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!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Movies of 2014

I always wait until the end of December to complete my movie list because I hope to see at least a couple of top tenners during the holiday season when I usually have more access to better theatres and movie choices. Unfortunately, the end of the year was dominated with the furor surrounding “The Interview,” a movie I hadn’t planned on seeing - and still haven’t because of lack of access - but now feel compelled to see in order to protect intellectual freedom against the whims of tin-pot dictators here and abroad. These are the movies that I’ve willingly enjoyed in the dark this year:

1. The Imitation Game - I waited until the end of the year to see my favorite - the true story of Alan Turing and his team cracking the Nazi Omega code during WWII. Benedict Cumberbach is riveting as Turing and is surrounded by a stellar cast of English actors including Matthew Goode, Mark Strong and the ageless Charles Dance.

2. Begin Again - Mark Ruffalo plays a washed up record man who discovers a young troubled singer played by Keira Knightley. If this sounds like a lot like the Irish film “Once,” it’s because it was also directed by John Carney. Carney may be repeating himself a bit, but I was still charmed by the scenes of Ruffalo, Knightley and especially James Corden creating a album in the streets of NYC.

3. Le Weekend - In this delicate adaptation of a Hanif Kurdish short story, an older couple played by British veterans Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan try to rekindle their marriage with a weekend in Paris. What might be overly sentimental is undercut by the couple’s light-fingered antics. Hijinxs really ensue when Jeff Goldblum shows up to steal the show.

4. The Grand Budapest Hotel - In Wes Anderson’s most satisfying comedy since The Royal Tenenbaums, Ralph Fiennes plays a legendary concierge in a luxury Central European hotel in the 30s. Anderson is now one of our country’s most distinctive film voices.

5. The Hundred Foot Journey - Lasse Hallstrom’s magical realistic exploration of the culture clash between a family owned Indian curry house and a Michelin-rated French restaurant showcased the gifts of Helen Mirren and veteran Bollywood actor Om Puri. A feel good film without being overly saccharine.

6. The Skeleton Twins - SNL veterans Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader turned in powerful dramatic performances as estranged siblings pulled together by their dysfunctional family.

7. The Railway Man - Colin Firth is haunting as a British WWII veteran who travels to Burma to exorcise his demons from his years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. I even tolerated Nicole Kidman in a understated role as Firth’s wife.

8. Gone Girl - David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestselling mystery had just the right amount of creepy ambience produced by Trent Reznor’s score. As with any film adapted from a book that I enjoyed, it had its missing elements.

9. A Long Way Down - Nick Hornby’s story of six people who bond after meeting one another on top of a tower block on New Year’s Eve when each was contemplating suicide. Pierce Brosnan and Toni Collette lead a wonderful cast.

10. Beware of Mr. Baker - A visceral documentary film about the gonzo drummer Ginger Baker that shows his visionary drumming along with his peculiar and frightening persona.

Notable Others:
* And So it Goes
* The Face of Love
* Fading Gigolo
* Girl on a Bicycle
* The Giver
* Great Expectations
* Labor Day
* The Monuments Men
* Words and Pictures

I'd love to hear about the movies that kept you rapt while munching your popcorn.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Premiership Plus Predictions Game - Week 19 Update

We're in the midst of the busy holiday schedule and it's high time to take a look at the PPP standings. The main news is that Chelsea, City United and Arsenal are all in the top four now, which means more points for all of us. Burnley have joined the bottom three - more points for us. Sadly, though, no one picked Neil Warnock to walk the managerial plank first - no points. So - here are the current standings:

1. STRose - 44 points
2. Chelskilad - 43 pts
3. Blue Devil - 40 pts
4. Swansong - 32 pts
5. Gooner71 - 26 pts
- The Red Dragon - 26 pts
7. Someone Said - 25 pts
- Yellows - 25 pts
9. The Red Devil 1FCK - 24 pts
10. United We Stand - 23 pts
11. What's Up Wheaton Simon - 20 pts
12. Man Utd Rules - 15 pts
13. West Ham Rising - 8 pts

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Footie Trivia Holiday Question

 It's the holidays and I thought it would be a great time for a trivia question. This is a what if. Back on October 11th Carlisle defeated Stevenage 3-0 in a League 2 match. A record would have been broken or rather shattered if this would have happened. Who is the player that would have been involved and what record would have been broken?

