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!

Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Footie Trivia

It's nearly 2008 but there's still a few hours to sneak in one last trivia question before Big Ben rings in the New Year: 

"Who is the only player to win three consecutive championships in three different tournaments for three different clubs but in only two countries?" 

Good luck, lads.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Post-Christmas Footer

We've barely recovered from Boxing Day and there is another wafer-thin mint of footer on today. Can you manage it or will you need to get a bucket?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Movies of 2007

Netflix continued to be the source of much of my film watching this year, as I found out the hard way that Gainesville’s film “scene” made Jacksonville feel like the East Village. Here are some of my favorite rentals.

1. The Lives of Others – This brilliant look at East German life during the Cold War won the Oscar for Foreign Language Picture this year and couldn’t have been more relevant in our own contemporary police state.
2. Into the Wild – Sean Penn’s adaptation of Jon Krakauer’s book has more big ideas than any other movie this year. Even if you know Chris McCaffrey’s story, you’ll be captivated.
3. Away from Her – Julie Christie is a marvel as a 60 year old woman who is trying mightily to cope with her early onset Alzheimer’s condition. She’s a must for Oscar.
4. After the Wedding – In this Danish film, an Mads Mikkelson plays an aging hippie living and working in a charity hospital is called back to Copenhagen to do some fundraising. While there he’s invited to a donor’s wedding party where he encounters an old flame and the plot thickens.
5. Chalk – This indie film gives the audience the most honest look at public school teaching in years, filmed in that industrial film verite style of “The Office.”
6. Sicko – Michael Moore’s latest on the broken health care system brings the usual goods and may well have more influence on the American political agenda than any of his other films.
7. The Savages – This dramatic comedy about two fortysomethings dealing with their father’s dementia was so close to home for us that it seemed as if director Tamara Jenkins had crawled into our heads and stolen a screenplay.
8. The Year of the Dog – A new Mike White film rich with darkly comic moments with Molly Shannon as a young single woman becomes unglued when her dog dies.
9. La Vie en Rose –Marion Cotillard absolutely inhabits the skin of “The Little Sparrow” – the great French chanteuse Edith Piaf.
10. Margot at the Wedding: Noah Baumbach latest dysfunctional family drama, with Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh as the fiercest of sibling rivals,
Jack Black along for comic relief.

Other Notables:
Zodiac – David Fincher San-Francisco serial killer police procedural.
The Hoax – Lasse Hallstrom’s portrait of the con-man Clifford Irving.
Hot Fuzz – Simon Pegg’s hilarious take on the Hollywood buddy cop picture.
The Bourne Ultimatum – An authentic thrill ride from start to finish.
In the Valley of Elah – Hollywood’s most sucessful attempt at an Iraq movie.
Michael Clayton – A conspiracy movie for a conspiratorial time.
I’m Not There – Todd Haynes’ trippy look at the many faces of Bob Dylan.

Knocked Up – The most hyped comedy of the summer was anything but funny; why go out to the movies to see a couple bickering?

So, what kept you watching this year?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boxing Day!

Santa's brought all of us a load of traditional Boxing Day footie action today and it's already started. 

Join me for the usual post-Christmas soccer watching. 

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas Everyone

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Best Music of 2007

I thought this was a really good year in music which made limiting my choices really hard. Many years I've been really excited about this or that band who put out a hell of a song or record only to later realize that they obviously had this enormous weight to get off their chests and once done, had little else in the tank. I believe this year’s breakthrough artists like Yeasayer, The Magic Numbers, Battles, Band Of Horses, and Georgie James have enough to keep producing excellent music.

Again it was a year where records took a back-seat to songs. That said, Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible, Radiohead’s In Rainbows, Robert Wyatt’s Comicopera, Menomena’s Friend or Foe, and Of Montreal’s Hissing Fauna…. were great.

But thanks to Podcasts like KEXP’s Song Of The Day, I was introduced to a lot of the music on this list.

