Monthly Archives: January 2012

HORSE RACING – Jan 27th – Black Caviar makes it 17 straight wins

On a normal Friday night race meeting at Moonee Valley, you would be lucky to get 1,000 people through the door. One horse put an extra 20,000 on the gate! The popularity of this phenomenal mare is unfounded and it proves that Australians love a winner.

The queues to get into the racecourse were over 100 yards long. I heard that because the queues were so slow moving, 15 minutes before Black Caviar’s race they actually just threw open the gates to make sure everyone that showed up wouldn’t miss out on seeing her in the flesh. She had won all of her 16 races in her career so far and it was touted that she would only run once or twice more before heading over to the UK for Royal Ascot. The TV ads ran, the newspapers carried major ads, the radio stations were running promotions, everyone had been encouraged to get out and see her, just in case she didn’t make it back – and I mean that in the nicest way. The money the Arabs and Sheikhs throw around in Europe sometimes means that the best horses retire early so they become money generating baby-makers.

Black Caviar has become the Don Bradman, the Pele, the Muhammed Ali, the Michael Jordan, of horse racing. The horse is a brand, and one that everyone wants to be a part of, and so they should – get out and see her run – tell your grandkids that you saw her in the flesh. The Australians don’t really care if she never gets to “race-off” with Frankel. In the minds of the dinky-di Aussie, she’s the best on the planet and that’s good enough for them.

Tonight’s race was a Group 2 affair and only had 6 runners, none of which stood a chance. The bookies were even running markets on the margin of the win. She was 100/1 on and even those odds looked frightfully long.

But, all the promotion works. People show up to watch. They bet, eat, drink and best of all, they have a bloody great time. The atmosphere at the meeting was superb – everyone was there for a good time. I know I had a great night and the people I was with had a great night too, and we were all there for the same reason – to enjoy the free alcohol and food put on by a radio station that forgot to give away the prizes they were supposed to and had to get in a rent-a-crowd at the last minute! But what an occasion to do it at……..

ESSENDON MAZDA AUSTRALIA STAKES – 1200m

1. #6 Black Caviar 1.04/1.00

2. #3 Zedi Knight 2.40

3. #1 Doubtful Jack NTD

Number of Events

16

Number of Sports

6

Gigs (Bands: Headlines + Support)

2 + 2

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FOOTBALL – Jan 26th – Australia Day “Big Blue” – Melbourne vs Sydney!

Its a public holiday and its beautiful weather and just 3 months ago 40,000 people tunred up to watch the same fixture. Why is it that nearly 20,000 people went missing over this period? Was there a terrorist alert? Was Kylie Minogue modelling an even smaller pair of hot pants at the first game, and then been replaced by Adele at the second – modelling the same garment possibly? That would definitely scrae off 20,000 punters…. Or was “soccer” just not cool any more?

I think the answer to all and sundry is the simple fact that Melbourne Victory have been truly abysmal this season and no-one really cares about a losing team – even in sports-mad Melbourne. The truth is thatwinners are grinners and losers are just simply the Robin Reliants of the car world. I think its quite lucky that the majority of people in the ground would have been “pre-paid” season ticket holders otherwise the 20,000 could well have been halved again!

The Aussie legends Kewell and Emerton were both playing, although the later only lasted half an hour before limping off. The first half was incredibly dire, justifying the decision of those that stayed away. That was until injury time when one opportune strike and one brain explosion saw Melbourne go into the break 2 up after only having 1 shot on target!

Sydney were dire. Melbourne weren’t much better, and it told when Sydney pulled one back when the Melbourne International goalkeeper fumbled a slow roller from 25 yards, and somehow managed to get himself an assist, when laying on a gift for the Sydney FC Brazilian striker. You can only look on in disbelief when it happens to your team and invariably it does, but very rarely the other way round.

Then the twist. Sydney bring on a defender for a midfielder – why would this be, when they are losing? Well, its so the big dopey lad can get some sort of hoof onto the ball, at the end he’s not supposed to be at, when the inept defenders that are at the end they are supposed to be at, can’t bang it down the other end to the part of the field that the other bloke was supposed to be at in the first place! Guess what, the  big dopey lad manages to score his first and only goal in professional football! It can only happen to your team…… and what makes it even more worse still….. The big dopey lad used to play for your team and you let him go because you thought he wasn’t quite good enough…… I bet you think I’m making this up. I wish I was!