More Footie Than We Know What to Do With

We've only just recovered from Boxing Day and here comes another full slate of Premiership goodies, like that seemingly endless supply of leftover green bean casserole in the fridge. It all starts with a bang with United visiting Spurs. Then at 10am, it's the top of the table clash between Chelski and Southampton. Join me for some more festive action this morning, won't you?

Friday, December 26, 2014

Hurrah - it's Boxing Day!

Jingle bells, Wednesday smells, Millwall ran away - oh, what fun it is to see the Whites win on Boxing Day! Oh yes, my old beauties, it's Boxing Day once again. A magical day when we work off all that excess turkey weight by sitting on our arses and watching the footer all day long. We'll be around for the early one between Chelski and the Hammers before packing off and watching the later ones with Dad. Join me for all the hijinks here on the LOB.

Monday, December 22, 2014

RIP: Joe Cocker (1944-2014)

Joe Cocker, a true rock 'n' roll original, died today at the age of 70. Here's a clip from the legendary "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" tour in 1970, with Joe, aided by the great Leon Russell on piano, doing a stonking version of "The Letter." Enjoy!

Stoke vs Chelsea on Monday Night Footie

 Stoke vs Chelsea kicks off at 3 PM on NBCSN. If Chelsea lose then Citeh go top of the table . Sound familiar? It would turn the PPP table upside down too. If Stoke win then Sparky Hughes would become the first manager to defeat Jose three times in the Prem. I would love to see that. Join me if you can.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Sunday Holiday Double Header

 It's the typical Sunday double header, but during the holiday period. First, is the Tyne-Wear Derby at SJP followed by Liverpool vs Arsenal at Anfield.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Music of 2014

I saw a few, but too few shows this year. Public Service Broadcasting's show at Black Cat whetted my appetite for their new record in 2015. Shuggie Otis at the Howard was wonderful and a riot because that cat is having so much fun he can hardly speak in full sentences. I was blown away by the teenaged energy and verve of The Strypes at the 9:30. The Bad Plus at the Barns was so great and special because those guys hang with their audience afterwards and are completely gracious. It's hard to beat Los Lobos at the Birchmere performing my favorite of their records La Pistola y El Corazon. But beat it I did, because I got to see Eric and the NIA band play Eric's songs which made me ridiculously proud. I can tell you that there is nothing like seeing a room respond to the air-raid clarion sound of your son's voice. The shows at Tree House and Empire were my favorites.

I liked a number of records this year. The first one that really spoke to me was Beck's Morning Phase, not so much for any particular song, but because of the cumulative effect of the record. I heard enough of Ty Segall's Manipulator record that I liked that I ended up downloading the entire record. The Bad Plus put out their Inevitable Western record which has a lonesome drive on a deserted highway feel that is beautiful. And Bill Frisell put out Guitar in the Space Age where he gives his washed jazz guitar treatment to songs as diverse as Turn, Turn, Turn, Surfer Girl, Rumble, and Telstar. My adopted hometown heroes Thievery Corporation returned to form this year with a Bossa Nova soaked record Saudade that I played and played. I remember liking the Black Keys record Turn Blue record, but perhaps it wasn't a sustained pleasure. I loved the De La Soul record Smell the DA.I.S.Y. and look forward to more consistent and frequent output from these guys. Charlie Haden and Keith Jarrett's Last Dance was a particularly lovely way to say cheerio to Charlie who died this year. And finally, Roseanne Cash reminded us that great Cash music didn't die with her dad because her The River & The Thread is excellent throughout and a complete pleasure.

But I'm still consuming music using my classic iPod which Apple decided to discontinue this year. And that format is song driven and I enjoyed these songs.  

