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Friday, 27 December 2013

My 2013: A Look Back At The Year That Was

As promised here is my final blog of the year. It’s a look back over what has been for so many reasons a very interesting 2013.

I started the year in a pretty weird place if I’m totally honest. I was not long removed from a long term relationship, as a result of said relationship mates didn’t know where to put themselves, I was skint and I was on the dole. The future was not looking especially bright people.
As the year moved on both of my Grandparents passed away and a few mates for one reason or another fell by the wayside. Typical stupidity. My conscience is clear. But it was all a bit shit I can’t lie. Having said that, while all that was going on in a strange way things were quietly clicking into place. I was rebuilding. I started to train; a lot. By the end of the year I have lost 2 stone and got back in shape (Still a work in progress) and completed my first ever half marathon. I started writing, covering local bands, doing things like gig reviews and I now class the members of these bands as friends.

In July I also made what turned out to be my best decision of 2013. I told a girl I was selling a TV to that for an extra fiver I would deliver the TV in person to her flat. Fast forward to today and the girl in question is now my lovely girlfriend (Not that she wasn’t lovely before) She would probably tell you that it was the most expensive fiver she ever spent!
And in the background while I was working a path through the year some sport happened and some music got played. Arguably the greatest football manager of all time Sir Alex Ferguson retired. Andy Murray won Wimbledon. He is allowed to be British again now instead of Scottish. And in the space of a few months England retained and then lost the Ashes.

In the world of music the Rolling Stones played Glastonbury and failed to live up to the hype. Daft Punk released a ridiculously good record. Mily Cyrus danced. Robin Thicke confirmed that he is a bit of a dick. Mily Cyrus stuck her tongue out. Eminem came back and rapped his ass off and Justin Bieber retired.  All the while Mily Cyrus danced and stuck her tongue out, and corrupted the world and its entirely innocent population in the process.
This brings me nicely to where I am now. I’m sat on my bed wearing not very much (Hello ladies) feeling pretty content with life. I’ve got a new legit football website on the way called In Off The Look me up on Facebook or find me on Twitter. (@InOffThePost13) This blog will continue to cover more bands and bring you more of the best music doing the rounds.

Family, friends and girlfriend are all pretty damn amazing so life is looking on track right now.
But before I leave you I am going to supply you with a few predictions for next year….

My girlfriend will snap, hit me over the head and run for the boarder. Manchester City will win the league. England won’t win the World Cup. Liverpool fans will claim that 2014/15 season ‘Will be our year!’
Justin Bieber will come out of retirement. Middle class welly wearers will continue to tell us that Glastonbury is great value for money and totally awesome, all about the experience and not so much about the music. This despite the fact that we all know completely the opposite is true. Crap songs will get to number 1 causing people like me to moan about them.

And finally… I will be arrested on entirely false charges in a Premier Inn in Derby. I will be discovered in bed with Lizzy Hale (My girlfriend has left me remember, don’t judge) while Jason Statham irons a pair of socks in the mirror… naked.
Thank you. It has been a pleasure as always. See you soon.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Throwback Thursday: Slade - Merry Xmas Everybody

Let’s be honest this is the one you’ve all be waiting for. It’s time for me to bring you something from the man from which I take my name. (We’re related don’t you know… Sadly this isn’t true but it’s a great ice breaker trust me. It beats what’s your favourite Christmas present) And not only that, but this is without doubt THE greatest Christmas record of all time by bar none.

The track is actually made up of a load of melodies taken from songs that only made it as far as the studio floor but what a great record it is. Everyone knows the words; everyone has sung it drunk at some point so you don’t need for me to tell you about this track.
What I will say though is that if you only know Slade from this song then make sure you look up ‘Cum on feel the noise’ and ‘Lock your daughters’ both are brilliant tracks in their own right.

But leave those for later, apparently its Christmas….

Monday, 16 December 2013

Andre Villas-Boas Sacked. Here Is Why He Has Been Unlucky

In the words of one of the greatest bands in history ‘Another one bites the dust!’

Andre Villas-Boas has been sacked by Tottenham by today following the clubs 5-0 defeat at the hands of Liverpool yesterday afternoon. The 36 year old had been in charge since July 2012 but on this wet and windy Monday his reign was brought to an end by that classic ‘Mutual consent.’ As usual I’m a little sceptical about that one myself but there you go.
Although there have been a couple of horrendous results this season namely the Liverpool game and the 6-0 defeat away at Manchester City a few weeks ago I think the Portuguese is a bit unfortunate to find himself on the managerial shelf. He has the 2nd highest win percentage (53.7% for those of you who care)of any Spurs manager in history and last season led the team to their highest ever points tally in the Premier League era. And yes while some results and the style of play at times this season has been poor they are in the quarter finals of the Capital One Cup, still in the Europa League and 7th in the Premier League. That’s 5 points from 4th place and 8 from Arsenal in top spot, and that’s hardly a disaster in anyone’s book.

