Monday, October 30, 2006

Pubs To Be Football Free Zone?

Hey what is going on? Football and beer have for long been partners so what is one to make of talk that a lot of pub companies are asking for a refund on their TV licences and getting rid of the Plasma screens.According to reports family groups and football fans are two opposing customers and since the family group tend to spend more in Pubs than your average footie lover just out to see his team play,then the football fan has to go.What?!! Which pubs have they been going? Imagine these pub companies raking in millions just a few months ago,thanks to the world cup and now the football loving customer is a nuisance to be rid of.Sighs.

Personally i do not imbibe lager that much.As i revealed before i like one or two glasses of wine now and then.But nothing beats being in pub on a cushy leather sofa,glass of Campo Viejo or Faustino in hand watching Chelsea pummel another sucker club.So if all these killjoy pub owners stop showing football in their pubs what is going to happen? I see subscription to Skysports as the only answer.

To Veil Or Not To Veil

The brouhaha that greeted Jack Straw`s revelation that he asks Muslim women who come to see him in his constituency office dressed in the Hijab to reveal their faces was to be expected.Personally, i think the whole debate is a storm in a tea-pot.

If any Muslim lady chooses to cover herself from head to sole that is her prerogative. Some folks argue that foreign women living in or visiting Islamic countries respect the local sartorial code thus Muslim women living here should be made to dress like their Western peers.I do not subscribe to this view at all.Two wrongs do not make a right.If we were to adopt this approach,whereby the state decides what you can and can not wear ,what then would be the difference between the the UK and other authoritarian societies? We might as well substitute the Labour Party for The Taliban.Any state intervention in such matters to my mind would not only make us guilty of hypocrisy - denouncing authocratic,oppresive regimes abroad while borrowing from their philosophy when it makes us more convenient but perhaps more poignantly negate the most fundamental bedrock of democracy:the freedom of individual choice.

However,if a Muslim woman works in an environment that requires a standard uniform ,then i dont think she should be allowed to wear anything else but the uniform as worn by other members of staff.The choice is clear and simple- wear your Hijab or whatever you please but once you to work you must present yourself in accordance with the image policy of your employers.If the employer rules out covering your face then thats it.That is not bigotry or racism at all.
You have a choice of taking the position and comply with the stipulation or look for one that accomodates your fashion style.Period.

I remain somewhat skeptical of Jack Staw`s motives in raising the issue at this particular time the way he did.One thing i am certain of however is that politicians always seek to make gains from issues and causes.They are less concerned about real progress or solutions.I can hazard a few guesses why old Jack came out with the veil palaver but i wont bother.Know any?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Damien Hirst Guilty of Plagiarism?

A London resident,Robert Dixon claims celebrated enfant terrible of Modern British art Damien Hirst copied his work.Well nothing wrong in anyone engaged in the creative arts taking inspirations form an existing work but this particular case leaves a sour taste in my mouth.Mr Dixon claims his painting,True Daisy is not just a replica of Hirst`s Valium but a direct reproduction which only could have been achieved by tracing.

Put simply Mr Hirst laid his mitts on poor Dixons original design, got himself some good tracing paper, locked himself in his studio and went to work! Mr Dixon is just a former graphic artist and a former research associate at the Royal College Of Art while Hirst is of course probably the most celebrated and acclaimed artist around these shores at present.Meaning his works command million of pounds.This is the context in which the this affair is to be seen.

Friday, October 27, 2006

London 2012 Olympics

The boss of the Olympics Delivery Authority Jack Lemley resigned his appointment recently. Citing the need to devote time to his construction business as the reason for his action. I do not get it at all.The man knew he had personal business to attend to but took the job anyway.Not just any other job at that if it must be said.Its the whole Olympics infrastructure we are talking about here.Such time- sensitive projects can do without unstable overseers like Mr Lemley.

Londoners will be justified to be paranoid about the olympic project being delivered on schedule thanks to the Wembley fiasco.So this ship -jumping by the man charged with the task of making sure London has the right facilities for the greatest sports extravanga is to be viewed with some concern.On the brighter side , it is better he left now at this relatively early stage . I hope the Authority will find the right candidate for the position.One who has not only the pedigree but also will also be dedicated and commited to the job.

Meanwhile here is a link to the London Olympics website.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Ballack, Chevchenko Break Duck

What a momentous and eventful fortnight it has been for Chelsea FC. Started with the drama at the Reading game.Having the two goal-keepers severely injured , then having to call in third choice goal-keeper Hilario for a match against possibly the most complete team in Europe at the moment.He was not only impressive but played his role in defeating Barcelona and putting us in the driving seat for the return macth.

