Monday, May 28, 2007

Derby 1 West Brom 0

Today I had the priviledge of witnessing one of the most important matches in Derby's history, when against the odds they beat West Brom to return to the Premiership. Last year we narrowly avoided relegation so today's result was nothing short of a miracle.

It was a fantastic experience. Wembley is a great stadium and we had a brilliant view, very close to the action. Silvana came with me and took loads of great pics.

The game went as many people expected. In the first half West Brom were very fluid. We were under a lot of pressure but managed to hold out. However in the second half we managed to carve out few chances and came close a few times

Eventually Steve Pearson got the goal from a Giles Barnes cross and the Derby fans went nuts. The defence stayed strong and despite some late scares, we held on.

After the game the celebrations were amazing. Lots of singing. Lots of crying. Having seen Derby so down in the dumps for past few years its great to see them back with they belong - in the top flight. So for the time being, lets savour our moment of glory.

I'm sure Steve Bloomer was watching over us.

Ramsanthem Steve Bloomer's Watching

This song is played at every Derby game, sung by Robert Lindsay, famous West End star and Derby fan as a tribute to Steve Bloomer, Derby's greatest ever player. I hope he's watching over us at Wembley today.

( download .wma file located here )

Verse One
Our history's full of legends,
And football played on high,
The names Carter and Doherty,

Made all opponents cry.
Now we all just love football,

But will we lift the crown,
The noise goes up,
the Rams come out,
Onto the hallowed ground.

Chorus(home)Steve Bloomer's watching,
Helping them fight,Guiding our heroes,
In the black and the white.

For all teams who come here,
There's nowhere to hide,
Everyone is frightened,
Of that Derby pride.
Verse Two

The Rams just play football,
That make our heart so proud,MacFarland and Hector,
Names to thrill the croud.And if you love or hate us,
Depending on the score,
When the boys come out, at kick off time,
How the mighty roar. (croud noise)
Chorus(home) - repeated twice

The Rams are a coming,we're out there to win,
Playing like heroes,
They won't let 'em in,Home sides be wary,
Of our heart and our soul,
We're searching for glory,
And victory is our goal.
Chorus(home) for the finale

by Mark "Tank" Tewson (1997)Copyright (1997)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Back From Devon

Just back from a flying visit to my friend Bev who lives in the lovely town of Modbury in Devon. Needed to come back in time for Wembley tomorrow, plus have quite a lot of work on. Luckily the weather held out long enough for us to have a couple of coastal walks. I would have posted a couple of pictures, but managed to leave my camera behind. Karen and the girls will be staying there for the rest of the week. Hope the weather picks up for them.

Bev is another talented girl from Derby who runs her own business called Brume, specialising in decorative window film. Its fabulous. Check out the website

Friday, May 25, 2007

We're Going to Wembley

Thanks to the efforts of my brother in law Clarence I've managed to get a ticket for Derby's plan off final on Monday. Hurrah! Tickets are like gold dust so am VERY lucky. SO nervous. Can't wait to go..

Come On You Rams!!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Day 1 Italy

We arrived on Sunday afternoon at Borzonasca in our blue Fiat Puntos. Its a very pretty village about 20 minutes from the coast an hour or so from Genoa

We unpacked the bikes and decided to go for a quick ride just to get a feel for what lay ahead. From the village the only way is up but fortunately it was not as steep as I imagined and I actually quite enjoyed it. The countryside was beautiful with some fantastic smells of jasmine and wild herbs.

The local restaurant is known as 'Jesus' - can't quite remember why, where the food was amazing and incredibly cheap. If we'd caught the flight back to London the next day, the trip would trip have been worth it.

Day 2 Italy

We had a big day ahead so prepared for it with a lovely breakfast from the local cafe. 2 pastries and 2 cappuccino each. We set off up the 17km climb and after an hour and a half had reached the top. We were 900 metres up and the views were amazing. Before this, I thought Crystal PalaceHill was tough.

Kept going through the countryside for most of the day. By mid afternoon feeling knackered and wasn't sure I was going to make it back, until an ice cream and can of coke revived me for the return journey.

