Thursday, 30 December 2010

2 Points Dropped?

Brighton & Hove Albion 1 - Charlton Athletic 1.

Before the game, I would have snatched a 1-1 draw from whoever was offering it.
(It's a  stupid concept really, though I'm sure FIFA are working on a way to organise games so their 'favourites' get results without playing).

After only a few minutes of play, everything looked rosy.

Racon had buried the ball into the Brighton net but the referee had spotted something in the build up and a penalty was given instead.

I'd like to be able to say more but unfortunately the £21 worth of 'view' made it impossible to tell what was going on.

The picture above was taken as Jackson was scoring the penalty at the other end.
Happy days soon turned to even happier days as Calderon was sent off for a strong tackle, though personally it didn't look anything more than a yellow card offence.

Anyinsah had gone off after being injured in the build up to Racon's 'goal' and Charlton sorely missed him.

We needed a forward to be strong up front and bully the Brighton defenders with his bulk and speed.
Unfortunately we got his replacement Lee Martin who was far too lightweight.

Soon the game turned into a farce for those of us watching from behind Rob Elliot's goal.

The fog was so deep, I lost sight of the ball many times.
Once that had happened, I then spent the next 20 seconds trying to find it again.
Often I had been searching in completely the wrong sector of the pitch!

I believe the referee thought he'd made an error with the sending off as he seemed very keen on 'evening up' throughout the rest of the first half.

The home crowd quickly realised there was an easy way to get a free kick.
Appeal loudly whenever a Charlton player won a tackle or header and you'd get rewarded.

I can't have been the only one who spotted this pattern.

One of the extremely 'dodgy' decisions lead directly to the Brighton equaliser.
A header was won, the crowd shouted, the free kick was given and soon the ball was looping over Rob Elliot and nestling in the back of the Charlton net.

For most of the second half, I only know what was happening in the Brighton penalty area.
The fog had returned with a vengeance.
I could just pick out Elliot's black shorts in the distance but the goal was missing.

Late on, Paul Benson had two chances to win it for Charlton.

A tap in at the far post squirmed over his foot and a header that beat the keeper was saved on the line.

It sounded like our old friend Kish had a chance for Brighton at the other end but again, I couldn't see it.

Two points dropped? Maybe.
Were we happy to get a point at the league leaders home?
You bet.

A Casual Rating
The view gets a minus score, if that is possible.
 Jackson wins the Lacoste polo shirt for being brave enough to whack in the penalty, despite missing his last effort at Brentford.
I don't feel qualified to offer the Primark novelty slogan tee shirt this time as I missed most of the action due to the fog.

Ref Watch.
Is it possible to win a penalty and have one of the opposition sent off and still believe the referee is a complete and utter homer?
In this case, I'm sorry to say it was.

Monday, 27 December 2010


  It seems ages and ages since I last saw Charlton play.

Brentford away in the Johnny Paintdrying Cup, (14th December), was our last get together on a cold and ultimately success free evening.

Had I known then when I returned home, that I could well have just seen our last game of 2010 I'd have been amazed.

I'm due to be at Brighton later this week but I really can't see the, (ahem), 'facilities' of the Withdean holding up to another drop in temperatures.

Yesterday I'm sure the game could have gone ahead.
Everybody except referee Andy D'Urso seemed to believe the pitch was playable.

However, the game was off, only about 40 minutes before the scheduled kick off.

For me, this was little more than annoying as I'm a local but for the Saints fans who had made the (public transport free) trek and our supporters from far flung Kent and beyond it must have been bitterly disappointing.

I'm sure there was a resounding chorus of 'Bum!' from many who had given up family days to be at the Valley.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Britain Closes Down.

It's the second day of Operation Veg Out.

Yesterday, our world went white again, leaving only the most foolhardy outside for anything other than leisure activities.

On a brief walk, I witnessed 2 car accidents which only consolidated my decision to stay close to home.

The buzz word just now is 'treacherous', be it describing the paths for pedestrians or the roads for drivers.

Of course, everywhere does look beautiful.
This was Saturday morning:

This was Saturday evening:
I've been using my time quite unwisely by holding my own private film festival.
Yesterday was Chevy Chase Day.

