Tag Archives: Shouting at the TV

Childish jokes from my daughter

One of the great things about my three-year-old daughter is that she likes a laugh. She’s shy but, in the comfort of her own home, she really likes a laugh. Much to my poor wife’s chagrin, who usually has to cope with an over-excited child and a childish Daddy.

She’s spent the last couple of months experimenting with jokes. Egged on by an immature father and the ubiquitous Justin (he’s a bloke that presents loads of shows on CBeebies, including the ‘funny’ Gigglebiz), my daughter has tried to come up with some gags. As can be seen below, she’s managed to rip off a fairly standard formula – but the gags show a strong (how I can put this?) alternative flavour:

  • Why did the pelican cross the road? To go to the barbers.
  • Why did the mouse run up the clock? To go in the trumpet.
  • Why does the steam go in your eyes? Because it runs about.
  • Why does a cup jump into the air? Because it digs on your floor.
  • Why does a turtle walk on the land? Because it swims in the sea.
  • Why does a cup go on your shelf? Because it sits on your table.
  • Why does the turtle swim like a fish? Because it’s like you and me.
  • Why does a machine cross your toy? Because it goes to the centre, where’s it’s cool and fluffy.
  • Why does a cow jump over the fence? Because it wants to eat your supper.
  • Why did the vacuum cleaner stamp on the house? Because it made the children run about.
  • Why did the toilet cross his neighbours to get to his house? Because he bought something new to wear.
  • Why does the tree lamp have a leaf? Because it’s bonkers.
  • Why did the cat jump over the moon? Because it runs to the stocking.
  • Why did the deer have no eyes? Because it had no idea.

No football club has a divine right to success

Football is a business. Actually, it isn’t – it’s a sport. But there’s a chance you might have forgotten, given the media’s obsession with football clubs and their cash concerns.

There’s one type of cash concern in football, like Accrington Stanley struggling to survive. And there’s another, where big clubs are struggling to stay as big clubs. Take Liverpool, for example.

Ex-footballers gracing screens with their oh-so-obvious banter keep telling the watching populace that Liverpool “simply have to qualify for the Champions League”‘ because of cash concerns and a need to attract the best players. But it’s a sport and I couldn’t give a stuff about who needs to be in a specific competition because of business issues.

Then there’s the big club justification – “Liverpool are a massive club that deserves to be in the Champions League”. Liverpool, of course, are a massive club with a “brand” (another dreadful term that has become associated to Sky-era football) that commands global recognition. Good for them. But such prestige does not mean Liverpool – or anyone else – has a divine right to be successful.

Look at Leeds, Newcastle, Nottingham Forest, Derby, Sheffield Wednesday, et al – all of whom are big clubs, finding they have no divine right to be in the top flight, never mind Europe.

Football is cyclical, you see and teams drop from the elite. Nothing is more sure. Liverpool are struggling, Manchester United have their own financial concerns – Manchester City are spending big, Spurs are on the up. Things change.

Look at the Villa. We were the biggest club in the world in the late ninteenth and early twentieth century; we were the global “brand”. Post-Second World War football in Aston has seen some high points and quite a few low points. At the minute, the Villa are thinking about being successful again. We shall see.

But no club has a right to success. And no club “has” to be in any competition, despite what the pundits would have you believe.

Clive Tyldesley and oxen wrestling

So, England have qualified for the World Cup Finals. Good. But Clive Tyldesley? Bad, very bad.

Me and our Clive have a love/hate relationship. I could, of course, just turn the sound off. But shouting about his commentary is part of the fun. As a mate of mine said many years ago: “The best times in your life are shouting at the TV with your mates”. Sad but true – and it’s as true now as it ever was, even if the person you’re shouting with is your slightly scared two and a half year old daughter.

Anyway, I digress – Clive Tyldesley. Grrrr…

My God, does he have to talk so much? When Barry Davies retired, he was quoted as saying he felt there was not enough silence in modern football commentary.

Our Clive, on the other hand, has made a career of filling every potential second of airtime with words. He rarely commentates in the traditional sense; you don’t get “Lampard, to Rooney, to Barry…”

Instead, you get a running babble of facts, clichés and opinion. What you get is something like this: “John Terry will be the eighth captain to lead England to a World Cup Finals”.

So bloody what? I mean, who cares if he’s the millionth? What difference does it make? And anyway, how does our Clive know who’s going to be captain in 2010? It should be Terry but football – as Tyldesley is likely to remind us many, many times – is a funny old game.

