Thursday, 31 May 2012

ROADKNOB (& balls)

third instalment in the occasional series of COCKSMUT observations, following on from PART ONE (prickbox accepts a delivery) and PART TWO (mucky station shadows).........


today's music find = a little something from L.A. electro-punk person I.E. - an offering titled Dungeon of Drunk Girls... seems to be about a year old... so, yeah, we are late to this party in hacienda heights and other SoCal hotspots caught by TV's beady eye... good though, innit?

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

zombie apocalypse: not yet

stand down. do not head for high ground or arm yourself to the teeth. do not cancel your family trip to where the undead UNCLE WALT pores over the bones of European folk tales in his luxury air-conditioned charnel house. the great state of Florida is NOT, for now, as previously reported, the sparking point of the undead inferno that shall one day engulf our world of shopping malls, call centres and fast food outlets. 

turns out that the feller who ate another chap's face in Miami last week was not a reanimated corpse or a victim of the RAGE virus. it's much more mundane. blame has been directed at a "new potent form of LSD"*. both the deceased (and apparently not subsequently reanimated) perpetrator and the disfigured victim seem to have been homeless men, of which the world's richest and most powerful country has a plentiful supply. no word yet on why both were naked or on how big a supply exists of this horrific new LSD variant. if it's widely available in south Florida, and if cannibalistic side-effects are set to be a recurrent feature of its use, then perhaps trips to Miami should be treated with a degree of caution.

keep calm and carry on and all that bollocks then. get on the plane to the parks and the larks and the cheap fat & protein.
*though the famed entertainer Alex Jones would have it that the LSD angle is B.S. - in his world, more and more of us will soon be lunching on faces, this being the fallout from our diet of fluoride, artificial sweeteners and flu jabs. for the gravel-voice libertarian and New World Order worrier, every time you see a dopey kid or hear about someone texting while driving, you're noticing the early stages of his imagined slow-burn zombie apocalypse. lo-cal fizzy drink, anyone? 

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

good GOD, that's SNEAKY

stumbled upon by chance today, this heavy little track is Kindercut by French electronic dude SebastiAn... if you're SuperSharpEared you may just about recognise it as a remix of the 2008 track UFO by Australia's Sneaky Sound System... the hallelujah of a video was pulled together by one Michael Gold, God bless him:


you know I blow bats

found quite by chance, this superdope reworking of My Dougie by Atlanta's Lil' Will... mix by DaK4nDyM4nFU & freshfly YouTubeUserMishmashUpVideo by Mary Rachel...

Sunday, 27 May 2012

zombie apocalypse: it's started

The zombie apocalypse predicted by the likes of George Romero finally seems to have started. The first signs of trouble were reported yesterday in Miami, Florida. It's time to prepare for the end of the world as we know it.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Well, this is, but that isn't, is it?

Royal Mail


ahh yeahh, those First Crapital Connect graffiti boyz: running from the elements, the BTP, the FCC, the press and the parents [is your name Michael Diamond? Nahhh, mine's Clarence]

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Bye-bye Barton?

For more than a week, the this is my england round-up of the QPR 2011-12 campaign has sat unfinished in the draft posts folder of this blog. Real work has got in the way. Lots of it. The kind of work that actually pays the mortgage, that is. Ahead of that review finally being completed, it's possible to reveal that it will end on an optimistic note, expressing great hopes for the future of our wonderful little club. Sure, it will cover all the frustrations, injustices and upsets that were a feature of our first season back in the top-flight after a long, long absence. But in essence it will be a pretty happy offering - and that's a nice way to round off a series of blog posts about the wild ride we have enjoyed/endured since being promoted back up to the Premier League.

Unfortunately, it has not been possible to complete that upbeat post ahead of today's news about the outcome of Joey Barton's FA disciplinary hearing. This means that the first QPR-related piece here in the wake of the amazing season finale has to be something rather less cheery.

Just deserts? Depends who you ask...
Right now, QPR fans are expressing their views about the news of Barton's punishment. Twitter is abuzz with opinion and no doubt the messageboards are going bonkers too. One line of discussion concerns comparisons between Barton's twelve-game ban and the shorter period of suspension imposed on Liverpool's Luis "the rat" Suarez for repeatedly racially abusing an opponent. So we are asked to consider the idea that the FA believes a violent reaction to provocation is a more serious matter than sustained racial abuse. There is definitely some merit to this question. 

