Tag Archives: World Cup

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting Moment

29 Jun

The instruction is to find a fleeting moment on the street.  This photo was taken during the 2006 World Cup but it could be from any football tournament (including the current European Cup): that fleeting moment every England fan thinks we really could win this time.

Of This And That

19 Jun

It has come to my attention that not everyone knows the sound of a vuvuzela – you lucky, lucky people – so here is a sample for you:

There have been a lot of complaints on this side of the planet that they shouldn’t be allowed at the World Cup tournament but I think that’s a bit of a cheek: we wouldn’t like it if everyone came here and said our fans can’t hurl abuse at the players on the pitch, would we?  It’s a Great British Tradition.


Re the BP oil disaster: what’s the bet that when they make a movie of it, Michael Sheen plays villain-in-chief executive Tony Hayward?  You heard it here first.

BP Chief Executive officer Tony Hayward said he will not quit and BP will stop leakMichael Sheen Picture


It suddenly occurred to me that in all this talk of book launches and bad shoes, I haven’t shared the actual poem with you.  Here it is:

Find A Solution 

Infants once played in this
ruptured field. 
Now, each night is Kristallnacht,
bottles broken over
foreign heads. 
Adolescents scorn childhood friends,
despise them like yellow stars
on skeleton men in
some other holocaust. 
Stolen cars churn dried
blood and grass
like Nazi ash. 
In overlooking houses,
faces turn to
safer sights and latent
Adolfs beat their wives;
pride in their little Reichs.


The Hub just asked my why I’ve got a picture of Andy Serkis on my blog, so there’s another option – you heard that here first, as well:

BP Chief Executive officer Tony Hayward said he will not quit and BP will stop leak

Time For Kick-Off

13 Jun

It’s almost midnight and I’m supposed to be tucked up in bed, fast asleep; but my neighbours don’t want me to. Remember our seige a while back? We’ve just had the night version. I don’t have any photos for you this time, but I can give you an eyewitness account.

I was reading in bed when I suddenly heard screaming and I looked out of the window to see who I now know as thirteen-year old ‘Callum’ screaming at the flats opposite. I won’t bore you with the details – just take six teenagers, an England-US draw and some booze, throw in as many eff words as you can find, add one large family and assorted friends and neighbours, and you’ll get the idea. It all really kicked off, though, when Callum phoned his Dad to complain he’d been beaten up and Dad came tearing round in his car – which he abandoned in the middle of the street – and chased the lad who had touched his lad down the street.

It was about this point that I noticed a nosey woman in a ground floor flat opposite, watching the action from her open window. She was lucky not to get a brick through it: we’d already had the beatee kick a parked car and the beater urinate all over the same car until someone complained it was her friend’s car; that’s when the beater turned, water stick in hand, and continued his business in the road. That nosey woman really should know better than to let herself be seen by aggressive drunks – turn off the light like I do.

One family imploded, goading an elder sister who was trying to calm things down, encircling her in a rather frightening way, particularly given that they were all related. The police finally arrived at that moment, so the younger lads ran off to watch the Dad batter the beater of his son and then get arrested.

The head count was a little lower this time: only four police vehicles, two ambulances, four paramedics and eight cops. No guns, as far as I could see. The police stayed for about forty minutes, calming things down, warning some, cautioning others, and telling off my next door neighbour for interfering in police business when she came out in her nightie to complain that her grandchildren were trying to sleep.

Tempers finally cooled and the police and paramedics went off to tackle another bunch of volatile drunken England fans on another street just like ours elsewhere in the lovely town of Stockport. Some of the neighbours celebrated that no-one went to hospital or jail by cracking out the pear cider and Stella, and now a little party is taking place on the steps further up and some of the lads are yelling profanities at some of the mothers (not necessarily their own) and vice versa.

O, to be in England…not.

Two Senryu For You

11 Jun

I didn’t write any poetry all last week and most of this week, but I managed to squeeze these two senryu out last night.  The first is a response to the prompt at Writer’s Island to write about something that happened that you find unforgettable; it refers to the 1994 South African election.  It might not make sense out of context but I have a whole book dedicated to my SA experience and it will slot in nicely:

An Unforgettable Day

Queue twelve hours.  One
stubby pencil.  One cross.  One
exchange of power.


