#20 Free At Last

by forzabahab

Firstly an apology; I’ve been a bit remiss with this lately. It’s easy to get out of the habit, and I’ve been guilty of this so for that I’m sorry. The upside is you get a nice recap on stuff that’s happened and stuff I’ve seen/read/heard/been tickled by. Doesn’t mean it’ll be any good of course, but you knew that…

It felt good to nip out of work yesterday and sign the book of condolence for Nelson Mandela yesterday. Given that my previous contributions to the anti-Apartheid movement were to not bank with Barclays, pay money to listen to bands I’d have gone and seen anyway, and not eat Cape fruit* I did feel a bit of a fraud, but there you go. I felt a bit better when I saw the usual slew of self-serving tosspots all clamouring to let you know what they’d done to end the evils of white minority rule in South Africa. Like mid-level eighties singers crowding round the microphone recording a poor man’s Do They Know It’s Christmas for a charity they don’t give a fuck about (ROCKING FOR BELL’S PALSY!) they recalled their permanent sit in outside South Africa House from years gone by.

Now I walked past that picket a few times back in my misspent youth, and it seemed to me that the cause was somewhat of a backdrop for speeches designed to part gullible stunners from UCL from their underwear, and sing God awful Dylan covers in the hope of being discovered by Billy Bragg or similar, but I accept that I may be being a tad cynical here. Either way, he was released, and eventually lived long enough to see the country he sacrificed a huge part of his life for begin to become what he thought it could be.

And proved once and for all that it was perfectly possible for sport and politics to mix, and not to emerge sullied from the experience. RIP Nelson.

"You were great in Driving Miss Daisy"

“You were great in Driving Miss Daisy”

* This was a huge sacrifice. I used to love a nice juicy Golden Delicious. I felt like Rosa Parks when I gave them up, but with a valid Oyster card.

It was with a certain amount of trepidation that I approached the O2 the other Saturday to  watch a show featuring Ultravox supporting Simple Minds. Not that I don’t like the bands (I do), but because I had no idea what the experience would be like. I’d never seen Ultravox live before, and the last time I’d seen Simple Minds it had been at Wembley stadium so I was a bit anxious as to how they’d deal with the step down in venue.

I needn’t have worried though. Midge and the boys (the original line up) were a revelation; tight, bouncy, note perfect, engaging. Simple Minds (featuring Jim Kerr, Charlie Burchill, and their best ever drummer Mel Gaynor) solved the possible problem of being cramped by simply ignoring it and powering through.

Not the most ground-breaking gig I’ve been to this year (that was the Killers’ Wembley/Garage double header back in the summer), but mighty fine nonetheless.

Given my track record with inadvertently hampering horses it was no surprise at all that the day after I bought my ticket for the Tingle Creek meeting Sprinter Sacre (best horse in training, star of the show etc.) dropped out due to a poor tracheal wash. We soldiered on though and had a great day out as usual, despite only gaining three winners between four of us all day. Highlight was of course another bonkers display of wilfulness from the wonderfully named Mad Moose.

If you don’t know the name he’s a talented chaser. The trouble is he is the walking definition of moody. Several times he has gone to post and simply refused to race when the tape has gone up. This time was no exception, although he did actually start, then decided to pull up at the first fence. It was as if he looked at it and thought ‘fuck that’ and swerved away.

He was led back past the grandstand to a mixture of boos from those who’d backed him at 40/1, and shaken heads and smiles of the kind you give when your nanna says something racist at Christmas dinner. Hugely entertaining, if a tad expensive and frustrating for his owners I’d imagine….

After heading back into London (which included a Chariots Of Fire styled sprint by four half-drunk men in suits for a train) we wended our way to Brick Lane. I hadn’t been there for a curry in nearly a decade, so I was horrified to be encountered by touts outside every restaurant trying to entice me in by offering my free lager and a 25% discount on the meal.

Firstly, if the food is that good why do you have to discount it, and secondly what kind of palate do you think I have to think that the cheapest pint of Cobra/Kingfisher will swing it? I don’t even drink lager with a curry. it’s water or occasionally a nice red for me. Philistines. By the time we’d got to 93 Feet East I was getting properly punchy.

We did find a nice place eventually, but for the life of me I can’t remember the name of it, which I’m aware doesn’t help. Still, er, do make sure you go; the sizzling tandoori mixed grill is off the hook.

Beyonce dropped a new album this morning. I haven’t heard any of it yet so can’t make a judgment but feminists on my Twitter timeline are already rubbing one out to the first track, reportedly a power ballad decrying plastic surgery. Now as you all know by now I’m a feminist so I’m all for this, but to be a hypocrite for a minute looking at the photos that accompany the articles about it she seems to have had a new weave done.

This is fascinating not from an aesthetic but law enforcement viewpoint. If she committed a murder the DNA evidence on any hairs she left behind wouldn’t point to her, rather to (from the looks of it) a horse in Kazakhstan. CSI would be fucked. It’s the perfect crime. Expect truck drivers everywhere to be piling into afro wig shops before they head out on a long run up the M1 picking up prostitutes and hitchhikers….

The trial of the killers of Fusilier Lee Rigby continued this week. Amid all the horrific and disturbing evidence heard of his injuries, and the twisted justifications of the accused for their actions, one fact emerged that made my jaw drop.

One of the accused, Michael Adebolajo, has six children? SIX? What business does any 28-year-old have producing six children?

Of course, it does explain why he never had the time to read the Koran properly, the fucking helmet.

Another ‘wait, what?’ moment this week was the announcement that Adnan Januzaj is on the Young Sports Personality of the Year shortlist. He’s started four games for Manchester United. It’s basically like starting an internship on a Monday and getting a permanent job and pay rise on the Friday. No wonder these wankshafts get so full of themselves and stop trying to improve. Still, that band at Wembley eh?

Speaking of sporting hubris, it was amusing to hear, via the stump mike, Matt Prior greet Steve Smith with the sledge “he’s one game from being dropped” as he came out to bat in the early hours of this morning in the third Ashes test in Perth. One century later he had at least had the good grace to shut the fuck up about it, but as put downs go it’s not up there is it?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The best sledge is to be scoring runs and taking wickets. If you have to ask why someone’s wife is so fat you’re not doing your job properly.

There was loads more, but frankly I’ve run out of steam.

Next time, more crap. Be good.