Archive for December 5th, 2008

05
Dec
08

Cleveland Browns Fans Just Need a Little Perspective

 

by Alex Dimond


Edwards and Quinn can achieve great things

Edwards and Quinn can achieve great things

 

 

As a Browns fan from across the pond in Britain, following my team is not always that easy.

Sure, the team’s five live televised games this season gave me a greater than normal opportunity to see how things were going, but many of them have been (and are still to be) televised at a time that doesn’t really fit in that well with my sleeping patterns.

As a result, most of my information comes from the short highlights shown on NFL.com, and the many articles around the internet that pass comment on my adopted team.

At the moment, the mood surrounding the organisation is hugely pessimistic. This is not without good reason — after all, the team is currently 4-8, relying on its third-string quarterback, and has a General Manager with a penchant for firing off expletive strewn emails to any fan that dares to offer some (constructive) criticism.

For many Browns fans, the 2008 season is already a complete disaster — made even more disappointing considering the huge optimism that arose from the 10-6 term enjoyed last year.

As a result, perhaps not unnaturally, many fans are calling for wholesale changes to be made — both to the playing and coaching staff — to prevent a similarly abject performance next year round.

Now, feel free to dismiss my opinion out of hand, but I don’t think this sort of knee-jerk reaction is what is called for.

A bad season — especially in the NFL — doesn’t make a bad team.

I’m just asking for a little perspective.

Continue reading ‘Cleveland Browns Fans Just Need a Little Perspective’

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05
Dec
08

Downhill at 24? This boy wants more, more, more…

Today is my 24th birthday. One little year away from having ran around this giddy globe for a quarter of a century. I hadn’t given too much thought to this fact until, in recent weeks, the repetition of the phrase, “It’s all downhill from here, mate”, has caused me a snippet of distress. It’s not the words that have rattled me, rather the steely, serious stare of those who have commented, followed by a shuffling of the feet and a peer down at the floor, “I’m serious. Trust me. I know”, they all seem to warn.
Surely this can’t be so? I’m still in my ‘early’ twenties. Still racing around after young lasses. Still playing FIFA with young rascals. Still, I believe, a young man.
Having just upped sticks from familiar Manchester, moving to the bright lights of mysterious London, surely my adventure is only just commencing. Lots of tiny place names pepper my tube map. Each one awaiting a visit from me. All inviting a different expedition for a different day. The pubs, the clubs, the churches, the rivers and the tramps. I wanna see them all.
This time last year I was juggling in the doorway of a toy shop, sneering at the little scallywag kids darting around my ankles, flinging bouncy balls across my nose. Today, I’m a budding journalist. A pivotal member of the Equivalent. Possibly the most genius collection of childish oddballs in the whole of Hillingden. And I like it.
As I strolled to collect my morning paper, I bumped into around five buddies, guys and gals, all smiling, waving, wishing me a happy birthday. I felt like that chocolate fella on the Lynx adverts. But with a better moustache. A new day. A new year. It’s ever so enthralling.
So, to those who forewarn the slippery slope of the 24 year old, I say, “Nay! I am the Archbishop of ambition. My journey is at it’s onset!”
All downhill from here? Fiddlesticks. I’ve never been so bloody excited.

onwards and upwards!

onwards and upwards!

05
Dec
08

The Future

girls_aloud_black_and_white

Over a good few snifters of brandy in the gentleman’s club yesterday evening, the distinguished Sir William Nichols and I found ourselves deep in animated discussion. Matters of great import, you understand. Stocks and shares, war in the colonies, moustache cultivation, that sort of thing. Affairs of the day. All of a sudden our merry banter was interrupted by the crass blasting of the television. I adjusted my monocle and what should I see in the garish glow but the latest promotional reel from Girls Aloud, the popular cabaret combo and thinking man’s crumpet. Naturally the very sight of these fawning sirens stirred my loins most inconveniently, but it also led me to speculate on where such ravishing backstreet beauties might find themselves two decades hence…

Let us begin with Nadine, Belfast’s finest. Slender, doe-eyed, almost alien. After the hits dry up and she has been entirely remoulded in plastic – her face contorted into a deranged grimace from one too many poisonous injections – the poor creature will be fit only for a life of hermitry as a mad recluse. Whether this means she’ll consign herself to a decaying mansion on Sunset Boulevard, an abandoned theme park or a remote isle off the icy wastes of Sweden, who can say? What is for sure is that there’s a fitting symmetry here. She was pieced together from old ideas by Mr Cowell – that most modern Prometheus – and will promptly be cast back as disfigured and mangled as her accent into the obscurity from whence she came. A bleak prognosis yes, but the classic morality tale for all those who sign a pact with the devil in high trousers.

