Friday, 27 April 2012

disgruntled customer

London's gone all Falling Down today. Feller enters a logistics firm's office in Tottenham Court Road, strapped up with gas cannisters and not giving a shit. Also seems to have thrown a load of stuff out of the window. Tense.

no involvement in filming this and am not/was not at the scene:
this was filmed by Huffington Post man Stephen Hull

Thursday, 26 April 2012

going down

Bush Court = the big block of flats that looms over the south-west corner of Shepherds Bush Green. 22nd Feb. the small hours of the morning. this buzzcut-flattop berk enters the lift, pulls out his old chap and liberally sprays the area around the doors with his fizzy piss. H&F council, the rozzers and every one else are keen to speak to this human hosepipe. do you know this dirty bastard? hmmmm? time to rat him right out. and no mistake.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012


right... what's going on? little piles of a white powdery substance deposited here and there... at the foot of a lamp post... next to a litter bin... at the base of the stripy belisha beacon pole... DOES ANYBODY KNOW WHAT THIS STUFF AND WHY IT'S THERE???? EH??? HMMMM???

life is beautiful

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

art of craft: the eyes have it

so that man stu bags, he of the white rectangle, has been getting busy on the streets of London N1 again... his coin code thing remains intact and unmolested, more than two months after it was installed... proving durable then...

but stu's latest stuff has issues... created just this week, a series of stickers feature EYES, most of them the eyes of the women in his life (daughter, missus, pal)... one has already peeled away, another is peeling... street art seems to present craftsmanship challenges. the stuff is out there in the elements and at the mercy of those hands seeking to rip it and wreck it. will stu's next bit prove more rugged?

Sunday, 22 April 2012


designed to keep my man in line

howdy, shitkickers, don't go checking out the eye candy for more than three seconds

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Which part of this don't you get?

Grace Dent. I'm not really a fan. Nothing against her, you understand. But I'm not really in the market for teen fiction, I don't watch enough TV to require the insights of a TV critic, and when I have seen her on the box she's not struck me as particularly funny.

But yesterday I found myself defending her. She was under attack from all sides. Zillions of foes piling in. Not physical attacks, thankfully. Just words on screens. Yes, another of these fucking Twitter storms.

For those who don't know, during Dent's Saturday night appearance on Have I Got News For You, a fellow named Mufadal Jiwaji decided to opine thus, also via Twitter: " reminds me of a girlfriend I once had. By girlfriend I mean that time I accidentally made love to an ugly abhorrent horse". 

No big deal, right? When people in the public eye choose to use Twitter and thereby rub virtual shoulders with the great unwashed, they become fair game for anyone who wants to weigh in with an insult, right? Never mind that few of the people who direct piss-taking tweets to complete strangers would have the bollocks to do so in person. That's irrelevant, yeah? Twitter is different. The internet isn't real

Well, no. That's not how I see it at all. But never mind that. That's a whole other discussion, and it's been pretty well covered here with reference to Twitter storm-bringers such as Liam Stacey, Oliver Warren and Paul Brennan.

The big deal about the little altercation which followed Jiawji's remark, though, was that:

Quite a few people took objection to the idea of Dent threatening to have this chap sacked. A couple different kinds of criticism predominated:

  • accusations of hypocrisy because she's known to make the odd unkind remark herself
  • that she needed to lighten up and avoid reacting so strongly to something so trivial

For me, Comments of this nature seemed to be missing the point by several miles, though.

Imagine you pay a chunk of what you earn to a PR company to handle your publicity, manage your reputation and, by discharging those two responsibilities, to help you prosper in your line of work. Imagine one of their employees addresses you directly in insulting terms. Imagine he does this in public or via on online platform, meaning that it's witnessed by hundreds or even thousands of other people. Be honest. You'd probably complain to the guy's boss, right? Even if you didn't demand the guy's dismissal, your complaint wouldn't really do him any favours at work, would it? But fuck it. He's broken a golden rule - don't insult a customer. Or to put it another way, don't bite the hand that feeds the firm that pays your wages.

