Going Up!

…fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eigh… oh, hello!

I was just counting my chickens before they’ve hatched. 
In other news, following a nail-bitingly tight 1-0 win at Reading, my beloved Sheffield United now occupy second spot in the Championship. That’s an automatic promotion place, which means that they’ll be back up where they belong in the Premiership next season. Bring it on!   

Good Friday passed without too much incident. There was some muffin making and some kalahari kreef braai’ing.


Yum. Seriously Yum.

Tomorrow brings with it the chance to go and see the UEFA Champions League Trophy on display at the V&A Waterfront, which won’t be busy in the middle of the school holidays. It’s fine – I can cope with a few thousand screaming children.

Hmm.

Swings and Roundabouts

Or rather, Roundabouts and Swings

Said he “the job’s the very spit of what it always were,
“It’s bread and bacon mostly when the dog don’t catch a hare,
“But looking at it broad, and while it ain’t no merchant kings,
“What’s lost upon the roundabouts, we pulls up on the swings.”

Roundabouts and Swings by Patrick Chalmers

Poetry on 6000 miles…hoodathunkitt? But I always wondered where that expression came from.

After my minirant regarding the injustices of football and the backward mindedness of the FA, Karma (which I really don’t believe in) was happened – or whatever Karma does – yesterday as my beloved Blades scored an offside goal and a really soft penalty to win 2-1 in a crunch match against Birmingham City.  
I now expect to find similar rants all over the web from Birmingham City fans. Or at least I would if any of them could write. I guess that’s a bit of an ask when you’ve only mastered the basic vowel sounds.
And even those, incorrectly.

It’s hard to remember – especially in something as emotive as football – that things do tend to even themselves out. Thus, Birmingham’s “bad luck” will probably be passed onto whoever they play next and so on and so forth.

Of course, humans being what they are these days, with the general “glass half-empty” approach to life, will never believe that they are getting anything but a raw deal, especially us bloggers, desperately narcissistic, craving attention and sympathy like some sort of Münchausen Syndrome victims. Twitter just concentrates the effect.
You know who you are.
And if you’re thinking “maybe he means me,”  then I probably don’t, but you’re obviously heading that way. 

More happy “Joy of Rusk” style posts, please. With smiles and stuff.
Which, I accept, this one isn’t.

Ooh ,the irony.

Not sour grapes…

…but when your team goes out of the FA Cup because of this:

GOAL Hull City 1-0 Sheffield United
It’s an unbelievably controversial goal and the Blades will be furious about that one. A cross from the Hull right is for some reason headed against the underside of his own crossbar by Kyle Naughton and the ball bounces down on to the line and away. The whole ball isn’t over, though, so it shouldn’t count. Poor decision from the assistant referee to award it.

and then this:

Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp is booked for diving in the Hull box – but replays show his right foot was kicked away from him by Kamil Zayatte. Should have been a penalty. More poor officiating.

All of which leads to this:

Referee Peter Walton has apologised for his performance in the Blades’ 2-1 FA Cup defeat at Hull on Thursday.
“The officials have to live with their mistakes but, to be fair to Peter, he rang and admitted he made major errors and that’s big of him,” said [United Manager] Kevin Blackwell.

…it makes me wonder why football can’t institute the kind of technology which has worked so well in cricket and rugby, both of which I’ve been watching over the past couple of days and neither of which has been ruined by a 30 second delay while a decision is referred “upstairs”.

And it makes me bloody annoyed as well, obviously.
The fact that someone then chose to replay the “goal” on the big screen at the stadium was amusing though:

Naughton’s 24th-minute goal was controversially shown on the big screen inside the stadium, meaning the crowd were aware that the goal should not have stood, but referee Walton was unable to act. Controversial incidents cannot be shown on big screens under Premier League and Football League rules, but in FA competitions it is usually left to agreement between the clubs.

Hull boss Phil Brown admitted that controversially showing a replay of the incident inside the ground “could have started a riot”.

Yeah, but deep down, I reckon Hull boss Phil Brown isn’t all that bothered, really.

Problems in Zim, Problems in Sheffield

Just when the poor people stuck just over the border (though admittedly a border a long, long way from me here) thought that bent elections, crooked politicians, ridiculous inflation, food shortages, violence and intimidation were the only minor issues they had to face upon getting up this morning, comes this.

Yes, according to the BBC News website, African leaders have now taken their lead from Thabo Mbeki and Mad Bob and are further conspiring against the Zimbabwean people – and not just any Zimbabwean people – some the most vulnerable: Amputees.


BBC News spells it out clearly. No arms for Zim.

I am appalled.  How are these unfortunate people supposed to find gainful employment when their prosthetic limbs are denied entry to the country over some inconsequential political spat?

Meanwhile back in Sheffield, copper theft from electricity substations is out of control, apparently.
No – wait – surely I mean Cape Town?
Hmm – this is the perfect home from home, it seems.

How did I miss Richard Hawley?

One of the most difficult things about emigrating is keeping up with things back home. Sure, you want to embrace the new lifestyle and the culture of your new home, but that doesn’t mean that you should completely lose touch with the land of your birth.

And thus, when I find myself watching Sky News and finding out about a musician I’ve never heard of – the surprise nominee for the Best Solo Male at the upcoming BRIT Awards – and he’s from Sheffield, I know I’m letting it slip a bit.

Richard Hawley is 41 years old* and has been working in music for years as a session musician for the likes of REM, Gwen Stafani, Nancy Sinatra, All Saints and Arctic Monkeys.
His first solo album came out in 2000 – long before I left the UK, but he’s achieved little commercial success. His albums to date have all had a Sheffield reference to them, including his 2007 offering Lady’s Bridge, promoted by the release of special edition Henderson’s Relish bottles. Too cool.

But it was his comments on Sheffield’s steel industry that made me laugh. He, like me, gets a little depressed and nostalgic when he goes to Kelham Island Museum. As he points out:

Working in Sheffield’s steel industry was a job that had dignity.
Can you see there being Call Centre Museums in 30 years time?

“Look, that’s where your dad plugged ‘is phone in”
“I can remember, me laptop used t’ sit rate ‘ere”

No, because those jobs don’t have dignity. No-one wants to remember them.  

As for the music – Roy Orbison meets Jarvis Cocker, Morrissey and Nick Cave. Perhaps a little Country/Folky/Pub Crooner for some, but it’s worth a listen anyway. Plenty to watch and listen to on YouTube.

I won’t mention his taste in football clubs. He has none.

* so getting on a bit… (P.S. Hi Ant! *grin*)