So, a plot and a sub-plot, 20,000 missing persons, a draw that feels like you’ve lost and 4 goals in total from 3 shots on target, 2 goals in first half injury time and the equaliser in second half injury time. So here’s an idea – lets get rid of the game itself and just for excitement’s sake only play the time added on for stoppages – that should make it more interesting. And it might get the 20,000 missing people back to the game.

MELBOURNE VICTORY 2 – 2 SYDNEY FC

Number of Events

15

Number of Sports

5

Gigs (Bands: Headlines + Support)

2 + 2

TENNIS – Jan 25th – Australian Open – Federer is still the man!!!

The company I work for had laid some synthetic grass in a few of the corporate and retail areas at Melbourne Park. I got a call from the marketing company we did the work for, asking me to do some fix up work. With that in mind, they had to issue me with a ground pass for the day to get into the complex to do the work.

I finished what I had to do before the centre officially opened for the day, headed to the office and just after lunch conveniently made my excuses to leave for the day. I strolled in through the “tradesman’s entrance” and ventured to the outside courts to see what tennis fayre was on offer. To be honest, being the Wednesday of the second week, there were mainly junior matches being played and the women’s doubles quarter finals on the “non-ticketed” courts.

It was a typical Australian mid-summer day, so it was bloody hot and humid, so getting somewhere to sit wasn’t a problem on the outside courts. I settled in to see a Woman’s doubles match between the 2nd seeds and the 6th seeds. Now you would think that this would have drawn quite a decent crowd… but I was able to count the number of people there. Out of all the 289 spectators, only 21 of us were out of the shade. On the show courts there are shade structures for the top 4 rows of the bleachers only, so the sun being such a sadistic beast down here, not many ventured down to the “expensive” seats for the ultimate view. I managed to sit in the front row, both at the net line and down the centre line of the court to see 4 of the worlds top players go at it. For a sports freak, this is a chance in a lifetime. You can hear the players, feel the players, eavesdrop on their team talks and literally pull their undies out of their bumcracks you are so close!

The match went to a 3rd set tiebreak and the number 2 seeds crashed out, which wasn’t all bad because they were Americans! After this match I deccided to have a walk around Rod Laver Arena to spend some time in the air conditioned comfort of the shaded concourse areas. As I was walking in, 2 young blonde girls were leaving, faces covered in Danish flags. They had obviously been supporting Miss Wozniacki, who had just been beaten by “minging mum” “Aussie” Kim Clijsters. One of them asked if I wanted a ticket to go inside and I duly accepted.

I didnt actually realise that Roger Federer was playing until I walked past one of the screens outside the arena. I’m not a great tennis fan, but I do think that Federer is possibly the greatest player ever and quite possibly the most humble professional sportsperson on the planet. He is so above board and so unconfrontational it makes Chuck Norris look gay. Del Potro is a grand slam winner and Federer just blew him away, but not with power. Federer is the most consistent and most precise striker of the ball on the circuit. The tennis ball goes where he wants it, and more often than not the ball hits the centre of the racquet. He glides around the court, forcing error after error. Federer put on a master class and less than an hour and a half it was all over. It was a pleasure to see the man in action, and I for one hope that it continues for a long time, because lets be honest, apart from a lot of lenient tax legislation there’s not much else going for Switzerland is there?

Sania Mirza & Elena Vesnina def Lisa Raymond & Liezel Huber 6-3 5-7 7-6

Roger Federer def Juan Martin Del Potro 6-4 6-3 6-2

Number of Events

14

Number of Sports

5

Gigs (Bands: Headlines + Support)

2 + 2

MUSIC – Jan 24th – UB40 and Billy Ocean

It was back to the 80s (just the way I like it) tonight when I ventured down to the Palais Theatre in St.Kilda to take in UB40.