It really seemed extraordinary that so many people didn't think of this little teacup tornado in these terms. So, being an interfering old busybody, I felt the need to point this out several times. I found myself asking several people whether they would complain if an employee of an firm with which they do business suddenly decided to speak to them in the way that Jiwaji had addressed Dent. Then I ran out of steam and lost interest. But if you don't see the difference between being insulted by a someone with whom you have no professional connection and being insulted by someone who works for a firm that charges you for its services, then you and I are just not on the same wavelength. Let's leave it there.

Naturally, the tiny tempest soon ran out of puff and those who had briefly taken an interest did indeed decide to turn their attention to other diversions.

But, moving on into today, Dentgate (surely this thing deserves a -gate suffix, yeah?) seems to have taken a new twist. Can it really be a coincidence that all this hoo-ha involving Grace Dent blew up almost immediately before it was announced that she was switching her column writing activities from the Guardian to the Independent? Would it be much too cynical to assume that Jiwaji was asked to pull off a stunt in order to raise a client's profile just ahead of her move to the Indescribablyboring?

It would be kind of shitty to have briefly stepped in gallantly to defend someone only to find out that she'd mugged everybody right off with a PR stunt, wouldn't it?

Sunday, 15 April 2012

What a fucking shambles

The working week looms. Do you have a sinking feeling at the prospect? Or has this sporting weekend been such a pile of wank that you find yourself glad it's almost over?

Another frustrating away day
Saturday was certainly no picnic for those of us who followed QPR up to a shabby-looking corner of the West Midlands conurbation. Yesterday's opponents, West Bromwich Albion, play in a reasonable ground, with the away section of the Smethwick End affording a decent and unobstructed view of the pitch. Once again came the realisation that Loftus Road really is terribly cramped and outdated in comparison to even the more modest Premier League stadia. If our stay in the top flight, then, does prove to be a protracted one, it will surely be desirable for QPR to move to a new ground. That said, any new stadium should certainly be designed in such a way as to retain the atmosphere that is so often remarked upon by our own supporters and players and by the fans and players of some of our visitors. It is, after all, been pretty common for a manager to bring his side to Loftus Road and comment that 18,000 people there seem to generate as much noise as is made elsewhere by crowds several times larger. Also, this is not simply a matter of an enjoyable match day experience for those in attendance. It's way more than that. When roused to do so, the Rangers home crowd can genuinely rattle the opposition. This was never more apparent than during this season's league tie against local rivals Chelsea. Those who were there report shocked expressions on the faces of several Pensioners players. One of them, the story goes, even felt intimidated to the point of not wanting to take his team's corner kicks.

A Rangers roar of that magnitude, though, was not really achieved at the Hawthorns yesterday. The singsong was pretty spasmodic, with long silences between the occasional bursts of song. The game itself? Very frustrating and rarely entertaining, even if there were moments when it seemed an equalising goal might be on the cards.

Squeaky bum time
That this was a fruitless exercise for the Rangers now gives genuine cause for concern. This, after all, was one of the more benign-looking fixtures on our tough run in at the closing stages of this difficult season. So the pressure is really on ahead of next Saturday's home tie against Spurs. Opinions on this will vary greatly, but it does feel like a failure to get at least four points from the remaining four games will cost QPR's hard-won place in the Premier League. Bolton have games in hand and are set to face a number of teams with nothing much left to play for. Wigan? Roberto Martinez's men face Blackburn and Wolves in their final two fixtures. Both of those could be relegated by then, setting up possible romps against completely demotivated opponents. So it really is important for QPR to amass more points than both Martinez's side and Owen Coyle's Bolton. Working on the assumption that away form will continue to be an issue, that means four or even six points look to be needed from the two home games against Tottenham and Stoke. Bloody hell. But who would have confidently predicted the wins against Liverpool and Arsenal?  Or the emphatic nature of the triumph over Swansea? So it ain't over. The fat lady has certainly approached the stage and is confident that she has learned the libretto. But she hasn't yet opened her mouth. So let's see what happens. 