Some other QPR fans seem to have been reaching for comparison with the John Terry situation. This seems premature. If Terry is found guilty of a racially aggravated public order offence as a result of his alleged abuse of our man Anton Ferdinand, then of course it is to be hoped that the FA will come down very hard on the Chelsea captain. A ban longer than that imposed on Suarez would be in order - perhaps a ban longer than the one now faced by Barton. But for the time being, Terry's case is not a matter for the FA. He is to be tried in a court of law and until the court's proceedings are concluded the FA must stay out of the whole business. To do otherwise would prejudice the case.

So whether a twelve-game ban (plus £75K fine) is excessive is a matter that will, no doubt, be debated for some time to come. Along the way, some of those debating the question will seek to make comparisons with other cases. Others will consider Barton's long history of conflict and controversy. It is unlikely, though, that this blog will return to the question of today's punishment and its fairness or otherwise. This seems a lot less interesting than the matter of what QPR does next.

Love him or loathe him?
When QPR signed Joey Barton just before the close of the transfer window last August, we all knew we were getting a player with baggage. Our then-manager was very clear about that - and very keen to admit that if it weren't for the player's chequered past then our little club would not have stood a chance of signing him. So we took on a player with a criminal record, someone who had done time for violence. We took on a self-pitying, paranoid person who uses online social media to make provocative remarks then abuses anyone who reacts - all of this while posturing as someone who doesn't care what others think of him.

Barton can be articulate and he is clearly capable of intelligent behaviour - holding his own in an interview with Jeremy Paxman; speaking quite eloquently and sensibly in a TV documentary about gay footballers; taking an interest in the arts, ideas and writing. All of this is commendable. All of this attracts the scorn of those snobs who seek to deride a working-class man for what they insist must be pseudo-intellectualism. They sneer hatefully at the idea of a Scouse footballer understanding a decent book or appreciating a painting that only university educated people are supposed to enjoy. Fuck the snidey snobs. The idea of a talented sportsman from the streets of one of our deprived northern cities making a very good living while emerging as something of a renaissance man is very attractive. We could use an avowedly working-class hero at this time when the country is run by Old Etonians who hate ordinary folk and seem determined to drag us all back to the era of the workhouse and the deferentially tugged forelock. But Barton's obvious flaws mean that he cannot be that working-class hero.

As well as his criminal past and his history of unwise use of Twitter, our new skipper also came with a known tendency to find trouble on the pitch, his career having already been marked by clashes with Dickson Etuhu, Xabi Alonso, Morten Gamst Pedersen and Gervinho. So can we really say that his two red cards have come as a surprise?

The first dismissal was unjustified. Norwich's Bradley Johnson proved himself to be a fucking cheat by clutching at his face and pretending to have been head butted by the QPR captain. The referee and linesman on the day proved themselves to be woefully inept. Neither of them saw the incident. So they clearly had our player's reputation in mind when choosing to be duped by Johnson's dirty trick. Also failing to cover himself in glory was the Canaries boss Paul Lambert. The Norwich manager told a bare-faced lie when saying that his player was "certainly not a cheat".

But as much as that first red card was unfair, Barton's lack of wisdom and composure led to it happening. Yes, the cheating Johnson goaded him. Yes, Johnson then simulated physical contact. But why did our captain have to square up to the Norwich man? He knows his own reputation. He must know that unprincipled opponents will look to leverage that reputation when seeking to con the officials. But he could not resist getting up in the face of the Canaries midfielder, thereby giving Johnson the opportunity to pull his stunt.

The second dismissal? More complicated. You could get into a long discussion about whether Man City's Carlos Tevez should also have been sent off. Barton's reaction? Well, this is more clear cut. Yes, football is a contact sport, and let's hope it continues to be. But it's not a contact sport once the whistle has been blown and a red card has been raised. However great the sense of injustice, the dismissed player needs to get off the pitch and allow his ten remaining team mates to get on with trying to dig out a result. Reflecting on this point, QPR fans will be reminded of the dignity with which Shaun Derry left the Old Trafford pitch when unfairly sent off for a phantom challenge against one of the game's serial cheats, Ashley Young. Barton, on the other hand, famously went bananas, kicking one player and aiming an attempted head butt at another. These acts of violent conduct mean that he misses almost one third of next season.