The second comes from watching too many fillums (sorry; still in South Africa in my head):

Love In The Movies

The moment a strong
woman surrenders to a
powerful man: mmm.


You won’t be hearing much about the Hub from tonight, for the following month; I’ll just write this next sentence and you can copy + paste it to your memory and say it to yourself each day: the Hub is watching the World Cup. 

Women Are From Venus; Men Are Nuts

2 Jun

In work today – I can’t tell you how good it feels to say that after twenty years! – a female member of staff mentioned that a male member of staff had saved up his whole year’s leave and booked it off for the World Cup. She expressed bewilderment at the notion and every man in the place replied, ‘I would have done the same thing if the missus had let me.’


Rallentanda’s prompt this week was this quote from T.S.Eliot:

The Dresden clock continued ticking on the mantepiece
And the footman sat upon the dining-table
Holding the second housemaid on his knees–
Who had always been so careful while her mistress lived.

From ‘ Aunt Helen’

Here’s my response:

An Afternoon Off, 1859

In her hands, a grab of daisies.
In her mind, fear.
In her belly, the butler’s perk.

The second housemaid considers
her future: workhouse; streets.

Another mundane melodrama
passes unnoticed.
Rich bastards thrive; poor bastards die.

Ladies And Gentlemen, Please Be Upstanding For The National Anthem

18 May

I was looking for a You Tube clip of Steph on Over the Rainbow – I’m gutted she’s out; it’s my fault for not voting because I taped it and watched it the next day – when I came across this clip from the SABC, the broadcasting arm of the Rainbow Nation:

I love the South African national anthem; talk about a coalition: two minutes, two tunes, five of the eleven official languages.  It was an inspired piece of thinking from Nelson Mandela.  In case you don’t know the history, I’ve copied this from Wikipedia:

For decades during the apartheid regime it was considered by many to be the unofficial national anthem of South Africa, representing the suffering of the oppressed. In 1994 after the fall of apartheid, the new State President of  South Africa Nelson Mandela declared that both “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” and the previous national anthem, “Die Stem van Suid Afrika” (“The Voice of South Africa”) would be national anthems. While the inclusion of “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” rejoiced in the newfound freedom of many South Africans, the fact that “Die Stem” was also kept as an anthem even after the fall of apartheid, signified to all that the new government under Mr Mandela respected all races and cultures and that an all-inclusive new era was dawning upon South Africa. In 1996, a shortened, combined version of the two anthems was released as the new South African National Anthem under the constitution of South Africa.

I like a good national anthem.  My favourites are the South African; the British (naturally): 

 The American:

And the French:


I find it amusing that three of my favourites celebrate republicanism and the fourth monarchy.  I guess it’s all down to their rousing tunes, which is the point of a national anthem, after all: they are a rallying cry set to music. 

I had a quick look at the different lyrics.  It was inevitable, I suppose, that the French anthem would ramble on for five minutes, but they are complaining about bad soldiers slitting their throats so we’ll forgive them that.  Their anthem says

…that the impure blood
Should water the furrows of our fields.

The Americans thunder about 

…the rockets’ red glare
The bombs bursting in air.

Before peace descended on South Africa, Afrikaaners

…always, always say yes:
To live, to die.

And the British?  Why, we

confound their politics
Frustrate their knavish tricks.

That told ’em! 

I guess it’s why we have a constitutional monarchy system that still works; we are far too polite to change it.  Even our radical new political system is just two groups agreeing to disagree on a few points and rub along on the rest.

An interesting fact about Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika: it is also the national anthem of Tanzania and Zambia and was formerly the anthem of Zimbabwe and Namibia.  It was written in 1897 as a Methodist hymn.  The title means God bless Africa.  A nice little irony is that it was the rallying cry of the exiled and Communist-supported ANC.

The reason for the SABC video of the national anthem is to teach the South African population the words in time for the World Cup.  Not everyone speaks five languages, though most South Africans speak at least two and often three.  As the host nation, it would be embarrassing if the people didn’t know the words to their own national anthem; just ask the British: our footballers all speak the same language, but most of them lip synch like a bad dubbing at international fixtures.  Still, we don’t pay them obscene amounts of money to be literate, do we?  Just as well, really.






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