In the meantime, the trip to the Black Country is best forgotten. Though the journey was fairly easy and the ground was a decent one in which to watch the disappointing game, the match day 'experience' had some of the wearisome elements with which football fans have become familiar. Such as? Well, tiresomely humourless and officious stewards for one. Yes, we know that mobile phones aside, we're not really meant to take a camera into a football ground. But those of us who ignore this rule know that at 90% of stadia a sensible steward who spots a camera simply warns its owner not to use it to take pictures of the match in progress. Often, this is done is a perfectly friendly manner. Or, if not actually friendly, then in a reasonably polite manner. West Brom, though, employ a dead-eyed prick who feels it's necessary to try to come across as intimidating when explaining this rule. Even when the person being warned is holding the hand of of a young child. Perhaps he has self-esteem issues. Or maybe he's just a cock. Either way, his demeanour doesn't exactly scream welcome to the Hawthorns

Also tedious - the reports from those who travelled up by coach and whose journey home was delayed by the local plod insisting on a police escort. Really? Through pretty much deserted streets and after an aggro-free game? What a waste of time and public money. Moreover, the supposed razzmatazz of the Premier League notwithstanding, this is just too reminiscent of the days of football supporters being treated at times like cattle and at times like criminals.

A crap day out then. So much so that the best quality entertainment on offer (for those of us with a puerile sense of humour) was from a bit of rather hopeful/sad/pathetic graffiti in one of the streets around the ground.

The drive home even brought unwelcome news of yet more equine fatalities at the Grand National. Later in the day, we also learned that an Italian player named Piermario Morosini had suffered a cardiac arrest and died during a Serie B match. Shades of the horrible Fabrice Muamba incident. All of this put our own woes into perspective while adding something to the mood of gloom. 

So was Sunday any better? No, not really.

Sunday, bloody Sunday
First came the Manchester United vs. Aston Villa tie, during which that man Ashley Young compounded his growing reputation as a fucking cheat. Having got our Shaun Derry sent off a week ago with an outrageous penalty-winning dive, he was at it again today. Young is deemed to be something of a talent and he's an Englishman. So we face the unhappy prospect of our country being represented by an unprincipled and dishonest player at this summer's European Championships. Look, England ain't gonna win it anyway. No manager. No plan. Rooney suspended (justifiably) for the group stage games. So why not set a good example to the nation's youth by leaving diving, cheating types at home and taking a more honest squad out to Poland and Ukraine?

But the game at Old Trafford offered the least of today's irritations. Worse was to come in the FA Cup semi-final later in the afternoon. Moreover, United's win today may turn out to work to QPR's advantage. It restored the victors' five point lead at the top of the table. This may mean that our final game away at Man City will be against a team with nothing to play for. That could prove to be significant. That said, West Brom didn't have much to play for yesterday and that did not prevent them from chalking up a win.

Same old Chelsea
That semi-final, then. What a pain. What a disgrace. It had so much to which one could take exception, with the tone set when a significant number of Chelsea fans failed to respect the minute's silence that was arranged to honour the victims of the Hillsborough disaster and the more recently deceased Morosini.  

In a statement this evening, the south-west London outfit has since claimed to be "extremely disappointed that a very small minority of fans embarrassed the club today". A very small minority? Really? They have very loud voices then, this tiny number of people. Because their crassness came over very clearly on TV. It was certainly the loudest noise to emanate from Chelsea supporters until some of them decided to have a singsong about thirty-five minutes into the match. On the other hand, the Spurs contingent were, by all accounts, impeccably silent when asked to be so and then very much louder once the game was under way

The lamentable lack of common decency before the match was not the only embarrassment for the Pensioners today. Also somewhat embarrassing was the fact that so many seats in the Chelsea half of the ground were empty. Such a large number of unsold red seats were visible that you may be tempted to doubt the accuracy of the official attendance figure, as announced by the Football Association. But surely the FA would never do anything dishonest or shady, right?

Still, these embarrassments aside, Chelsea will be pleased to have thumped Tottenham and booked their place in another FA Cup final. But along the way, one of their five goals was a farcically controversial one. That second 'goal', credited to Juan Mata, came early in the second half. Guess what? The ball DID NOT CROSS THE LINE. But without checking with the linesman, referee Martin Atkinson awarded the goal. Yes. You read that right. Martin Atkinson. The same Martin Atkinson who was officiating when QPR's Clint Hill was denied what would have been an opening goal away at Bolton. On that occasion, Hill's header was clawed out from well behind the line by Wanderers 'keeper Adam Bogdan.

After the match, our old friend John Terry was asked if he'd believed at the time whether the ball had crossed the line. His answer? "I didn't think it did." But this did not stop him from wheeling away, hands raised to celebrate.