Eventually we got to the top of the big hill above the village and was able to freewheel down for 25 minutes which was great fun. In total covered 92 km.

There was only thing for it. More wine and food at Jesus' restaurant. And Praise the Lord he didn't let us down.

Day 3 Italy

This was the day that we were supposed to see the Giro d'Italia and see some of the world's finest cyclists in action. However, it didn't quite work out that way.

It was a really hot day and we were a bit knackered. After about 30km - largely uphill - we figured that it would take a big effort to get there, so we had a vote and decided to take the short cut back to the bar and watch it on the telly.

We cycled down a very steep and pretty road back into the town and soon had a beer in our hand, watching proper cyclists whizz up the mountains. Much more civilised.

In the evening we decided to a give Jesus a miss and go to the local pizza restaurant. The local speciality is farinata - a pizza base which is made with chickpea flour. We talked lots of nonsense, drank lots of wine and grappa and called it a night.

A fantastic few days. Thanks for organising it Simon and letting us stay in your appartment and thanks Neil and Tony for the great company.

Italy - best country in the world.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Off to Italy
Tomorrow morning I'm flying to Genoa with 3 friends for a few days cycling in the Ligurian countryside. I've packed my racer, my padded shorts and am all set. Am a bit worried about the trip as:
- these guys are serious cyclists and regularly undertake long arduous bike rides.
- we're staying in the mountains. The main road out of the village has a 17 km climb.
Still, it'll be great to be in Italy. I know I've going to feel completely knackered, but no doubt we'll have a few laughs along the way, probably at my expense as well as loads of great food and drink.
On Tuesday, we'll be able to see a stage of the Giro d'Italia which will be passing near where we're staying. Apparently its a hugely popular Tour de France style race. Shows how much I know.
Won't be taking my laptop with me. Hope I have the strength to tap my keyboard on my return.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Singing Stuff

1. Joseph Choir Search

The BBC are running a competition amongst primary schools to appear in the musical Joseph. Thousands of schools have entered, but there's no doubt that Ravenstone are the best. Please vote for them! Voting will take place from 21st - 25th May via the BBC Wesbite

2. Brighton Fringe Festival

The South London Choir - featuring both Karen and Mae Franco will be appearing at the Brighton Fringe Festival on 19th May. Click here for details. Hope to see you there!
Que Sera Sera...

Well, we've done it. In one of the most exciting matches of the season The Rams beat Southampton last night on penalties and will now be in the Play - Off Final at the new Wembley on May 28th. This game will be bigger than the FA Cup Final between Man U and Chelsea. There's much more at stake - a place in the Premiership worth £60 million - plus its such a big occasion for the clubs involved.

I'm so happy and relieved we've made it, but feel a bit sorry for the Southampton fans the ex-Derby manager and players who were fantastic. However, we finished 3rd in the Championship, held our nerve in the shoot-out and deserve to be there.

Football - what a game!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Rezina's 40th Birthday Party

Went to our friend Rezina's birthday party last Saturday in the heart of Streatham and it was lovely. Food was amazing and came from the Mirch Masala - apart from her mum's chutney which was delicious. if you've not been to the Tooting restaurant yet, you should! Best in South London.
Happy Birthday Rezina!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

What I'm Reading

Nowadays I tend to buy books at airports and am usually in a rush. If in doubt, I often turn to Iain Banks. Am currently reading his latest book 'The Steep Approach to Garbadale' and I'm really enjoying it. I know that I'll feel disappointed rather than relieved when I've finish it.

I've read about 6 of his books and I've enjoyed all of them. I loved his first book the Wasp Factory which I read years ago. The plots and settings are all very different. However, they're always gritty, unpretentious with really believable characters.

What's even more impressive about Iain Banks is that he also writes science fiction under the name of Iain M. Banks. I've not read any of them, but people tell me they're really good. I'll try one of these next.

