Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Earth Stood Still

On Tuesday night, the earth moved for Yummy Mummy. Well it would, her being in the sex business and all.

The earth apparently moved for millions of people. But not for me.

I was totally Mrs. Smug in the morning, having heard and felt nothing at 12.55am.

I have always claimed I could sleep through an earthquake, a nuclear bomb or an alien invasion and now I’ve proved it.

On the first count at least.

Bring it on Ruskies.

Keeganwatch week 6

Matches Won 0
Goals Scored 3
Goals Conceded 16
Days to Easter 24
SkyBet odds 7/1

Day 38 came and went. We held our breath and then had to let it out to laugh, as 5 goals sailed past Shay Given. 11-1 on aggregate. Kevin was just pipped to Pitiful Figure of the Week, by William Gallas and his post-match tears. As consolation, he still gets Keeganism of the week.

'I'm 110% committed to this club, and you can't get more committed than that' - Mmm. Try telling that to Paul Gascoigne.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Rhythm and Blues

I have not been running for the last two weeks, thanks to a coughy coldy thing and a twingy knee due to wearing unfamiliar, blingy high heels to a party last week.

On Saturday I resolved to set aside all things coughy, coldy and twingy, to keep my training on schedule. I stretched as usual and decided to take it easy and to pull up if I couldn't run it off.

I'd only done about 3/4 mile when something gave. Not in a good, 'I want you to be fully satisfied before I even consider my own pleasure' kind of way. But 'oh, shit, how are you going to get home from here on one leg with no mobile and no access to Dylan'.

Two neighbours apparently saw me in distress (as I found out later in the weekend when they said 'oh, I saw you limping on the road yesterday, was everything all right?'), but didn't stop to see if I needed help.

Ice packs, support bandages, curry at Yummy Mummy's and some splendid sports results have all failed to lift my mood and things have worsened today.

I'm really not steady on my feet, so I have acquired a stick. The problem is, it doesn't come with instructions and I don't seem to be able to get any kind of coordination. I'm taking the Greg House approach at present - leaning heavily on the stick when I step on the right foot, but it's ending up more like Rolf Harris doing Jake the Peg.

Despite having medals for ballroom dancing, it turns out I have no rhythm. Clearly the skills required to perform with a walking stick outweigh anything Strictly Come Dancing demands.

So all I have to look forward to in my old age is sitting on the sidelines in the nursing home sipping Guinness through a straw, while the other old biddies in their silver shoes and polygripped dentures cop off at the tea dance.

Friday, February 22, 2008


Facebook is awash with applications and I'm bombarded with invites to find out what car I am, what drug I am, what kind of eyes I have and so on, ad nauseum.

But yesterday I discovered the one golden nugget that makes having applications worthwhile.

Bob Dylan Messaging.

There is a short excerpt from the Subterranean Homesick Blues video, but you get to choose the words on the cards and then send it.

So far I have used the medium of Dylan to ask my Great Manchester Run partner how her training is going and to find out from Yummy Mummy whether we're still on for a curry on Saturday night. Definitely an upgrade from mere texting.

Couldn't find a way to embed the video as it's in Facebook, but here's a still with some pretentious twaddle (leaving it as 'Bhuna or Biryani?' just looked plain wrong).

Keeganwatch week 5

No match for Kevin's boys this week as they are not involved in any cups. However, he cancels their Sunshine training trip to Dubai to concentrate on motivating them in the freezing cold of their home training ground. Tomorrow is day 38 in his current spell in charge, still looking for his first win - it's Newcastle United v Manchester United. The first time he was at St James' he walked out on day 38, (although they did talk him round).

*rubs hands in anticipation*

Monday, February 18, 2008

Fly Fishing

Doing the rounds of the home parties alongside Pampered Chef, Virgin Vie and Goody Two Shoes, is Venture - stylised photography cum art at outrageous prices.

Bait The Hook

At the party, you buy a voucher worth £165 for only £35. For this you get a professional photography session in the studio and a 10” by 8” photograph. Bargain.

Play the Line

In the empty white studio, you dance, run, jump and play with your kids, while the snapper shouts instructions and music plays in the background.

Reel Them In

A week later you return to choose your free photograph.

In the viewing room, with soft music and dimmed lights, a slide show of beautiful, airbrushed family images plays, while the consultant talks you through the albums, composites and sculptures you can upgrade to from your party voucher. Nothing under 3 figures. All major credit cards accepted.