Better days ahead?
The only crumb of comfort here is the notion that a humbled Tottenham side could be sufficiently punch-drunk to make the prospect of a vital QPR win a little more likely next weekend. 

So this weekend has had the lot. A QPR defeat. A Chelsea win. More cheating from Ashley Young. More mistakes from Mr Atkinson. Boorish insensitivity from among the Chelsea crowd. Dead horses at Aintree.

Balls to it all. Roll on the commute, the working week and the chance to cheer up with a much needed win over  Spurs when the working week is done.

U RRRRRRRRRRRRssssssssssssssssss

Friday, 13 April 2012


two big throbbing diesels... more than a mile of wagons... the ground shakes a bit... a good few minutes stuck at the crossing... the graffiti boys have been at work somewhere along the line... 

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

cheats prosper, corrupt FA encourages them

The Football Association has today demonstrated once again the unique blend of inconsistency, incompetence, visibly absent common sense and the whiff or corruption for which the organisation is rightly known.

On Sunday, the game between QPR and Manchester United at Old Trafford was ruined as a meaningful contest when referee Lee Mason made a very poor decision when the match was barely fifteen minutes old. The home side's Ashley Young, visibly offside, tumbled to the ground when barely touched by Rangers midfielder Shaun Derry. Had everything proceeded as it should, QPR 'keeper Paddy Kenny would have taken a quick free kick to restart the game. Instead, Mason awarded United a penalty and sent off Derry for denying the cheating winger a clear goalscoring opportunity. But it's not a goalscoring opportunity if you're offside, is it?

Well, these things happen (especially at Old Trafford, a cynic might say), don't they? It was probably an unwinnable game anyway. Manchester City having fallen to pieces, Alex Ferguson has scented blood in the water and has instilled the required ruthlessness in his men, determined to rack up yet another Premier League trophy. Never mind. Common sense prevails in the end, doesn't it? The FA will take a look at the evidence and uphold QPR's appeal for Derry's red card to be overturned and his suspension quashed, won't they? After all, we live in a basically fair and decent world, don't we?

Oh no. No, no. Derry's ban remains in place and he will miss tomorrow's vital home tie against Swansea. So says the FA. The same FA that battled to have Wayne Rooney's Euro 2012 ban shortened. That's Wayne Rooney who was justifiably sent off for kicking violently out at Macedonia's Miodrag Dzudovic. That's Wayne Rooney who plays for Manchester United. That's the same club that employs Ashley Young, a wanton and unashamed cheat. That's the cheating which was excused by Sir Alex Ferguson in his post-match comments.

Perhaps you're the parent of a child who is keen on football and who is learning the basics of the game. Perhaps you coach a team of young kids. Perhaps you teach P.E. at a primary school. If you are any of these people, do make sure to let the little ones know that diving is an acceptable part of the game. School them in the art of conning the referee and winning at all costs. "At the merest suggestion of contact," you'll need to say "trip over your own leg and hit the ground". Remember to let the nippers know that if their club is more successful and well-known than their opponents then they can expect special treatment and for the competition to be nobbled in their favour. If the youngsters protest, saying silly things like "that's not fair", reassure them by letting them know that such skulduggery is endorsed at the highest levels of the English game.

QPR seen from afar

Watching QPR from over 4000 miles away in sunny South Florida has been a strange experience.

Sunday’s flattish effort against the champions (and champions elect, surely), though, was a mixture of both the odd and the wearily familiar.

Same old same old
Familiar? Well, losing to vastly superior opposition seemed like a return to normality after the previous weekend’s unlikely triumph over Arsenal. Failing to finish the match with eleven players on the pitch was also, in the context of this season, another depressingly familiar matter. That said, unlike some of the other horribly frustrating dismissals of the 2011-12 campaign, Shaun Derry’s marching orders were received wholly without justification. That the linesman failed to spot that Ashley Young was offside beggars belief. Had the flag been raised, the ensuing phantom offence on Derry’s part would not have been an issue. Then there’s the fact that Derry barely made contact and that Young’s tumble to the turf was a clear case of blatant cheating.

As Englishmen, we have been led to believe that flagrant simulation of this kind is a foreign disease, brought to our sceptred isle by unprincipled Europeans, by dastardly Latin Americans and by Africans supposedly lacking the moral fibre of our British hearts of oak. Utter bullshit. Young is surely a strong candidate to represent our country at this summer’s European Championships. Yesterday he provided ample proof that home-grown players are just as likely as their imported colleagues to attempt to con the officials.