The Palais is a strange venue being an all seated old school theatre. But the demographic that an evening with UB40 and Billy Ocean was aimed at suited it down to the ground. A truly 80s crowd saw 2 of the biggest acts of the era turn it on for a sell-out. I forgot how many Billy Ocean tunes I actually knew and when it came to “When the going gets tough” and “Get outta my dreams” the crowd were literally dancing in the aisles. He is actually quite smaller than you think, and the way he shuffles across the stage and tries to do some sort of robot style dance in his oversize suit was vaguely, unintentionally humourous, and for some unknown reason I likened him to a dancing ice cream cone……

I know he’s been around a long long time, but he does put on a great show and gets everyone going – perfect for Cruise ships, Butlins as well and any headlining act. Following on from the “Caribbean Queen” crooner was Ali Campbell and his UB40 incarnation. Why is it Ali Campbell’s UB40 I hear you ask….. Well for reasons I am not 100% au fait with it seems that the Campbell brothers, Ali and Robin, fell out a few years back over some investment scheme and haven’t talked to each other since, but it split UB40 in half and two entities have continued to perform ever since – both as guises of UB40 – perhaps they should have been UB20 (twice).

The UB40 back catalogue is very impressive, however all of their hits – and they had quite a few (they released two Greatest Hits CDs) – were all cover versions of early Jamaican reggae classics. They were essentially a tribute act – and it tells markedly when the low-point of the night was when they performed an Ali Campbell original, which was truly awful. The highlights though were plentiful – the classics kept coming; Kingston Town, Can’t Help Falling in Love, One in Ten, The Way You Do The Things You Do and finished off on a high with Red Red Wine and Cherry Oh Baby.

For a night out (on a school night too!), they put on a great show. However, if you look closely on the video, you can see a technician trying to fix the keyboard. The show lasted an hour and a half and the technician finally sorted out the problem with about 5 minutes left in the show! I had visions of Spinal Tap when Derek Smalls gets stuck in his “egg” and finally emerges just as they are closing the show. Even when the keyboardist started to contribute I couldn’t really tell any difference – I must have overdosed on 80s retro-euphoria (other decades are available)!

Number of Events

13

Number of Sports

4

Gigs (Bands: Headlines + Support)

2 + 2

FOOTBALL – Jan 21st – Melbourne Heart v Brisbane Roar!

I went as a neutral. I went as a football fan. I went to see a decent game of football. I went to be entertained. All in all, I came, I saw, I enjoyed – you can’t ask for anything more than that….. or can you?

Is being called a gypsy racist? I’m not entirely sure that in the era of Dale Farm and Occupy (insert appropriate city name here) and “Traveller’s rights” that being a gypsy is exclusively derogatory any more – I could be wrong. I’m also not positively up to date with why the Greeks see the Albanians as a gypsy nation, and I’m pretty sure that the Albanians are in much better shape financially than the whole of Greece, although it is estimated that Albanians living and working in Greece, sending cash back to their homeland still makes up more than 10% of the country’s GDP!!!

Why were Free Bahrain protestors physically manhandled by Australian Crowd Control Security Thugs – all 2 of them (protestors, not security guards!)? I dont understand what the threat was to anyone at Aami Park? Sure, there was a Bahraini playing for the Brisbane Roar, but 2 people with a flag wasn’t exactly going to incite a riot. In fact, the Bahraini situation isn’t protesting against another country or religion, but agaiinst their own Royal family. So why were the security guards so incensed and determined to make their presence felt? I can only think it was either boredom, or they thought it was good training for when Australia finally declares independence and hordes of angry Brits come out and declare their allegiance to the Union Jack and all who sail under her. What a magnificant occasion that would be. Hundreds of Ethnic security guards fighting thousands of drunken British football fans…… There wouldn’t even be a need to put on a sporting event….

And why is there so many missed penalties at Aami Park? This must be the ground where there would be more penalties missed than scored. I have a theory – Aami Park is the ground where the fans are closest to the action. It must put players off. That’s all I can think of…. apart from the glaringly obvious excuse – that the A-League is incredibly sub-standard and the players just aren’t good enough. Can it be that?

MELBOURNE HEART 1 – 1 BRISBANE ROAR

Number of Events

12

Number of Sports

4

Gigs (Bands: Headlines + Support)

1 + 1

CRICKET – Jan 15th – Australia v India 3rd Test!

