Monthly Archives: July 2010

Well Red

Feeling a little guilty at the lack of new reading material I have been providing loyal ten minutes hate readers with lately, so instead here is a reminder to get yourself a copy of some of the finest football writing around when issue 3 of Well Red magazine hits newsstands next week.  Or order online here

The latest issue includes contributions from The Telegraph’s Rory Smith and Paul Tomkins, author of a string of best-selling books about the Reds.  There’s also fan reaction to the exit of Rafa Benitez and the appointment of Roy Hodgson.

It also features exclusive interviews with former Anfield defender Rob Jones and Liverpool-born actor, and Kopite, David Morrissey, as well as an extract from Tony’s Evans’s book, Far Foreign Land.

And if that isn’t enough to tempt you there is also an article by friend of this site, Mark Woff, alongside some biting financial insight penned by yours truly.  Which should help to keep you going until more regular posting resumes here!

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Worry not, all things are well

I am probably too late getting to The National, as I would bet they already pick up quite an amount of praise in the right quarters, but given that I don’t really listen to any radio stations or music shows these days, I am often to be found a pleasing couple of months behind the hype machines.  When I was a kid it would have filled me with horror not to have an opinion on the latest band on the day of their album release, or at the very least, one day before you had one, but I suppose letting go of all that ‘now, now, now’ crap is one of the true joys of getting older.

This song I first found via an Andrew Weatherall mix which I wrote about a while ago and so is probably unavailable now (or try searching the internet, you may be able to hunt it down).  I have not stopped playing it since that day, and this beautiful song is one of the many reasons why it remains so essential, never failing to up my joie de vivre.

The next time I fall for someone, I want this to be on the soundtrack.  The search for love essentially does boil down to looking for someone to hide behind the sofa with, in winter, having slept in your clothes.  Right?  What else is there?


Filed under Miniluv

Hiatus Redux

A long time ago it now seems, I wrote about heading East.

As the departure date grows ever closer, so blogging is unfortunately falling by the wayside.  Julia suggests you amuse yourself in the ten minutes hate Records Department, by scrolling down on the right hand-side, until normal service – along with mention of Wasabi Kit-Kats – can be resumed.

Back soon…


Filed under Japan

My team is Red

‘It’s all thought out,’ Flavia said.  ‘This [music] and the football stadium – they give us two places to scream and curse and stamp our feet.  They’re not stupid… they’re evil.  They know they have to provide an outlet.  Without a valve to release the pressure, this country would explode.’

– Nathan Englander, The Ministry of Special Cases

To some, a World Cup presents the opportunity for an enjoyable grand delusion, a chance for the skilful to shine, allowing dreams of achieving greatness in front of a global audience to become reality for one fortunate group of players.  As well as the chance to lift the Jules Rimet, there is also the hope of every no-mark with a political theory going spare of seizing the opportunity to get their byline in the paper.

Via Max Dunbar, I learn of Terry Eagleton‘s recent assertions that:

… for the most part football these days is the opium of the people, not to speak of their crack cocaine. Its icon is the impeccably Tory, slavishly conformist Beckham. The Reds are no longer the Bolsheviks. Nobody serious about political change can shirk the fact that the game has to be abolished

(emphasis added)

If Mr Eagleton had paid closer attention to the English Premier League team nicknamed ‘the Reds’, he might have found much to love.  Or perhaps not.  His brand of politics is a more ideologically driven variety of the simple socialism proclaimed by Bill Shankly and adopted as a slogan by the fans’ campaign named for him:

The socialism I believe in is everybody working for the same goal and everybody having a share in the rewards. That’s how I see football, that’s how I see life

Mr Eagleton might be encouraged by Spirit of Shankly’s progress towards putting these words into practice, as shown at their Independence Day Rally.  We heard from great speakers such as Billy Hayes, General Secretary of the Communication Workers’ Union, who spoke of his politics having been learnt as much inside Anfield as in his early working life in Liverpool.  Yet the aim of the day was not fine speeches, but the launch of a scheme for future fan ownership of Liverpool Football Club.

The glossy, corporate-sponsored face of football is the aspect of the game that has become the dominant force in recent years.  It has received a lot of attention and, to a casual observer, may appear to be the only one.  There should certainly be disquiet at the way life in South Africa has been presented during the tournament, backed up with support for campaigners who are attempting to change the lives of the population of what is still, for all the first-class stadia that have been built, a Third World country.

