Sunday, 20 June 2010

You're forgiven for now Wayne & the Pandorica opens

So yesterday I asked if it could get any worse. Shock of shocks, the Earth didn't open up and swallow us, the rains did not come down like righteous anger from the Gods and nobody had a supernaturally bad day at the World Cup. Wayne Rooney even apologized for being a twat on camera. It's Ok Wayne, we know you're not famous for having the wisdom and patience of the Mahatma Ghandi. Hell even he had the occasional off day. So if you and the rest of the England squad don't stink up the park next Wednesday, we might even return to normal service.

So what did happen today? we had three matches , two were brilliant end to end stuff and one was reminiscent but not quite as interesting as watching the bit at the awards ceremony when the accountants come out to explain how the voting works.  Holland Japan was technically perfect, Holland enjoyed over 70% possession and Japan frankly didn't show up. So how you ask me  was it possible for the scoreline to be 1-0? Very easy. Unlike Our own lads the day before, the Dutch super stars who populate some of the best clubs in Europe and England, decided to take the path of least resistance. They played pass the ball for a bit , then they did it some more. At some point the manager noticed they hadn't scored a goal yet so signalled the need for them to perhaps try.  For a few minutes the match came to life and Sneijder put one in at the 83 minute where upon they they promptly went back to sleep. Now I'm not for a minute suggesting there is some kind of contractual obligation for teams to provide entertaining footie. I even understand that you get to the next stage as best you can, but honestly,  football of the living dead was a bit much. If they hope to put Argentina or Germany ( should they make it out) to sleep with this , it may more likely turn around and bite them in the ass. Holland can play some strikingly delicious football before they habitually fold like a house of cards to the Germans, it's what we expect of them, so why the sleep walking act? I suspect it was more a desire to protect players from injury ahead of the next stage.

Ghana Australia was another matter entirely . Comedy gold that was. Australia was awash in controversy over if Harry Kewell was going to play or not. Well he did . We even had a pool as to how long he would stay on before he was gone. I had 34 minutes, as it is he was sent off on 23 minutes. Handball if you're curious, a few more inches it would have been his chest and he'd have been a hero. He even argued the card and had to be escorted off the pitch. Kewell aside, both  teams played to win and a 10 man Australia barely showed signs they were even bothered by what would have crippled a lesser side. Lots of chances going both ways, great goal keeping. Some of us even wondered if we could just dispense with a search for a new keeper and offer Schwarzer a British passport. In the end it was a 1-1 draw with both teams deserving the single point. An entertaining match  that went by so fast you never really did  notice the passage of time.

The last match of the day was the equally entertaining but ultimately sad Cameroon v Denmark . The 2-1 result belies the effort both teams put in. A galaxy of current, past and future Premiership stars fought it out in the best flowing match perhaps of the entire tournament. Both keepers were outstanding and the pace was electric. The strategy was to win and not be too worried about leaking goals. The end result was an end to end contest filled with spectacular shots hits and tackles. Samuel Eto Nicholas Bendtner and Rohmedahl each scored. To be honest, Cameroon deserved to win on the strength of frankly unlucky shots on the Danish goal and brilliant goal keeping. A gutted group of Lions are gannin yem while Denmark soldier on into the knock out round. Cameroon should be proud of  the level of play and quality they showed neutrals. While they will have preferred to win, at least they go out in style fighting to the last. Would all the matches be this good , I wouldn't have nodded off as often as I have.

The lowlight of the day had to be the following exchange...which sent me to the kitchen to make my tea rather than have to hear the rest of what would  surely be  the worst commentary since I sat next to a bunch of charvs discussing the merits of popular culture. BBC 's best said the following..."Anyone seen Space Jam? You know, that movie where all the superstar basketball players lose their abilities and a bunch of nobodies end up becoming the best basketball players in the world. Basically, I'm expecting a Bill Murray cameo around the quarter finals." . I couldn't make this stuff up. In a further sign of things to come, we had a BBC screen sans the scoreline or the time for the first few minutes. And In further surrealist developments, the Big Sulk Anelka apparently told Domenech to make love to himself, though probably not as politely as I just put it, as a result he's on the next flight home to water the plants and sort out his recycling. No worries Nic , nobody thinks you did the wrong thing.

Here a few gems from today's idle banter. My thanks to somebody's father and his text messages.The England Squad went to an African orphanage this morning. "it's good to put a smile on the faces of those with no hope, constantly struggling & facing the impossible" said Jamai Umboto, aged 6'  And:  "Oxo are introducing a white Oxo cube with a red cross on it, as a tribute to the England football team. It's called The Laughing Stock.".

Mock the week is back, and I finally go to see it two days later. I swear I think 6.5 hours of telly a day is about the limit a human can take. Even ringers have to take a break when doing the extended dvd LOTR marathon ( not including appendices) at about the 6 hour point. I could feel my eyes trying to glower at me unsuccessfully. Best they could do was water up and sting in a slightly stroppy manner. Where was I? Mock the week, Hugh Dennis, Russell Howard and Andy Parsons joined by guests Diane Morgan, Milton Jones and Chris Addison kicked off the new series in grand style. You could tell they had weeks of material just bursting to be used. I can't wait for the out-takes reel to see the stuff they left behind. The Green howler was dealt with in typical sensitive MTW fashion and the new Condem government was raked over the coals in a tip to Mr. Cameron that he won't be getting any votes from these comedians. I have missed this programme so much, so pleased it's back just in time to take our minds off the troubles on the pitch.

Last treat today was the first part of an all star cast of monsters, friends and companions in The Pandorica Opens. Vincent, Winston and other assorted characters from the latest series of Doctor Who conspired to get a message to Matt Smith that he's in mortal danger of some kind. I won't tell you what happens, you need to watch it yourself, but I can tell you this. "Pandorica opens" is a throwback to the great adventure serials you used to hear on radio or watch on telly. Stonehenge sits atop a secret chamber complete with cobwebs and decaying monsters trying to kill you while you decode the secret message before it's too late. Nothing is at seems while the writers keep tickling the funny bone with scenes you would have found in the funny bits of Indiana Jones. But it's not all laughs my friends, keep a box of tissue handy for a poignant reunion. The ep ends on a shocking note that will have older viewers remembering the way Flash Gordon or Batman used to get into trouble. Will the Doctor get out of this one? Will it all end badly for Amy? Will River Song destroy time and space? Tune in next Saturday --- Same Bat Time, same Bat-channel!

As always, this post brought to you by BBC Radio Newcastle's Nick Roberts and Beat Surrender, you can hear the latest programme HERE.

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