Archives » 2011 » April

Livingston 1-1 Dumbarton

League goals against predictor:- 70

SFL Div 2, Almondvale Stadium, 29/4/11

I didn’t dare to hope for this. A welcome and unexpected away point. And with two important players out too.

However, with Stenny losing it means we’re safe.

In the dark days of September and October I couldn’t conceive we’d be secure with a game to go – or at all in fact.

Congratulations to Alan Adamson and the boys.

It’ll be party time at the Rock next week – and I’ll be there.

Eddie Turnbull

I was saddened today to hear of the death of Eddie Turnbull.

Since his heyday as part of the great Hibernian forward line known as the “Famous Five” was in the 1940s and 50s I never saw him play. During that time he won no less than three league championships in five seasons. Imagine a Hibs player – a Hibs team! – doing that now. Turnbull was also the first Scottish player to score in European competition (Hibs were pioneers in the European Champions’ Cup.)

I most remember him as a manager of Aberdeen and Hibs in the 60s and 70s when he guided those teams to the Scottish Cup and the League Cup respectively. He had previously managed Queen’s Park. The Hibs team of that time may not have achieved quite the heights the Famous Five did but were a formidable presence in Scottish football.

As I recall Turnbull was of the old school and something of a disciplinarian – you’d probably not get away with that as a manager now.

Edward Hunter Turnbull: 12/4/1923 – 30/4/2011. So it goes.

Panem Et Circenses

Well, we may not have had much bread but today we had the circus.

I was glad of the day off but I can’t say I feel any better for it. The next few years are going to be rough economically. The Government has done the exact opposite of what was required to ameliorate the recession.

Still, nothing like a bit of pageantry to distract the plebs, eh?

I wish the couple concerned nothing but well for themselves but the advantages they have will (bar the revolution, and perhaps even in that remote likelihood) ensure they want for nothing. The bride in particular seems to be much more in tune with her new husband than her groom’s mother ever was. In the bits that I saw there was a perceptible warmth between them; a warmth entirely absent from Charles and Diana’s relationship. Their marriage might have a better chance of long term success as a result.

Diana was a lamb to the slaughter; a sacrifice to (some of) the British public’s appetite for figureheads and royal babies to bill and coo over. Her tragedy – if it was a tragedy – was that she didn’t realise it, at least not until it was way too late, and then she didn’t accept that noblesse oblige.

The purpose of a royal consort is to provide an heir – and spare. Once Diana had done that she became an adjunct, decoration, window dressing. Her personality couldn’t cope with that nor that Charles had never been interested in her beyond his dynastic responsibilities: before their marriage they had met very few times.

She did however carve out for herself a niche as an object of glamour, a celebrity.

I don’t think the new Duchess of Cambridge (and Countess of Strathearn) is as innocent, and there is no doubt that she has had a “normal” courtship with her husband. Ten years is enough to get to know anybody.

Doubtless the dynastically necessary babies will be along soon enough.

Reelin’€™ In The Years 2: Vehicle

This is one of those songs from the cusp of the 1960s/1970s.

The Ides Of March never made much of an impact in the UK where Vehicle was only a minor hit. The song’s composer, Jim Peterik, later became a member of Survivor, though, and co-wrote Eye Of The Tiger, which ever since the film Rocky III has been the obligatory music to accompany anything at all to do with boxing.

I liked Vehicle‘s blending of brass and rock. As I recall, Blood, Sweat And Tears and Chicago (Transit Authority) were mining a similar vein around that time.

The song has an undertone of menace (“I’€™m the friendly stranger in the black sedan/Won’€™t you step inside my car?”) but had a more innocent genesis. Peterik wrote it about an old girlfriend who wasn’t that into him but used him as a taxi service. I vaguely remember reading, though, that after being apart for a while the pair later married.

The Ides Of March: Vehicle

El Non-Clasico: Real Madrid 0-2 Barcelona

UEFA Champions League (sic) semi-final, first leg, Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, Madrid, 27/4/11

This season’s quarter-finals notwithstanding, matches in the so-called Champions League are frequently sterile affairs with teams tending to cancel each other out. There is perhaps too much at stake for the football to be anything but efficient and relatively unimaginative.

This exemplified the trend. This was unedifying watching at best, ugly at worst. A petty, ill-tempered, niggly, fractious affair. A playground tiff interrupted by flashes of football. The residue of too many games between these two in the recent past I suppose.

The play-acting was reprehensible and the questioning of the referee’s decisions went too far; not to mention him being mobbed at times. And as for players asking officials to show cards – red or yellow – to opponents, well it’s about time this was made an offence in itself. If I was a ref I’d be tempted to treat it as dissent and act accordingly. But then I suppose a ref who did this would not stay a ref for long.

In the end we got three sendings off – one of a player who, due to a fight among the subs at half time, never even set foot on the pitch!