Perhaps all of this would be forgiveable if Barton were a consistently brilliant performer. After all, that man Tevez appears to have played his way back into the affections of some Manchester City fans despite acts of treachery to his club which are far worse than any stupid stunt pulled by the QPR captain. But Barton is not in Tevez's league when it comes to the contribution made while actually on the pitch. Yes, he performed well in the final stages of the season. Yes, in those last few weeks he certainly contributed to the Rangers' successful battle against relegation. But he also turned in a good number of below-average performances, causing many fans to criticise him along the way. Further, it's worth asking whether he would have warranted a place in the side had the excellent Alejandro Faurlin not been injured back in January. If you had to choose two central midfielders from Barton, Faurlin and the impressive Samba Diakité, would the troublesome Liverpudlian be in the mix every week? No? So, judged on talent, is Barton worth the trouble and the cost? Not everyone would say yes.

Back him or sack him?
In light of the embarrassment he causes, in light of the very poor example he sets to kids who support our club, and in light of the fact that his inability to control himself means that our team will be a man down for a dozen matches, QPR must surely look into the possibility of getting rid of the turbulent Barton.

How would that work? Selling him for a fee is surely out of the question. He was damaged goods when he first turned up at Loftus Road under a year ago and his stock has surely only fallen since then. Perhaps there is a club somewhere abroad that might take a punt if the price were low enough. But there can't be any clubs in this country willing to take on all the aggravation that Barton brings.

So how about just tearing up his contract and showing him the door? Not really an option, is it? In the football world, a manager fired for failing to deliver must have the remaining portion of his contract paid off. The likes of Sven-Göran Eriksson have made millions this way, and the same rules would seem to apply to players. So if Barton is on anything like the £80,000 per week that he has allegedly boasted about, and given that his contract is set to run for two more years, simply ejecting him from the club would be a very expensive move.

Another option that must surely be considered is dismissal for gross misconduct.

Is this feasible? Do the peculiar contractual arrangements between football clubs and players somehow take precedence over the usual provisions of UK employment law? Perhaps some well-informed reader can offer clarity on this point. But if this is a realistic option for the club, does Barton's behaviour on the pitch at the Etihad Stadium constitute an act of gross misconduct? Many would argue that it does. Others will contend that these things happen - that football is an emotional and stressful game and that the occasional transgression of this nature is forgiveable. 

But Barton did more than just get sent off and lash out angrily once shown the red card and once wrapped in the red mist that descended upon him. In addition to this, away from the heat of battle, he went on to lash out in a different way:

This sort of thing really is witless in the extreme. Some people reading this will have young children who already know better than to carry on in this manner. Put simply, when you've done something wrong and when you have to deal with entirely justified criticism, it's time to apologise properly and sincerely, get your head down and stay out of further trouble for as long as possible. However much you might want to criticise others for their faults, and even if your critical remarks have merit, the time to do it is not just after you've royally fucked up yourself. Be the bigger man. Confess. Repent. Pipe down. Walk away.

But Joey Barton does not seem to be capable of this. Consider the World Health Organisation's definition of dissocial personality disorder (to which being a psychopath or a sociopath are related disorders):

  1. Callous unconcern for the feelings of others.
  2. Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations.
  3. Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though having no difficulty in establishing them.
  4. Very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence.
  5. Incapacity to experience guilt or to profit from experience, particularly punishment.
  6. Markedly prone to blame others or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behavior that has brought the person into conflict with society.

With the possible exception of number three, do these descriptions not remind you of Barton? Perhaps he will always be this way. If so, he will always be trouble and QPR fans can look forward to more incidents that will embarrass the club and lead to the player's suspension.

Verdict: enough already
So notwithstanding Barton's ability to contribute on the pitch and taking into account the fact that he can be an interesting fellow when opining about music, books and the beautiful game, the considered opinion of this is my england is that it's time to get rid.

Weighing it all up, he seems a lot more trouble than he's worth. So it would be good to press on towards the new adventures facing our club without the constant distraction our serial controversialist will always bring.

Arriving at this view brings no pleasure. It's all a great shame. But it is what it is.

U RRRRRRRRRRRsssssssssssssss

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

a caledonian road

not THE caledonian road... but a piece of scottish history on that familiar corner of CROWNDALE road and eversholt street (NW1), where that man stu bags (a scot) has added a big NINE OF DIAMONDS. this particular playing card has grim significance for stu's compatriots. it seems stu has had a bad month, hence the appearance of the card. crossing fingers for better times for stu

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Forget Barclay's wank and #prayforqpr

By around 4.45 this afternoon, fans of both QPR and Bolton Wanderers will know which of the two sides has retained its status as a bit part player in the global football entertainment extravaganza sponsored by Barclays bank. In the meantime, supporters of both teams would be well advised not to make too much of a recent Evening Standard piece that, in light of its specious sentimentality, we might very well retitle as Barclay's wank. Because Patrick Barclay's article in Thursday's Standard was exactly that - a pile of wank.

