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Boring post this, it’s just for Google to in case any other people are looking to see what’s happened.
I popped and got an iPhone 4 the other day, it’s nice (and it won’t cost me much once I recycle the old 3G – and the battery was dying).
I decided to stay with O2, I’ve not had problems with them and changing providers is fraught with hassle. The guys in the shop made it quite easy — except that I’ve discovered that the salesman lied to me to sell an insurance policy. This is a proper O2 shop (the receipt says Telefonica O2 UK Ltd and everything).
The salesman told me that insurance was compulsory on iPhone4 upgrades. That sounded fishy and I said I did not want it, only to be told a that it was free for 14 days and that I could cancel without being charged. I asked how, just to confirm, and they said by phone.
Then received my bill via email this am and that charged me for insurance at £15. The customer service rep on the telephone has refunded that and cancelled the insurance — confirming that there’s no such thing as compulsory insurance. But as it is credited in the next month’s bill, how many £15s are O2 receiving and getting interest on for one month? How many people don’t check or cancel. How much commission is the liar (fraudster?) making.
If you’ve watched an England game on telly this World Cup, apart from a feeling of ennui matched only it seems by Emile Heskey as he spends another match mostly inhaling the pitch, you’ll have gained two things:
- The knowledge that what the England team lack is passion, monotone decide-to-be-Irish pundit Andy Townsend will have dulled that into you.
- A greater-than-before awareness of what Sir Clive Woodward and Nigel Benn look like these days. As they appear with numerous other English champions in an unashamed advert.
Except that they’re sort of the same thing. One is an ex-player’s easy statement on a team’s failure without having to do such things as explain tactics, the other a Danish lager PR machine’s attempt to associate themselves with football, without having to understand anything about it bar the jingoistic assumptions made by sections of the press.
Passion is an odd thing, it’s the only piece of the gamut of emotional reaction to sport that advertisers and the media will attempt to engage the public over. You’ve seen John Barnes, a player torn apart by the press during his playing career for a perceived lack of it held up as someone to connect over just how much of it he has. If it can be whipped up to involve some cheap nostalgia so much the better. Barnes’s appearance is linked to the current wave of re-imagining the golden era of Italy 1990, there’s even a film out One Night In Turin based around the tournament — with the tears and kisses and penalty misses that do nothing so much as remind me how much the video from only twenty years ago has degraded.
It’s not quite how I remember that World Cup, the headlines were about how bad things were, not how memorable. It existed as one of the great last sorties of English hooliganism abroad, there was constant footage of it raining plastic glasses and plastic chairs in picturesque squares all over Italy. The film is based on a book by Pete Davis called All Played Out (now re-issued as One Night in Turin), which is a fantastic, if depressing, read about how Planet Football is divorced from all reality and the lives of the fans. Davis quotes a distressed Englishman — no doubt dressed in too-small shorts and one of those headache inducing plastic flat-caps we used to have — after a disappointing draw against North African opposition: “fight you bastards” he says “like we fight for you”. Sound familiar? The film doesn’t touch too much on that.
Do players really have less passion now than two decades ago, and if so can that role-call of famous English help. Can a naked-from-the-waist (up, thankfully) Jeff Stelling inspire, does our greatest living World Champion — The Power — chucking a ‘good arra’ mean anything to our current team? I’m not sure it goes far enough, these are media savvy young men who will assume well wishes from the stars of stage and green (and have you noticed Steve Davis CGI’d into recent transmissions?). What they need is inspirational figures alongside them when it really counts.
It’s said that the great Liverpool team of the 80s could afford to play Sammy Lee as they “could have covered for Thora Hird at left back”, never mind a player who’d just been transferred a little above his ability. So with that in mind, can’t the England team cover for the lack of experience or fitness of a sententious Englishman who will lead them in all things passion?
If Beckham can travel without being fit to play, surely the presence of a great who can play (without them being able to really play) is a possibility. And we could stick them on the wing that Gerrard doesn’t seem to be using anyway.