The home side played defensively – and still lost. They might also have lost if they had tried to attack but the spectacle would have been more bearable. Whether the imbalance of numbers made the telling difference to the result is of course difficult to assess.

As it was Jose Mourinho’s tactics were far from what the name of Real Madrid is supposed to stand for, a betrayal of the club’s attacking traditions.

The beautiful game this was not.

Except for one flash of genius which wasn’t enough to redeem what had gone before.

Congratulations, and Otherwise

A friend of mine who was born in the town let me know an amazing statistic about Arbroath.

It seems that Arbroath FC’s title win on Saturday is the first time they have ever won a Division.

This is astonishing since thay have played in the upper echelons of Scottish football fairly often and indeed for many a long year had never finished below sixth in the old Second Division (the two Division era) which meant never worse than 24th in Scotland.

You’d think – I did think – that in all their 133 year history (including their famous 36-0 win against Bon Accord) they had managed to win a league before but all their promotions have come as a result of finishing second (yes, I remember 1972) or winning the play-offs.

Congratulations to the Red Lichties. (It’s about time!)

On a stranger note, and also at a Scottish football ground on Saturday, we have the behaviour of Dunfermline Athletic mascot Sammy the Tammy before the crunch match with local rivals Raith Rovers.

Sammy marched out dressed in a cardboard tank and proceeded to make sweeping gestures with his “gun” in the direction of the massed ranks of Raith supporters. These were accompanied by the sound of machine guns from the club’s PA system! A You Tube video can be watched here. Unfortunately the sound quality is inconclusive as regards the machine gun noises.

The police have interviewed “Sammy” but will take the matter no further.

I am left wondering what the reaction would have been had a similar incident occurred at an Old Firm game….

Mr Irresponsible. A Patronising Git

Our esteemed Prime Minister, Mr Irresponsible, showed himself in his true colours today when he tried to put down a Labour MP who was heckling him.

His phrase, “Calm down, dear,” is all very well for Michael Winner (he, after all, is only doing commercials) but ill becomes the head of the UK government. There’s a video on You Tube here. Note the glee too with which it was greeted by the MPs behind him and the insufferable George Osborne beside him.

This is the true face of “Call me Dave.” A person who thinks others are not worth a degree of respect in his dealings with them and who deploys casually dismissive, arguably sexist, language as soon as his guard is down.

Cat’s Eye Nebula

Another image from Astronomy Picture of the Day.

This one was from Sunday. It’s the Cat’s Eye Nebula.

To me it resembles a very early embryo as seen under a microscope. Compare the second image in on the third line down here.

Not So Super Injunction

One of the many people who have taken out super injunctions – that reprehensible state of affairs where the press is not allowed to publish, and hence the public is not even allowed to know, that an injunction against publication of certain material has been obtained – has turned out to be none other than BBC journalist Andrew Marr.

This is almost unsatirisable. A journalist takes legal steps to ensure other journalists may not publish something? Bizarre.

At least he seems to have come round to the realisation that hiding things is the opposite of the business he is in. It’s not as if he’s a politician.

But, to lower this to the level of the flippant, does anyone else think that a strange part of this story is that Andrew Marr has somehow managed to be attractive to more than one woman?

Top 50 Gollancz Book Titles

Over at Orion Publishing Group their Gollancz imprint is celebrating 50 years of publishing SF. They’re having a vote to see which of their chosen titles is the best. There are two categories, one for SF, one for Fantasy.

I thought I’d do this as an Ian Sales type meme.

The ones in bold I have read.

Gollancz top 25 SF titles:-

A Case of Conscience by James Blish
Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
Brasyl by Ian McDonald
The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Dune by Frank Herbert

Fairyland by Paul McAuley
The Female Man by Joanna Russ (I have now read this.)
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
Flood by Stephen Baxter
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes *
Gateway by Frederik Pohl
Hyperion by Dan Simmons
Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon
More than Human by Theodore Sturgeon
Pavane by Keith Roberts
Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds
Ringworld by Larry Niven
Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner
Tau Zero by Poul Anderson
The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
The Separation by Christopher Priest
The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester

Yellow Blue Tibia by Adam Roberts

* as a short story.

As you can see I’ve read all but five of these.

Gollancz top 25 Fantasy titles:-

Beauty by Sheri S. Tepper
Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie
Book of the New Sun (Vol 1&2) (Vol 3&4) by Gene Wolfe
The Book of Skulls by Robert Silverberg

Conan Volume One by Robert E. Howard
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
Elric by Michael Moorcock
Eric by Terry Pratchett
Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Little, Big by John Crowley
Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees
Memoirs of a Master Forger by William Heaney
Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
The Runes of the Earth by Stephen Donaldson
Something Wicked this Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
Tales of the Dying Earth by Jack Vance
Viriconium by M. John Harrison
Wolfsangel by M. D. Lachlan

Only seven from the Fantasy list, though.

For what it’s worth I voted for Keith Roberts’s Pavane and Little, Big by John Crowley.

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