Archive for December, 2008


Sam Allardyce Reveals Unsavoury Side After Blackburn Debut

by Alex Dimond

Big Sam — dishonest?

Big Sam — dishonest?


On Saturday Sam Allardyce enjoyed the perfect start to his Blackburn managerial career, enjoying a 3-0 win over fellow strugglers Stoke City. 

For many, the result itself was the story of the weekend — marking as it did the return to form of a side that had begun to look dead and buried under Paul Ince.

For others, however, it was Allardyce’s post-match actions that were the most intriguing. Ever since a 2006 Panorama documentary — one that suggested “Big Sam” and his son, Craig, had accepted bungs as part of transfer dealings while at Bolton Wanderers — Allardyce had resolutely refused to talk to the BBC.

On Saturday, however, Allardyce was more than happy to speak to the BBC’s John Murray at great length after his side’s “near perfect” win.

Continue reading ‘Sam Allardyce Reveals Unsavoury Side After Blackburn Debut’


Reports of Pop’s death have been greatly exaggerated

It was Dr. Pepper that did it. Promising a free can to everyone in America seems to have embarrassed Axl Rose in a way that the multi-million dollar ‘hurry-up’ payments and tales of chicken coops in the recording studio did not. And with a cheery “what’s the worst that could happen?” Chinese Democracy was released in November, a mere 15 years after Guns N’ Roses’ previous effort.

And 2008 seemed to be the year of the comeback for aging rockers, with new material from The Verve, Paul Weller and Oasis, along with news that Britpop rivals Blur are to reform. In pop, Britney and Boyzone returned, with varying degrees of success, while Snap’s Rhythm is a Dancer blasted its way back into the charts, presumably on the back of Brains from Thunderbirds pulling shapes around bottled water.

Katy Perry has kissed more girls than The Equivalent this year

Katy Perry has kissed more girls than The Equivalent this year

But most of all, 2008 was a great year for quality, well-written pop, with new-comers Katy Parry and Alphabeat laying down the challenge to established acts. So much so that picking 10 songs of the year out of songs that have made the top 40 takes a huge amount of whittling down. This is why I can’t bring myself to agree with Phil Seaman that the late 2000s have been devoid of pop classics.

Continue reading ‘Reports of Pop’s death have been greatly exaggerated’


Albums of 2008

…or at least those according to Phil Seaman
10/Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Dig!!! Lazerus Dig!!!
Continuing in the same vein as Grinderman, this album continues Nick Cave’s recent success with an uptempo, aggressive stomp through the American post-grunge wilderness
9/British Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music?
Poor sales figures could not distract critics from loving the latest album from British Sea Power, daring to walk the line between string-laced pomp and melodic introspection with more than a passing reference to Arcade Fire
8/TV On The Radio – Dear Science
Funky, dancable and yet highly listenable whilst chilling out, Dear Science has a depth that is often lacking in full length dance albums as a result of great songwriting and passionate performances
7/Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
Thrust from the States with more than a little help from African music, basic melodies and simple instrumentation is the basis for one of the few highly original indie albums released this year

Leonard Cohen’s Christmas Wishes Come True

You’ve got to feel for Leonard Cohen, because he certainly hasn’t had things go his way over the last five or so years. The Canadian singer-songwriter and writer had probably been looking forward to a nice little retirement, quietly seeing out the rest of his days in the way that he spent most of the rest of his life.

Recognised as an introspective man capable of complex lyrics that could possibly touch on sex, religion and personal loss, or all three things at the same time, Cohen has, for right or wrong, been described many a time as the razor to cut those arteries.  Maybe this is because the man himself suffered for depression through much of his life.

Continue reading ‘Leonard Cohen’s Christmas Wishes Come True’


Babestation: could Iran be right on this one?

Never one to be told ‘write about what you know’, Will Nichols, a single man, ponders TV and Onanism

For those yet to venture to the outer frontiers of their Digibox, Babestation (go on, click the link – no one’s watching) is a vision of what all TV would be like were the networks scheduled by fourteen-year olf FHM subscribers. Using similar technology to the nest-cams from Springwatch,  four screens display the dubious talent that England’s provincial clubs have to offer, rolling and rubbing and smiling at you.