John Doe's Golden State just shook me to the core. There are songs
where melody, lyric, and voice come together and hit that sweet spot between your ears so damn hard that it's immobilizing. It's got that D-G-A chord
progression that I think the human brain is just very receptive to in
melody, and the clever lyrical interplay with the male voice singing
that she is " the hole in my head" and the female voice agreeing that
she is " the pain in your neck." And then the two voices come
together achingly on the lyric " I am the aching in your heart." And
it sounds just like heart-ache feels. This is a 3 minute masterpiece

I picked Jose Gonzalez’s Down The Line over an equally brilliant version of Massive Attack’s Teardrop, I guess because he wrote Down The Line. I love both because the recording sounds so organic and “live.” In a time when you keep hearing about how established artists rue the quality of sound on records, this seems like a return to those warm and messy days of vinyl. You’re allowed to hear his less-than-perfect guitar fingering, and his voice is not auto-tuned to the point of flat perfection. And Down The Line is just a perfect quiet yet highly emotionally pitched song.

Atlas by Battles, might be dismissed as a novelty with it’s chipmunk style vocals. But I think you would be wrong to do that. There’s a churning combination of drums, bass line, and allover sonic fuzz which is satisfying in and of itself, and then this weird vocal starts with a percussive synthesizer riff. All together it’s a sound unlike anything you’ve heard and very experimental and cool.

I love Public Enemy’s Chuck D because his booming baritone is easily the best voice in rap. If he and Flavor Flav could consistently produce records like Harder Than You Think, rap wouldn’t be as dead as a doornail. Harder Than You Think is a tremendous return to form from Public Enemy with that infectious horn break on Harder Than You Think that simultaneously raises the hair on your neck while kicking your ass.

MIA’s Paper Planes combines a Soft-Cell synthesizer riff with the most imaginative chorus I’ve heard this year. Did anyone imagine that you could use the sound of gunfire, the hammer of a gun being yanked back, and a cash drawer being released as percussion? But it really works. Another ass-kicker.

Cass McCombs’ That's That locks into a tight groove from the first note and gives you an unrelenting four minute boogie, highlighted by a Belle & Sebastian-like twang-guitar. Like Golden State, the song emphasizes a chord progression that I think the human brain perceives as very pleasurable.

The Magic Numbers’ This Is A Song starts off very hippy-trippy, but locks down quickly with a frantic beat and driving rhythm guitar line. There’s a cool male-female vocal interplay that makes this one of the best pop songs of the year.

Air put out a pretty boring and disappointing record this year. But Mer Du Japon is exactly right. It sounds bad-ass and is remarkable because of how tremendously heavy these guys can make soft background music sound.

The New Pornographers are masters of the pop song. Myriad Harbor is another pop gem, combining great melody, and snidey-smart and funny lyrics. “I took a plane, I took a trip…” the singer sings, “Ach! You always end up in the city! “ chastises the chorus.

Band Of Horses is a major debutant this year and the massive buzz around this band is testament to how good they sound. If you were still in Junior High, you’d be listening to Is There A Ghost all the time. This rocks hard.

Georgie James is the combination of two local DC outfits that gigged around in the early part of this decade. They’re still local and they craft perfect pop songs. Listen to More Lights and see if you don’t agree.

Circustown is the most cinematic sound I’ve heard this year. I have no idea who The Measures are and they are annoyingly obscure. I scored this track off the excellent Song-Of-The-Day podcast but cannot find any info about them anywhere else. This song sounds like the music that you’d see in an action-movie where the hero has decided to take the law into his own hands; he straps up, gets into his car, drives fast, pull into the seedy motel courtyard where the bad guys are staying, kicks down their door, and shoots everything in sight. 4 minutes of BOOM-BOOM-BOOM. And completely bad-ass.

Vampire Weekend sounds like a Soweto Guitar band crossed with Madness-like white-boy ska and A-Punk is the best example of their work. Nothing monumental here, but very, very fun. I bet their live shows are riotous.

Thurston Moore’s Fri/End keeps the Sonic Youth feedback experiments to a minimum and ends up sounding like a less-drunk and more competent Replacements song from the early nineties. That’s a good thing.