One of the main issues it seems is that the club has spent around £109 million on 7 new players following the departure of Gareth Bale for £90 million (ish). Take note their net spend (No Rafa) was actually quite low in the Summer. But anyway 7 new players have been brought in from outside the Premier League and expected to perform straight away at that simply hasn’t happened. And I don’t care what anyone says all of the players on an individual level are very good players. And for all the bitching about the transfer fee for Eric Lamela anyone who saw anything of Serie A last season will tell you that he is tremendously talented and that the transfer was so high because Roma are basically broke so took Spurs for every penny. It is even open to debate how much influence AVB had over these signings as the transfers on the whole we handled by Franco Baldini. If the players have flopped and AVB is being blamed shouldn’t he have to take part of the blame also?
The one area that AVB has shot himself in the foot though is tactics, well some of them. Mainly his need to play a suicidal high defensive line. In the two games where they got hammered a large part of the reason why was this high defensive line, especially when the central defenders are totally devoid of pace like Dawson. Combine this with Lloris’ need to rush off his line at every opportunity and what you have is a defensive disaster. I also think that the high line may have contributed to the poor attacking play and lack of creativity. With the defence playing so high this squeezes the rest of the field especially reducing the space in which midfielders can play in as you’re condensing the pitch.

Either way the next man through the door will have it all to gain. He will have a brilliant squad to work with and should most of the signings work out as I expect them to he will have a very good squad. Get the defence to sit a little deeper and you have a team which can finish in the top 4. Simple. As regards to the next man I think Michael Laudrup would be perfect, I think he would suit Spurs down to a tee. They should break the bank for him. Whether they will or not remains to be seen but what is for certain is that despite the fact he changes his mangers like most people change their socks Chairman Daniel Levy will not be shouldering any responsibility for a yet another managerial appointment which he deems not to have worked…. Now you work that one out.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Chapter 100, Verse 1: Thank You

This humble blog has just achieved something that the England cricket team could only dream of right now…. Being 100 not out….. (Sorry had to be done)

A lot has changed in a year. I have a new girlfriend, new friends, new car, new phone and a new interesting collection of jumpers. But throughout it all there has been this blog.
On the 1st of January 2013 I launched this blog as a way to put across my thoughts on sport, music and basically, life. I had no idea where it would take me or what it would bring. And to my surprise it has brought me a hell of a lot.

So as a way of celebrating this and all the people who have helped me along the way I am going to dedicate this post, number 100, to all of you and all of the people who have helped me with the blog to get to this point. We may not get along anymore, we may not speak anymore but if you have played a part you will find your name below.
Here we go….

First of all I should shout out the aforementioned new girlfriend, Charlotte Edwards. After all she has to put up with me talking about all this on a regular basis. I’m also going to go out on a limb and say that this blog played a part in us getting together. I like to think that it’s the fact I used a song she picked on ‘Throwback Thursday’ that sealed the deal. That’s probably not strictly true but it makes the blog sound amazing so I’m sticking with it.
My brother Karl plugs the crap out of my stuff and is always good for an idea should I not have anything. He is the only person who is more of a music geek than me, many a post on here has been as a result of a discussion we have had.

Face Of A Stranger. These guys started out as just a band I saw playing in front of 10 people but I would now go as far as to say that I count them as friends. Mitch Jones, Joe Lewis, Luke Watton and Ben Slater. Great lads and a great up and coming hard rock band. They have spread the word about my writing religiously, and played a part in me realising that I could do this for a living.
Bridget Giblin, Peter Rought and Luci Payne. Again, comment, share and spread the word about all of this. Many thanks.

The Dark Eyes. I haven’t worked with these guys for one reason or another for a while now but they were the 1st band that I ever covered, and I cut my teeth by writing reviews for them. I have written some stuff for them before and they a have always been good for a retweet for my thoughts on the latest football goings on.

Tony Grands and Christopher Pierznik. AKA @Tony_Grands and @Pierzy on Twitter. They don’t know me and I don’t know them, but to one degree or another I have used stuff from their blogs or just random crap they put on twitter as inspiration for stuff that I write. Salute!
Americana/Country singer Jackson Jones. One day he will be proud to say that his album was the 1st that I ever reviewed. Thanks for your kind words.

All of the following have plugged my stuff in the past so thank you to the following… Sam Brookes, Adam Jones, Abbie Arlis, Kirsty-Louise Sansome, Katherine Palmer, Jo Greer, Chris Greer, Matt Rumble, James Corfield, James Castle  and Joe Glaze.
If I’ve forgotten anyone I apologise, but let’s be honest your support couldn’t have been that vital if I can’t remember your name.