Of the advert crew, we have to excuse Dames Holmes and MacArthur for FIFA are not enlightened enough to allow a female winger, but surely Ian Botham could do a job? Beefy is so English that supposedly preferring the charms of the West Indian dressing room to that of his own team hasn’t dampened his iconic status, and he had a few games for Scunthorpe and Yeovil too.
He can’t do everything of course, but not every game needs so much of the passion and we have a lot of national treasures around. An easy qualifier against the Faroes for example might only need the passion of a Bradley Walsh or a Jonathan Wilkes, a friendly against a local side pre a tournament could be the opportunity to rest the big guns and use a Duncan Norvelle or a Stan Boardman (who pioneer Fat Ron Atkinson used extensively in the build up to big Villa games in the nineties).
A vital qualifier away in Turin might be the time to use Brian Blessed, where you could use a home game to blood David Mitchell, maybe he and Robert Webb could be twin raiding wing-backs.
Roy Race knew all about the power of celebrity, and also blow-driers, when he picked Steve Norman and Martin Kemp of Spandau Ballet for Melchester. Imagine the faces of the opposition when we bring on The Actual Mayor Of London for a corner. And BoJo has experience.
It’s the World Cup and we need to show that passion, so we need to lay every card we have. Princes William and Harry were in the stands on Friday, and the dressing room after — luckily before anyone touching cloth came in to ask to use the bog — why were they not in the room before, kitted and booted, three lions over their royal right-nipples ready for battle. Where their ancestors lead England into the breach, they could be leading Aaron Lennon onto the bench and playing themselves.
Forget Gaddafi’s son somehow making the Libya side (and oddly the squad at Sampadoria), forget Kevin-Prince Boateng. We might just have found a use for our Royal Family, just not Fergie in charge of the sponsorship deals please.
I had a little bit of a paddy on Twitter yesterday after a slew of people were moaning about “the football”. “The football” in this instance being a fairly easily avoidable pre-World Cup friendly (the pubs would not have been packed, it was isolated on ITV). I just didn’t see how it was worthy of the disapprobation poured on it.
You wouldn’t dismiss all of ‘art’ or ‘science’ (or at least not easily or seriously), but the cultural, historical and social elements of the most popular sport in the World (and its global celebration) are okay to be sniffy about it seems. It’s disrupting your television viewing, or making your surrogate living room a little too busy for your liking, and that’s reason enough.
But, dismisser of “the football” is that the root cause? Because you seem to associate the sport with the event, the event with the supporting, and the supporters with a conflation people you don’t much care for.
Because not all football supporters are racist, boorish, loud, suntanned, drunk or even English.
And not everyone will be “supporting”.
Some will be watching, sharing, discussing and enjoying the best players in the World — playing for once without too much financial imperative and on a fairly level playing field (no transfers, no buying success). It can be beautiful.
Football exists not only as a sport, but as a metaphor and conduit for society. Ignore if you will, but don’t dismiss. It’s not clever.
Some time ago I spent a a while collecting the wifi network names I saw while on my travels around Brum. It’s an interesting insight into the minds of those who set them up.
In New York for a week and without being able to afford to use 3G on my phone I was sniffing for wifi a lot — and again became obsessed with the names given to the wireless access. I tried not to let it overtake me though, so I only wrote down the good ones. NY’s grid system of streets would facilitate a great psychogeographic experiment of walking the grids and laying the names on a map — but until I get a chance this little snippet will have to do:
Of course, I’ve mocked this up, but you could at times see this many networks at once — and they were almost all locked.
Haircut Menu, Broadway on Flickr – Photo Sharing!.
Spotted in the window of a barbers on Broadway (hence poor reflection and that). I’ll have a number 24 please.
The curious case of Masal Bugduv: a made up Moldovan footballer is “about to sign” for Arsenal, Liverpool and Reading(?) but is the work of a fine prankster.
Here I am, looking a little grumpy, as part of Mario Cacciottolo’s really rather lovely ‘Someone Once Told Me‘ project.