Monday, January 26, 2009

book learning # 50!

Books that shook the World: The Qur'an by Bruce Lawrence.

The Qur'an was not written by Bruce Lawrence. It is the direct word of God as told to Muhammad (pbh).
I would not wish to confuse anybody.
This was not The Qur'an. This was a series of essays outlining different historical and political interpretations of The Qur'an.
And a good read it was too.
I rather wish I had actually read The Qur'an in order to have understood this a bit more.
As it is, I shall just value the enjoyment and curiosity I took away from this work.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Any day now.

Phew, an awful lot is being written about Tuesday. 
An awful lot of hope is being invested in Tuesday and beyond.
I've been trying to keep up with some of the stories and editorials and perspectives and ideas being thrown about, it's not been easy but I'm doing what I can.

Then it hit me. 
A certain aspect of the new reality.

The next time I'm taken into a side room at JFK for an undetermined ammount of time and made to wait in silence, the photo on the wall will not be this one.

The photo on the wall will look a lot more like this one.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


It's 50 years since Norwich City reached the semi finals of the FA Cup.
They were a Third Division South team at the time.

The days before 24hr-nonstop-super-sunday-footy on telly, sponsorship or money of any kind. The only foreigners in the English game were a few former prisoners of war who married local girls and decided to stay on. The players, so I'm told, used to travel to the ground on a Saturday morning by public transport, have a cup of tea and a fag and then get out there and play. After the game they's either go out for a pint or staright home for fish and chips and an evening in front of the latest invention, the telly. I think half of them still lived with their mums.

I'm sure that when they sent Ilford home in the 1st round few suspected that it was going to be any kind of special year.

They beat Swindon in the next round and in the 3rd round destroyed the mighty Manchester United 3-0. A game which we will remember on Friday night. To beat Manchester United 3-0 today would be unbelievable, in 1959 it was beyond the wildest dreams of a small provincial team like Norwich. They progressed by beating Cardiff, Spurs and then Sheffield United before losing a replay to Luton Town. Luton Town? Exactly.

According to legend, and so much of this tale is beautiful, glorious legend, people used to ride their bikes from miles around to get to games. One bloke even sold his bike for a semi final ticket. I remember being told about that by Dad and being mildly unimpressed. "HE SOLD HIS BIKE!" my Dad replied "IN 1959 SELLING YOUR BIKE WAS LIKE SELLING YOUR HOUSE AND YOUR GRANNY!!"
There's also the brilliant rumour about a bloke taking his horse into a pub to get it drunk after the Sixth round victory against Sheffield United. I really hope that one's true, I'll be telling my boy about it one day.
My Dad was 17.

Buddy Holly also died that winter.
Music has never been the same.

The three men my father admired the most were Sandy Kennon, Terry Bly and Ron Ashman.

He's talked about little else for fifty years.

This Friday night we're all going to a special dinner at Carrow Road to remember those glory days.
I suspect it will be tremendous fun, especially for those of us born years after the eveną¤¤े.'ll be able to have a few drinks whilst watching the old fellas get a bit misty eyed at the passing years। I understand there may even be the odd star from those olden days there.It's the stuff of legends and we were brought up on these tales.
I've got good friends, friends who've also been City fans forever but they're not as aware of 'The 59 Cup run'. I guess their dads weren't there or weren't supporting City or something like that. Our Dad was and that's why we'll be there on Friday night.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

2009 already?


January 13th?

This year I'm shedding my medieval level of superstition and making my own luck. Hard work and clean(er) living.

Let's go!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Book learning # 49

Pies and Prejudice. In search of the North by Stuart Maconie

I'm a professional Southerner.

I found this book lovely.

Lovely in that lovely, patronising way that Southerners have towards the North.
The sleeve makes a thing about Maconie becoming a National treasure, Its true, he's getting there. On the radio, the telly, in books, he's around a lot.

This book is a personal tour of the North, it's food, culture, sport and industry. It's also got a chunk of history and a bit of almost chip on shoulder northern working class stuff.

There were times in this book when I agreed with every word the man wrote, times when I laughed out loud and times when I reminisced fondly about family holidays to Yorkshire and Northumberland.

I almost got a bit bored at the end with the Brysonesque ramblings about Durham and Chester but I stuck it out.

Lovely, funny, insightful, a cracking read.