Also very familiar was the experience of reading Alex Ferguson’s post-match comments. Granted, this time he had the grace to concede that Ashley Young "was a yard offside" and that he could understand Mark Hughes's anger on that score. But, predictably, he made no reference to the United winger having dived to win the penalty, ensure Shaun Derry's dismissal and cancel out any chance of a meaningful contest. "The boy's just got a little tug on Young", gloated Ferguson. "Not a great deal but enough to get us the penalty". Enough to get the penalty? That's a bloody fib and you know it, Sir Alex. Remarks like these contribute greatly to the fact that so many football fans find it hard not to dislike the legendary Manchester United manager. This is a shame, really, because Ferguson’s achievements should clearly command respect. After all, it is axiomatic to suppose that once the Glaswegian gaffer has retired, no other career will ever play out like his. Surely the sustained nature of his success with one dominant football club is not only without precedent but also something that will never be replicated by any future manager. It is a pity, then, that expressions of wholly unalloyed admiration will always stick in the throats of so many who are not supporters of the Manchester club. But it is surely Ferguson’s frequent failure to be a more gracious winner that ensures he is often only afforded a very grudging form of respect from followers of rival sides. This was very much in evidence following yesterday’s routine dismissal of a QPR side that saw very little of the ball. Young’s easy tumble to the ground was very poor. If only the United boss could bring himself to admit it.

Another familiar aspect of the Old Trafford match was the delight taken by supporters of the away team when poking fun at certain fans of the away side. A look at Twitter brought back memories of the 2008 League Cup away tie against yesterday’s opponents. Looking at the ant-sized specks on the pitch from high up in the giant stadium brought little joy that night. Fun had to be sought in other ways. As the Rangers faithful trudged out of the ground, it was noticeable how many red-shirted ‘home’ fans were in fact visitors to our shores from the Far East. The latter blinked uncomprehendingly as some of the west London contingent reprised a song that had been heard during the match. “We support our local team”, we sang, half-heartedly and looking forward to a long trip south. All of this came flooding back when reading many of yesterday’s pre-match tweets from QPR supporters heading up to Old Trafford. That very song was quoted and references were made to encountering large numbers of Manchester United fans with Home Counties accents in service stations many miles shy of Lancashire.

Soccertastic action
Less familiar than all of this, though, has been the business of how to follow the Superhoops’ exploits from over here in the USA.

Courtesy of a TV channel named Fox Soccer, the predictable defeat in Manchester could at least be watched on a television set. The picture quality was good, of course, but the production was not without numerous irritating aspects.

Firstly, viewers need to contend with a barrage of messages and advertisements scrolling along the bottom of the screen during play. These include frequent trailers for other matches as well as details of how to buy Manchester United shirts online. To call this annoying is something of an understatement.

Secondly, the live broadcast followed so closely on the heels of a pre-recorded Premier League round-up show (highlights of the previous week’s action, player interviews etc.) that there was no time for match-specific build up. Missing dismal punditry was fine. There being sufficient time for only the home team’s line-up to be displayed on screen was another big irritation, though. Thankfully, those tweeting QPR fans back in Bliighty had revealed Mark Hughes’s selection.

These little matters aside, it was good to sit in a suburban Florida living room, digesting breakfast while watching QPR live on a good-sized telly. As a viewing experience, it somewhat better than that endured a week before. Much as the victory over Arsenal was a wonderful thing to behold, the on-off Internet stream froze during the period that Samba Diakite netted the winner, thereby slightly diminishing the excitement. That the screen had to be squinted at in bright sunlight was a self-inflicted problem, however. Watching the match by a palm-fringed swimming pool and under a cloudless blue sky seemed like a good idea at the time. But it wasn't such a smart decision as it turned out.

