to do that?

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Brazil or Brazilians. They are a fantastic football team, but there are some other teams playing at Deutschland 2006. According to the British media only England and Brazil are playing this year. I would like to see the other teams getting some respect. If the BBC had their way the Final would be today and it would be England v Brazil (and I'm not sure who they'd want to win).

For the record if England don't win the World Cup (and I'm not sure that they will) I hope either the Czech Republic or Holland win it. In fact I'll go as far as saying that the Czech Republic will win it. But I really don't mind as long as it's ANYONE BUT BRAZIL!!!!!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Deutschland 06 - Disabled fans view

World Cup 2006 starts today and looks like being, for those amongst us who love our football, to be heaven on earth. What could be better than a month of football on the television. It might even wean me off of Big Brother (which I can tell you is a very good thing), but I have been thinking about the plight of disabled fans wishing to follow England, or indeed any nation out in Germany. What will the facilities be like, have any tickets been allocated to disabled and visually impaired England fans for the Group matches?

The National Association Of Disabled Supporters (please see the link on the side bar) have been working hard with the Football Association to try and get some ticket information out of the German orginisers of the tournament and as reported in their Spring edition of their magazine Gazetta, this has been an extremely frustrating process. At the time of going to print (which was about 3 weeks ago) NADS were still not 100% certain of the facilities that awaited disabled fans. England have been allocated in the region of 5000 tickets for each of the group games, which is woeful anyway when you think that about 100,000 fans will be making their way to Germany for the tournament. However that is another matter.

Initially there were just 3 (yes 3!!!) wheelchair places for each of the group matches this has now been increased to 8 for the Paraguay game, 6 for the Trinidad and Tobago game and 9 for the Sweden game. It seens that disabled fans have been overlooked yet again. My local club and Champions of League One, Southend United, allocate more wheelchair places than that and their stadium is a quarter of the size of the venues England will be playing in. The World Cup organisers have also, so very kindly, allocated 5 tickets per game for visually impaired supporters plus 5 passes for their assistants. Again, in my opinion, this is barely adequet. Yet their are thousands upon thousands of corporate tickets knocking about and 12 British MP's are off on a jolly on a corporate junket. Now they may well be football fans but what gives them the right to jump the queue when hundreds of disabled fans won't be able to attend because such a pitiful allocation has been made to them.

NADS having been doing a fine job trying to obtain more tickets for disabled fans but I'm not convinced that the organisors actually want crips in the stadia. Maybe it'll spoil the corporate hospitality peoples day out if they have to see someone in a wheelchair!! It kinda leaves a bad taste in the mouth knowing that yet again disabled people have been forgotten. After all the World Cup is arguably the biggest sporting event on the planet and disabled people have as much right as anybody else to attend.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I'm The New Blue Blood, I'm The Great White Hope.

The National - Live at The Koko -Camden, London

This gig was initially mean to be taking place at The Scala near Kings Cross ( a fabulous old converted Art Deco cinema) but due to the huge demand for tickets it was switched to the fairly recently opened Koko Club in Camden. It has almost become my second home in the last couple of weeks as this is my third trip having seen The Shins and The Decemberists there earlier in the month. It is a strange venue. It is in the old Camden Palace building which was once a theatre and isn't the most accessible of venues. It has a downstairs dancefloor type area but the rest of it is made up of several levels which I suppose must have once graced the posh tickets when it was a theatre. The sound is pretty good though, for a venue of this type.

I first heard of and saw The National at last years Reading Festival and they were one of the best things I saw. I have since bought a number of their recordings including last years magnificent Alligator LP. This was a huge hit with the critics, especailly those at Uncut magazine who voted it their album of the year, which you must admit, is quite an accolade. Therefore it was with eager anticipation that I dragged Jock Pop along to the gig. He had heard bits and pieces of the band and as one willing to take a punt was happy to go along with me.

Thing about The National that strikes you when you see them live is how much more energy and feeling they portray in contrast to the recorded stuff. Don't get me wrong, Alligator is a fabulous record, but it is fairly laid back at times (or a dirge if you listen to what Lily has to say about. She likes R n B. Nuff said!). However, live, they really do kick some arse. Wonderful layers of sound from two guitars, bass, drums and violin wash over you. It is a magical experience. The sound was beautifully balanced last night too. You could actually hear all the parts. It wasn't just a noise.

Highlights for me were the brilliant 'Wasps Nest' from Cherry Tree and 'Mr November' from Alligator. The sight of Matt Berringer screaming into the mic and the majority of the 1500 crowd singing back 'I won't fuck us over, I'm Mr November' while dancing in the mosh pit was brilliant. The finale saw both guitarists lay down there axes against the speaker stacks and let rip with their effects peddles. It rocked I can tell you, such a sweet noise hasn't been heard this side of a Mogwai gig.

I strongly recommend The National. Great miserablist music with a swagger.