Monthly Archives: December 2013

LINGERIE GRIDIRON – Dec 14th – Legends Football League – Victoria Maidens vs WA Angels

It was only a matter of time before some form of Lingerie Football came to Australia. The fact that it is the Gridiron form is probably the most surprising. Apart from sending a couple of punters into the NFL, Australia isn’t really renown for its love of the padded warfare that is American Football. However, it is known for its love of scantily clad sportsmen and women.

It was a bold move to use AAMI Park for these games. I guess the organisers wanted to make the biggest statement they possibly could, and they most certainly did as they drew more supporters through the gates than the fully professional soccer team, Melbourne Heart, usually do – who also call this stadium home! Over 7,000 people flocked to the ground, more in curiosity than in expectation or excitement. Some actually paid $ 70 a ticket to stand in the VIP area at the back of the end zone at field level. They even had their own exclusive bar. If there is one thing that Australians do well, is knowing their market – and how to sell within it. Sport, scantily clad women and alcohol – what isn’t there to entice the “floating fan”?

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Is this sexploitation? In a league where a spray tan is compulsory a couple of days before a game (and there is an official spray tan partner!) and the girls’ shape and fitness levels are heavily monitored by the league to ensure they meet their own “elite” standards. Yes, of course it is, but none of these girls have been forced into this against their will! There was a lot of hype, a lot of bravado and of course, a lot of blokes (and other admirers of the female form!) and with the fare being offered, who’s to say they may get an even bigger turnout next time round. Even the sideline commentator is a model – blonde, gorgeous and wore such a short skirt that the girls playing attire would be jealous of!

After the very first play you immediately realise that this is a full contact sport – you don’t actually realise; it literally smacks you between the eyes! The “Unleash Hell” tag is there for all to see but there is no doubt that the whole context of this sport in Australia is to create an artificially over-the-top contest. At every opportunity both teams went above and beyond the call of duty when making tackles. It really was Ice Hockey on grass!! – or was it simply the female version of Rugby League’s State of Origin?? At one stage a melee developed right in front of us, where one of the Maidens (contextually inappropriate here!) literally laid the boot in as hard as she could into a prone Angel’s ribs and the whole incident went totally unpunished. I’d like to say it was a wrestling type stunt, but as plain as day it wasn’t!!!

The referees are there to keep some sort of on-field order, but they didn’t. Off-the ball fouls were ignored, as were quite a few on the ball ones! Late hits were simply part of the game and continuous taunting just seems a necessary part of a player’s armoury. The girls are athletic, and it was no surprise that there were some great plays throughout. There were long passes and some great open field running, but the game will be remembered for the intensity of the hitting and tackling. You quickly forget that the girls are wearing nothing more than a bikini, adorned with a plastic helmet and polystyrene shoulder pads that in all fairness offer about as much protection as the Australian Terrorism Hotline (It’s 1800 1234 00 if you’re at all interested!)

The game itself is played on a 50 yard field. It is a dumbed down version of the NFL. Less players and far less intricacies. It moves quickly, but the four 8 minute quarters are probably a bit short, considering the clock keeps running at all times (except for the last 2 minutes of the 4th quarter!). Half time actually lasted longer than the first half!!The game went score for score throughout and only an interception late in the game that was returned 30 odd yards down the middle of the field, won it for the locals, much to the home crowd’s ecstacy.

At the end of the game, the MVP was announced and then proceeded to back flip down the field and finish off with a somersault – not bad after an evening in the trenches! The crowd bought into the occasion too, willing on their friends and new found team. There were a lot of females in the stands. If this is the pinnacle of girl power, then right-on sisters. I will never criticise anyone for playing any form of sport, and the truth be told, there are some unbelievably awesome Australian female athletes out there that might just take to this form of the sport and find themselves taking on the best the US has to offer.

I cut together some pics and highlights of the game to give you a feel of what went on during the night.

The question remains though – would people still go and watch if the girls wore less appealing clothing? I have to say that the game was tough. The girls hit hard and apart from a few basic skill errors and lack of specialist skills – ie throwing an American Football and kicking it – it was competitive and ultimately engaging. Would I go again? The real answer is, not if I had a better offer or something else to do instead. It was entertaining, went by pretty quick and you can have a drink or two while it’s going on. Down the line, it could be one of those sports that explodes as a Monday night affair where there literally is nothing else to do instead! It will always have a perviness about it, but come to think of it, why is this any different from Beach Volleyball, swimming or athletics???

LEGENDS FOOTBALL LEAGUE

VICTORIA MAIDENS 32 – 26 WA ANGELS

Lingerie Football

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MUSIC – November 12th – The Members @ Northcote Social Club

I am a punk rocker from way back. When this gig was announced, I must admit I had a bit of a double take to see if it was really was the same band that had fleeting chart success in the late 70s with their “new wave” punk sound. Sound of the Suburbs was quite huge at the time and even as a nipper, I remember it being everywhere, and this was before the likes of the Sex Pistols, The Ramones and X-Ray Specs managed to get any radio time at all.