The return of Captain Trouble
On Sunday, people on Twitter seemed to be wondering about the omission of both Zamora and Barton. In the case of the striker, who had proved to be a very awkward handful for Arsenal’s centre-backs the week before, it seems to be the case that a minor injury was to blame for his non-appearance at Old Trafford. If this is correct, and if he proves fit enough to return to the side in time for Wednesday’s home fixture against Swansea, then Hughes was probably wise to rest the former Fulham man. Even without the handicap of an unjustified red card early in the game, the Rangers were probably always on a hiding to nothing against Ferguson’s men, who are now showing their famously steely determination while capitalising on their Manchester rivals’ loss of form. Better, then, to save Zamora for a tie that is not only more winnable but which surely fits the label of a ‘must win’ match.

In the case of Barton, it was about the QPR boss being cognisant of the intricacies of the Premier League disciplinary system. The Rangers skipper has racked up nine yellow cards thus far this season. Had he received another yesterday he would have then faced a two-game suspension – and let’s face it, he’s always in danger of arousing the ire of the referee so that outcome would have been a fairly likely one. Now, the danger of a two-game stint on the side lines has been averted for Barton. A weird quirk of the league rules dictates that the disciplinary slate is wiped clean as of end of business on Sunday 8th April this season. So the combative midfielder will be starting afresh in terms of cards accumulated when he makes his presumed return to the team on Wednesday. Will he be welcomed back by all QPR supporters? Probably not. Many appear to have decided that the outspoken Scouser has outlived his usefulness at Loftus Road. This is notwithstanding what looked like a decent display in the hard-fought win against Arsenal.

We all knew Barton came to us with the considerable baggage of his troubled past. We all knew that he was a more than avid user of Twitter, employing the microblogging channel to air his numerous grievances. But while some QPR fans feared the worst from the very start of the player's time at our club, many more were inclined the take the rough with the smooth and see him as a valuable addition to the squad. But even for those of us initially inclined to give Barton the benefit of the doubt, it has become harder and harder not to wish he was some other club's problem.

For quite a while, it was the policy of this blog to stand behind the QPR captain even when lamenting the lack of wisdom he has so often displayed via Twitter.

Famously, Barton loves to quote great figures in philosophy and literature. It's a pity, then, that he has never chosen to live by a rule for life provided by George Bernard Shaw. "I learned long ago," the Irish playwright once wrote, "never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it." If Barton understood this, he would have refrained from exchanging puerile insults with the cast of dismal TV freak show The Only Way Is Essex back in November. But this was a trivial matter when compared to Barton failing to remain circumspect on Twitter about the court case faced by Chelsea's John Terry for allegedly racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand. No other member of the Rangers squad has managed to flirt with the possibility of legal sanction over what is surely an emotional issue for the entire team. Only our skipper lacked the wisdom needed to realise that whatever the level of frustration around this issue, it is necessary to keep quiet about it until the case has run its course in court.

On balance, though, whatever further provocation he may offer via Twitter, and however patchy his form may continue to be, it is now the position of this blog that it will be vastly preferable for QPR fans to refrain from getting on Barton’s back either in the stadium or via online social networks. Well, perhaps just for as long as it remains mathematically possible for our side to avoid relegation. Should we play one or more games this season as confirmed top-flight evictees, perhaps there would be no real harm in letting Barton know that he is seen as partly to blame for what has been perhaps an unnecessarily difficult campaign. Whatever the outcome of this often frustrating season, moreover, perhaps it is to be hoped that Joey Barton’s stay at our club lasts no longer than a single season. The gap between his opinion of his talent and the form he has been able to produce is often unbearably wide. Many will agree that supporting QPR has often been most pleasurable when the team has lacked prima donnas and braggarts. Think of Ian Holloway’s teams of lower league talents playing with heart, honesty and smiles on their faces. Is the preening and gracelessness of a Joey Barton really preferable?

That said, disposing of Barton might not prove easy should the club elect to go down that route. What other side would want him? Does he deliver enough value to be worth the not inconsiderable trouble?

The wild ride ahead
As part of the battle to remain in the Premier League, that unlikely victory over Arsenal looks absolutely priceless. While the weather and the relaxation out here in Florida have been warmly welcomed, missing the chance to be at that match did introduce a small note of regret.

Happily, the chance to be at the equally vital and equally surprising Liverpool fixture was not denied. Memories of that night will surely be etched firmly into the brains of everyone fortunate enough to be in the home crowd at Loftus Road when Jamie Mackie's last gasp winning goal prompted scenes of wild celebration. When the pandemonium finally died down in the X Block, people were standing in front of the wrong seats and starting to feel the bruises sustained by crashing into the seats in front of them. Doubtless, the experience was similar all around the ground.

