And Today’s Word of the Day is “Unrepentant”

Just a quick mention for a superb column from Irish journalist Ian O’Doherty, who upset several (or more) people from Liverpool when he made the outlandish suggestion that their namesake football club should feature a permanent black armband on their kit because the club:

… goes through so many commemorations of disasters and deaths

Cue – you guessed it – outrage.

When I heard that he’d written a column for the Irish Independent on the matter, my heart sank a little. Another brave soul who stuck his head above the metaphorical parapet and was now being forced back into submission at the hands of an angry mob and a spineless editor.

None of it!

Because today’s Word of the Day is, as we mentioned in the title of this post: Unrepentant.

Ian fights back ‘gainst the naysayers, the terminally offended and what he (quite rightly, but somewhat clumsily) terms “the Outragerati”.
There are abjectly acerbic, decidedly defiant and unashamedly unapologetic soundbites galore:

What a pity we have taken perhaps the most important technological tool ever created and decided to use it to mainly share pictures of kittens and form electronic lynch mobs who dribble with righteous and incoherent fury whenever they are exposed to something they don’t like.

And:

Liverpool fans have a widely established reputation for being a humourless lot (while at the same time saying they’ve the best sense of humour of any group of fans), but this was just the latest drizzle of stupidity in what has become a downpour.

Oh, and let’s treat ourselves to just one more:

It’s no longer enough, it seems, to disagree with someone. You now have to completely shut them down. It’s a sort of intellectual blitzkrieg, which means even the most innocent remark is now seen as “hate speech” and so must be obliterated before it gets a chance to gain traction. Most western countries have a system of political checks and balances to protect people from the tyranny of the government. But what we now have is the tyranny of the people as these unelected, self-selected commissars stalk the land, deciding what everybody else can see, hear or say.

Invariably, this is done in the name of the suffocating, intolerant brand of dumb illiberalism that currently holds sway in society.

Preach, brother!

If you read one thing this week, read his column, inoffensively entitled: If I had set out to deliberately offend the Scousers, I would have gone a lot further, because it is absolutely beautiful.

Little & Large

No, not the popular 80s British comedy duo. I’m talking about ships.

To mark the 175th anniversary of the Cunard Shipping Line, that company took three of its biggest cruise liners to Liverpool’s River Mersey to celebrate. Since the ships in question were the Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Victoria and the Queen Mary 2 (recently in Cape Town), it was billed as the 3 Queens. By all accounts, it was a resounding success, with ships, flypasts and fireworks for the estimated million onlookers to see.

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If you want to find images of the event, Google is your friend. Or Flickr. And the whole thing was streamed live on Youtube. Look, you’re not short of options here.

But while people are celebrating and having a good time, normal life goes on. And if you’re the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Limited Seacat, Manannan (seen by me here), normal life is getting people from the Isle of Man to Liverpool. And it’s probably quite annoying when you get there and someone has taken your parking space:

11162081_1015281998482036_255042973669970321_nHey – it’s ok. There’s precedent: previously in Liverpool, Manannan has had to sneak in behind the QM2 to dock at the landing stage.
But… scale!

20150525233254There she is, just off the stern of the QM2. And while we snigger at the tiny Manx ferry, it’s worth noting that it’s not actually that tiny: it’s 96m long, and carries 850 passengers and crew and 200 cars. Mind you, compare that with the QM2’s 345m length and 4,350 passenger and crew capacity, and yeah, ok.

Of course, it’s not a fair comparison – these vessels have different jobs and are each designed to fit their respective purposes. But the QM2 is awfully big, isn’t she?

Bohemian Like You

One for my readers beyond the Lentil Curtain. It’s the Dandy Warhols from 2000 and this song has a story to it:

The song was written by Courtney Taylor-Taylor after seeing a woman pull up in her car to the traffic lights outside his apartment.

Where will you be when the inspiration strikes, eh…?

While this song has nothing to do with Liverpool, it will always remind me of that poor, victimised city.

I was ambushed there by market research people from Vodafone, who played it to me in late summer 2001 (just ahead of it being a big hit in the UK). If I recall correctly, I was on my way back from the Isle of Man to Oxford, following a week of escapism from real life after being dumped by the girl of my dreams. The boat from Douglas had arrived early in the morning and the train back down south was due to depart late in the afternoon, so I was getting drunk killing time in the city centre when the Vodafone people came for me with their clipboards.
I was taken to the back of the city hall or some theatre or somewhere, answered about 20 questions, told them that the song was great, and got paid £10, which further assisted with the getting drunk killing time.

For completeness, Vodafone (probably on my say-so) went ahead with a hugely successful worldwide ad campaign featuring the song. And the girl of my dreams and I got back together a couple of years later and settled down in sunny Cape Town by the sea. White picket fence and all.

Everyone’s a winner.

End of season rumination

It’s that time of the football season when everyone starts wondering about next season (with the mild irritant of the World Cup not withstanding). Not this chap, of course. He’s upset because he doesn’t like something that a lot of other people do like and he’s comparing it to archaeology because that’s also something that over a quarter of the World’s population enjoy on a weekly basis, so it’s totes a completely valid comparison. I would say that I’m sorry that he doesn’t like football, but that would be lying because I actually don’t give a toss that he doesn’t like football.

MOAR FOOTBALL PLEASE!

And so to the real subject of this post, which is not whiny people who choose their friends poorly and can’t use an iPod or change a radio channel, but… FOOTBALL!

The way Sheffield United finished off this season was little short of spectacular, which was great because we (easily) avoided the ignominy of relegation and we almost (almost) even made the playoffs. This, however, is not so good, because it has raised expectations ahead of next season and left us thinking that we are favourites to win the league and be promoted, just like we were this season, when we nearly got relegated. Even I am getting my hopes up and I’m notoriously boring and rational. It’s stoopid.

Those hopes and dreams can be easily shattered. Look at Liverpool. So near, and yet so far. The Tall Accountant always believed that they could go all the way and win it, but it just wasn’t to be.
We’ve all done it: “We could have won the league, if only… if only… if only…”

Well, for the TA’s delight and delectation, here it is! The definitive way that Liverpool could have won the league: If Only Goals Scored By English Players Counted:

livwin2

Yep. Even with Luis’ fantastic contribution, Liverpool would have won the league. Man U would have done ok, Arsenal would have been nowhere and Champions Manchester City would have been relegated as joint lowest scorers with Newcastle – just 4 goals each. Half of Norwich’s goals were scored by English players, but then they only got 28 in the real world. Cardiff did surprising well, with 70% of their goals being scored by English players, despite them not being English club. Madness, ne?

I’d love to work this out for Sheffield United (who have 19/32 English players in their squad), but given that it (cleverly) takes into account the nationality of the players scoring against us as well, it’s just too complicated. Four of our top five scorers were English, but then… do you count own goals too? And if so, only by English players?

Let’s just assume we’d have won the league as well. Just like we’re going to next season.
Right?

Everyone’s going somewhere…

And I’m going to a larney (that’s posh) restaurant for dinner, so I thought I’d slip a quick quota photo in between the lines here.

This was taken on the Pier Head in Liverpool while we were away in July. The place was a hive of activity with everyone seemingly having somewhere to go, something to do, save for the introspective girl looking over the Mersey.

I like the juxtaposition of the awkward but focussed gent struggling with his large case, with a destination in sight and the woman whose mind is probably anywhere but where she actually is.

I could just be reading too much into a couple of people in a photo though.

Bigger & Better on Black