That said, to suggest that a love of football and a love of freedom can’t exist side-by-side in the human heart is to miss what many fans take from the game.  It is also to ignore that, even in the so often despised professional game, the lowly can still beat those with greater resources.  Barcelona, with its ‘more than a club’ ethos, can overtake the corporate-backed Red Devils.  For many fans, that alone would be enough to secure utopia!

Unlike other sport football requires no specialist equipment and can be played by two people with a proper ball, or a broken tennis ball, or even a stone or tin can, as the players of millions of worldwide childhood street games can attest.  So the effects of football on our political consciousness should not be dismissed and calls for the game’s abolition should not go unchallenged.  As Carlos Fernández writes:

It’s one of the most wonderful things when we meet someone new at a game, or our bonds strengthen at dinner or a bar after we play. If the football field is essentially a meeting place for play, it must then extend to wherever people enjoy being with each other. That’s where anarchy might start, or at least where it can blossom. When the idea of self-organization can be made obvious by how a goal is scored or how a team trains, anarchism seems like no great feat

It is time to establish football for the fans, not the fat cats.  It is our game and after all, we so often hear that it would not exist without us.   As the over-leveraged owners of our clubs cast around for additional finance, we can come together to build a new model, however long it takes, because we know that what we create will stand for generations.  In football, so it goes in life, as well as in politics:

I am an Anarchist not because I believe Anarchism is the final goal, but because there is no such thing as a final goal

— Rudolf Rocker, The London Year

(… unless that goal is a last-minute winner against Villa away on the final day of the season to secure us number 19, eh, Rudolf mate?!)

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Independence Day

Liverpool fans gathered at St. George’s Hall in the city yesterday to celebrate their independence from the American owners who have loaded the football club with millions in debt while failing to invest in promised infrastructure such as the much-needed upgrade to the Anfield stadium and other essentials such as world-class players.

Around 3,000 supporters attended to hear music and speeches on the future of the club, organised by the supporters’ union Spirit of Shankly.  There were banners:

Karen Gill, Bill Shankly’s granddaughter made a moving speech – despite saying how nervous she was! – about her granddad’s love of the city and its people, as well as his belief that it was the players, the fans and the manager who made a club, not its owners.  She also said it was time to:

Reclaim our club, reclaim our game!

Comedian John Bishop overcame the hostility of a certain section of the crowd towards his woolyback status and remarked that:

The Yanks are like a mate who’s knocked off your missus and expects you to pay for the hotel room

And then it was time for the serious part of the day.

Get out your quids, because we are going to buy the club ourselves.  Spirit of Shankly explained how in this leaflet given out on the day:

(click to make it bigger)

The Credit Union being established to assist fans in investing in the Spirit of Shankly and Share Liverpool scheme will initially be for Merseyside residents before it is rolled out worldwide. The general idea is that you put in as much as you can afford, borrow the rest and pay off an amount each week or month until you reach the magic £500 mark.

This model of ownership has worked on the continent for decades, with clubs like Benfica being fan-controlled (and didn’t their fans look like they were loving it at Anfield in the Europa League last season?)  Stirling Albion recently became as the first senior Scottish club to be owned by its fans.

So, if you are a Liverpool fan, make sure you are signed up to Spirit of Shankly and Share Liverpool.  As John Aldridge noted at yesterday’s rally:

We must stick together. One day we will be the proud owners of our football club

I can’t wait until the day that every seat at Anfield is designated as the Director’s Box!

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T-Shirt Party

Now, being a girl and all, you could probably guess that your pal Julia is as much in love with all things fashion as any Fake Bake-ed WAG-wannabe.  And although you would be right, it is also true that having grown up as a total tomboy, forever climbing trees and skinning knees, means there are not many pretty dresses which will do quite as much as the perfect combination of skinny jeans + white shoes + a crisp white t-shirt.

I have written before about my love of all things Katherine Hamnett and her slogan shirts.  In a similar vein, here is one of my all-time favourites, a cracking little eBay number:

It never fails to raise a smile – even from notoriously hard-to-please New Yorkers.  Sadly, it is also true, I have never been to NY, but – hey! – I’m working on it…

Recently the NY t-shirt and I have been straying into ‘wearing that to death’ territory so it was time to start looking for a suitable addition to the ménage.  I was lucky enough to find, via Dazed Digital, the masterminds behind T-Shirt Party.