These wonderful victories seemed particularly unlikely given QPR's failure to beat their fellow strugglers. Recent defeats to Blackburn, Wolves and Bolton were sickening and all added up to suggest that Premier League survival was an impossibility. Now, surely, we have a fighting chance.

But the road ahead continued to look difficult. Surely it's too much to expect to keep grabbing victories from the toughest opponents, not least because two of these - Manchester City and Chelsea - must be faced away from home. But this weekend's results were benign in the sense that all the other relegation candidates failed to register a single point between them. With Bolton having lost again today, it now looks imperative for QPR to get good outcomes at home to Swansea and Stoke and away at West Bromwich Albion. None of those teams really seem to have much left to play for. So let's hope for some grit and some luck.

As the sky darkens on another balmy evening here in Palm City, Florida, the prospect of chilly West Bromwich does not seem an unwelcome one. It's a big game. Can't wait.

U RRRRRRRRRRRRRRssssssssssssssssssss

Sunday, 8 April 2012

back roads

lurking in key west

the streets of Key West, Florida are all margarita-sweats, gaudy bauble, conch fritter & dumbass t-shirt slogan....

also lurking: this little fellow, peeping from alleyways here and there... and even looking out to sea... 

he's been noticed by others, including the peripatetic Jasmine & Derek of and has inspired someone somewhere to cobble together a Facebook page homage... 

Saturday, 7 April 2012

we're here, we're there

when two manchester united shirts pass each other on a sussex high street:
not a word is exchanged,
not a glance is shot;

when two liverpool shirts are in close proximity,
in some shopping centre,
some garden centre,
or some other outer circle
of london orbital hell:
nothing is said,
nothing is felt,
and no sparks fly;

but when a rangers man
sees a rangers man
it's all
and all
hello mate
and all
long conversation
about the glorious ups
and the frequent downs
of our loftus road torments
and our
ellerslie road travails,
it's all
where do you drink
all cooke's pie and mash and all
my nan and granddad used to live
in ormiston grove
before we all moved out
to high wycombe,
to isleworth,
to northolt;

and this is close to home,
this is just in places where seeing one of our tribe
is really no big deal.

but these few lines now,
lizard scattered,
palm fringed,
they were scribbled on heat-tangled sheets,
under the blades
of a ceiling fan
that you don't dare have stop,
in a room,
of a suite,
in a place
four blocks back
from higgs beach,
key west,
just hotdogday flipflop schlepping distance
from mile marker zero
at the tie-dyed tail end
of these united states,
eighty-five miles from castro's sweltering cuba;

footsore and sun-touched,
sweaty and happy,
we climb the stairs
on duval street,
with flatbread pizzas
and two-for-one margaritas,
and a guy working there
has the remains of an english accent
and he says
"I've got that same t-shirt and
I'm from Ruislip and
I'm rangers too",
and our little QPR world
is bigger than we might be relegated
and it's better than the players don't care
and it's warmer than the setting sunrays
across town
on mallory square.

Monday, 2 April 2012

the streets are dangerous

Anywhere in the world now, the entire machinery of education, government and media is devoted to one thing: convincing people that the streets are dangerous and that they should stay home and, by inference, turn over their lives to some polite, sophisticated crackpot institution (i.e. themselves). Occasionally, in some rap song, I get a notion that there is something to be learned in the streets besides bloodshed, but no other medium advances such subversive knowledge. Take away the streets and you take away freedom of movement, people's innocence, their right to gaze, create, respond, discover anything new. If the 19th century is the study of how the people, often in a misguided form, took the streets from the king and queen, the 20th century is the study of how they returned the streets to a series of "democratic" institutions that supposedly represented the interests of the people, but found increasingly ingenious ways to get people off the street. They have succeeded because most town and cities in the U.S. at 6:30 on any given evening are deserts of concrete and glass. Cross the border from Mexico into the United States, and cleanliness and order strike the eye, not life. The great science of the 20th century, then, is not nuclear fission or aerodynamics but crowd control refined to the point of crowd elimination.
Guillermo O'Joyce, from an essay on Irving Stettner (which can be found in his Miller, Bukowski  & their Enemies)