In the past, Yummy Mummy and Mrs Second Hand Car Dealer have both fallen prey to this clever seduction. Mr Duck and I have held firm and chosen our single 10” by 8”, escaping with our wallets intact.

So, last week, clutching a £35 voucher, we went back for a second session, secure in the knowledge that we could hold firm. Little did we know that J R Hartley himself would be at work this time.

On Saturday we went to see the results. We chose a single, beautiful close up shot of JP and Tiddler hugging the Cuddly Huskies we bought in Lappland before Christmas and prepared to leave.

Then they hit us with the Big One. ‘Before you go, we’ve done a special composite for you to take a look at.’

The photographer had suggested bringing along a football and some kit to take a few themed shots at the session the previous week. Tiddler obliged with a fine display of chesting and shooting, and JP showed off his Cruyff turn.

Mr Hartley revealed a stunning piece of artwork – red, white and black with the Liverpool and United badges, our Little Ducks, a winter premier league ball and enough trick shots to keep John Virgo in exhibition games. Completely irresistible.

Hook, Line and Sinker

We emptied our wallets, re-mortgaged the house, sold a kidney and headed for home.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Things You Encounter When You Haven't Got Your Gun #5

Amid the media hype and frankly offensive suggestions that anyone would mark the anniversary of the passing of 23 people with anything less than full respect, a city prepared to honour the memory of the finest team of players ever to grace the turf of Old Trafford on Sunday.

It was with some trepidation that I walked towards the ground in the warm Spring sunshine. The mood was subdued and the heartfelt sentiments scrawled on shirts, scarves and flowers laid before the concourse expressed the thoughts of thousands. An inscribed scarf and a replica programme from the 1958 game against Sheffield Wednesday were waiting on my seat – a gift from the club for each supporter, which I will treasure. Songs from 1958 replaced Iggy Pop on the PA, just for the day.

I was proud to stand silent, scarf aloft - stifled sobs from Fellow Fan beside me the only sound.

How galling then to hear that many of these priceless scarves were being offered on Ebay yesterday for mere money.

View from my seat. Photo courtesy of Fellow Fan.

Keeganwatch Week 4

Matches Won 0
Goals Scored 2
Goals Conceded 11
Days to Easter 39
SkyBet odds 7/1

Aston Villa 4 Newcastle 1
It started well enough with a goal from the Poison Dwarf, but it seemed like the Dementors delivered the half-time talk in the away dressing room, as 11 strangers took to the field for the second forty five, with no memory of what they were there for. ‘Same 11 players, same numbers on the shirts’ says a crestfallen Keegan, shaking his head sadly after the game. A dark-suited Dennis Wise, looked on grimly from the Directors’ Box, like an undertaker mentally measuring up his client for a coffin.

Monday, February 04, 2008


JP is prone to nosebleeds. Has been since tinyness.

We're used to it - as is he. He deals with them with no fuss - sitting out from football or snowball fights to sort it out. They come without warning, and not necessarily following a blow to the nose - that's a blow as in knock, not a blow as in Kleenex. Although a blow to the nose as in Kleenex can also set it off.

Sometimes it starts when he's asleep and he wakes up in the morning, dried blood all over his face and bedcovers like a scene from Taggart. As was the case this morning.

Unfortunately, it also happened when he had a friend over for a sleepover, whose parents had not warned us of their son's phobia about blood (- why would they, to be honest? - it's not something that comes up in everyday playground conversation)

We were disturbed by piercing screams from the bedroom. JP was sitting up in bed, bemused, but looking like roadkill and his traumatised playmate in the readybed was completely inconsolable and refused to stay another minute.

He's never been persuaded to come again and JP has never been invited back.

I'm thinking of renting him out for Hallowe'en.

Keeganwatch week 3

Matches Won 0
Goals Scored 1
Goals Conceded 7
Skybet Odds - 7/1

He Who Must Not be Named.
It's Groundhog Day. 3-0 to the Arsenal - again. Then yesterday, an offside goal sees two points dropped at St James Park after Owen jumps unfeasibly high to head a goal in. Has he borrowed Oscar Pistorius' carbon fibre feet? Curiously, no-one will utter Keegan's name in interviews, referring only to 'The New Manager' or 'since the Manager arrived'. Is he Voldemort in disguise?