Daniel Johnson wrote Devil Town, but his voice makes Rosanne Barr sound like Pavoratti. Tony Lucca rescues an excellent song by singing it well and playing it with a bit of country-style swing. I love the imagery of a town inhabited by vampires who live normal lives, driving around, going to school, hanging out, doing normal vampire things…

All the lists picked All My Friends as the standout track from the Sound Of Silver record. They’re wrong. I got hold of Someone Great at the beginning of the year and it’s still the best bit of electronica I’ve heard. All that knob twiddling he does produces the right bubble, the exact squeak, and the perfect whirr that keeps this song churning right along.

AMP Fiddler is a mad f*****r, but he knows who to collaborate with. If I Don’t sounds immediately modern and classic with Corinne Bailey Rae doing the singing. It gives off an excellent Cotton Club vibe.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Big Premiership Weekend

The first match is finished and everything's peachy in Goonerland. Good luck to all the other LOB-sters and their teams today.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Books of 2007

I was disheartened recently to read in an article by some postmodern wag trying to prove a point about fragmentary culture that some three hundred and fifty books are published each week. And those are books in English published in this country! Well, I didn’t keep up with that lot but I did keep UF's library staff fairly busy this year. Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Richard RussoBridge of Sighs: Five years ago, I read Russo’s last great novel – Empire Falls – with a few of the original LHS email circle participants. Since then HBO made a mini-series based on it and now Russo is back with his latest and – like Empire Falls – it’s an epic yarn full of sad-sack characters holed up in a bleak, post-industrial upstate NY town.
2. Christopher HitchensGod is Not Great: “The Hitch” has disappointed me recently with his support for the imperial occupation of Iraq, but there’s no denying the power of his prose. In his latest screed, he turns his scabrous pen toward religious doctrine. Thankfully, Hitchens is an equal-opportunity offender and he treats all religious myth-making with
an even-handed scorn.
3. Charles FrazierThe Thirteen Moons: In his follow-up to Cold Mountain, Frazier takes on the thorny topic of the Indian Removal Act and the beginnings of the Cherokee Nation in the mountains of North Carolina.
4. Allegra GoodmanIntuition: A group of hyper-competitive academics, Harvard Square, mystery and intrigue – what else could I ask for from a good summer novel?
5. Gary YoungeStranger in a Strange Land: In his latest book of columns on race, politics and culture from The Guardian, Younge proves that he’s that rare British writer who actually gets American society and doesn’t have an immediate revulsion for it.
6. Robert BulmanHollywood Goes to High School: Bulman’s sociological study of movies about teachers and schools from Blackboard Jungle to Dangerous Minds immediately convinced me to add features films to the syllabus for a class that I’m teaching in the spring.
7. Bill BrysonThe Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: Bryson’s take on growing up in fifties Des Moines was a bit sweet and sentimental for my taste, but there was enough of that caustic Bryson wit and scatalogical jokes to make it a fun read.
8. Mark HaddonA Spot of Bother: Haddon’s last book was an alternately funny and terrifying look at autism. This time around he tries his hand with a family drama/comedy of the “kitchen sink” variety.
9. Derek Birley A Social History of English Cricket: Birley’s book puts paid to the the Little Englander mythology about cricket as a gentleman’s game, detailing its roots in gambling and pub culture.
10. Lars Holger HolmFawlty Towers – A Companion: A microscopic analysis of the sixteen episode – yes! – series and includes the script for a long-lost, unfilmed final episode. Essential for Cleese fans everywhere.

Other Notables
Stephen ColbertI Am America (And So Can You)
Jonathan Zimmerman – Innocents Abroad
Phillip Roth - The Plot Against America

Worst Book of the Year
David HorowitzIndoctrination U.: Horowitz’s latest is a brief response to the critics of his last The Professors. Interestingly, he tries to pretend that his is not a McCarthyite project and that the blacklist of his last book was merely the publisher’s idea. This is a remarkable prevarication as anyone who’s read his last book will know that it would’ve only been about thirty pages long without the blacklist! Still, it’s a book that I’ll need around while I’m finishing my dissertation, if only as grist for the ideological mill.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Yanks to Rafa - Drop Dead!