I feel certain that fate will smile (slightly) more favourably on her compatriots, however. The ginger jaffa will doubtless capitalise on her startling resemblance to the young Cilla Black and dredge up that hoariest of old chestnuts, Blind Date, for an inevitable revivial. Needs must I suppose. Lads-periodicial stalwart Sarah Harding will in turn burn clean through her nasal septum snorting sherbert for slot machine change. She’ll be left with little more than the odd Loose Women appearance and Iceland commercial to make ends meet and will be seen in later years roaming the streets, punching paparazzi, muttering incoherently and swigging White Lightning before collapsing in an underpass, doused in a pool of her own tears. Magnificent. And dear Kimberly, shovelling haddock in a fish-and-chip emporium in small town West Yorkshire, forgotten, but not actually too sorry for it.

Cheryl Cole though is another matter. World domination beckons for that little piece of Tyneside tartlet. Having cut lose her hapless shag hound of a husband, a prominent solo career will ensue where she displays a surprising apptitude for the Jacques Brel songbook. Avant-garde experimental noise records with Steve Albini follow, as does her silver screen debut in a remake of Jules et Jim opposite Seth Rogen and Chris Tucker. Oscars, Grammies and a second-term Team Obama vice presidential candidacy crown her achievements. Yes, things are going pretty swimmingly for the one-time X Factor judge. That is, until she is assassinated while being driven around Dallas in a campaign Cadillac. The shooter? That nightclub toilet attendant she beat up all those years ago. What goes around comes around my dear…

05
Dec
08

Artists to look out for in 2009

Unperturbed by dismissing the Spice Girls as one hit wonders and tipping Hawksley Workman and Carina Round (who? exactly…) for global domination, Will Nichols brings you five bands who may well be selling iPods this time next year…

The Gaslight Anthem

Sounding like The Killers would normally be a problem given Brandon Flowers’ prolificacy but with the Las Vegas boys due some time off after four albums in as many years, the Gaslight Anthem may have struck gold. Sure, they’ve got enough nods to The Boss to pull off the whole blue-collar New Jersey image – check out the hats and leather jackets – but somehow it’s unconvincing. They’re all a bit too pretty. If CD:UK was still going, these guys would be huge; unfortunately for them, they have to rely on Radio 1 latching on and exciting all those kids in River Island checked shirts.

The ’59 Sound is out now
Top Track: Old White Lincoln

pretty

The Gaslight Anthem: pretty

Florence and the Machine

You know how you kind of fall in love with talented women on stages, how they don’t need a spotlight because they’re radiating their own light somehow? Well, as a live act Florence burns like the sun. You pretty much know you’re watching someone special if they keep in tune whilst chasing their keyboard player around the stage and hurdling the drum kit. If the world actually worked properly she would own it instead of propping up the bill of the NME Awards Tour. Beware following the link: she might ruin you for normal women. That said, if there’s a couple of us stumbling around, dazzled, perhaps we can start a support group or something.

Top Track: Between two lungs

Dent May and his magnificent ukulele

First, a confession: I know nothing about this band. Zip, nada. Yeah, you might say that about most of the band here but Dent May is well beyond my threshold of ignorance. But if you like your Ronettes with a twist of French pop, Dent May might well fill that long-term vacancy you’ve had for a Mississippi-based, lo-fi Jens Lekman impersonator.

Top Track: Pierce Avenue

VV Brown

Gravity-defying hair is just one of this Northampton born singer’s charms. Model height and looks, and with a deft line in stage patter, she was writing songs for the Pussycat Dolls and the Sugababes until, flat broke, she sold her keyboard to buy a ticket home. Installed in her aunt’s attic she had written her album, Travelling Like the Light, within weeks. Island loved it, bought it and her subsequent success is so cliched I’m almost embarrassed to mention it. She performed Crying Blood on Jools Holland, was name-checked in Vogue and, well, you can write your own ending, but ‘superstar’ is in there somewhere.

Travelling like the Light is out early 2009
Top Track: Crying Blood (Challenge: try not shouting out “the moooooonster mash over the chorus)

Emmy the Great

I tip Emmy for actual greatness every year, and every year she remains firmly on the outskirts. Seriously Emmy, you’re showing me up here. At least an album, First Love, is scheduled for 2009, which should shunt Emmy and her collaborators – now seemingly part of a gestalt Emmy the Great – into the limelight, and I might FINALLY get some recognition.

Top Track: We almost had a baby (but check out the Where is my Mind cover)

The Grants

No less a blowhard that Alan Mcgee has annointed The Grants as the best unsigned band in the world. This is partially true – they are unsigned. Frankly, I just plain don’t like The Grants, but I thought I’d best include them because they’re probably going to be huge. Glasvegas huge. Strictly for those who lament the passing of Lowgold.

Top Track: My games


Will Nichols will return with his favourite songs of 2008, but he needs more time to think about that.




"The Equivalent is so full of in-jokes, it must only be funny to the authors themselves" - Keith Somerville, as quoted in Sleeveless Top Enthusiasts Weekly.

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