Unfortunately I have been to a few of these revival/reunion gigs over the past few years and it’s fair to say that the bands are a shadow of their former selves – The Buzzcocks & The English Beat to name just two offenders here. Although saying this, as The Members only really had three notable tracks, how bad could it be. If I went expecting very little, then anything above that would be a bonus – yeah?

IMAG2109[1]Guest appearance of Rudi Thompson (X-Ray Specs) on sax added greatly to the sound

They have been together for since 1977, and apart from a short 23 year hiatus between 1983 and 2007, they are still active on the live scene! Not bad for blokes pushing 60! They have even recruited punk drum legend Rat Scabies (The Damned) to play their shows. You can tell that their hard punk rock days are well and truly behind them, as the beer swilling on stage has gone, replaced with fine reds all round!! Lead singer JC Carroll really needed longer arms to get round his “middle age spread” to play the guitar! They delivered a rather methodical set, covering most of everything you would expect and few more. Throw in a guest appearance from now local, Rudi Thompson on sax, they delivered a 90 minute set which even included a rather different take on Kraftwerk’s “The Model”. However, the sound was solid, even if the banter between songs wasn’t! Solitary Confinement was certainly a highlight!

Again at the Northcote Social Club, we saw a band that didn’t want to stop playing! Even after JC Carroll went off to the sell merchandise, the band then came back on to do another number!! I’m not sure what it is about this suburban “room” but bands just want to give, give, give! There was never a lull in proceedings during the show and the 150 or so that came to re-create their fledgling punk rock career. I managed to catch the track everyone was waiting for – their biggest and most well-known “hit”; Sound of the Suburbs.

The other reason that this gig was so attractive was the support acts. The Bennies are an irreverent keyboard infused ska-punk-madcap-mayhem act that I have now seen a few times and they never fail to deliver something different. They bounce around like no tomorrow and even at 830 on a Tuesday night in front of 12 people, they delivered the same intense show as they would in front of a baying Saturday night crowd. The Bennies are quickly becoming every punk bands favourite band, as everyone they support comes early to watch them. It is a great compliment that other bands want to see the show! Expect much bigger and better things from these guys in the very near future.

the-bennies live

The Go-Set are a staple diet of the celtic-punk scene in Melbourne. They come complete with bagpiper and even though they are a stripped down unit tonight without their violin and mandolin players they still manage to deliver a short sharp set, without any between song banter bullshit. Half an hour of continuous tunes is EXACTLY what you want from your support acts. A solid show from an always entertaining tight outfit. I can’t recommend these guys’ shows enough – they never disappoint!

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All in all, a pretty lively Tuesday night! Like I said – go in with low expectations and you never know what you might end up with!

CRICKET – November 21st-24th – Australia v England (& Wales) @ The Gabba, Brisbane

If cricket ever became a soap opera or Hollywood blockbuster then this test match would be the perfect storyboard. The whole event had everything you could ever wish for. The build up and anticipation was as intense as it gets. Australia had just been cleaned up 3-0 in the English summer, and had not posted a test match win for 9 games.

The local press had painted their target perfectly in order to stir up the crowd, not that they generally need any egging on or excuse to have a go at the English. Stuart Broad was the pantomime villain after the now infamous “Mike Hussey moment”, when he didn’t walk after a faint edge to the keeper. Strangely enough, after years of Australian batsmen “letting the umpire make the decision”, the Australian public turned on Broad faster than an asylum boat entering Australian waters. The Courier-Mail decided to not refer to Broad at all – giving him the “silent” treatment, removing his face from pictures and his name from the scorecards!

gabba98Well known Australian TV personality (if there is such a thing) Karl Stefanovic is a Virgin apparently, that loves Australia.

At 132/6, the Aussies looked like they were staring another defeat squarely in the face. England failed to capitalise and the rest is history. The two late wickets England snared proved to be of little consequence as the game had already slipped from their grasp. Cook’s captaincy is bland and conservative to say the least. He lacks imagination sometimes, and I feel he is also short of the cojones to attack beyond the norm in order to force home any advantages the team may be enjoying. When people get sent out into the deep after only a couple of deliveries, you have to wonder what he is thinking sometimes! And it doesn’t just happen once or twice….

Day 1 highlights included the smuggling of a pig into the ground by some of the locals. It is alleged that new-age vegan, Australian trundler, Peter Siddle has rescued the aforementioned squealer from the bacon slicer. I have never quite seen a crowd get so excited by a beach ball. Grown adults were more mesmerized by punching an inflatable, than the game itself! The local electricity company must have been rubbing their hands, as late on Day 1 the Gabba floodlights were at full strength in blazing sunshine!!

The ball hadn’t swung at all – in fact both teams struggled to get any movement at all throughout. The only ball that did, bowled Mitchell Johnson!! Johnson, who was only really in the squad because of the long list of fast bowling injuries Australia has suffered, was inspired. A total confidence player, the man of fragile mind, who was totally shot after 2010 Ashes tour, was given the kiss of life by Jonathan Trott. When Trott stepped inside a harmless ball just before lunch on the second day, and feathered one to Haddin, the Aussies began to believe the tide was turning. Johnson ended up with 9 wickets and the man of the match gong.