After playing all day, the day before I caught the early morning flight to Perth in order to get to the WACA, I was keen to see a full day of competitive Test cricket. I landed, headed to the ground, fought my way through thousands of fans, who like me, could not be arsed to pre-purchase a ticket and just made it into the ground to witness the first ball of the day. On paper there should have been the full 6 hours play – the pitch was a genuine 3rd day road. However less than 3 hours later I was in a cab heading for my hotel – and that included the 40 minute break for lunch.

The spectre of Sachin Tendulkar’s 100th hundred has hovered over this Indian team like a hangman at the gallows and this test match was no different. India’s abject batting display from the top order and the lower order surrendering quicker than a Frenchman being held up by a spud gun, saw Australia romp the test match in less than 2 1/2 days, winning by over an innings after only scoring 369! Pittiful, truly pittiful, especially when the Aussie bowling attack is hardly the most penetrative around. And the cheapest ticket was $ 68….. which quite clearly made it even worse! Still I managed an afternoon swim in Hillarys’ Harbour which was by far the highlight of the day.

I’ve only been to Perth a few times, but the one thing you do notice when you’re there is that it is bloody hot. 30C feels like 35C, 35C fels like 45C and if it got to 40C then god help those kids that had been left in their parents cars, outside of Burswood Casino whilst they play the pokies – they would have shorter lifespans than the average mayfly. Today was no different. It was officially 33C, but blistering heat eminating up at you from the masses of concrete that is the WACA, coupled with the complete lack of shade makes it the most uncomfortable ground in the world. Security Forces stationed every 5 yards ensure that you are not allowed to stand still just in case you provide a shadow for small boys to hide in.

This was the total amount of shade available at the ground – less than 6cms!!!

It wasn’t pleasant to be there, and it was one of the only times at a sport event where I thought that a corporate box would have been a better idea. In the end I was actually glad it only lasted 2 hours and 4 overs. The cricket was poor, the fight in the Indians was non-existant and the Australian heavy handed crowd control security team was again lacking in common sense and decency, and finding any opportunity to spoil a good day out. At least the Australian supporters were happy, even if the Australian Cricket Board were licking their wounds to the tune of more lost revenue due to matches finishing early.

INDIA 161 & 171 lost to AUSTRALIA 369 by an INNINGS & 37 RUNS

Number of Events

11

Number of Sports

4

Gigs (Bands: Headlines + Support)

1 + 1

CRICKET – Jan 14th – The Z Grade comeback!

Now I used to play a little bit of cricket, but due to my fixation to a wee drinky and severe allergic reactions to anything like hard work, my massively underachieving career fell off the rails, not that it really ever pulled out of the station so to speak! So after 5 years “off” I decided that due to my ever expanding waistline and complete lack of anaerobic capacity, it was time to don the whites once more.

A mate of mine had been bugging me to come and have a trundle with his team. On the proviso that there was no requirement for training and the latest I could arrive at the ground was 5 minutes before the start, this team sounded like it suited me down to the ground! So I duly made myself available for selection for the Pakenham Upper Toomuc Yabbies Cricket Club E grade XI. Personally, E grade was probably a bit higher than I was expecting, but on arriving at the ground, just my mere presence brought the average age of the team down to around 45, I knew that I wasn’t going to be out of my depth!

Since I played my first ever “mens” cricket match when I was 11 years old, for the next 20 odd years I have played everywhere and pretty much in every standard you can imagine. From pub cricket in South Africa, to pick up games in Texas, through to professional cricket in Wales, England and Australia. I love the game and geuninely missed my time away from it. However, as someone with this aversion to training and affinity with the bad things that end up in one’s gullett, I must declare that I’m not in the best of shape. So, when the skipper wins the toss and immediately decides to bowl, alarm bells start to ring…..

“You’re alright to open up then Beefy?” were once music to my ears. Today its pressure like I haven’t felt for quite some time. I wasn’t sure whether I would even be able to get it on the pitch, let alone to the other end with my body still in tact. I had cartoon-esque visions of the ball flying down the wicket with my arm still attached to it or worst of all, my body breaking down before I even got to the crease to deliver the ball.

