Sunday 31 October 2010

All Aboard The Gus Bus

Peterborough 0 - Albion 3: The Seagulls are soaring to new heights in League One after this top of the table clash. The 3-0 demolition of third placed Posh was emphatic and convincing. Two goals for Ashley Barnes on his 21st birthday and yet another goal for Inigo Calderon sees the Albion go marching on in front of nearly 3,000 euphoric Seagull fans. Albion are now playing a beautiful passing game and could have bagged a hatful of goals as they had had all the possession and dominated throughout the 90 minutes. They had fifteen shots on target, scored three goals, missed one penalty, had one disallowed goal and they even hit the crossbar twice. Peterborough were disappointing and although having a player sent off in the 25th minute didn't help their cause the stats show that they didn't even manage one shot on target in the whole game. The victory takes Brighton eight points clear at the top of League One and second placed Huddersfield are nearer to the bottom placed team in terms of points than they are to Albion. It's all aboard the Gus bus for Tuesday night's home match against Exeter...and we just can't wait.

The Week In View...IV

Manlab (BBC 2, Sunday 31st October): Absolutely hilarious. James May demonstrates handy, useful everyday man tasks such as how to make a fashionable concrete kitchen unit, disable and make safe a World War Two bomb, polish boots to a proper shine, seranade your girlfriend with a lute and 17th century verse, build a transport network through your house (aka a train set) and make a mobile, radio controlled picnic table. The highlight of the show saw Captain Slow taking us on a step by step guide on how to make the perfect fish finger sandwich. This program is essential viewing for all real men. Brilliant! 

X-Factor (ITV, Sunday 31st October): Oh no, it's yet another week with Wagner! Unbelievably this dreadful man didn't get voted off. I blame Louis Walsh who was responsible for putting this act through to the final in the first place. So Bel Amie are out but I'm fast losing interest.

Strictly Come Dancing (BBC1, Sunday 31st October): Oh no, it's yet another week with the dreadful Anne Widdicombe! etc, etc, etc.

The Apprentice (BBC1, Wednesday 27th October): Thank goodness Melissa has now gone. She was found wanting this week and her pitching was amateurish to say the least. She just didn't know when to stop talking and would not listen to her customers or learn when to take no for an answer and move on. This lady also made up her own words on the hoof from 'Mel's Dictionary of English' that bore no resemblance at all to the standard Oxford dictionary that we all know and love. Mel was also a very bad loser, she showed no grace or dignity in defeat and badly let herself down by the way she behaved shortly after getting the finger from Lord Sugar along with the immortal words "You're fired". Quite right too. Who's next? My money is on Paloma, we shall see.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Seagulls Are Flying

Albion 2, Yeovil 0: Brighton & Hove Albion go marching on and are now six points clear at the top of League One after another fine home display. So different to last season when they couldn't win at Withdean for love nor money. A headed goal from the in form Glen Murray and a real corker from the Spanish right back Inigo Calderon saw Albion cruise to a comfortable and well deserved 2-0 win. Man stallion centre back Adam El Abd who went off early in the second half with a nasty gash and broken nose was replaced by the rock solid and ever dependable Tommy Elphick. Albion didn't bat an eyelid as they moved seamlessly on towards another victory. Gus Poyet's squad now has strength in depth and that has made all the difference this season. This weekends upcoming fixture against third placed Peterborough looks set to be a cracker. Live commentary is available on BBC Radio Sussex if you want to listen in. Come on you Seagulls!

The Week In View...III

X-Factor: Honestly, the viewing public have no taste. How could Treyc Cohen and John end up in the bottom two? I think the people who are voting for Wagner are the same daft people that are keeping Ann Widicombe in Strictly Come Dancing. It seems to me that at least one of these contestants has the Jedward Factor rather than the X-Factor. We're still rooting for Matt Cardle but the competition is tough. Given the public vote this week I doubt if Treyc will get to the final, she should go farther but probably won't. The rapidly improving boy band One Direction and especially Rebecca stand a real chance of going all the way. Who should go next? Please, please, please give Wagner the boot. The long haired former PE instructor with the dreadful voice has to get voted off next week... doesn't he?