England’s shot selection was very poor. 13 out of the 20 English wickets Australia took were down leg side, which for a Test match is totally unacceptable. They made journeyman spinner Nathan Lyon look like a world beater, although seeing the right arm off-spinner bowl exclusively around the wicket is akin to trying to pan gold from the remnants of last night’s curry. In the middle session of Day 2, they unbelievably lost 6 wickets for 9 runs. Pietersen’s mistimed pull-drive kick-started a collapse that will rival anything you could snare from the Atherton/Hussain era. The worst thing was that it wasn’t even due to good bowling, just a total lack of application. I’m starting to sound like my old man here, and he is a world ranked moaner!!! Lost for words is an understatement – it was like a poltergeist had arrived at the Gabba and removed any linguistic ability at all.

The English bowling attack also looked short of options, even before the game started. Tremlett looks like a typical Newport bouncer, but bowls with the venom of Maltese Shitzu. In a team that lacked a genuine 5th alternative, you need your 3rd seamer to keep it tight and create the odd chance. Tremlett offered neither in any regularity, and when your workhorse spinner lacked penetration and at one stage had the match figures of 0/160+ you are going to need that 5th option!!!

Day 3 (Saturday) is clearly Stag-Do or idiot day.We were with the “true-blue” Aussie fans, who were next to the Barmy Army. To be fair, the real Barmy Army were fairly quiet during the day, still in shock at the events of Day 2! We sat behind Bob Downe, a parrot, Spongebob Squarepants, Scooby Doo & Jimmy Hendrix’s white brother. The Queen is a staple diet of Barmy Army tours everywhere, but during the day we were visited by He-Man, Bananaman, Fred Flinstone and Kermit the Frog to name a few. However the star of the day was Chewbacca!gabba chewy

The Aussies only normally bang out 2 songs, one of which only has 2 words – namely Aussie and Oi! When prompted, they do delve into Waltzing Matilda! It is quite apt considering their convict ancestry, that a song about a sheep rustler is their go-to number. They have now successfully added “Broady’s a wanker” to their repertoire, although this is only a variation to a common theme. First it was Kiwi legend, Sir Richard Hadlee in the 70s and 80s, then it was England superstar Sir Ian Botham who go that treatment. Strangely enough, the other Sir, that always gave it to the Aussies, West Indian great Sir Viv Richards was never on the end of it!!

It saddens me to say that the typical “Saturday” Australian cricket-goer, can sometimes be a tad ill-informed. The idiot we sat behind was having a right go about some of the players with South African heritage that were playing for England. When I asked him to spell “Fawad Ahmed” for me, his response was “Well, what about that Nigerian that’s playing for you?”  I casually asked him who that might be. “The black fella. Aren’t all black guys in England from Nigeria?”

“Who? Michael Carberry? That doesn’t sound too Nigerian to me….” I told him. “Well, it doesn’t matter, we’re fucking winning….” – and so it went on! To be completely honest he wasn’t worth even trying to educate, although the racist undertone continues to amaze me.

The Barmy Army were in full voice on day 4. Chants were ringing out of “We’re going to win 4-1” were briefly interrupted when a huge storm hit the Gabba midway through the day. “We’re going to win 4-0” got louder and louder when  the loudest thunder clap hit the ground. It was as if we were in the middle of it it was so ear shattering. Brussell sprout sized hailstones pelted the ground and the poor security staff who were forced to stand on the boundary right in the middle of it!!

The storm relented, only to return as driving rain an hour later, but unfortunately relent again, to give the Australians just enough time to knock the English tail over and win the game, saving us all the embarrassment of coming back on Monday morning to relive the abject failure of the team. The final wicket of the match proved to be the most controversial as Jimmy Anderson and Michael Clarke “had words” on the pitch that were clearly picked up on the stump microphones. It is safe to say that Clarke wasn’t giving Anderson any batting tips, although he was giving him forewarning of what was to come!!! (see the last bit of the clip below)

Gabba1The only win for England is a signed confession from Mitchell Johnson!!

(pity about the spelling of Freddie Mercury…..)

gabba99Separated at Birth?????

Johnson had the last laugh in this match, although Stuart Broad also showed that the barrage of abuse he received is not going to effect his performances on the tour. So the scene is set for a more than fiery battle in Adelaide. However if you only manage to accumulate 315 runs in a Test match, unless you get 3 days of rain, you’re never going to win, or draw; in fact you damn well should be annihilated. Test match cricket is alive and well. If England had gone 1-0 up then it may have spelled the end of the series. It is great to have a contest, and what a contest.  At 1:30pm on Day 1 who would have thought that we would have been here now?

FIRST TEST MATCH

AUSTRALIA 295 & 401/7d def ENGLAND 136 & 179 by 381 runs

Series sits at 1-0

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