Advantage Derby

Decided not to go to see Derby play Southampton today and guess what - we win 2-1. Fantastic result and they played really well. I'm convinced that they'd have lost if I'd gone.

So - looking good for a trip to Wembley on 28th May, providing there isn't a disaster at Pride Park on Tuesday night. Will watch it down the pub.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Pleasure Derived From the Misfortune of Others

One of my favourite words is the German word schadenfreude which apparently does not translate directly into English. Its an emotion that I can't help feeling from time to time even though I know I shouldn't.

For example, I'm genuinely pleased that Leeds United have been relegated this year and have now gone into administration. I'm sure its quite a distressing experience for the people involved, but it still makes me happy. Maybe its because I've got this deep rooted dislike of their cynical team of the 1970s but I always hope they do badly.

Equally it makes me smile when I see John Terry crying every time Chelsea fail to win a trophy. I don't feel sorry for him at all. He's just a mardy baby.

I'm obviously not alone. There's a huge magazine /newspaper/ web industry that's dedicated to humiliating famous people and revelling in their fall from grace.

Why do we sometimes feel this way? Is it to do with insecurity, aggression, jealousy, hatred, self affirmation? I'm not sure...and how come the Germans have a word for it and we don't?

Another expression that I really like is 'revenge is a dish best served cold'. Don't understand it, but I like the sound of it.
A Day in Brighton

Today I went to Brighton - or more precisely Hove - to do some work with those very clever people at Space Doctors.

I know its not everyone's cup of tea, but I really like Brighton. Its the kind of place that nurtures freethinkers and eccentrics. I caught a taxi at the station and the driver said to me - 'I'm not really a taxi driver, I'm a novelist'. On my receipt he'd printed his website, where you can read the first chapter for free.

On Saturday 19th May I'll be coming back to Brighton to see both Mae and Karen perform at the Brighton Festival as part of the South London Choir. Watch this space for more details.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Famous Relation

Apparently James Franco is the new star of Spiderman 3. Didn't realise my cousin had a screen career.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Weekend in Derby

Just back from a Bank Holiday weekend in Derby catching up with the family.

Day 1: Chatsworth House

Have not been here for years and it was a lovely day out. Drove past all the bikers in Matlock Bath and managed to find it OK. Saw lots of friendly sheep in the fields.

Didn't bother going inside the House but there was enough to see with the gardens, adventure playground and the farmyard animals. The countryside was beautiful and it stayed fine all day. We even had a picnic.

Day 2: Markeaton Park

The kids love Markeaton Park. They get free ice creams (with flakes) from Auntie Vita and free tokens for all the attractions which included the Racing Cars (2 goes each) and the Crazy Golf. Bit rainy for the Bouncey Castle.

Lia even had a go on the donkey.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Barbra Streisand

My friend Richard has just paid £500 to see Barbara Streisand when she comes to the UK. Apparently she's sold out and he could easily sell it for twice that - which he won't. I really don't get why people love her so much and how's she's able to command such ludicrously high ticket prices.

A few years ago his flat was broken into. The burglars stole all his cds - but left behind the Barbra Streisand ones, which weirdly made him really pissed off.

I guess not everyone loves her.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Too Busy to Blog

Have not done any blogging this week, largely because I've been running workshops near Swindon. Discovered that Swindon is a surprisingly long way from London - 75 miles and it took ages to get there and back. I didn't want to stay in a hotel.

Plus of course, just had to watch the Liverpool Chelsea game...and of course the Jose Mourinho interview which is usually more compelling than the game.

HIghight of the week so far has been the film Dead Man's Shoes on Monday. Was half watching Charlotte Grey which was glossy and insipid with the usual actors you've imagine and Dead Man's Shoes came. I found it really compelling and stayed up until 1am to watch it - which I never do.

Its set in Derbyshire and I recognised the voices and the landscape immediately. Think it was filmed around Matlock. Was about a man taking out his revenge on the people who tortured his younger brother. Was so gripping and realistic with lots of people who weren't trained actors. No swirly music, no sentiment but incredibly sad.
Maybe it was because the younger brother was called Anthony.