But Barclay's lazy use of vacuous and sentimental drivel is not the only element of his article that will stimulate the ire of any Rangers fan who reads it.

keeping it local
Up and down this country, regional and local newspapers dedicate space to football clubs in the areas they serve. Sure, if a team is performing poorly or if there is some unwanted skulduggery going on behind the scenes, it is quite right that a local journalist should dig around a bit, sharpen the critical pen and cut through the bland, opaque pronouncements that the club's press department is bound to produce. But all of that, you might hope, is in the context of the local hack and the local rag caring about the fortunes of their local team, right? The team makes it to a cup final? The local paper will be rooting for their success. They're in a race for promotion? The local paper will follow that race through every twist and turn, all the copy suffused with the assumption that the reader wants that promotion to be achieved. Relegation is a real possibility for the home town club? The local paper will cover the nervy final stages of the season, catering to the sympathies of people who do not want the local side to go down. Local papers can be expected to take this partisan approach, surely.

Our QPR, though, cannot depend on London's daily evening paper for that sort of backing. Sure, across its various boroughs, the capital is currently home to no fewer than fourteen league clubs. So we can't expect our team to dominate the Standard's football coverage. Nor can we expect to have our club's cause promoted above those of our more glamorous neighbours in London's N5, N17 and SW6 postcodes. But our club has been part of London life since 1882. So shouldn't we really expect London's daily paper to root for the Rangers rather than their rivals from Greater Manchester when discussing the Premier League's one outstanding relegation issue? Yes, it seems that this is too much to expect - because Patrick Barclay comes out as resolutely pro-Bolton when looking ahead to the two teams' Sunday fixtures.

crocodile tears for Bolton
So why is a London-based hack rooting for Bolton Wanderers? Moreover, why is a London paper carrying an article whose headline contends that the whole country "is behind Bolton" in the Premier League survival race? More to the point, why would the whole country be behind one of the north-west's numerous drab also-rans?

In his article, Barclay reminds us of that horrible day when Bolton's Fabrice Muamba lay motionless on the White Hart Lane pitch, stricken by a cardiac arrest. Young men at the peak of physical fitness are not meant to come so close to death. So it was shocking. Quite naturally then, as the drama unfolded, good wishes poured in via Twitter. Muamba has since made what looks like a remarkable recovery and it seems fair to say that any decent person with an interest in the game would continue to wish him well.

But Patrick Barclay goes much further than this. Presuming to speak for all of his London readers (other than those of us who suffer the wonderful burden of supporting QPR) he opines that  "we, the great body of neutrals, would not be human if we didn't wish Muamba’s clubmates well at Stoke".

Really? Have any of you really encountered friends or colleagues who would rather see Bolton escape relegation than QPR out of a sense of sympathy for a wealthy and talented young man who has received excellent medical care and whose future seems to look secure? Really? ... and how long will this 'Muamba effect' last? Are we to suppose that every neutral observer will forever be willing on Bolton Wanderers in their future endeavours? What if Muamba recovers to the point of being able to play again and is eventually transferred to some other club? Will the warm glow of Muamba-love continue to cast its magic spell over his former colleagues from the Reebok Stadium? Or will the endless goodwill and sympathy be transferred to his new team?

So where does this sort of tripe come from? Why do people come out with it? Let's take a short trip back in time in search of the origins of such nonsense.

going on a sentimental journey
Perhaps there is some merit in the arguments of the psychiatrist and author Theodore Dalrymple.  Published a couple of years ago, his book Spoilt Rotten: The Toxic Cult of Sentimentality contends that sentimentality has become culturally entrenched in British society, with harmful consequences.

One chapter explores what Dalrymple calls "the demand for public emotion". Citing landmark news stories such as the disappearance of Madeleine McCann and the untimely death of Princess Diana, he deplores the way in which sections of both the media and the general public have come to demand that others express shock or grief in a very public way. Dalrymple condemns what he calls a tabloid "campaign of bullying against the sovereign", in which The Sun newspaper, particularly, rounded on the Royal Family for not rushing to London to mourn Diana's death in the glare of media coverage. He even contends that some of the members of the public gathered outside Buckingham Palace were joining in the bullying, assembling to apply pressure the monarch "rather than expressing any genuine grief". The chapter concludes by arguing that the sentimentality shown by both the media and the public “was inherently dishonest in a way that parallels the dishonesty that lies behind much sentimentality itself".