So Rafa has gone to his Yank masters at Liverpool with bowl in hand Oliver-style asking for more dosh to spend in the January transfer window, only to be flatly rejected.

Still, he's persisting in describing the talks as "very positive." So how much time does he have, chaps?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Footie Trivia Question of the Week

There were two hat-tricks for two different sides in the Premiership this past weekend, which got me to thinking:

"Which three players have each scored hat-tricks for three different Premiership sides?"

Good luck, lads!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Big Four!

It's Grand Slam Sunday, starting in a few minutes with United at Anfield to meet Liverpool followed on FSC at 11 with Arsenal vs. Chelsea. They could well both be terrible, cagey affairs but let's hope for some balls-out action. I look forward to your company this morning.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Beginning of a Big Weekend

The big four square off tomorrow, so today feels a bit like the calm before the storm. Citeh and Bolton kick off on FSC in a moment, with Fulham vs. Newcastle to follow. As always, I'll have one eye firmly planted on Division One, where Leeds travel to Walsall.

If you're not doing the Christmas shopping, do join me...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Meet the New Boss!

It's Fabio time! Yes, the FA finally confirmed the news that all of already knew: Fabio Capello has been hired as the new England gaffer. The good news - he's a bona fide winner. The bad - he's a cynical sod who represents the worst in high-stakes footer today. That said, if he whips together a side that can win in South Africa - all's forgiven, right?

Your thoughts, gents?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Free Rice!

The latest insanely compulsive time-waster is a website called "Free Rice." Here's the set-up: answer the vocabulary questions correctly and they donate grains of rice to charity. Give it a go at:

I promise you - one visit and the next thing you'll be up at 3 a.m. finding synonyms for "spelunking" and "greensward." Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Crime Spree in Scouseland Shocker

The fifth Liverpool player's house was broken into last night. Stevie G joined, Kuyt, Reina, Agger, Dudek, and Crouch. Who's next?
The high odds published on F365 this morning are Torres: 3-1, and Pennant: 4-1. But if you were looking for expensive chav clobber to shift quickly, I don't think you could do better than breaking into Harry Kewall's house.
Davey, will you and the boys be singing this ditty on the weekend? "5 times, we broke into yer house 5 times, while you were in Marseille, and then we got away!"

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

One More Post-Mortem

I was chatting with the Gator and he and I were wondering when was the last time that England went through a qualifying group with a fit first choice 11 players.

I decided to go back through the EQ games to remind myself of who was available and when. Here are the results of that research.

9.2.06 Home to Andorra -- Won 5-0
Robinson, Pip Neville, Cashley, Terry, Brown, Gerrard, Hargreaves, Lamps, Downing, Crouch, and Defoe.

9.6.06 Away to Macedonia -- Won 1-0
Robinson, Pip, Cashley, Terry, Rio, Gerrard, Hargreaves, Lamps, Downing, Crouch, and Defoe.

10.7.06 Home to Macidonia -- 0-0 Draw
Robinson, Gary Neville, Cashley, Terry, King, Gerrard, Carrick, Lampard, Downing, Rooney, and Crouch.

10.11.06 Away to Croatia -- Lost, 2-0
Robinson, G. Neville, Cashley, Rio, Terry, Carragher, Carrick, Lamps, Parker, Rooney, and Crouch.

3.24.07 Away to Israel -- 0-0 Draw
Robinson, Pip, Rio, Terry, Carra, Gerrard, Hargreaves, Lampard, Lennon, Rooney, and Johnson.

3.28.07 Away to Andorra -- 3-0 Win
Robinson, Richards, Cashley, Terry, Rio, Gerrard, Hargreaves, Downing, Lennon, Rooney, and Johnson.

6.6.07 Away to Estonia -- 3-0 Win
Robinson, Brown, Bridge, King, Terry, Becks, Gerrard, Lamps, Joe Cole, Crouch, and Owen.

9.8.07 Home to Israel -- 3-0 Win
Robinson, Richards, Cashley, Rio, Terry, Gerrard, Barry, Joe Cole, SWP, Heskey, and Owen.

9.12.07 Home to Russia -- 3-0 Win
Robinson, Richards, Cashley, Rio, Terry, Gerrard, Barry, Joe Cole, SWP, Heskey, and Owen.

