Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Newswipe returns!

A heads up to everyone that Newswipe (with Charlie Brooker) is back on the oft ignored BBC4. Its regular slot is 10:30pm on a Tuesday, but of course the iplayer should enable you to ignore such things as schedules. Move quick for the first episode though, as it falls off the iplayer's database sometime on Friday.

So what is Newswipe, and why am I bothering to tell you about it?

Basically the show is just Charlie Brooker bitching about how poor news coverage is these days. The first episode dealt with the constant bubble of fear that news coverage seems to provide. The most recent episode covers filler... What on earth to do on a slow news day?

The format is pretty straightforward too, most of the show is Charlie talking, interspersed with clips from news stations that prove his point. There is a guest poet in Tim Key, an 'american correspondant' (whos name eludes me) who sips whiskey and offers polemic that is often right on the money and a guest speaker who deals with the topic of the day in a far more serious light.

So, watch it, it's simultaneously shocking, thought-provoking and hilarious, even when it goes a little post-modern. Oh and come back and thank me if you enjoyed it :)

Monday, 25 January 2010

Tottenham Hotspur vs Leeds United

In a format rather heavily inspired (read ripped off) by football365* I thought I'd provide a few thoughts that came out of the weekend's FA cup fixture. I am an armchair spurs fan (too poor and not determined enough to fight for a ticket to games) but am trying to look at the game as neutrally as possible (mostly).

  • For the first 20 minutes it seemed that the Leeds goal was haunted by the ghost of Boaz Myhill. Leeds keeper Casper Ankergren repelled shot after shot including a decidedly tame Jermain Defoe penalty. Despite this Leeds could hardly be called a one man team on the day.

  • If anyone in a Leeds shirt did deserve that accolade, it was neither Ankergren nor the much lauded Jermaine Beckford, but Robert Snodgrass. He was as involved in combatting the Spurs midfield as he was in setting up many of Leeds attacks. Simon Grayson's allowing of Snodgrass to roam paid massive dividends for Leeds and set up classic 70 minutes of football.

  • As alluded to earlier, Defoe's penalty in the early stages of the game was incredibly, pitifully tame. Beckford's spot-kick taken in the dying seconds of a fraught game, with the weight of Yorkshire on his shoulders, was an absolute masterclass.

  • What exactly is the point of Jermaine Jenas? I read with amusement that Inter Milan are interested in his signature. After a dreadful display against Liverpool and a toothless and aimless 90 minutes against a league one side, Spurs fans may be having a whip-round to help Mourinho with the transfer fee.

  • Of course the 'league one' statement in the point above is far more of a stick to beat Jenas with than Leeds. The Yorkshiremen looked at times like a top flight outfit, with an industry that has been severly lacking from other visitors to the Lane. Think Wigan for example.

  • Saturday's game could have been a coming of age game for Gareth Bale. He was mostly dependable at the back, caused real trouble going forward and looked much like the stand-out player that joined Spurs during that diabolical spell at the start of last season. Of course one swallow does not a summer make, but there were hints of a far more mature and able Gareth Bale than has yet been seen in a Spurs shirt.

  • You have to feel sorry for Roman Pavlyuchenko. It may be that he isn't working hard enough in training, it may that London life just isn't for him but his goal showed exactly what he is capable of. This is a player that has performed admirably on the sizable stage that is Euro 2008. Before completely running out of steam after what was effectively two back-to-back seasons, the Russian looked like he could be good for us. We may never know, and could regret it.

  • How much to Tottenham miss Aaron Lennon? Without him the team lacks the width to really stretch defenses. Also missed was Tom Huddlestone who has been class all season, his intellegence on the ball and running from deep could see him maturing into a Frank Lampard style figure. Without him we are left playing Jenas, which means we may as well be playing with ten men.

  • The real winners yesterday were the neutrals. As much as it is a cliche, Saturday's game showed all of the magic of the FA cup. On Wednesday February 3rd, there will be a replay at Elland Road and while neither manager may welcome the extra game, the fans are certain to be up for it, and the atmosphere is likely to be electric. Hopefully the match will be another classic.

*I won't provide a direct link as it's a Murdoch thing, consider it a *very* guilty pleasure. You can find the url easily enough if you think about it.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

A ramble and a soundbite

So, I've kind of neglected this space of mine so far this year, but am determined to not give up. I like writing, but the problem is that I'm not the fastest at constructing my thoughts so need quite a lot of time to provide the sort of post I feel is sufficient.
As a result there may be a few more stream of consciousness posts on here in the near future as I try and train myself to take the time to document some of the things that are going through my mind. I'm sure my two followers have felt really let down by the lack of output!

Anyway there is a thought that has been flashing through my mind of late that I've managed to boil down to a handy phrase.
"Politics is the art of making a country look worse than it is, in order to gain a highly paid job. Or it's the art of making it look better than it is, in order to keep one"

You can quote me on that :)