Lakenheath Old Boys

We are all former students at Lakenheath High School and other public schools in East Anglia. We were in school in the 70s and 80s and drank deeply from the well of British culture of those decades - the pints, the telly, and of course the footie!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Happy Birthday, MUR!

Please join me in wishing our own Manchester United Rules a very happy birthday today. Hope you've had a cracking one, mate!

Sunday Morning Coming Down

The footie gods have allowed me to have a lie-in after some marathon snow shoveling sessions. I may be a bit sore from all of that exertion today, but I'm got a cuppa by my side and WBA v. United to enjoy. Join me for the Premiership action, won't you?

Saturday, December 16, 2017

A Footie Respite

Morning, LOBers. I woke up to two feet of fresh snow in the driveway here at the Cottage. So, I sacrificed the Leicester v. Palace match for an early morning shoveling session. I'm back for some brekkies and some of the good stuff. After this early offering, we've got the usual 3pm GMT kickoffs, including Chelsea v. Soton on NBC Sports and Leeds (hopefully) on the ESPN3. The late one is the biggie - Citeh v. Spurs. Join me if you're around today, won't you?

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Music of 2017

I grew up in the era of the LP, often buying a new album of the day of its release, breathlessly taking it home and lovingly unwrapping it and reading liner notes while spinning it for the first time. Those days are long over and I had just about given up hope on the full-length album as an art form in the age of mixtape culture; yet, there it was roaring back in 2017 (even in vinyl form!), with many top artists releasing fully-conceived albums (sometimes even doubles!). Is the renaissance of the concept album far behind? In any case, these are the records that were constant companions on my walks over to campus this year:
  1. Childish Gambino - “Awaken, My Love!” I have to admit that I slept on Childish Gambino, naively thinking that it was merely a vanity project for comic actor Donald Glover. But I have to give it to the guy - he has the musical chops to pull it off - and then some. Much of this album sounds like vintage P-funk by way of Sly Stone’s “There’s a Riot Goin’ on.” And “Redbone” is my song of the year - it’s message to all of us to “stay woke” was a mantra for the Trump era.
2. Offa Rex - “The Queen of Hearts” - This adventurous project featuring the Decemberists backing English folk singer Olivia Chaney reminds of those great Fairport Convention albums of the late 60s. Colin Meloy has clearly done his homework but it’s Chaney, who sounds like a reincarnation of the luminous Sandy Denny, who is the star of the show. Every track that she leads - “The Gardener,” for example - sparkles. And their version of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” will almost make you forget Roberta Flack’s.
3. The xx - “I See You:” The British electronica band The xx has long caught my attention with their combination of pop smarts and hip beats. “I See You” represents a career high point for them, perhaps a breakthrough given their recent SNL performance. Of course, there is the current single “On Hold,” which shows off the double vocal threat of Romy Madley-Croft and Oliver Sim, which is elevated by Sim’s Cockney delivery - “I fought you were on hold.” But in truth the entire album, including sublime slow-burners such as “Performance” and “The Lips.” The killer pop track is “I Dare You,” a tune of such devastating hooks that it’s mystifying that they stuck it at track nine. No matter - it kills whenever it pops up in the iTunes cue.
4. Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie - I have always considered Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie to be the creative geniuses behind Fleetwood Mac, so it’s really gratifying to see that the recent Mac reunion shows have spurred this new album. Buckingham and McVie could easily retire to their stately homes in LA and England at this point and never do any recording or touring at this point. Instead, they’ve produced a smart set of pop song craft. The album is expertly programmed, with the two trading vocal leads from one song to the next. McVie’s lead on “Feel About You” and Buckingham’s on “In My World” are the highlights on the album.
5. Alison Krause - “Windy City:” This is such a welcome return for Alison, who has dropped out of the scene since her terrific duet album with Robert Plant from almost ten years ago. Her new solo effort has a classic country and western feel, with tasty covers of Willie Nelson numbers and Glen Campbell’s “Gentle on my Mind.”
6. Chris Thile and Brad Mehldau - Brad Mehldau must be the hardest working man in jazz these days, taking on a variety of projects, from solo concerts to trio work to collaborations with a variety of people. I have to admit that Chris Thile is new to me on this disc - but apparently he’s a hot shot on the bluegrass circuit and is the new host of NPR’s Prairie Home Companion. Together they make some really interesting stuff that merges Mehldau spiky, rock-tinged take on jazz with bluegrass, country and folk. This is a deep listen but an album that I’ll long enjoy.
7. Phoenix - “Ti Amo:” The French band Phoenix make sleek 21st century pop music informed by both rock and EDM. I first heard their new album as it was infused throughout the Diane Lane romantic vehicle “Paris Can Wait.” It was the soundtrack of Lane’s character’s journey through the French countryside. Singer Thomas Mars is a voice for this generation, with a plaintive yelp on tracks such as the title track that is quite affecting. Phoenix are still largely a singles band for me, as they can’t quite sustain my interest over a full album.
8. Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer - “Not Dark Yet:” I only just found out that Lynne and Moorer are sisters from a review in Rolling Stone. But there is no escaping this fact when one hears the two harmonizing. It’s clear that they’ve been singing together all their lives. Not surprisingly all of the media buzz has been about their cover of Nirvana’s “Lithium,” however, that track is actually an outlier on a very listenable disc of alt country.
9. Randy Newman - “Dark Matters:” A new Randy Newman couldn’t come at a better time for our democracy. His combination of classic American song craft and acerbic lyrics is perfect for the Trump era. Apparently, he left off a piece that he had written about Trump’s penis. However, there is plenty of tart, politically adept material here, especially the comical “Putin.”
Father John Misty - “Pure Comedy:” I much preferred Josh Tillman when he was drumming for Fleet Foxes. His new persona, as “Father John Misty” is a bit too Chateau Marmont, hipster bon vivant for my tastes. But there is no denying his audacious songwriting chops, especially on songs such as “Ballad of the Dying Man.”
Notable Others:
Alt-J - “Relaxer”
Arcade Fire - Everything Now
Fleet Foxes - “Crack-up”
Haim - “Something to Tell You”
Keyon Harrold - “The Mugician”
Valerie June - “The Order of Time”
Diana Krall - “Turn Up the Quiet”
Gorillaz - “Humanz”
Laura Marling - “Semper Femina”
2017 Playlist:
Arcade Fire - “Everything Now”
Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie - “In My World”
Childish Gambino - “Redbone”
Father John Misty - “Ballad of the Dying Man”
Fleet Foxes - “If You Need To, Keep Time on Me”
HAIM - “Want You Back”
Hurray for the Riff Raff - “Rican Beach”
Jason Isbell - “Cumberland Gap”
Valerie June - “Astral Plane”
Diana Krall - “Sway”
Alison Krauss - “Gentle on My Mind”
Shelby Lynne and Alison Moorer - “I’m Looking for Blue Eyes”
Laura Marling - “Soothing”
Flo Morrisey and Matthew E. White - “Look What the Light Did”
Randy Newman - “Putin”
Offa Rex - “The Gardener”
Phoenix - “Ti Amo”
The Shins - “Mildenhall”
The Suburbs - “Hey Muse”
Tennis - “My Emotions are Blinding”
Chris Thile and Brad Mehdau - “That Old Shade Tree”
The xx - “I Dare You”
Disappointment:
* Feist - “Pleasure:” I really enjoyed Canadian singer-songwriter Leslie Feist’s work when she burst out of the Broken Social Circle collective to release her own solo album The Reminder a decade ago. However, her 2017 album “Pleasure” is a long way from the catchy pop of “1234” and “I’ve Seen It All.” She has described it as an attempt to explore “emotional limits,” yet, its somber soundscape never really drew me in.
I’d love to hear what you’ve been listening to this year.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Midweek Premiership Madness!

