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Parental Advisory: Explicit Content

I must apologise for some naughty words appearing in this post. Such are the dangers of talking about professional football. Rest assured, though, that it's not me providing the swearing – it's the managers. Irresponsible bastards.

The blog's also a bit truncated – i.e. short – this week. After a hefty analysis of the first Obama vs. McCain debate last week, I thought it might be best for me to give American politics a rest this time round, even with the Palin/Biden showdown having taken place this week. So this is more lightweight, in focus and pounds of virtual paper.

Finally, you may have noticed a new section to the blog, available on the wall to the top-right of the page, as promised in my last post. There's nothing on it yet, but it'll happen, and it'll be about online journalism (well, I find it interesting). You may choose to ignore it or you may choose to read it. Obviously I'd prefer it if you did read it but just so you know: it won't be my opinions on the week that passed, as this is. It's not really affiliated with Huw Davies' Week Spot. Well, it is, because it's me writing it. But it's not the same blog. It's not the same sphere. It's not the same Huw Davies.

It's blogging, Jim, but not as we know it.

And now: normal service resumes.

Chancer of the Exchequer
Churchill vs. The Daleks

Chancer of the Exchequer

The BBC reports that Alistair Darling, Chancellor of the Exchequer, has said he is willing to take "some pretty big steps" to stabilise British banking and the economy.


I'm not saying he should, necessarily, because I don't understand economics enough to suggest whether interference would be appropriate or not, and whether taking steps would be better than waiting it out. But I'm certainly glad to hear he is willing to take pretty big steps. You'd hope so. Otherwise, what is the point in government?

He also said he was looking at "a range of proposals". That is not convincing. Apart from the fact that every politician in the history of the world ever has said that exact sentence – or at least, none that I know of has said, "We are not looking at a range of proposals" – it's disconcerting to hear it from the Chancellor of the Exchequer because it doesn't tell us anything.

It is not news. Or rather, it shouldn't be. I'd hope that we are confident enough in our government to know they would take the steps necessary to bring this country out of a hole. We should be. We shouldn't, however, have to be reassured they would.

The fact is that people want something more concrete than that. Back in the day it was good enough to hear "Hey everybody, it's gonna be OK" when the economy was hitting the fan, but now, when people are completely, horribly terrified of losing their money, they want to know the Government has a plan – not that it will find one, but that it has one. Until then, words are not enough. And, as Obama and McCain's failure to immediately convince the majority about their plans for the economy proved (sorry, that's the last I say about America), people are happy – well, not happy, but prepared – to learn a bit more about financial politics than they previously were. That's the level of trust we have in our politicians now. And given that Darling thinks we can still be placated by vague promises, it's justified and probably necessary.

Sad, innit?

Churchill vs. The Daleks

It was Magazine Week all last week (or this week, if anyone reads this as soon as I post it), and to celebrate, Borders booksellers offered a buy-one-get-one-half-price deal on magazines and magazine subscriptions. Huzzah! Reason at last for me to buy The Oldie without feeling I should spend the money on pretending to be young.

There was also a poll, sponsored by the Periodical Publishers Association (PPA), to find Britain's favourite magazine cover. I know what you're thinking: what kind of sad bastard remembers their favourite front cover to a magazine? So to help us all out, a team of industry experts nominated some and whittled them down to a 'best of the best' shortlist of 16. Here they all are.

As those of you who have just looked at that link know, the Radio Times Dalek cover won. I'm not disappointed as such; more indifferent. I mean, it's an all right cover, I suppose. I'm not overwhelmed, but I'm not underwhelmed either. I'm 'whelmed'. It's a striking image to put on a front cover, but the 'Vote Dalek' slogan doesn't actually make any sense – it's just a very tenuous tie-in to the General Election that was happening at the time (if anything, it probably gained some votes from people taking the slogan as an order). So it's not all that clever, or clever at all in fact. Still, it doesn't need to be, and that's why it won. It's simple and it grabs your attention – and that's the point. Still, it'd be a downright lie to deny that a lot of those votes were members of the public thinking, "Ooh, Daleks!"

I honestly thought the NME's Beth Ditto cover would win, but I just as honestly hoped that Time Out would. It takes some balls to stick it to Winston Churchill – look how badly Hitler fared – but to do it on the anniversary of his death in the midst of some serious Churchillmania is about the bravest thing you can do as the editor of a magazine. Not only that but it's an amazing, attention-grabbing front cover; not to mention beautifully ironic in using Churchill's own 'V' sign as a 'fuck you' to the man himself.

It's a shame that Time Out is purely just a 'What's On' read now because we need some more political ferocity in our magazines, but maybe a guide to London isn't the best vessel for that. Still, we need something – before we all start voting Dalek.


I'm sure you've all heard by now about Joe Kinnear's verbal tirade against certain members of the media in his first official press conference as Newcastle manager. If not, here it is in its full glory. I love The Guardian for printing this, but in all honesty it's hard not to when, as a journalist, you hear, "Write what you like. Makes no difference to me."

Choosing the best bit of this fantastic rant – please read all of it – is hard, but my personal favourites are the start –

"Which one is Simon Bird?"


"You're a cunt."

- and the end:

"Enjoyed getting back in the swing of things?"

"Absolutely. I've loved every moment of it."

I actually don't have much to say about Kinnear's outburst except that I would love it to happen in football more often – love it. It's great to see a football manager wearing his heart on his sleeve and holding his career with invisible tongs. And it's not as if it was a one-off: brilliantly, Kinnear had to watch his first game in charge of Newcastle from the stands because he never finished serving a touchline ban at Nottingham Forest four years ago.

He was, of course, wrong to have such a go at the press. They reported the truth: that he had taken a day off from training on his first day of work, and they merely cast aspersions to tensions at the club – which, when you're in the relegation zone with allegedly one of the strongest squads in the country (uh... ), is likely to be the case. And as manager, however temporarily, of a team in difficulties, Kinnear should be trying to calm the waters, not rock the boat.

But I can't judge someone who provides me with that much entertainment. And thanks to Everton's wavering concentration before and after the half-time break, Newcastle grabbed a 2-2 draw today. Maybe there's life in the old Toon yet.

Perhaps not for Spurs though.

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Parental Advisory: Explicit Content + training