Saturday, June 19, 2010

Here We Go

Just over one week in, time to look at the World Cup good, the bad and the predictions ...

Good: Slovenia's Charlie Brown shirts, England's failure to get it up on the big stage (twice), Ally McCoist sounding wise and knowledgable alongside the rabidly partisan Martin Tyler, SBS's coverage (it is worth emigrating just to avoid the awful BBC and ITV pundits), German red cards, German penalties being saved, France's blanket for their subs bench, Maradona in a suit and The Guardian's Lego match recreations.

Bad: getting North Korea in the work sweepstakes, the Coca-Cola and Macdonalds adverts every ad-break, Australia's away strip, Australia's home strip, trying to explain the concept of a draw to number one son, Maradona's suit, bad puns about Honda being Japan's engine, Harry Kewell's groin and all the bollocks about watching games in 3D.

Predictions: Still on track for the final (wish I had put money on Argentina).
Group A – France can still qualify, but it looks like Uruguay will accompany Mexico into the knockout stages.
Group B – Again, mathematically Nigeria can still qualify, but at this stage you have to think that it will be Argentina and South Korea.
Group C – I am sticking with England and the USA, but that won't stop me cheering on Slovenia on Wednesday morning.
Group D – Yup, still Germany and Ghana.
Group E – Cameroon and The Netherlands. Check.
Group F – Italy and Paraguay. Check.
Group G – I'd like to see Ivory Coast go through, but suspect that Brazil and Portugal will make it.
Group H – Chile and Switzerland? I just can't see it, I'm afraid. Chile and Spain as predicted.

And the 64 million dollar question: can Australia beat Ghana? I actually think they can. And will. I am still not convinced they can get any points from the Serbia match, but with everyone in the group apart from Australia on three points at the moment who knows what will happen.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Song for Sunday

Rose Elinor Dougall – Find Me Out

See also the excellent Start/Stop/Synchro ...

Band/artist of the week: The National
Song of the week: Rose Elinor Dougall – Find Me Out

First time since April 11 that Song of the Week isn't by The National! Even so they still get the overall prize, but for how long?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Black Box Recorder

To be honest, I thought they had broken up years ago. Sometime back in the mid-2000s after the Passionoia album. But no, they were still hanging around, not quite calling it a day in amongst side projects for Sarah Nixey and Luke Haines.

Then two new songs appeared last month and for a moment I thought maybe a new lease of life was on the cards. But then the title of the EP sunk in and after a bit of background checking it is confirmed that Black Box Recorder are no more.

Jude Rogers sums them up much better than I ever could over at The Quietus, but here is a small-scale tribute to commemorate one of the most interesting and incomprehensibly overlooked bands of the last decade and a bit. Enjoy.

Black Box Recorder – England Made Me

Black Box Recorder – The Art of Driving

Black Box Recorder – Seasons in the Sun

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

World Cup

For the first time in three years I missed taking a punt on the Giro d'Italia final standings, so to make up lets have some ill-informed predictions for the World Cup:

Group A - France and Mexico
Group B - Argentina and Nigeria
Group C - USA and England
Group D - Germany and Ghana
Group E - Cameroon and The Netherlands
Group F - Italy and Paraguay
Group G - Brazil and Portugal
Group H - Spain and Chile

Likely to be fewer upsets in the group stage this time round, but I still reckon that the USA can finish on top of group C and that's not just wishful thinking.

Unfortunately I can't see Australia getting through to the knockout stages this time – the team is lacking in goal-scoring ability and Verbeek is the sort of coach who is too obsessed about not losing to actually win games. I would be delighted to be proven wrong, especially as a second place in the group could set-up the succulent prospect of knocking out England to progress to the quarter finals. Not going to happen, but for another couple of weeks we can at least dream ...

And the final? I think we'll have Argentina v. Spain with the South Americans winning out 3 - 1. (Now where did I put that Argentina shirt from 1986?)