Alvvays - Archie, Marry Me - Pretty much any pop song chorus that includes a girl singing "Hey-hey-hey-hey" has my full attention.  
Temples - Shelter Song  
Pixies - Greens and Blues  
Liam Bailey - Stun Me - If he has more in the tank than just this record, he's a guaranteed superstar.
Katie Herzig - Walk Through Walls 
Chuck Prophet - Tell Me Anything (Turn To Gold) 
J. Mascis - Every Morning 
Benjamin Booker - Violent Shiver  
Dub Thompson - No Time - If I cue this up on my iPod, I can get home from the Metro in just under 4 minutes, it's got such a great driving stomp to the chorus.  
The Notwist - Kong 
Bob Mould - I Don't Know You Anymore  
Cayetana - Scott, Get The Van, I'm Moving - Probably my favorite lyric of the year, "hardest part of moving out, moving out, moving out IS I REMEMBER MOVING IN, I REMEMBER MOVING IN-AH!!!" The delivery is completely brilliant.  
SPIES - Moosehead - These guys sound like a pre-up-his-own-arse Bono and like U2 are Dublin based.  
Withered Hand - Fall Apart  
Sean Rowe - 1952 Vincent Black Lightning - A live take showcasing the relentless drive that a primarily bluegrass artist can bring to a rock song. Eat your heart out Richard Thompson.  
Ty Segall - Susie Thumb 
Foreign/National - Life Tourist - I hope this band can live up to this start with their record due in 2015, but this is a really clever and cheeky song.  
Eels - Mistakes Of My Youth - This song is like a warm bath full of pathos. In a good way.  
Steve Gunn - Milly's Garden 
Strand of Oaks - Shut In 
Drive-by Truckers - Pauline Hawkins 
Thievery Corporation - Firelight 
Frazey Ford - Done

So, what turned you on in music in 2014? Seriously, share, ok? With the loss of record stores to comb through, it's hard to catch everything and every year I miss something vital that when I hear it next year or in 5 years, I think, "damn."

It's Beginning to Feel a Bit Like Christmas Footer

We have an early start to proceedings in the Premiership tomorrow morning, with current champions Man City taking on lowly Crystal Palace. That's followed by their cross-town rivals United taking on Villa. Later on, my beloved Leeds are in the late one against Forest. Join me for all of the action!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

More Capital One Cup Quarterfinal Madness

I'm back on Wednesday afternoon relaxing at home before my late final exam tonight with some Capital One Cup action. Join me if you're around and about this afternoon, won't you?

Happy Birthday, MUR!

Please join me in wishing our own MUR a very happy birthday and many happy returns on his big day today. Happy birthday, mate - have a great day!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Capital One Cup Quarterfinal Action

 It's a fairly busy Tuesday as there are two Capital One Cup quarterfinals kicking off at 245 PM. The main one is Wally in a Brolly's Derby County hosting Chelski.  Jose's side won at 0-2 at Pride Park in the FA Cup last season and I would not be surprised to see a similar result this evening. The other quarterfinal is the Evil Blades vs the slumping Saints. The Evil Blades were giant killers last season, making it to the FA Cup semis last season and will fancy their chances of doing the same in this competition as they will feel confident that they can carve apart the opposition. There are also six FA Cup Second Round replays, a JPT match and Real Madrid vs Cruz Azul in a World Club Championship match. It's a really busy evening at a busy time of the year

Monday, December 15, 2014

Premiership Plus Predictions Game - Week 16 Update!

After the latest whirlwind Premiership weekend, not a lot has changed in our PPP game, strangely enough. Most of us are losing a couple of points as Burnley rose out of the dropzone; otherwise, though, it as you were. Here are the current standings:

1. Chelskilad - 35 points
- STRose - 35 pts
3. Blue Devil - 31 pts
4. Swansong - 26 pts
5. Gooner71 - 25 pts
6. The Red Devil 1FCK - 23 pts
7. Yellows - 21 pts
- The Red Dragon - 21 pts
9. Someone Said - 18 pts
10. What's Up Wheaton Simon - 17 pts
11. Man Utd Rules - 15 pts
12. United We Stand - 14 pts
13. West Ham Rising - 6 pts

Everton v. QPR Live!