The Fredonia campus is shut down due to the extreme wintry conditions today, so I'm taking advantage of an afternoon at home to enjoy some Premiership footer. NBC Sports is showing the Man Citeh visit to Wales to meet Swansea. If they win today, they'll set a new record for a winning streak of 15 matches. Elsewhere, United are at home to Bournemouth, Liverpool are at home to West Brom and Arsenal are away to West Ham. Join me for a cuppa and a match if you're around.

RIP Cheggers

Many of you will have memories of waking up on Saturday mornings to the chirpy Keith Chegwin who has passed away recently after he lost his battle against a fatal lung disease. He was only 60! RIP Cheggers.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Premiership Plus Predictions Game - Week 16 Update

Hiya, chaps. Greetings from snowy Fred-town. I'm checking in with the usual PPP update on a Monday afternoon. Not a lot of changes this weekend. The top five seems locked in at this point, despite United losing and Liverpool and Arsenal dropping points. Swansea had a big win at the bottom, which moved them off the floor of the league but they're still in massive trouble. And the Championship playoff sides remain the same. Given the incredible dust-up at Old Trafford after yesterday's match, during which Jose Mourinho was doused in milk, there may be some FA charges coming. Romelu Lukaku, who threw a bottle, is the most likely (none of us picked him, btw). More of that to come later.

Here are the current (unchanged standings):

1. Gooner71 - 33 points
2. Swansong - 32 pts
3. What's Up Wheaton Simon - 30 pts
4. MOT the Hoople - 28 pts
5. Someone Said - 23 pts
6. Yellows - 22 pts
7. Man Utd Rules - 20 pts
-  Red Devil 1FCK - 20 pts
9. Blue Devil - 18 pts
-  Red Dragon - 18 pts
-  The Saint - 18 pts
12. United We Stand - 17 pts
13. West Ham Rising - 14 pts

Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Snowy Derby Day Sunday

Good morning, gents - I'm up at the crack of dawn for a very Super Sunday in the Premiership. We start with Arsenal traveling to the South Coast, where it's been raining overnight. Then we've got two classic derby matches back to back, starting with Liverpool v. Everton from Anfield and then ending the day with the Manchester Derby from Old Trafford. Oh - did I mention it's been snowing in the UK? Right - be here sharpish for all the action.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Saturday Morning's Alright for Footie!

A very good Saturday morning to all of you. I'm settling in to watch some of the good stuff after a long and snowy week here in Western New York. We get started at the London Stadium with West Ham v. Chelski. Then we've got the usual 10am EST kickoffs, including Spurs v. Stoke. I'm also delighted that my beloved Leeds are scheduled to be ESPN3 for their away match with QPR. Join me for all the fun today, won't you?