10.13.07 Home to Estonia -- 3-0 Win
Robinson, Richards, Cashley, Rio, Campbell, Gerrard, Barry, Joe Cole, SWP, Rooney, and Owen.

10.17.07 Away to Russia -- 2-1 Loss
Robinson, Richards, Lescott, Rio, Campbell, Gerrard, Barry, Joe Cole, SWP, Rooney, and Owen.

11.21.07 Home to Croatia -- 3-2 Loss
Carson, Richards, Bridge, Lescott, Campbell, Gerrard, Barry, Joe Cole, Lamps, SWP, and Crouch.

Interesting reading isn't it?

Champions League - Final Gameday!

It's crunch time for Liverpool and Rafa Benitez today. Simply put, they have to win against Marseille or they'll be relegated to the UEFA. Worse still, if they were to lose and Besiktas got anything out of their match with Porto, the Merseysiders would be out of Europe altogether and Benitez would surely be out of a job by the morning. It should be gripping and ESPN2 will be showing it live from 2:30 onward.

Monday, December 10, 2007

FIFA Club World Cup 2007

Have any of the rest of you noticed there's a quixotic little tournament going on now in Japan called the FIFA Club World Cup? What are FIFA playing at with scheduling club tournaments at the height of the European season? I'll never figure it out but if you have suggestions, fire away. And if you're keen to catch cracking match-ups such as Sepahan vs. Waltekere United or Etoile Sportive du Sahel vs. Urawa Red Diamonds, check your local FSC schedules - they're playing several of these gems at 5:30 a.m.!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Soccer Saturday

With all of my travels recently, it's been a couple of weeks since I've been able to relax and watch my footer on a Saturday morning here in Gator Central Command, so I'm particularly relishing the prospect of several good games today.

Join me if you're around and about.

Friday, December 07, 2007

All Songs Considered

It's almost time for the annual LOB listmania to begin but the professionals have already got the jump on us. If you'll forgive me another podcast plug this week, go directly to the latest download from NPR's "All Songs Considered," which features their Year in Review with the usual panel of critics such as Tom Moon and Will Hermes and the excellent addition of Sleater-Kinney's Carrie Brownstein.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Red Devil Radio!

In what is surely a sign of a Faustian bargain, Sirius has launched a ManYoo-centric radio show that airs every Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. It features a couple of Irish blokes and reviews the previous week's fixtures and previews the weekend's action to come along with news and chat. You can also download it from Itunes by downloading the World Soccer Daily Friday edition - it's the last hour of the program after the WSD lads go off.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Footie Trivia Question of the Week

Like the rest of you, I'm still in a bit of a funk over England's exit from the Euros, so here's one that might clear the air.

"Which England manager has the worst win-loss record. (Hint: it's not McClaren!)

Good luck, lads!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Euro 2008 Groups

Next summers tournament groups have been picked, and there are some interesting ones.

Group C looks tough with the Dutch, Italy, and France all fighting for top and and runners-up.
Group B looks interesting because Germany plays Poland and you know how that's going to be played in the press.
And you'd be temped to have a fiver on Portugal and Spain to top their groups.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

1000 Albums To Hear Before You Die.

Fellas, I asked my Mom to collect this series of 5 articles from the Guardian. Their music critics pick their favorite 1000 records.

I knew I was in the right place when I started reading and they had chosen not to rank them, just list them in alphabetical order.

This is not some limp, self-congratulatory, Rolling Stone puff piece where you're pointed yet again towards a top three of Sgt. Pepper's, Exile on Main Street, and the Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.

Oh-no, this is the real deal for anyone who wants to expand their regular listening habits. I've just read through the A's for instance and these critics can recommend the quintessential Abyssinians record for those of you that know that one song off the Harder They Come Soundtrack. This is a list unafraid to say that A-ha's Hunting High And Low is "beautifully skewed" and that "melancholic pop abounds throughout" the record. And they rated AC/DC's Powerage higher than Back In Back, a view that I personally hold myself.

This list is a keeper for the ages. Go get it HERE