If we apply this line of argument to the Fabrice Muamba case, what would Dalrymple make of the response to the Bolton midfielder's cardiac arrest scare? Quite possibly, he would not condemn the mere act of immediately expressing shock, disbelief and sympathy via Twitter. But what would he make of those demanding that others join them in ensuring that the #prayformuamba hashtag rose to the top of the trending charts? It seems likely that he would file this as dishonest and reach once again for the term "bullying". Is this fair? Well, at times, particularly via online social networks, it does feel as though many people are keen to join a kind of arms race of emotion - vying to appear the most concerned, the most shocked, the most affected. Further, it does sometimes feels that part of that is a shrill demand that everyone else should feel the same way - or at least pretend to.

sod all that... we are QPR 
If Dalrymple's argument seems fairly persuasive, perhaps Patrick Barclay's article should not come as a surprise. But there are some surprises here, perhaps. One pleasant surprise is that Barclay's spurious narrative (the whole country is behind Bolton because of Muamba) does not really gel with anything that many of us have heard in conversations with people who do not support QPR; an unpleasant surprise is that a reputedly interesting football writer reaches for such lazy tosh.

Had this article been written by some loathsome tabloid twat, its contents might not have been very surprising. But isn't Patrick Barclay supposed to be among the more intelligent and articulate football writers? Or have we just been fooled by his resemblance to a certain wise, moral and charismatic starship captain? Either way, his sentimental tosh did come as an unwelcome surprise. Expected better. Never mind. Opinion duly revised downwards, Mr. Barclay. Perhaps Mark Hughes should ensure that every member of today's team reads Barclay's article. Not that they should be short of motivation. But every little helps, right?

Look, even if it were true that everyone in the country really was rooting for Bolton, we could live with that, right? We have had to contend with appalling refereeing, with snidey media coverage and with moronic taunting of our blameless centre-half (see you in court, JT). It's siege mentality time. Sod what anyone else thinks. We are QPR. Let's 'ave it.


Tuesday, 8 May 2012

after the happy daze... what next?

The kid needs his usual inconveniently timed trip to the gents. So with almost eighty minutes on the clock, off we go, along a long, long row of worried looking QPR fans, asking every single one of them to stand up so we can pass. A voice in the head makes an irrational suggestion. Perhaps, it whispers, the Rangers will score when you're escorting junior to the khazi. Perhaps you'll hear the roar of a delighted crowd above the roar of the hand dryer.

But, no. With the wee-wee all done, it's still a tight and tense nil-nil affair as we struggle back to our seats. Half-way along, asking preoccupied people to stand up has become a very tiresome business. So we clamber down to a couple of empty places two rows in front of us. We're leaning against the metal barrier that separates us from the wheelchair die-hards. An older gent sits to our right. "They're not going to do it, are they?" he says. "I can't see a goal in this." Right at that moment, it feels like he's not wrong.

To the left, banks of whey-faced Staffordshire scrotes are gloating, reminding us of Bolton's two-goal lead.  Charming lads. Their own team's season having fizzled out into mid-table mediocrity, their own team offering very little by way of entertainment, all they have is schadenfreude. Well that's fair enough. All part of the rough and tumble of our great game. But when some of them decide to flob their dirty spit down on the heads of the QPR-supporting men, women and children sitting below them in the School End's lower tier - well, that's not fair enough. That's just bloody horrible. As is the song about Anton Ferdinand being "John Terry's bitch". Look, there's just a chance that this is not meant to give the impression that the singers condone racial abuse. But make what you will of the delighted reaction that results among the Stoke contingent when members of the home crowd make just that accusation. 

That's that then. Championship football next season. Some time after the eightieth minute of the tie, the weary-looking gent to our right has had enough. Without a word, he's up out of his seat and ghosting away from us. 

So he doesn't see what happens right at the end. He doesn't see that man Ferdinand rising to meet a nicely placed corner. He doesn't see the ball drop handily into the area into which Djibril Cissé has just arrived, having drifted craftily past his marker. He doesn't see Cissé steer the ball into the net and wheel away, intent on giving a display of impromptu cartwheels and back-flips. He is not there when three-and-a-half sides of the ground erupt. Scenes of joy and relief. Joy expressed with such force that it sounds like anger. Then there's the news that West Brom have somehow wiped out Bolton's two goal lead and that the game at the Reebok Stadium has ended in a draw. So we live to fight another day.

