Sunday, 28 October 2007

Jelly Babies

This post was originally going to be about a court case this week, whereby a guy punched a 96 year old war veteran on a bus (causing the pensioner to lose sight in one eye), and only received a suspended sentence for his troubles.

But then I had a look at my previous few posts and thought "hmmm it's getting a bit too Daily Mail on here at the moment". So I thought long and hard about writing something a bit more positive.

And there I was in Sainsbury's doing my shopping, and BANG, it hit me. On a gondola end, on offer at 50% off; Bassetts Jelly Babies. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

My immediate thought was to remain calm and rational. After all, I had broken the golden rule of food shopping, by going into the store already hungry. I also considered the dietary & financial implications. But then I thought "F*** it, let's live for today" and cleared the store of it's entire Jelly Babies stock.

Put simply, Jelly Babies are food utopia to me. The King of Sweets. The Daddy of Confectionery. Here are some facts for your curiosity....

  • Jelly Babies were launched 75 years ago by Bassetts, to celebrate the end of World War One. They were originally known as Peace Babies
  • Production was put on hold during World War Two due to a shortage of raw materials, but made a comeback in 1953 as Jelly Babies.
  • The most popular flavours are as follows: strawberry, lime, blackcurrant, lemon, raspberry & orange. Hard to believe, I know - orange wins hands down as far as I'm concerned!
  • 3 million Jelly babies are eaten every week in the UK.
  • My favourite incarnation of Doctor Who, Tom Baker, used to carry some around in that big coat of his.
  • Apparently they are not suitable for vegetarians. Harsh!

So there you have it. If it's high brow, intelligent debate you're after - this blog is most certainly the place to come!

Thursday, 18 October 2007


I felt deflated yesterday after England's defeat to Russia in the Euro 2008 Qualifier. Not as deflated as some friends of mine who travelled all the way to Russia only to be prevented by Robocop from collecting their tickets - they had to watch the game in a hotel bar - but still pretty pissed off.

We looked fairly comfortable for most of the game, but after Russia's equalising goal we fell apart - no organisation defensively. By the end our players' body language conveyed a lack of confidence / belief / desire.

Compare & contrast this with our Rugby team, who have turned around an appalling defeat in the group stages of the World Cup to South Africa, and within two weeks have dumped 2 of the favourites (one the host, the other our arch rivals) out of the tournament to set up a rematch vs the Springboks in the final.

Talk about inspiring! The rugby's not been pretty but even the staunchest critics of England's style have been in awe at our spirit & endeavour. These guys have given everything for the cause.

So what's the difference? We were having a debate about this in the office today at work. Our discussion centred around the singing of the national anthems before the game. Compare and contrast:

1. The Rugby team, arms around shoulders, all taped up heads & cauliflower ears, belting out every word, with passion & emotion pouring out of every pore.

2. Our overpaid, well-pampered footballers, some of them mumbling the words, others staring into space. I swear, some of them are listening to their i-pods.

Maybe this is a bit harsh. Some of players DO care, and some of them do know the words to God Save The Queen. Is it a rugby vs football thing? One of my colleagues pointed out that the rugby players probably had to sing the national anthem every day at school, so they should know it pretty well by now!! However, other football nations sing their anthems with more gusto than ours.

Perhaps GSTQ isn't as rousing as other national anthems. As an example, I really like the Italian one (Il Canto degli Italiani if you're interested), and surprisingly I like the French La Marseillaise. No, this shouldn't be an excuse. English by the Grace of God, and all that.

Maybe it's players' personal preferences. Some might feel the need to be professional, and focus on the game ahead. Others might be bursting with pride on the inside, but externally they appear calm. Gary Neville is patriotic, but I've read somewhere that he doesn't sing because he is anti Monarchy.

Whatever it is, I wish the English football team would take a leaf out of their rugby counterparts, and sing GSTQ with some pride and passion. I've seen rugby players bursting with so much patriotic pride that they're crying during their anthems - what sort of message would this send to the opposition, and to the fans who would give their right gonad to pull on the shirt? Wednesday night's performance was summed up for me by Rio Ferdinand's half hearted attempt to stop Russia's 2nd goal going in. Most of the fans watching would have thrown their bodies on the line - Rio was probably wondering about what to spend his £100k per week wages on.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Alan Green

Oooo. I really don't like Alan Green, the commentator on BBC Radio Five Live.

Whenever I tune in to listen to a football match commentary, you can guarantee that if Green is on the mic, within 5 seconds the dial on my radio will be turning in the direction of Talk Sport. His dulcet tones can wipe a smile off my face in an instant. It's not his Northern Irish accent that I object to - far from it. Rather, its the man behind the voice.

He is a bit of controversial figure in Sports broadcasting. Over the years he has fallen foul of several famous football managers, including Sir Alex Ferguson & Sam Allardyce. You could argue on this basis that he's not a bad bloke! No, my opinion of him is purely subjective - I think that the guy is an over-opinionated & pompous git.