Amazingly, the girls manage all this while on the phone. I can’t even type at the same time, but they’re off humping and pumping on screen whilst relaying this information in such intricate detail you suspect they can only be catering for a sizeable blind audience. It’s possible that many viewers has perfect vision before encountering Babestation, but their actions since…well, you get the picture.

Ayatollah Khamenei probably isnt a Babestation viewer

Ayatollah Khamenei probably isn't a Babestation viewer

For your premium rate penny you, the drooling viewer too timid for strip clubs, can pose the dolls: bend them over, demand that they get various parts of themselves ‘out’ or – amazingly and bizarrely common – ask them to show you their feet. One has to hope that someone is coming out ahead here, because sure as  sure can be, everyone involved is heading for Dante’s pit.

It’s programmes like Babestation that make you wonder if Ahmadinejad might have a point after all. Under totalitarian Islamic discipline and censorship, Iran has massed $70bn in foreign exchange reserves. Meanwhile, we’re literally fiddling while Rome burns, spanking ourselves silly as our economic foundations crumble and the whole darn cathedral of ‘decadent capitalism collapses around our ears.

In the absence of clear leadership from Brown, Paulsen et al, I guess saving the world as we know it has fallen at my door – again. Contrary to the pun-tastic but ultimately ‘bully in the playground’ tactics of freezing Iceland’s assets – clearly Brown doesn’t have a small cat he can give a good shoeing – Babestation can drag us out of the mire.

Picture the scene: in a rented Daventry home, a band if enterprising, if lunar-skinned, ex-Lehman Brothers employees found their own show. With equipment borrowed from Bill Oddie, currently in a fallow period, they steadfastly refuse to alter the bumping and grinding formula, and even export it overseas. Although probably not to Iran.

By owning their own phone-lines they wrest control of their own means of production back from the wasteful, bourgeois pornographers. Soon, Britain’s shrivelled financial services sector is rocking back on forth on the command of lonely foreign businessmen. The pound soars. George Soros, sensing a profit, begins scouring Essex nightclubs for the next entrepreneuse. Britain out-Hollands Holland.

This all slots nicely into the Soviet system nationalising the banks has kick-started and, more to the point, surely amateur porn encapsulates the paradise Marx envisaged.


Is Guardiola Taking Risks Ahead of First Real Test?

by Alex Dimond

Guardiola — probably knows what he is doing...

Guardiola — probably knows what he is doing...


So far so very, very good for Barcelona manager Josep “Pep” Guardiola.

His side sit proudly atop La Liga, and are comfortably through to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Having replaced Frank Rijkaard — the manager who brought the 2006 Champions League trophy back to the Nou Camp — in the summer, a lot of pressure was on the unproven Guardiola. Having had no previous jobs, the former Spanish international’s only coaching experience was gained last season while working with the Barcelona B squad.

Yes, Guardiola was an outstanding player for the club (he played 263 games for them), but could he possibly replicate such feats as a manager?

Well, after an initial rocky spell — the Catalan giants failed to win either of their opening two league matches — the answer so far seems to be a resounding yes.

Continue reading ‘Is Guardiola Taking Risks Ahead of First Real Test?’


Schmid Sees Areas For Improvement After Esher Defeat

By Alex Dimond


Esher Rugby — as surprised as anyone to feature on The Equivalent...

Esher Rugby — as surprised as anyone to feature on The Equivalent...


Esher’s Director of Rugby Mike Schmid remains upbeat, despite Saturday’s narrow 13-18 loss against Bedford Blues.

The defeat leaves the Surrey club 13th in the table — eleven points from safety — while Bedford move up to 4th. Schmid believes that the match was even tighter than the scoreline suggests, and hinged on a couple of key moments:

“When we strayed away from the plan, we let ourselves down at key times,” the former Canadian international said. “The difference in the first half was our sin bin [David Millard, for not retreating at a penalty], and they took their try scoring chances. We had two chances, and didn’t take either one.”

Despite being 15-3 down just minutes after half-time, Schmid was encouraged by what he saw in the remainder of the match:

“In the second half we controlled the tempo, and we controlled the game. I think the people that were watching saw a team that was doing everything to win a game.”

Nevertheless, Schmid believes the team has a lot of room for improvement, particularly in attack. “When we get into the opposition third, we have got to come away with more points than we are,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Schmid Sees Areas For Improvement After Esher Defeat’

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December 2008
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