When the final whistle blows, supporters stream onto the pitch. Jigs are jigged. Reels are reeled. Fist pumped. Whoops whooped. Grins split delirious faces. This is the happy daze.

it's simple now: shit or bust
A day later, the hangovers are receding and the complex permutations of our situation have disappeared. Blackburn Rovers, beaten by Wigan Athletic, slink out of the top flight among the jeers of an angry Ewood Park crowd and in a squall of cold, hard Lancashire rain. A chicken has entered the field of play, wrapped in Rovers colours, a mocking reference to the poultry industry, the sector in which the club's Indian owners have made their money

So it's simple now. Wigan are safe. Villa are safe. One relegation slot remains unconfirmed. When the season concludes next weekend, that slot will be taken either by our QPR or by Bolton. Looked at one way, we appear to be in better shape. We have two more points than the Wanderers have managed to amass. Should we get a draw, our vastly superior goal difference would surely mean that even a win would not be enough to keep Owen Coyle's men in the top flight. But if you look at it another way, you may be tempted to believe that Bolton have a better chance of getting a win than we have of getting just a single point. Because Bolton will meet a Stoke side playing for nothing, while our lads face a Manchester City side who know that a win will confirm their first league title since 1968. So, it's not really in the bag, is it?

The week ahead, then, will be another one in which QPR supporters will find it hard not to think of the fate and fortunes of their team. Distraction. Anxiety. Nerves. All made worse by the knowledge that barring a miraculously unlikely win at the Etihad Stadium, our fate is in the hands of others. In the hands of people who owe us nothing and feel no affection for us - the Stoke City team in this case. Well, apart from the fact that dear old Peter Crouch has a soft spot for our club. Perhaps that will inspire him to score a goal that saves the Rangers and relegates Bolton. Clutching at straws? Sure. What else is there to clutch at?

reminders of dismalness
So, difficult as it will doubtless prove, let's try to get on with our jobs and our lives for the next few days, putting all things QPR out of our minds.

What's more, perhaps we can ask ourselves if relegation would be such a terrible thing. The Championship has a number of plus points when compared with the top division. Away games are cheaper. Wins are easier to come by. It's more of a real competition, much more likely to throw up surprisingly successful teams that you don't expect to be in the running for promotion. More likeable fans too, on the whole. Home and away, you tend to encounter opposing supporters of the old school variety - people who have followed their unglamorous and largely unremarkable clubs through thick and thin (mostly thin) for many years. Loyalty, comradeship and community are the things that drive them on as they urge on their teams. Premier League teams, meanwhile, seem to attract crowds containing a much higher percentage of people evidencing the mindset of consumers of an entertainment product. Those crowds appear to include larger numbers of perfectly nice foreign fans who have been drawn to the excitingly packaged 'EPL' experience pushed by television networks around the world. 

This is all well and good. At least the Singaporeans, affluent south Asians etc. that one sees in the crowd at Craven Cottage or Stamford Bridge are people who make the effort to attend matches. They cannot be blamed for adopting an approach to watching football which is unfamiliar to the likes of us - polite applause, comments framed in language that sounds a tad naive to our ears, the waving of plastic flags, the wearing of those awful fucking half-and-half scarves. So let's resist the temptation to deride this new breed of imported fan. They don't know any better. Their money is as good as anyone else's. 

But on the other hand, let's direct plenty of scorn at another kind of interloper from foreign climes. This is a  a new scourge - one brought right into our homes via our Internet connections.

They sit at their keyboards in faraway places such as Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur or Lagos. Given that they hail from countries with massive income inequality, the mere fact that they possess computers or smartphones tells us that they are the sons of affluent families. Seduced by the razzle-dazzle allure of the most exciting football league in the world, they profess allegiance to clubs drawn from a very small pool: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United. 

They have never attended a football match. They probably never will. But they sense that there's some excitement to be had from getting involved in slanging matches via Twitter and other social media platforms. These keyboard warriors are clever fellows. They quickly learn the basic vocabulary of English football banter. They don't quite master it, mind you. They continue to sound out of place and poorly informed. They have read the headlines. But they never get under the skin of the nuances.

So we get strange cases like the black South African Liverpool fan who refers to Anton's Ferdinand's brother Rio as a "moronic curvy lipped black cunt". We get charmers like the Indian "Aspiring Chartered Accountant" (reach for the stars, son) who opines that one team he definitely wants to see relegated is QPR because "Anton Ferdinand needs to be taught that JT is the boss". 