There are some pretty big things in the pipeline for next year so stay tuned for all of that, keep spreading the word and keep supporting. But most of all thank you.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Throwback Thursday: Elvis Presley - Suspicious Minds

It seems ridiculous that I have been running this feature for the best part of a year and I haven’t used an Elvis record. How is this even possible?! My dad would be shocked I’m telling you.

So here we go. This song was written, recorded and released by Mark James in 1968 but was a commercial failure. It was then passed to Pressley by record producer Chips Morman. The newly recorded version by Pressley was released on 26th August 1969 and went on to become his 17th and final number 1 in the US.
The song tells the story of a dysfunctional relationship (We’ve all had a few of those) and a couple who are trying to work through their problems. It obviously struck a chord with the record buying public and was seen as the record which brought success to Pressley’s career after a slump.

So there you have it, it’s an old one but it is without doubt a classic.

Friday, 6 December 2013

2014 Fifa World Cup Draw: My Thoughts

I have to say that was one of the most boring drawn out tournament ‘group draw ceremonies’ I have ever seen in my life! And let’s face none of them are ever entertaining but my life that was hard work.
What you find below are my thoughts on every group, take this however seriously you want.

Group A – Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon
Group B – Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia

Group C – Columbia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan

Group D – Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy

Group E – Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras

Group F – Argentina, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Iran, Nigeria
Group G – Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA

Group H – Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea

GROUP A – Brazil have got to be favourites to go through, although there is huge pressure on them to perform the atmosphere in the opening games will be incredible. It should be quite close for 2nd place. Croatia are decent, Mexico made a mess of qualifying but surely have to improve and Cameroon cannot be totally discounted although they will be the outsiders.

GROUP B – BOOM!! That’s all. Spain against Netherlands will be huge, a rematch of the 2010 final and it’s the opening game of the group, you can’t get better  than that. Chile are a very good team in their own right and could make things very interesting should they take points off one of the top 2. Australia simply put have had it.

GROUP C – Never mind the classic ‘group of death’ this is the hipster’s wet dream.  Columbia, Ivory Coast and Japan, and to top it off on the radio I’ve just heard Greece described as ironic… Probably by a man wearing brogues. It might lack massive names but it’s going to be very close. Columbia and Ivory Coast to make it through for me. Japan to lose out on goals scored or something stupid.

GROUP D – And here we have England, this should be fun.  On the face of it we are knackered, Italy to start in 99% humidity, then the small matter of Uruguay. But how about this for positive spin… Nick a win against Italy, draw against Uruguay (Their defensive record in qualifying was shocking) and beat Coast Rica. Job done. Easy right?

GROUP E – France have landed on their feet in spectacular fashion, partly down to the shuffling of the pots earlier on this week. I’m sure Mr Platini will be gutted. Switzerland will go through 2nd. Not a group to get the pulse racing.

GROUP F – Argentina win the group and will go far. They will be hell bent on stealing Brazil’s thunder on home soil if nothing else. Messi will also be out to prove a point.  Nigeria have a young team and weren’t disgraced in the Confederations Cup and could grab 2nd ahead of Bosnia.

GROUP G – This is a group and a half. Germany against Portugal as an opening game says it all. Germany are quality and the world will be watching to see how far Ronaldo can drag Portugal. Ghana are a good team and the USA aren’t bad by any means. This could get very very interesting. Ghana may upset Portugal and go through in 2nd place, Ronaldo will star but it won’t be enough.

GROUP H – Here we find Belgium, the ‘dark horses.’ The dark horses who have been mentioned so many times and had so much of the limelight shone on them they are now the lightest dark horses in history. Anyway, they will go through, Algeria will do nothing. Korea will contribute slightly more than Algeria and Russia will finish 2nd behind Belgium.

There we go, that’s the group stage sorted. Now to watch all of these predictions come true… bring on 12th June.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Throwback Thursday: Daniel Bedingfield - Gotta Get Thru This

I got the biggest shock that I’ve had for some considerable time this week when I discovered that Daniel Bedingfield was still releasing music. I mean car accidents aside where the hell did he go!?

Anyway most people’s last musical memories of Mr Bedingfield are of him singing incredibly boring ballads, so I’m going to airbrush that from history and go back to when he was new and exciting.
This track was on a straight garage tip and for that reason I love it. It’s a little known fact but I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for garage. I’m talking old school melody driven garage not this ‘bass or nothing’ crap.  But I digress; this track was released on 26th November 2001 and topped the charts in the UK. From what I remember the boys loved the tune and the girls loved Daniel, so either way this should bring back a few memories.