I marked my run-up – which used to be 18 yards – but decided that 8 was probably enough for today. Looking down the pitch at where the batsman stood, seemed amazingly far away – a lot further than I remember! It was a bit late now to back out – seeing as there were 10 fielders, 2 batsmen and 2 umpires waiting for me to get on with it. Again I had visions of Steve Harmison at the Gabba in 2006 running through my mind:

As I rumbled in, it felt quite surreal – it was quiet, my mind was focussed as I tried to remember what the hell to do. I rolled the arm over, and was duefully late cut over the slips for 3 runs by an OFB (old fat bastard!). 7.5 overs later, somehow I had managed to bowl through my spell, near enough unscathed. After that 1st ball I conceded just another 9 runs and 2 of those were wides! I generally hid myself in the field for the next 25 overs, so I couldn’t embarrass myself further, and 2 hours later, after 8 (yes 8) dropped catches and some less than creative batting, we went for tea, needing to chase down 116 runs.

Tea was quite good for Australian standards – that generally means that there was one – not what I had been used to over here for all these years. Anyhow, the mighty Pakenham Upper Toomuc Yabbies Cricket Club E grade limped along to 51/3 off 26 overs when I was required to visit the crease for the first time since 2005! I struggled to see the ball for a few deliveries and then the ball I wanted came my way – a medium paced full toss on my legs (thank bloody god!!). It was duly despatched for the maximum “Dorothy Dix” and I was off…..

I then lofted a drive over the bowler’s head for a single and even nicked the strike by turning down the second run (on the sole basis that I was a FB and couldn’t get back to the other end for the more than comfortable 2 runs) – that’s how confident I was feeling. When the OFB dropped the next delivery a touch short, again I managed to wind up and despatch it even further than the previous one! But the big hitting fun didn’t last too long from there on in, as I genuinely started to believe that I was a batsman after all these years of not being one, so I did the worst thing I could have ever done – I started playing properly! At least I was holding up one end, and the injection of a couple of boundaries spurred the PUTYCC E graders into a bit of life and we eventually got over the line with 3 balls to spare, 5 wickets down. I got out trying to charge the opening bowler (who was actually quite decent for an OB) and looked incredibly stupid when I limply spooned it up to a fielder, all of 15 yards away! As the ball was in the air, I did give myself a 50% chance of him dropping it as the standard of catching during the day was more akin to the World Wet Soap catching championships, but I guess that’s why its Z grade cricket after all!

TOORADIN 116/8 (40 ovs) lost by 5 wickets to PAKENHAM UPPER – TOOMUC 118/5 (40 ovs)

Number of Events

10

Number of Sports

4

Gigs (Bands: Headlines + Support)

1 + 1

FOOTBALL – Jan 13th – The Irish Revolution Begins!

When Jim Magilton was revealed as the Melbourne Victory’s new manager this week, I immediately got in touch with a old friend of mine who is a huge Southampton fan, and his response was “that’s fantastic news – the whole team will have to play in the centre circle but will all have the best first touch in the world and be able to pass it 10 yards beautifully – but that’s about it!”

I remember Magilton being a nuggety midfielder that was completely unspectacular and easily forgettable. The fact that he played 580 league matches (most of which was in the English top flight) as well as winning 52 caps for his country, tells you that he was around for a long time and was a respected professional – he was bought for £ 1.6m at one point in his career by Sheffield Wednesday. Magilton only managed 27 games (that works out to be £ 60,000 a game!!!) for the Owls and was moved on pretty quickly, which probably summed up my opinion of him as a player – was drastically overrated because there were much better players around him that made him look much better than he really was! He was described in the Australian press as “little-known Irishman” – makes the whole thing so feelgood doesn’t it?

As a Melbourne Victory fan, to say I was completely underwhelmed by Magilton’s appointment is an understatement. The Victory’s initial “worldwide search for the best available talent” netted 80 applications. The successful applicant, Mehmet Durakovic, was someone that apart from his European name that clearly swayed a few on the selection committee, must have had pictures of high profile people in incriminating positions, because the only acheivements of note were the total lack of success over a sustained period with the YOUTH TEAM! In fact it wasn’t even a lack of success, it was the continued underachievement and total failure that actually stood out. The fact that Durakovic lasted as long as he did surprised the whole of the Australian football public (all 6 of them!). Durakovic was never going to quit – he was dating the Supermodel, clinging on for dear life until she dumped him at upgrade time! 1 win in 26 games in charge tells the story.