It proves a fruitless exercise to point out to young Mr. Muthiyan that the QPR defender is merely a witness in a trial ordered by the Crown Prosecution Service. He persists in the view that Anton Ferdinand has "insulted" John Terry. When invited to find a quote to support this contention, he has no answer of course - because as we all know, our centre-half has remained commendably composed in the face of media interest and ignorant abuse online and at matches. He has not uttered a word that could prejudice the impending court case. The wannabe bean counter of Mumbai cares nothing for Ferdinand's professionalism and decency. He just wants to score points in an argument he barely understands. Just a nice little diversion before daddy's driver takes him to his accountancy classes in the morning. 

Shiny stadia. Wonderfully talented players from all over the world - some of whom even play for QPR. These are the sweeter fruits of a globalised game.

Spoilt, arrogant little brats who have seen a few Chelsea games on TV but who know nothing of the culture and traditions of the game. Their twitterings are part of the crap that blows in on the trade winds of the wider world. 

Consider this offering from young Yash:

He thinks in terms of people supporting a football club for a "reason". He can't understand why anyone would follow a club lacking a rich and generous benefactor willing to ruin the economics of the game by further inflating the obscene transfer fees and wages of the twenty-first century. If you tried to tell this chap that that you support the Rangers because your father, grandfather and great-grandfather did so, it would cut no ice. If you told him tales of the tight community of old friends with whom you've shared rare triumphs and more frequent despair for as long as you can remember - well he wouldn't get it. Dancing on the streets of Shepherds Bush when Holloway led us out of English football's third tier? He will never experience the blazing sweetness of anything like that. A home-grown hero like Marc Bircham scoring just a few feet in front of you at Griffin Park and going absolutely beserk? He will never feel a rush so intense just by consuming the Chelsea entertainment product via his flat screen TV. 

Forget these berks. Or, better still, when one of them pipes up, remember the wise words of B.A. Baracus and "pity the fool". 

let it come, whatever it is...
So a strange and often frustrating season concludes on Sunday. We may stay up. We might go down. Either way, we'll continue to have our strange, familiar, bonkers little club. Roll on a summer of transfer rumours and a different kind of anxiety and anticipation.

U RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRssssssssssssssss

Sunday, 6 May 2012

the muggiest football song ever?

Bless this little chap with his super-serious expression, his Bart Simpson wallpaper and his unfeasibly muggy contribution to the grand old art of composing football songs. He's SO EXCITED about the signing of Lukas (Łukasz) "traitor to Poland" Podolski.

booing and whistling our way to survival

Rise and shine, QPR fans. For today we face yet another must win match. Another do or die moment. Now, finally, the fat lady really is about to let rip. Because by the end of this afternoon, we may well know what next season holds.

If the Rangers beat Stoke City and if Bolton contrive to lose at home to West Brom, then our Premier League status is secure. If the results pan out the other way around, though, we will surely be looking at relegation as a near certainty.

Today's opponents are Stoke City, whose latest stint as a top flight side is now in its fourth year. Manager Tony Pulis appears to have found a formula which guarantees mid-table safety and along the way has established a reputation for leading a well-organised and physically robust team that can be very hard to beat. This approach is not without critics, one of the more notable of whom is Arsenal supremo Arsène Wenger, who has derided the Potteries side for what he sees as their rugby-style tactics.

As with yesterday’s home draw against Norwich, then, Wenger will have been very disappointed to have returned from the Britannia Stadium with just one point last weekend. Doubtless, Arsenal fans everywhere were frustrated by the failure to beat Stoke. After all, supporters of glamorous and well-resourced clubs such as Arsenal seem to think in terms of success being something that is expected or even demanded. Success, many of them appear to feel, is something that they deserve. How dare the likes of Stoke or Norwich or QPR stand in their way?

Perhaps this attitude seems just about fair enough when expressed by those who have spent vast sums on match tickets over a long period of time. Maybe this attitude is not overly obnoxious when articulated by lifelong die-hards who have shelled out many, many times for expensive European away-days and for lots of glossily expensive club-branded merchandise. But dedicated QPR fans will surely always look with scorn at any armchair fans of the more successful clubs who express disgust when some dogged and unglamorous opponent refuses to roll over and take a beating. Glory-hunters, we think. Plastic fans.

Think back to the fourteen-year spell during which the late lamented Wimbledon F.C. occupied a slot in English football's top division. For most of that time, the Dons played their home matches in another club's stadium. Crowds were sparse and the style of football was pretty basic. Big, physical players got stuck in. Long balls were pumped relentlessly forward. It wasn’t pretty - and critics were not afraid of saying so. Gary Lineker once derisively commented that "the best way to watch Wimbledon is on Ceefax". But it worked. It kept a club on a tiny budget in the company of moneybags opponents. It even led to the name Wimbledon F.C. being engraved on the F.A. Cup in 1988.

