Showing posts from November, 2011


I was fortunate enough to get a quick tour around Wembley Stadium today. I’m doing some work with the FA’s Learning Zone and after our meeting, we got chance to have a nose round. The arena itself is deeply impressive. I thought I’d better take a ‘look where I am, kids!’ photo for the girls. It didn’t work. I wasn’t quite striking the right pose when Charlie fired off the shutter!  Not yet Charlie, this isn't my best side....! I felt like a little kid myself, gazing out onto that arena from one of the executive suites. But the infrastructure behind the pitch and banks of seating is equally huge. Offices, meeting rooms, tours….I was surprised how busy the place was. The evocative Champions League gallery is really well put together and I loved the 1966 World Cup final crossbar outside the Atrium restaurant. We were with some Americans and I made ham-fisted attempt at trying to explain the significance of this now-twisted piece of metalware. “So did the ball cause that kink

An ethical bookmaker

I saw some interesting research published the other day about how betting companies are targeting poor areas and are “driving families further into poverty”. It’s not often that the substance of my day job runs head long into the escapist thread of this blog. But there we are. No blog is an island. The issue has taxed me before. This  report  by NatCen,  the Government-funded centre for independent research  and the Responsible Gambling Fund ,  concludes that slot machine arcades are taking over vacant shopping centre and leisure outlets in places that have been worst hit by the recession. We are not talking about gambling on horse racing specifically, but more the general proliferation of ‘hi gh density machine zones’ and gaming arcades that are thriving as the economic downturn forces the closure of shops and leisure outlets. But bookies contribute significantly to this as well: fixed-odds betting terminals (in effect ‘casino’ machines) and virtual sport betting are on the risin

'Head Honcho

Motorhead coming home to the Hammersmith Apollo on Saturday had been in doubt since Monday when Lemmy injured his hand. That night’s gig at Bristol had been cancelled. The cause of the injury to rock n roll’s ultimate anti-hero remains a mystery. I’m guessing it wasn’t a bizarre nail bar incident (“Would you like starburst pink cuticles with boar’s-head transfers, Mr Kilmister?”). But whatever its nature and extent, the outing in Norwich was also cancelled on Friday. So as I was savouring an electrifying afternoon’s racing from Cheltenham, there was doubt about whether I’d get an electrifying evening to go with it. But not to fear. The Twitter-feed all clear came by mid-afternoon. The famous Odeon. Or Apollo, possibly.  Next crisis. What to wear? I had finally thrown away my vintage green collectors’ item Motorhead England t-shirt back in the Summer. The underarms, bleached and bobbly, hung down past my moobs; the fraying seams flapped past my nobbly knees. It was a touch

Oh my head

Oh my head. I went out for a couple of beers with the Year 7 Dads last night. Just a couple of gentle beers down the local. So why was I staggering home at 12.30am after some naughty after hours beverages, unable to enunciate the names of my drinking buddies as I tried to bid them goodnight in the middle of the road? Indeed I’d walked several houses passed my abode before they gently pointed me back down the hill. It’s a while since we have gathered as a group and so there was a pretty good turn out. There was Martin reading out jokes from his iphone, most of which were far too near the knuckle to repeat in a jolly family publication like this, for instance, “I went to the gym this morning and found that there was a hole in my trainer that I could get my finger in. Anyway she’s lodged an official complaint ad I’ve been banned for life!” There was Dom who apparently has an even nicer shed than me. I’m puce with envy. There was Pete who’s just finished filming an Alice Cooper gig