The Apprentice: I just love this telly programme. It makes me cringe when when we see the way that some of these prospective candidates behave. This week we saw the teams having to bake bread and muffins and then sell them to restaurants and hotels. The delightfully named Shibby Robatti was team leader this week, and boy did he make a right royal mess of it. Without bothering to check what production capacity his team mates had back at the bakery he was promising the Earth. A hotel chef who was expecting 1,000 breakfast rolls got a delivery of just 16 but hey, Shibby made it okay by giving the chef £130 compensation. It's true to say that the morose and workshy Sandeesh didn't help his cause and Paloma had the knives out early. The other team were led by the inept Melissa, who only won because two of her team mates (Alex and Christopher) got her out of the big hole she was digging for herself. The industrious, hardworking and precision like Christopher gave a highly organised and workmanlike display in the bakery and Alex was clearly more numerate than Melissa when it came to the costings. Melissa seemed to think that £1.86 a roll was a reasonable sell price. Alex saved the day by proposing a far more realistic figure and was quick to point out to Melissa that he has seven (yes folks, seven) A* exams  to his name. In the end though it was Shibby who was fired and not hired although Melissa can thank her team for keeping her out of the boardroom. Bring it on next week, we just can't wait.

Friday 22 October 2010

A super little Seagull

Cute or what? Meet Oliver Durrant, the latest recruit to the ever growing army of Seagulls fans. First grandchild to good friends Pete & Jill Durrant and firstborn son of Martin and Karen. He just needs a little bobble hat and scarf and the picture will be complete. Better start saving now for that season ticket son because it won't be long til the burger and chips at the new Amex Stadium becomes a regular Saturday lunchtime feast (along with the football).

The week in view...II

X Factor: Thank goodness the man with pink hair has gone. Storm didn't exactly go down...a storm. I guess you either loved him or hated him, and I didn't love him. As for Diva Fever they were all glam, glitz and Max Factor. Entertaining up to a point but were they great singers who had the X factor? Let's be honest here, they had to go.

I was worried for the future of the music industry but hey, now there's Wagner to keep us all entertained. Can you believe that people actually voted for him, I mean they spent their money and made the phone call. Err, why? I somehow think he may just be the next to go (please). Now what was Aiden doing trying to sing a John Lennon song? Jealous Guy was not the right song choice and the arrangement just didn't work. My opinion? Leave well alone, only Lennon can do Lennon. We love Mary's voice but is she cool enough to win? I'm afraid image is everything these days and so the best voice doesn't always win these talent competitions. As for Cher, give me a break. Okay, she's young, hip, cool and got the right image (or so I'm told) but I think this young lady might need a bit more than that to get to the final of this competition.

Boy bands always do well because all the young teenies vote for them so One Direction could go far and Rebecca is also a definite to get further along in this competition. Treyc Cohen is the one with the big voice, the one who can belt out the power songs. If I wanted to waste my money she would probably get my vote (so that's the kiss of death for her then). Matt Cardle is the other act who really stands out and has a chance of winning but a lot will depend upon his song choices.We need to find out if he is versatile and comfortable enough when singing other genres of music. We shall see in the coming weeks.

Of course X Factor is still a load of old tosh, but us Brits love it and it's somehow addictive old tosh. I guess it's better than watching New Faces or Hughie Green on Opportunity Knocks...isn't it?

Thursday 21 October 2010

In Gus We Trust

Charlton 0 - Albion 4: Crikey, a 4-0 away win at Charlton! What is happening down at Brighton & Hove Albion these days, they just can't seem to stop winning at the moment. Those super Seagulls are flying high at the top League One and playing some of the best football I've seen in years. I think it's all down to one thing - the manager. Gus Poyet may still be learning his trade but he's proving to be a quick learner and a terrific acquisition for the Albion. Despite his 4 year contract the only problem the club may have is hanging on to him, even with a new stadium on the way.

His enthusiasm for the game is infectious. He motivates players by bringing in competition for places and wins the respect of the players for his forward thinking and entertaining style of football. Gus seems to have a great sense of humour as well and the fans just love him, at least for the time being. I don't doubt there will be times in the future when we may be struggling a bit and some fans may question his judgement and decisions but in Gus we trust. A great start to the season (the best in over 20 years) so let's hope we can keep it up. Come on you Seagulls!