QPR supporters might not look back at tussles with Wimbledon with very much fondness. But can we really go along with the view that the Dons didn’t play proper football or that their place in the Premier League was somehow undeserved? They were very good at making the most of what little they had. They knew that trying to play the same way as more gifted sides with bigger wage bills would only lead to defeat. So they pumped and harassed their way to the massive achievement of managing to compete effectively for so many seasons. Can we really condemn this?

None of this is to suggest that the most effective route to survival for the Rangers is the adoption of route one football or a cynically brutal approach to the physical side of the game. Indeed, some of our unlikely-seeming late season wins against more fancied opposition have involved some pretty pleasing passages of play from the men in hooped shirts. But one aspect of the Loftus Road experience has definitely not been to the liking of some of our opponents' players and fans. 

For visiting teams, the most jarring aspect of a trip to Shepherds Bush has not been about any treatment meted out by tough-tackling midfield enforcers or rough-and-tough defenders. No, what seems to have rattled some opponents as much as anything on the pitch is the uniquely hostile atmosphere the crowd can sometimes generate. The ties against Chelsea and Spurs, particularly, were notable for the degree to which the Loftus Road crowd were able to take full advantage of their closeness to the pitch in our tight little ground. Reports abound of a Pensioners' midfielder relinquishing his corner taking duties because he was scared of the home fans all around him. More recently, the expensively assembled Tottenham side clearly did not enjoy the near-constant haranguing to which they were subjected. They don’t like it up 'em – and it works. So let's do it again today. Let the Stoke players feel the same kind of heat and let's do more than just hope for win. Let's do our part in making it happen…

…and while we’re making all that noise and making the visiting side feel intimidated, let's do so in the full knowledge that we’ll be criticised for doing it. Let’s keep in mind the priceless quotes we have harvested from the Internet messageboards of vanquished opponents. Let’s remember the poor dear Chelsea fan who opined thus: 
"To be honest I am not a fan of a hostile environment like what Chelsea faced at Loftus Road. Atmosphere like at Anfield or Spurs I don´t mind at all, but what the QPR lot created there was bang out of order."
Let's take further encouragement from the Tottenham follower whose whining went like this:
"What a horrible, grubby bunch of fans the QPR supporters are. Booing every time Spurs were on the ball. What's that all about? Arsenal, and to an extent Chelsea, are supposed to hate Spurs. I can't remember either set of their fans doing that, or us to them. Totally ruins the spectacle. And the hatred and vitriol they showed to our players when they were taking corners or asking for the ball to come out of the crowd seemed genuinely menacing."
Aw diddums. Did the nasty west London yobbos spoil your day out? Did the awful brutes forget that they're supposed to be grateful to play your wonderfully talented team? Don’t they know that Chelsea, Spurs and other Premier League glamour boys are like the Harlem Globetrotters? Don’t they appreciate that the big clubs must be allowed to demonstrate their silky skills without harassment? Don’t they realise that Gareth Bale and Juan Mata are the Meadowlark Lemon and Wilt Chamberlain of the Premier League? Don’t they know that little teams are just there to offer token resistance and make the superstars look good? QPR are just the Washington Generals in this analogy – hapless nobodies whose role is to get beaten. Why don’t these terrible Loftus Road oiks know their place?

This is what they think of us, and this opinion is hardened any time our team capitulates as embarrassingly as they did in the debacle at Stamford Bridge a week ago. But we have to put that rain-lashed and shit-stained afternoon behind us now. We have to get on with the business of willing our lads to victory, knowing that even a win today might not be enough to keep us in this division. Boo, hiss, jeer and whistle every time the ball is not in our possession. Flay each Stoke City corner taker with your acid tongue. Greet each Potters throw-in with loud abuse directed at the fellow taking it. We don’t need to win friends. We need to win points. 

Let’s fucking ‘ave it.

U RRRRRRRRRRssssssssssssssss

Friday, 4 May 2012

the eyes have had it

concerns about the durability of the various pieces in the EYES project by our old friend stu bags - yeah, so these concerns were not misplaced. he put up four pieces and within hours one of them had been peeled away with the others looking vulnerable. this piece on the front of a Camden Road building site looked to be the most robust of the set, but it has already sustained damage... looked so much brighter just days ago...