I've had a good old day at work and have finished my quota early, so I'm settling to watch Everton v. QPR (or at least the first half). It's a must-win for Harry Redknapp's boys, so it could get lively. Join me for a cuppa and a natter if you're similarly inclined.

The Draw for the Round for the Champions League Round of Sixteen

The draw for the last sixteen of the Champions League was made earlier this morning and there were interesting draws for the three remaining Prem Clubs. Citeh face a rematch with Barca , who eliminated them at this stage last season while Chelsea face a rematch with PSG , whom they eliminated in the quarters last year while the Gunners face Monaco, which will be a reunion for Arsene. I am sure Gooner will be pleased with the draw. I expect holder , Real to Schalke their opponents while Bayern should easily dispose of Shakhtar.  Your thoughts?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Still the BIggest Match in the Land?

Manchester United and Liverpool have won a total of 38 Championships! Liverpool dominated in the 70s and 80s and United have dominated since but now, according to Ex Red Devil Gary Neville, it has become a Pub Game between the Dog and Duck and The Red Lion
Your thoughts?
No matter, it is a must see



Saturday, December 13, 2014

Another Big Weekend in the Premiership Starts Here!

Morning, lads - I'm here in The Cottage getting set up for another big Premiership weekend. I'll admit it - I chose a lie-in with the missus rather than an early Championship wake-up with Boro v. Derby. But I'm looking forward to watching Chelski v. Hull at 10am EST followed by Arsenal v. Newcastle at 12:30pm. Join me for all the action here on the LOB!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Paul Shaffer's on Cher Singing "Oh Holy Night"

It's a holiday tradition here at the LOB - Paul Shaffer doing Cher from the old "Sonny and Cher Christmas Show" on Letterman. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Champions League Knock-out Stage Wraps Up

The long road of the Champions League group stage reaches its end today with the last slate of group matches. I'll be watching the one that holds the most promise for drama - the head to head match up between Roma and Citeh, who will both be hoping for that second slot in Group E behind Bayern. Join me as always on the LOB for a cuppa and a natter.

Books of 2014

Every year around this time, I take stock of my reading habits over the past year, noting my favorite reads and changes in my reading habits. Every year, I feel increasingly like the only one reading physical books, as most of the people I know have either converted to a Kindle or have stopped reading altogether (sigh). I’m still at it, though, because I love it and it enriches my life. It was a big, busy year for me with lots of life changes, so I didn’t read as many of books as I usual do. However, the quality of what I read was higher than usual. Here are my favorites from 2014:

1) Donna Tartt – The Goldfinch: Donna Tartt only publishes a book every ten years or so, but she certainly makes them count. This story starts with a boy who survives a terrorist attack in a museum and the explodes in a million unexpected directions.

2) Matt Taibbi – The Divide: In the year of Ferguson, Matt Taibbi best explained the huge gulf between a punitive police state for working and poor people and a lenient judicial system for the 1% sociopaths.

3) Nathan Rabin – You Don’t Know Us But You Don’t Like Us: Nathan Rabin’s deep dive into the culture of fans of Phish and The Insane Clown Posse was my favorite book of popular sociology this year. You don’t have to be a fan of either band to be fascinated.

4) Ian McEwan – The Children Act: Opening up a new Ian McEwan book is like having a coffee with an old friend. In his latest, McEwan details a courtroom drama involving a case that pits religious freedom against parental negligence.

5) Glenn Greenwald – No Place to Hide: Glenn Greenwald’s story of meeting NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in Hong Kong would have made for a great John Le Carre novel…if it weren’t true. An important book about our broken democracy.

6) Mark Goodman, et al – VJ: As an 18 year college student, I was glued to MTV from its first broadcast in the early 80s. Reading the memories of its first five VJs just made me lament the channel’s on-going policy of not showing music all the more. I miss my MTV!