The new stadium is on it's way 

Yes, Prog Rock Lives!

Monday 11th October 2010: Jane and I went along to see Rick Wakeman and Jon Anderson in concert at The Hawth in Crawley and spent an entertaining evening listening to songs from the back catalogue of Yes interspersed with some new material from the duo's latest album. It was like a Yes concert but without all the pomp, bloated, self indulgent nonsense that prog rock sometimes offers.

The arrival on stage was somewhat reminicent of Simon & Garfunkel because Rick Wakeman towers above Jon Anderson in the height stakes. Jon Anderson's was in good voice throughout and Rick Wakeman showed just how easy he can make it look to play a keyboard. The complicated, intricate and delicate sounds that came from his keyboards was simply astounding, knowing when to play it gently and when to really let go. The new material was typically Jon Anderson, it all had a rather American laid back hippie feel to it. It was spiritually and lyrically very deep and meaningful but if I'm honest it was also a bit too deep and meaningful at times. What the audience really wanted to hear of course were the Yes songs, and they didn't let us down. We heard all the classics from such albums as The Yes Album, Close To The Edge, Fragile, Relayer and Going For The One. There was the likes of 'Yours Is No Disgrace', 'Wonderous Stories', 'Roundabout', I've Seen All Good People', 'Starship Trooper', 'And You And I',  'Soon' and 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart'. All sounded terrific in a stripped back acoustic environment with just keyboards and guitar.

The music was interspersed with many humorous stories of touring on the road with Yes and making music over the last four decades. Rick Wakeman excelled in his on stage chat, very relaxed and at times hilarious. It was an enjoyable evening and a rare chance to get to hear some music from a band that are sometimes slagged off because of their overblown prog rock image. The arrival of punk in 1977 all but killed off the genre but on hearing it once again I felt that it wasn't all bad, indeed a lot of it was very good, although perhaps still a little bit self indulgent at times. If you take the time to revisit and listen to The Yes Album once again you will hear some excellent music played by a band of good musicians with a unique lead vocalist who defined the early to mid seventies music scene. Prog rock may not be cool today but that doesn't mean to say it didn't have a value.

Sunday 10 October 2010

The week in view...I

X Factor: Storm Lee? You've got to be kidding me right? I don't trust any man who has pink hair. And I'm not too sure about Diva Fever either. As for Wagner, let's not go there. There's Krazy Katie, Nasty Nicolo and Marvellous Mary. Have to say that Matt Cardle and Treyc Cohen get our votes at this early stage. What a load of old tosh, but somehow very watchable.
The Apprentice: Yes, it's back. We met all the players for the first time and already we've seen a couple of contestants that we are going to love to hate. The boys team leader was the truly obnoxious, dictatorial and thugish Dan Harris who deservedly got the boot this week. A sales director who can't sell, brilliant eh? This lazy, loud mouthed, arrogant team leader had no man management skills whatsoever and would have been more at home shouting his mouth off in a boxing ring. This weeks task was the making and selling of sausages which proved to be a real hoot. Do watch out for Melissa Cohen (the scary blond) and Stuart Baggs (the 'brand') as they look set to be the stars of this years batch. I can't wait for next weeks episode.
Spooks: Without doubt the best thing on TV at the moment. This weeks episode was as gripping as ever. If you've not seen it yet then give it a go. Terrific entertainment.

Honest, we wuz robbed...

