Saturday, May 30, 2009


On Friday evening, I acted against my own prejudices, I stepped into the unknown, I watched men fiddle with balls.

On Friday evening, I engaged with the world of village cricket.

It was really rather pleasant.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


The British Artists' Football Tournament:

Saturday, 23rd May, 2009.

We played well - won 4, drew 0, lost 2, during first phase of the tournament. Both defeats were to the eventual finalists, 0-1 and 0-1. The wins were 3-1, 2-1, 6-3 and 3-2. I scored twice (one back heel, one outrageous first-time lash - following good team play down the left and a quick squared cross). Largely, though, I played a defensive, sweeperish role. In the semi-final, we drew 0-0 against Eastside Projects (Birmingham), then lost on penalties (*whispers* though I scored mine - hard and low). And so we were knocked out. We call that an honourable exit - for self and team (AirSpace). It was pleasing to hear newfound and amusing support from the sidelines. As with all teams and most players, our attitude was good, '...appreciate the effort that others have put in to making the day happen, now get on with it and play fair'. The tournament was won by another Birmingham team, 'Jibbering' - a collective of street artists and DJs - they played well, and used their squad intelligently. As we drove back up the M6, the mood was good - we'd done ourselves justice.

Number of teams who participated: 7
Number of teams who failed to show: 3
Number of instances of dissent / bad attitude: 2
Number of my legs experiencing thigh strain (Sunday - Tuesday): 2
Best kit design of the tournament: AC Tortured Birmingham (white polos, with AC-style logo)
Best team name of the tournament: Real Worcester
Number of natural left-footers in our team: 2
Number of miles to venue: 42.7
Mark out of 10 for satisfaction with the day: 10
Minutes delayed in getting to venue (Bank Holiday traffic): 20
Number of people who've seemed interested in my in-person reportage: 3
Number who haven't...: 3

There was a photographer on site for the whole tournament, though I have yet to get access to their handiwork. Thus, you'll have to imagine it... no no no, more attractive than that, surely.

Embodied by self, Saturday was a good day for north east football(ers in exile).

Sunday wasn't.

[ - Photographs may follow - ]

Friday, May 22, 2009


I'm feeling a bit nervous - got a football tournament tomorrow, which offers three possible outcomes:-

A - Creditable display by self and team (have been trying to pace physical exertion this week, for fittest finest preparation), leading to feelings of contentment.

B - The whole thing is a badly organised shambles (teams from all over England will converge on the West Midlands for it), leading to feelings of frustration.

C - Our team just doesn't gel on the day (we bomb), leading to feelings of frustration (variety II).

Aim: Eat well, sleep well, be sure to take footballing brain as I leave the house in the morning.

If Tuesday's training session was anything to go by, we just might be ok.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Alex missed school today - truly, a heavy cold, albeit with exaggerated symptoms.

After lunch:

Alex: I didn't much like the tuna mayo.

Shane: I thought you liked that.

Alex: Well, I do, but I added some raspberries** and it wasn't good.

Shane: Tuna, mayo and raspberries...

Alex: - not good.

Shane: Mm.

He'll be back at school tomorrow, and so I'll not be setting number quiz challenges, justifying jigsawing 'down-time', or contriving logo design work* for an eight year old. I will miss him, though. His singing about not being allowed to play on the Playstation or to watch any more television - all to the tune of Eye of the Tiger, well that was the high point of the day. I believe the term is 'LOL'.

* We support creative endeavour...
** Up to a point.

Saturday, May 09, 2009


I've changed my mind.

That series of reflections that I was going to post (about reacquainting with The Artist), well they'll have to be sidelined - perhaps to be revived and immersed, veiled or otherwise fronted, in future blog posting, or some such. Now is not the time to write of those reflections. Ongoing dialogue is shifting what and how I understand of my meeting with The Artist, of what we did and what we didn't talk about. Trying to write about this would be hard, and trying to read that would be really frustrating.

And so, more learnings.

Apologies for the obliqueness - episodic and thematic. Maybe one day I'll start writing really crisp, no-holds-barred, let it all hang out type stuff. One day, maybe.

In the mean-time, just be glad that I'm not clubbing you with poetry.

Thursday, May 07, 2009


Oh, forgive me. It's just that, well, I've had a week or so of being all in touch with my feelings. I think this comes from peak, or rich, emotional experiences.

I've embraced the past, I've stroked the head of a dying old bird, and I've come to understand things that I hadn't realised that I'd misunderstood. And so it goes.

Where am I going with this? Where indeed. Ah yes... For this month's posts, I'm going to pepper you with tiny extracts - dialogue, oddments of reflection, insights, and the stuff of general gaping, that came from my meeting with my old pal - The Artist, as mentioned previously.

As a starter, I'll say that we met up in Manchester - last Saturday - a warm, sunny day. We met at eleven on the dot, in the top floor cafe of Afflecks Palace, where we drank earl grey and ate toast, before moving on to the first of a few pubs. Approaching from the right (I hadn't spotted the second entrance to the cafe), The Artist called out my name and offered an open hand. I smiled, chorused back his name, and opened up for a hug. Already, 15 years on, things had changed.