7) Jonathan Lethem – Dissident Gardens: Jonathan Lethem’s novels have left me cold up until this point. However, his look at Communist Party cells in 1950s NYC was right up my alley.

8) Robert McChesney – Digital Disconnect: For some reason, the issue of net neutrality is confusing or boring to some. Robert McChesney lays out the case for the need to rein in corporations from creating a hierarchical Internet that it out of bounds for most of us.

9) Lena Dunham – Not that Kind of Girl: I have a love/hate relationship with the HBO show “Girls” and its creator Lena Dunham. I had the same reaction to this memoir.

10) Nick Hornby – Ten Years Soaking in the Tub: This large compendium of Nick Hornby’s columns about books from The Believer is only necessary for Hornby completists like me.

Notable Others:

*Nicholson Baker – Traveling Sprinkler
*Nelson George - Seduced
*Alissa Nutting - Tampa

I'd love to hear what the rest of you have been reading this year!

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Premiership Plus Predictions Game - Week 15 Update

We've had two quick rounds of Premiership action since our last check-in with the PPP scores. City have gained some ground on Chelsea at the top of the table, Hull have dropped into the bottom three and Watford are back in promotion contention. Otherwise, we're where we were a week ago. Here are the current standings.

1. Chelskilad - 37 points
- STrose - 37 pts
3. Blue Devil - 33 pts
4. Swansong - 28 pts
5. Gooner71 - 26 pts
6. Yellows - 24 pts
7. The Red Devil 1FCK - 21 pts
- The Red Dragon - 21 pts
9. Someone Said - 18 pts
10. What's Up Wheaton Simon - 17 pts
11. United We Stand - 16 pts
12. Man Utd Rules - 15 pts
13. West Ham Rising - 7 pts

Champions League Matchday 6 Live!

It's D-Day for Brendan Rogers and Liverpool as they enter their final matchday in the Champions League at Anfield against Basel needing a win in order to progress to the knockout stages. In other matches, Arsenal will hope for a win away to Gala in order to take top spot in their group. Join me from 2:45pm onward for all the action here on LOB.

Monday, December 08, 2014

The FA Cup Third Round

A great looking draw made this afternoon and some club up near Hull... The first name out of the bag... the holders... second... the Finalist! A repeat of last year's Final straight off the bat.
Blyth Spartans host Birmingham, Dover host Crystal Palace and Gateshead visit WBA.
Accrington Stanley/Yeovil winner host Manchester United. Leeds travel to Sunderland for a repeat of the '73 Final.
Here is the draw in full

FA Cup third-round draw

Hull City
Dover Athletic
Crystal Palace
AFC Wimbledon
Manchester City
Sheffield Wednesday
Aldershot or Rochdale
Nottingham Forest
West Brom
Blyth Spartans
Birmingham City
Aston Villa
AFC Bournemouth
Oxford or Tranmere
Scunthorpe or Worcester City
West Ham
Cambridge United or Mansfield
Bury or Luton
Barnsley or Chester
Sheffield United
Accrington or Yeovil
Manchester United
Bristol City
Ties to be played on 3-6 January

Your Thouights


Footie Trivia Question of the Week!

I woke up this morning with a head clear of last week's cold and energy to burn, thinking, "why not start off the week with a spot of trivia?" Why not indeed - here we go, lads!

1. I signed from Sunderland in 2008 where my brother Ben made 19 appearances in the same position.

2. My first clean sheet at the senior level was for Gateshead against Blythe Spartans in an FA Cup tie.

3. I share my surname with a town with a castle.

Who am I?

Best of luck, chaps!

Sunday, December 07, 2014

A Battle For a European Spot and a Relegation Six Pointer Sunday Double Header

It's the typical Sunday Premier League Schedule with a 1:30 PM GMT kickoff followed by a 4 PM GMT kickoff. First, it's the Hammers vs the Swans where the winner will be in a European spot . The hammers will be in a CL spot if they win. The late match is a Midlands Derby/ relegation six pointer as inept Villa host the hapless Foxes. A Villa win actually moves them up to a mid table spot, but if the Foxes win then they will be only one point away from safety. Join me.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Thank Goodness It's Saturday!