Albion 1 - Cherries 1: So, a hotly disputed 92nd minute penalty sees Bournemouth grab a late equaliser and a share of the spoils at a sun soaked Withdean. The early televised 12.15pm kick off meant that we just about had enough time for the traditional hot cuppa and plate of soggy chips. Albion had most of the possession in a fairly entertaining first half but Bournemouth, who had clearly come for the draw, restricted the Seagulls to only a few first half chances. Cherries striker Michael Symes was lucky to finish the first half on the pitch after breaking Albion goalkeeper Ankergren's nose in a collision and followed that a few minutes later by a clear elbow into the face of Albion centre half Tommy Elphick. The second half saw Albion dominate possession again and they took a deserved lead with a set piece straight from the training ground, a free kick passed to Kesenga Lua Lua who a hit a ferocious and unstoppable shot into the back of the net from fully 25 yards. From that point on it looked as if there would be only one winner in this south coast derby but in the last minute a penalty was awarded to Bournemouth for a handball on the edge of the penalty area. It was hard to tell if it was Cherries striker Fletcher or Seagulls defender Elphick who committed the offence but one thing was clear, it was definitely outside the area, not inside. The ref initially gave a free kick but the linesman then flagged for a penalty, to the disbelief and amazement of the 7,500 Withdean crowd. Marc Pugh fired home from the spot in what was effectively Bournemouth's only shot on target in the entire match. Albion will see it as two points dropped but they are still three points clear at the top of League One after Peterbourgh failed to grab the opportunity to go top by managing to lose away at Hartlepool.

Tuesday 5 October 2010

Meeting and thanking our lucky stars...

Deano and me at The Capitol

Sunday 3rd October:
Went to see Dean Friedman in concert at the Capitol Theatre in Horsham on Sunday night. I’ve seen Dean in concert quite a few times over recent years but the last time we saw him in our home town was in the early to mid seventies so it was a nice surprise to see him pre-show outside the auditorium doing his warm up vocal exercises. After a welcome hello and brief chat outside we then moved on into the small but packed studio theatre for a really enjoyable evening with Dean singing all our favourites. As always he started off with Company and this likeable troubadour spent the rest of the gig singing classics from his back catalogue such as Lydia, Well Well Said The Rocking Chair, McDonalds Girl, the beautifully moving Shopping Bag Ladies (my personal favourite), the soft and gentle Love Is Not Enough, Jennifer’s Baby, Woman Of Mine and he hit the high notes once again with a powerful vocal on the lyrically wonderful Ariel. Dean also sang some funny and captivating songs that brought a smile to the faces of the audience with the likes of Luddites Lament, Death To The Neighbors, the delightful A Bakers Tale (a riposte to Half Man Half Biscuits 'The Bastard Son Of Dean Friedman') and the wonderfully weird S&M.

The second set gave us songs from his excellent new album, Submarine Races. The touchingly sympathetic Under The Weather written for a friend having health issues and the graceful You're A Criminal Darling (You Stole My Heart) dedicated to his wife Alison. A couple of other new songs were I'm A Lucky Guy and the politically astute Essie May. Sadly we didn’t get to hear what I think is the best song on the new album, the heartfelt and emotive Let The Boys Come Home, this really is a song you should try and get to listen to. You may or may not agree with the sentiments of the song but there’s no doubting Dean’s honest feelings on the issue of war in far places. The evening finished with the traditional audience sing-along Lucky Stars, as always a crowd pleaser and great show closer. A couple of encores later and the gig was over.

An appreciative audience gathered around after the show to meet Dean where he graciously spent time with his fans, signing autographs and having his photo taken countless times (even I had to have a couple of photo attempts as dearest wife Jane and new technology don't always see eye to eye). Dean Friedman is a class act, a stylish singer songwriter who possesses both wit and emotion in equal measure, a genuinely real nice guy. If you want to have an evening that will make you laugh, make you cry, make you smile, make you think and even make you sing-along, then try and catch him on his next UK tour which will hopefully be very soon. A terrific evening and certainly value for money.

For more information on this talented singer songwriter go to

Friday 1 October 2010

Rain, rain, rain...

Just look at all that bloomin’ rain! I somehow think the Ryder Cup might go into next week. The Wilson boy had a ‘field trip’ at Southampton Uni today so I expect he’s come home looking like a drowned rat. Never mind eh, the sun will soon be shining again (yep, my glass is always half full).

Brighton & Hove Albion travel north to Tranmere Rovers in an attempt to keep themselves fixed firmly at the top of League One. I’m expecting you all to keep an eye out for the result and scorers as there will be a test on Monday to ensure that you’re now all true, dedicated Seagulls fans.

My cunning plan of winning the lottery didn’t appear to work last week. Think I might give it another go though. After all, if the Seagulls can go top of the league then a 14,000,000 to 1 long shot must be worth a chance the way my luck is going at the moment.