Going ugly early may work out fine in a Newport nightclub, but not when you’re the biggest club in Australia. The time had come and Magilton was parachuted in quicker than VB turns into piss!

Anyhow, nearly 19,000 fans turned out to witness “Big Jim’s” debut as manager and they weren’t disappointed with the start. WIthin 6 minutes, the Victory had already hit the post before going 1-0 through Archie Thompson after a great bit of play from Harry Kewell, who actually managed to go past two defenders and whip the ball across the 6 yard box for Thompson to slot home. That was only one of the many highlights of the first half, seeing some long ball breaks and 4 or 5 chances that should have brought more goals – The Magilton magic was becoming infectious and the crowd were buying into it!

The turning point in the game came 5 minutes into the second half. Harry Kewell whipped in a peach of a cross from the left hand side only to see Danny Allsopp’s free header from 8 yards out go 10 yards wide, when it was easier to score! Within 90 seconds Adelaide equalised from a scrappy corner, and through arms, legs, the crossbar and a sprawling keeper the ball ended up in the back of the net.

The game was pretty open after that, but what (or who) had emerged was the quality of Harry Kewell. This was his best game since his homecoming and he should have capped it off with what would have been one of the goals of the season. Kewell busted up the right channel, after playing all night on the left, went round his defender, cut back inside and squared himself off and unleashed a thunderbolt from the corner of the box with his left foot, only to see it crash against the bar. Quality like that is few and far between in the A-League and we just hope it continues for many years to come. The game ended up as a draw and the majority of the crowd will go away happy with the way Melbourne played, and then hope for Magilton’s magic to grow quicker than the way he came in!

MELBOURNE VICTORY 1 – 1 ADELAIDE UNITED

Number of Events

9

Number of Sports

4

Gigs (Bands: Headlines + Support)

1 + 1

WATER POLO – Jan 11th – Australia vs USA (Double Header)

Its an Olympic Sport, and these two countries are some of the best teams in the world that will be fighting for medals in London in 6 months time. But I doubt you would recognise any of the players (is that what they’re called?) or even heard of them, although the majority are Olympic medallists…. So what sort of crowd would you expect to come out and watch this world class event? Well, apart from the rest of the competitors in these PanPac championships I was probably one of less than 20 people there!!! I wandered into the arena and sat dead centre in what would have been expensive seats, if this were the Olympics these seats would have been £ 65 (around $ AUS 200!) but as noone was bothered in the slightest, I kind of just let myself in!

As I was able to sit anywhere, within minutes I was actually joined by the Brazillian women’s team – not a bad start to the evening!!! If only my Portuguese was better I might have been able to actually speak to some (or one) of them. More than likely they were wondering who the hell I was, and what was I doing there apart from the big perve!

Now, water polo has been described as aquatic rugby and one of the only sports to be in every Olympic Games since 1900. It is more like basketball or handball really, but unfortunately the majority of the “meaty” action occurs underwater. I liken it to a swan swimming, graceful on top, and working like buggery underneath! Water polo is somewhat violent and it came as quite a surprise to me to see that the participants are not your typical shape for an Olympian – in fact if you met a water poloist in the street, you would struggle to believe they were world-class athletes.

And the second thing you notice straight away is what the girls actually wear, and what can happen in the course of battle. As a heterosexual male, this should be enough on its own to fill the stands, but totally contradictory to the above pictures!!!!!

Every quarter starts off with a kamakazi sprint from the goal line, along the stand side of the pool, to the approximately the centre of the field – I say approximately, because the referee just lobs the ball into the pool, so its not wholly accurate to be truthful! I would say that collisions were at a premium, but the swimmers normally managed to avoid severe head injuries, more out of self-preservation, than the good of the team.