On a mission to design the ‘ultimate London t-shirt’, to compete with the ‘I love NY’ itself, they plan to release a new shirt each week, with accompanying video exploring the inspiration behind the design.  The shirts will only be available for a year and are sold at a very pocket-friendly price.  Founder Stan Still explained to Dazed:

T-Shirt Party reps London town, our hometown. No boutiques, no marketing campaigns, no hyped up nonsense, just T-shirts for the people. It’s simple: after all it’s only white tees – the people’s apparel

So, here I am wearing what seems to me, in light of this post, to be on course to become my new favourite thing:

This is a slightly better photo, from T-Shirt Party:

Looking good, as I am sure you will agree.  With 13 styles released so far and more to follow, there is something for everyone to fall in love with and you are also unlikely to see everyone you know rocking the same one, an added bonus.

If I was purchasing them for blogging friends, I would buy this one for Mark of The Mortal Bath, as he is soon to leave the Metropolis behind for northern climes:

While this one would be good for Phil of Truth, Reason & Liberty:

And I can see Bonesy rocking this one fresh:

I can confirm that the t-shirts themselves are high quality, wash well and make you feel like a million bucks quid.  Get them before they’re gone!  And make sure you tell me about any of your favourites tees below in the comments…
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A right pair of Hunts

Maybe I wrote too soon.  No sooner had we heard an MP use the example of the Hillsborough Disaster to make an intelligent and reasoned comment about the media coverage of such tragedies then we had a couple of examples that dragged us right back into the gutter.

If Liverpool fans and others who take an interest in such things were feeling like congratulations were in order for the way the debate has been altered in the last 21 years, along came a couple of Jamie Reed’s fellow politicians to assure us that there is still a very long way to go.  First we had Sports Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s misinformed comments linking the disaster with hooliganism in a live TV interview, for which he has rightly apologised.

This was closely followed by Russell Hawker, Independent Councillor for Westbury West in Wiltshire, who waded in with his alternative take on what happened at Hillsborough, this time on Twitter.  He has since deleted the comments, but here is a screenshot:

Now we could be charitable here, as Liverpool fans so often are.  Perhaps hailing from another part of the country, especially one so far away from Merseyside as Wiltshire, means that Cllr Hawker could be forgiven for a lack in-depth knowledge of the topic.  So the Liverpool Echo got in touch with him to clarify.  He claimed to have read the Taylor Report, which unequivocally laid the blame for the disaster on the police.  Yet, as he told the Echo, he has his own view.

It is clear that Cllr Hawker is now using his original comments to prove that old adage about ‘no publicity’, having repeated them to the Echo and appeared on Radio 5 this morning to defend his right to make them.  ten minutes hate would never seek to deny anyone the right to make an absolute fool out of themselves and believes that the best way to deal with those who hold stupid beliefs is to give them the widest possible platform for broadcasting their stupidity to the world.

Of course, the danger is that, just as with that S*n headline, there will always be those who believe that they know the real ‘Truth’ of what happened that day.  Regardless of Lord Taylor’s efforts in his report, despite the fact that many of the dead were children and without concern for how it hurts the feelings of those still mourning and still fighting for justice.  This is why it is so vital to know the facts and to be prepared to counter alternative versions of the events of 15 April 1989.  Here it is:

The police were reckless about crowd safety, to the extent that their tactics had not taken into account a large concentration of late arrivals.  When a crowd built up outside the turnstiles, following a serious accident on the M62 which had caused traffic delays, the police decided to open an exit gate that should never have been opened.  They failed to monitor the numbers of fans gaining access to the central pens of the Leppings Lane stand.  There was no numerical control of fans entering, nor visual monitoring of the crowd’s density.

This is the only truth you need.  Those are the reasons why 96 football fans who would have been alive to see the scenes in Istanbul, cheer on Torres and all the other fun and heartache that comes from supporting our team, instead never came home from the match.

And until there is an end to people trying to advance any alternative reality, the fight continues.  Get involved.

Justice for the 96.

the truth

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