He's bad enough as a commentator. When I tune in to a football match on the radio, I want an informed analysis & a mildly entertaining account of the game. Sadly I'm too tight to splash out on a Sky Sports contract, so I often listen to the radio. There are some excellent match broadcasters on the radio - a task which is arguably more difficult than being a TV commentator. Alan Green, on the other hand, bombards his listeners with his own turgid opinions & suffocates his audience. Middlesborough vs Chelsea turns into The Alan Green Show.

He really plumbs the depths of sports journalism on 606. This phone-in show is usually transmitted on 5 Live directly after the football matches have finished on a Saturday afternoon. It allows frustrated/happy football fans to spout off to the nation about how badly/well their team has done that day. Not when Alan Green is on though. He hardly allows members of the public a word in edge ways. Now this is isn't necessarily a bad thing, bearing in mind of some of the dribbling tools that phone in. But again - it's not supposed to be The Alan Green Show. God help you if you are a fan of one of the teams further down the football pyramid. If you're lucky he might know a couple of minor facts about your club, and he'll interrupt you to tell you this, before patronising you & then going off to wank on about how wonderful Man Utd/Chelsea/Liverpool are.

Last Sunday, Ray Stubbs was in charge of the 606 phone in - and he is like a breath of fresh air in comparison. He certainly know his football - the guy is a Tranmere Rovers fan & actually played for them in his teens. He's knowledgeable about football clubs from every level, is humble when airing his opinions, and most importantly, allows the people phoning in have their say. Alan Green could pick up a few tips.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Jean Charles de Menezes

This isn't specifically about Jean Charles de Menezes, although it's tragic that an innocent man was shot & killed whilst getting onto a tube train. He was only 27 years old when he died; that's no age at all.

Neither is this post a criticism of the armed police that pulled the trigger. Clearly, something went badly wrong that day at Stockwell Tube station. Whether it was human error, a failure of police procedure, incompetence or merely an unfortunate sequence of events, I doubt that the truth will ever be known. However, it has to be recognised that the Metropolitan Police were operating in unprecedented circumstances. Just two weeks prior to the fatal shooting, dozens of people had been murdered on London's transport network by religious fanatics, & the previous day a similar attempt at mass murder had failed.

This post is really about the media's balance of reporting. The de Menezes shooting was an indirect consequence of 52 commuters being killed on 7th July, 2005. I couldn't name one of those 52 off the top of my head. Could you? The de Menezes case has generated a lot of headlines, as his bereaved family & friends seek justice. The same cannot be said for the 52 who died, and the many hundreds who were injured...their struggle goes on quietly in the background.

RIP all those who died on 7th July........Mrs Susan Levy, Mr Jamie Gordon, Mr Philip Stuart Russell, Miss Shyanuja Parathasangary, Miss Miriam Hyman, Mr William Wise, Miss Shahara Islam, Mr Ciaran Cassidy, Miss Jennifer Nicholson, Ms Miheala Otto, Mr Anthony Fatayi-Williams, Mrs Gladys Wundowa, Mr Arthur Edlin Frederick, Mr Adrian Johnson, Ms Anat Rosenburg, Mr Jonathan Downey, Mr Philip (Phil) Beer, Miss Ganze Gunoral, Mr Colin Morley, Mr David Foulkes, Miss Neetu Jain, Mr Lee Baisden, Ms Laura Webb, Mr Giles Hart, Ms Anne Moffat, Mr Michael Minh Matsushita, Mrs Marie Joanne Hartley, Mr James Stuart Mayes, Mr Richard James Ellery, Mr Michael Stanley Brewster, Mrs Behnaz Mozakka, Ms Fiona Stevenson, Ms Helen Jones, Mr Christian "Njoya" Small, Ms Karolina Gluck, Ms Rachelle Chung For Yuen, Ms Monika Suchocka, Mr James Adams, Ms Elizabeth Daplyn, Mr Ihab Slimane, Mr Richard Gray, Ms Samantha Badham, Mr Lee Harris, Miss Emily Rose Jenkins, Mrs Mala Trivedi, Ms Ojara Ikeagwu, Ms Benedetta Ciaccia, Miss Shelley Marie Mather, Miss Carrie Taylor, Mr Sam Ly, Ms Anna Brandt, Mr Atique Sharifi.

Monday, 1 October 2007


Every so often a song comes along that absolutely blows me away. Peter Bjorn and John's Young Folks has been knocking around for a while now... I think it was re-released recently. It's certainly getting plenty of exposure now - but this is one song I don't think I'll get tired of listening to. Watch/listen to it here:

One thing bothers me slightly though - the opening drums riff reminds me of the ending credits of Only Fools & Horses. If you don't believe me, try singing along:

We've got some half price cracked ice and miles and miles of carpet tiles,
T.V.s, deep freeze and David Bowie L.P.s,
Ball games, gold chains, whassa-names, and at a push,
Some Trevor Francis track suits from a mush in Shepherds Bush...

Expect to see the two fused together soon on Mashed Hits.....