Today I intend to have my annual chuckle at National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, even if it's just for this toe curling moment.

Whatever you end up doing, keep safe and take it easy. 

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

The Wedding Present @ KoKo.

I'm now on the North Greenwich bound train, having spent a fantastic evening revisiting the depths of my record collection.

Tonight I was at Koko, formerly the Camden Palace, for an evening of anti X Factor.

I was there for a sold out show by the Wedding Present.
 At one stage they looked to be heading for a massive career, until people like me climbed onto the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays baggy trip and then onto the sound of Seattle 'grunge', making them seem like yesterdays men.

They never changed though.
Their unique brand of heart felt love songs with jangly guitars was always going to be good enough to have a devoted following, if not too much mainstream success.
My own favourite album of theirs, 'George Best', still sounds as fresh today as it did in 1987.

The current tour is remembering the album 'Bizarro', (pictured above), 21 years old in 2010.
Tonight, they played all of the tracks, in order.

If you were a student in the late 80's, it's highly likely you would have heard 'Brassneck' or 'Kennedy', both of which were fairly big hits.

They were often played at ear splitting volume at the JSU bar, Cardiff, around that period and I assume other student places around the country were the same.
As the best known tracks, they got the biggest cheer but my own personal highlight was Take Me.
Take Me, in my opinion is what the Wedding Present are all about.

In other words, never mind what anybody else thinks, we are going to record a nine minute (plus) tune, that goes off for a five minute wig out of fast paced strumming, drumming and humming.

I'm not ashamed to say I lost myself in my own little nirvana, (not them), while Take Me was played.

An added bonus, and it really was a bonus as I already had my ticket when they were added to the bill, was The Primitives playing a supporting set.

I saw them around the time of their 'Lovely' album, 1988, and instantly fell in love with their blonde bombshell singer Tracy Tracy.
Even if you don't know The Primitives, you'll probably know their big hit 'Crash' as it's been covered by countless other, (weaker) acts.

The Primitives were fairly tight but it was the Weddoes we were there for.

Their leader, David Gedge, remains a hero to a certain kind of man, (me), and I'm already looking forward to the next time.

I'm sure DG would find it amusing to know I once had a hamster called 'Gedge'.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Pony Express.

Charlton Athletic 0 - Walsall 1.

Charlton weren't even at the races today.

I'm struggling to think of a single player wearing red who managed to come away from today's game with a little bit of credit.

I'm settling on a player who was wearing pink, goalkeeper Rob Elliott, who managed to at least keep our hopes alive when he repelled a 1:1 chance late on.

Ultimately, it was completely 'pony' from our boys.

As ever, when playing the teams at the bottom, Charlton managed to blur the quality line so successfully a random viewer would never have guessed we weren't the team struggling at the basement.

What a random viewer would have been doing at todays snore fest I've no idea but you get my point.

A poor crowd treated to a poor game on a poor day for football, (cold, Sunday, near Christmas etc. etc.)

Luckily, we have the chance to get back on that winning train on Tuesday evening.

It can't possibly be as bad as today but even if it is, I hope our supporters get behind the team rather than booing.

After ten games without defeat the team know we can cheer when things are going well. They need us even more when things aren't quite so rosy.

A Casual Rating.
The poorest of poor team performances.
We weren't out thought tactically, just outplayed by a team who seemed to sense it was their day.
Nobody is getting the Lacoste polo shirt this time.
I assume the entire team will be wearing the dreaded Primark novelty slogan tee shirts at training tomorrow morning.

Ref Watch.
Nothing to report here.
He seemed to keep up with play and even the most fanatical Charlton supporter would find it impossible to blame the officials for the result.

We did enjoy watching the East stand lino's Man Boobs swaying as he ran.
It was that kind of afternoon.

See you at Brentford for, we hope, a much better performance.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

But is it Art?

Today, as the Charlton game at Rochdale was a victim of the weather, I stepped outside and went for a Saturday afternoon walk.

Saturdays at this time of year are usually either spent inside football grounds or with the aural company of the fragrant 'Emma' from BBC London.

Today, I went on a bit of a wander and ended up at Borough Market.