But what’s really funny is his Wikipedia entry. There’s the disclaimer at the top of the page that declares: “This biography of a living person does not cite any references or sources. Please help by adding reliable sources. Contentious material about living people that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately”. And at the end of the entry – in the ‘Other Work’ section – is this beauty:

“He has also wrestled oxen professionally.”

Catch it now. It probably won’t last for long. Unlike Tyldesley’s commentaries, which go on and on and on…

From IFDs to an IFS and back home

I was on holiday in Norfolk last week. Very nice it was, too. I hung around on the beach with my family and counted crocodiles with my daughter. That second bit was in a zoo, by the way – not on the beach…

Fading in and out of network coverage, I spent most of my time in East Anglia without the information conduits that provide my daily fix of Aston Villa news (the Worldwideinterweb), pointless babble from people I don’t really know that well (Twitter) and pictures of people I once knew doing REALLY CRAZY THINGS, like drinking (Facebook). I’ll be honest; I missed all that online rubbish.

I mean, it’s good to go without stuff you like once in a while. Like having a period without booze, dropping your reliance on email and web stuff can leave you feeling cleansed and healthy. My lovely wife – bored with my continual logging on – used to challenge me to have internet free days (IFDs).

I’ve done a few IFDs. They’re OK, but you spend most of the day thinking about how you can stop yourself from logging on. Which means you’re just as internet-obsessed as usual, only you’re thinking rather than actually doing.

A seven day IFS (internet free stretch) allows you to move beyond thinking/stopping/doing. There’s that first period of twitchiness, but you slowly get used to having no online access. In fact, you start to rely on other conduits; in Norfolk, I bought a newspaper every day and read it cover to cover. And I even used Ceefax on our non-digital TV. Yeah, man – old school.

Anyway, I’m back home now and the first thing I did was turn on the computer. I discovered I’d missed out on absolutely nothing, but it was nice to have ‘new faithful’ back. It’s tragic, I know. But I am a sucker for all that online crap.

The new rules of social networking

Social networking is great. You can use Facebook to see photos of people you lost touch with years ago, celebrating the birthday of someone you don’t actually know. You can use LinkedIn to hype yourself up as the latest, greatest ‘social media guru’. And you can use Twitter to find out that loads of people got up this morning, ate some food, listened to a bit of music, were busy at work, went home, watched TV and went to bed.

But social networking is also a bit odd. I was watching the news on TV earlier and there was a lot of coverage of Peter Harvey, the teacher from Mansfield who has been charged with attempted murder. After I’d finished my fix of retro information gathering (news on the TV), I went all Web 2.0-tastic and did a search for the teacher on Facebook. And there was quite a bit of stuff, some of which surprised me – names, alleged actions, etc. You know, the kind of stuff the retro media aren’t mean to print in case of prejudicing a trial.

But all that stuff is fair game in the world of social networking. Isn’t it?

Wimbledon is rubbish

I love major sports events and major sporting venues. Actually, I love rubbish sports events and rubbish sporting venues, too.

I remember dragging my wife to watch Austrian non-league side FC Eurotours Kitzbuhel in a pre-season friendly. We were on holiday; it was her special treat. We’ve also watched old men bowling in Malta and she’s been spoilt with visits to a bunch of empty football grounds across Europe.

Sportplatz Kitzbuhel: Why my wife loves me

Sportplatz Kitzbuhel: Why my wife loves me

Sometimes major sporting venues are more than the sum of their parts. Snooker at The Crucible in Sheffield really has to be experienced. It’s a pretty awful theatre that – somehow – comes alive during the snooker. I think it’s the quiet intensity of having to sit in silence, watching a couple of blokes in suits smacking balls round a table with polished sticks.

Cricket at your regular haunt – Edgbaston, in the case of my youth – is also great. Especially during mid-week county matches, when the only people there are you, your unemployed mate and pensioners. And watching football live is always wonderful, of course.

But Wimbledon is rubbish. Thanks to our overuse of aerosols and rack-mounted servers, it’s normally too hot – despite everyone saying it always rains. And it’s always too busy. Unless you queue for 17 days, you can’t get on the main courts – which means you spend hours trailing round the minor courts, watching amateur British players lose stinky mixed doubles matches.

Other venues have an aura and a sense of excitement. Wimbledon doesn’t; it’s just full of people in caps, who eat too many strawberries and drink too much Pimm’s. It’s like the Chelsea Flower Show, actually – boring, busy and over-rated.

Don’t bother going to Wimbledon. It’s one of those rare events that’s actually more enjoyable on television. Again, like the Chelsea Flower Show.