Water Polo has some quite strange rules. Players get excluded for various reasons and they have to go to the sin-bin for 20 seconds. For the non-efficienado it is very difficult to tell who is doing what, and to whom, and to work out why exactly it is illegal. Judging by the reactions of the 4 coaches in the 2 games I saw, they also see entirely different things to the referees too – that on the whole is no different to any sport across the world!! We are also somewhat confused by some of the jargon that gets thrown about – egg-beaters, greenies, sloughs and wet-passes, as well as the ever so appealing “brutality fouls”, all make for a more than competitive environment.

The two games I saw were unbelievably even – and for the average sports fan (neutral or not) made for compulsive viewing. The men’s game went goal for goal throughout and ended up as a draw, and the women’s game saw the Aussies pull out a 4 goal lead at one stage, only for the USA to claw their way back into the game very late on to level, only for the Aussies to snatch a late winner and hang on to the win.

One little nuance which I thought was cute, was that the teams are also introduced to the spectator(s) in their own unique way. Each player’s name is read out and all the other players give a double clap – all in time, all together. All in all a great sporting contest, played hard, played fair (as far as I could tell) and in the best spirit. Its just a pity nobody knew it was on!

MENS – AUSTRALIA 6 – 6 USA

WOMENS – AUSTRALIA 8 – 7 USA

Number of Events  8
Number of Sports  4
Gigs (Bands: Headline + Support)

 1 (1 + 1)

MUSIC – Jan 6th – BAD MANNERS (Brisbane)

When I tell people that I went to see Bad Manners play, I get asked the same question – “Is he still alive?” Buster Bloodvessel somehow has outlived George Best, Hurricane Higgins, Gary Moore and Amy Winehouse, as well as dictators and terrorists alike, S. Hussein, Bin O. Laden, C. Ghaddafi & K. Jong-Il.

People dont necessarily remember his name, they just remember this larger than life character dressed in a white jump suit, bald headed, with the largest tongue in showbusiness. In Japan they called him “the Singing Sumo”. He was more Big Daddy than Michelin Man, but what you cant forget is that the band were unbelievably successful in the first half of the 80s. The general rule of music being, to enjoy continued popularity, the music must be half decent!

Well on a lazy Friday night in Brisbane, Bad Manners put on their usual high octane, non-stop foot-stomping, skankerific 2 hour show! The demographic however remains the same – 90% of the crowd are Brits. 90% of those are between 35 and 50. 90% of those are male. And 90% of those are bald (or shaved as the case may be), adorned in Fred Perry polos, tight jeans and Doc Marten boots. If they had Vespas parked outside, then it would have been the full package. The one true statistic about ska gigs however, that is pure gold to music venue managers anywhere, is that no genre of music goer spends more per head on alcohol than the ska fan. Ska fans love a pint….. and tonight is no different!

I love the music, I love the vibe and I love the SOUND! Every time I have seen Bad Manners play (close to 20 times now!), the sound is spot on from the first note. Now for a 9 or 10 piece outfit that is no mean feat. As the boys pour through the hits, time simply flies by. Before you know it 24 tracks have passed by and it’s time to do the Can-Can to close the show and head home – until the next time. This the problem – you just don’t see them once! You always want to come back. It’s catchy, it’s inoffensive and it’s addictive. THIS IS SKA!

Even though the tracks are nearly 30 years old, you end up singing along to Special Brew, My Girl Lollipop, Lip Up Fatty, Lorraine and Ne Ne Na Na Na Na Nu Nu like they were still in the charts now!

Buster is still larger than life. During this gig he dumped the microphone down the saxophone causing it to blow up and nearly take down the venue’s sound system with it. I remember years ago, on the kids Saturday morning TV program Tiswas, Buster breaking up a pork pie, putting it into a jar of pickled onions and literally drinking it down in one go…… Can’t see the muppets from One Direction doing that sort of thing – can you?

I’m pretty sure Buster re-evaluated his lifestyle over the past few years. He is definitely slimmer, he is definitely enjoying doing his live shows and I am pretty sure the band will always continue to draw a crowd, even if there isn’t anything new to speak about. But for the people that go and see Bad Manners, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t be that interested in anything they didn’t know anyhow!!!

Number of Events  7
Number of Sports  3
Gigs (Bands: Headline + Support)

 1 (1 + 1)

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