Phew - what a long week that was! But there is nothing like a bit of the Premiership action to soothe the nerves, right? Let's let Messrs Mourinho and co. come to the rescue this morning. It's Newcastle v. Chelski early doors. Get up and join me, won't you?

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Cliff Clavin Would Be Impressed

What's the most impressive piece of footer trivia do you know?
Mike shared these facts from The Guardian website.
Here is what was posted

  • José Mourinho and Pavel Nedved have both named their children after themselves and their wives. Mourinho’s children are called José and Matilde; Nedved’s are named Pavel and Ivana.
  • Eight of France’s top-10 most capped players were on the field at the same time during the Euro 2000 final.
  • Asides from the final and semi-finals, every tie in the 1945-46 FA Cup was contested over two legs.
  • Nine players have scored for six different Premier League clubs: Nick Barmby, Nicolas Anelka, Craig Bellamy, Darren Bent, Marcus Bent, Andy Cole, Peter Crouch, Les Ferdinand and Robbie Keane. Bellamy has scored for seven (Coventry City, Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers, Liverpool, West Ham United, Manchester City and Cardiff City.)
  • Six players named David have won the Premier League: May, Platt, Seaman, De Gea, Silva and Beckham. (David Batty was offered a medal under “special dispensation”, but refused it. He had only played in five matches that season due to injury and felt his contribution did not warrant recognition.
  • Tottenham have never lost a match in which Aaron Lennon has scored. (He has only scored 26 goals for them, but we are talking about Spurs, so that is fairly unlikely).
  • The 1962 European Cup final featured the clubs that won the tournament in 1961 (Benfica) and 1960 (Real Madrid). 
  • Despite having played for Barcelona, Internazionale, Real Madrid and Milan, Ronaldo never won the Champions League. 
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the first man to score for six clubs in the Champions League, but he has never won the competition – and he has played for five clubs that have won it (Ajax, Internazionale, Barcelona, Milan and Juventus).
  • David Beckham and David Moyes played together at Preston North End.
  • Cesare Maldini was the Milan captain when they won the European Cup final in England in 1963. Forty years later Paolo Maldini captained the club when they won the Champions League – and that final was also held in England.
  • Robbie Keane is the world’s leading international goalscorer among currently active players.
  • Hull City are the only club in the professional English leagues whose name is spelt entirely out of letters that cannot be coloured in.
  • Brazil have played Norway four times but they have never beaten them.
  • Andrés Palop won the European Championship in 2008 without ever winning a cap

Your Favorite?
Any more?

Happy Birthday, Gooner!

Please join me in wishing The Gooner many happy returns in his big day today. Happy birthday!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

The Premiership Tonic

I'm home nursing a nasty head-cold today - a perfect time for some Premiership footer. We've got a decent slate of fixtures today United v. Stoke and Leicester v. Liverpool. Join me for all the chatter if you're similarly inclined.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Premiership Plus Predictions Game - Week 13 Update

It's a busy week in the Premiership with another full slate of mid-week matches coming up tomorrow and Wednesday, so there's no time like the present to take stock of where we are in the game. Not a lot of shifting, to be honest. The Manc sides have crept up into the CL slots now, QPR and Leicester have swapped places at the bottom and Blackburn have replaced Watford and Forest in the playoff spots in the Championship. Here are the current standings:

1. Chelskilad – 36 pts
2. Blue Devil – 33 points
- STRose – 33 pts
4. Swansong – 30 pts
5. Gooner71 – 28 pts
6. Yellows – 25 pts
7. The Red Devil 1FCK – 21 pts
- The Red Dragon – 21 pts
9. What’s Up Wheaton Simon – 20 pts
10. Man Utd Rules – 17 pts
- Someone Said – 17 pts
12. United We Stand – 16 pts
13. West Ham Rising – 9 pts