After polishing off my coffee from Monmouth, I walked over Southwark Bridge and headed towards the Tower to watch the Christmas skaters before ambling back to London Bridge.

While waiting for the Greenwich bound train, another train heading towards Crayford went past on the same line.

Suddenly, I was mentally back in 1985 and grabbing my iPhone, (obviously some things have moved on since then), to take pictures.

Unfortunately, I missed the best carriages as there were too many people on the platform but I couldn't help myself from getting excited about the 'burners'.

Twenty five years ago, I was a little obsessed with graffiti art.

Somewhere, I'm not sure where now, there are photograph albums rammed with pictures I took in the period from around 1984 up to around 1989 when I 'grew out of it'.

I spent what in retrospect was foolish amounts of time in areas of town where being a young kid with a camera was asking for trouble.

I used to regularly go under the Westway, West London to check up on the weekly developments sprayed there.

Westbourne Park was another place I visited, as was nearby Ladbrooke Grove.

The massive turning point for me was the huge wooden boards erected by the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden piazza around that time, where a group had been asked to 'do their stuff'.

For the first time, I was able to look at the work without fearing somebody was going to ask me what I was up to.
It was a popular tourist place and many people had cameras.

Soon I was spending as much time as I could there, watching the Breakdancers and getting to know some of the faces that went with the names I'd seen tagged around. They wouldn't have known me but I knew who they were.
It made me feel as if I was 'in' on something Joe Public didn't understand.

My own feeble attempts at getting involved were truly pathetic.

For one of my 'O' level art pieces of coursework, I made a large brick wall on canvas and copied a poster advertising lipstick, which I stuck on top.
 I then peeled off the 'poster,' leaving only bits of it behind and covered the whole thing with my own versions of the images I'd learned to draw by heart on the back of my maths books.

I wasn't very popular when I stunk out the art studio with my aerosol paints.

Due to an extreme case of lily liver, I was never tempted to try on walls or other public spaces.

I remember being quite thrilled when watching the Lenny Henry show and recognising the art work of a group called The Chrome Angelz being used as his backdrop for his standup.
TCA were, to my mind, the best of the best.
My first trip to Paris included an afternoon traipsing around some run down blocks in the area called Stalingrad, searching for some pieces painted by them that I'd seen in a magazine!

I'm now a fully paid up member of the 'grown ups' but I still appreciate when artists have been skillful in public.
I'm not a fan of people making a mess and just scrawling their names but colourful or witty work still gives me joy.

Recently, I heard about a piece stencilled onto the side of The Greenwich Hotel so I went to visit it, wondering if it was a 'real' Banksy, or just 'in the style of '.
What do you think?

I'd like to thank whoever sprayed the train today.
I'm sure there'll be lots of hand wringing about private or public property being damaged and I'd agree 100% that it's not the way forward.

Having said that, it did give me lots of pleasure.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

England Not Corrupt Enough For FIFA.

England failed to land the 2018 World Cup this afternoon.

Despite having what was universally agreed to be the best existing set up, the best bid and the most high profile dignitaries, England United only attracted 2 votes, one of which was their own.

Many will blame the BBC for their hounding of FIFA members at a critical time.
The Sunday Times were also very keen for the same shady individuals to account for quite dubious practices.

Personally, I believe in a free press and shysters should be highlighted, even if we are wanting something from them.

It's fairly obvious FIFA aren't even remotely bothered about corruption or they wouldn't have handed the event to Russia.

It's highly likely now that the only major football tournament England will host in my lifetime will be Euro '96.
I'm now so glad I enjoyed that one and managed to witness the win over the Netherlands at (old) Wembley.

Sod you FIFA. 
I hope as much money as possible, (and our country raises millions and millions from football), now goes directly to charities, needy causes and grass roots projects and bypasses your greasy palms.

I can't wait for the next time Sepp Blatter arrives on these shores.
A warm reception?
You bet.

The final word comes from my friend Adam, who sent me his thoughts when he found out Qatar got the nod for hosting the 2022 World Cup.

 Glad to see a nation with a great footballing pedigree like Qatar get the finals in 2022. I think most people would agree their sporting heritage earns them the right to stage a finals and that it's got nothing to do with having vast sums of money.