Then came last week-end`s encounter with Portsmouth.We all know that a meeting with Portsmouth this season is always going to be a tricky affair.Harry Redknap is doing a good job with his army of veterans most of whom have been household names in bigger clubs and quite experienced.However the story of the day is the glorious fact that Chevchenko and Ballack registered their names on the Premiership scorers` list.God knows they needed that.Even though both were booked for excessive celebration i think the cards were well earned .They needed to celebrate.I always wanted Chevchenko to come to Chelsea for a long time .Maybe three to four years ago.I always fantasised Chelsea playing Chevchenko just in front of another player after my heart-Paved Nedved.No doubt about it Chevchenko is a class act. Quality does not get any higher than that.I hope now that he has broken the duck, we get to see what stuff he is really made of.

So you see how notable the past two weeks have been for the club? I wish Jose Mourinho will go easy on this conspiracy against Chelsea trip. I like him and i think he is good at his job but when he adduces everything that doesnt favour Chelsea to some conspiracies against the club, he belittles himself and the club. I noticed he complained about the cards given to Ballack and Chevchenko on Saturday for excessive celebration.He compared that to what happened at the Arsenal match where Fabregas , i think, did the same and wasn`t booked.Well Jose, referees are not consistent sometimes and every instance of inconsitency does not necessarily imply conspiracy. He knows as well as everybody that such celebrations do invite and are duly rewarded with a yellow from the man in black.So the point of raising that on such an epoch making day for the club in general and the two players in particular does not strike me as brilliant.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Tesco And Under-Aged Drinking

I read a story in the papers how a 43 year old was refused service at the alcohol department in her local Tesco. Mrs Portbury (no pun intended,that is her name) went to get a case of lager with two of her kids in tow. She was refused the sale because the cashier feared she might give the said booze to her teen-aged son accompany her. Umm since when did Tesco cashiers became Social Workers i found myself wondering. Mrs Portbury promptly sauntered down to the nearest Sainsbury where her yearning to sate her thirst were granted.Good.

The incident has a familiar ring to it. A female acquaintance of mine from Glasgow was in London a few weeks ago for the 100% Design Exhibition. After a long day of exhibiting or should that be exhibition, what else would be as nice as a bottle of nice full bodied pinot or a rioja.Well i suggested my favourite tipple which is Campo Viejo Rioja.Nice red wine if there is any.My friend decided to take the short walk to Tesco and acquire this said bottle of wine.Happened that when our Glasgow visitor was in the queue , bottle of wine in hand, the cashier on the till was casting glances at her.Why? She thought. She didn`t know but her make-up was not smudged nor was any part of her anatomy not meant for public consumption on display .Well , maybe it is a feature of Londoners to shoot stares at ladies she decided.On finally getting to the head of the queue, the said cashier shot her the final arrowing stare , cast a glance at her hand(Rioja proudly held) thence informed her it was Tesco`s policy not to sell alcohol to under-aged people plus if she would like to purchase that bottle she was cuddling she would have to produce some identification. Did i mention this lady was a 34 year old designer from Glasgow?

So the penny dropped:Those stares were meant to tell her `what do you think you are doing with that bottle of wine`?. My friend who is of a good disposition explained who she was and backed it up with her ID.She felt quite embarassed by the whole affair. However she saw the funny side of the episode later. Thanks partly to you know what.

I know female vanity makes a woman glad if deemed younger than she really is .But 38-18 is a wide gap.So denying service to a 34 year while mistaken said 34 year old for an under 18 year old is not taking the biscuit but the whole Nasco corporation.

I am all for stamping down on under-age drinking but the balance has got to be right.The incident invloving Mrs Portbury and my dear friend are not acceptable at all.Imagine my friend didnt have any ID with her age on her that evening?

London Congestion Charging Extension

Well christmas has come early for our mayor Ken Livingstone.First he got his wishes to extend the Congestion Charging scheme despite considerable unpopularity of the scheme with businesses and residents.Most argue that the congestion charging has not really alleviated the chaotic traffic situation in London and some businesses complain of losing trade as a result of the scheme not to talk of the added expense on such concerns.Then Ken got his guilty verdict on the `Nazi Guard` brouhaha overturned on appeal. He was accused of bringing his office into disrepute by calling an Evening Standard reporter a Nazi concentration camp guard.According to him he would have been bankrupt if he lost the appeal. Can`t say some Londoners wouldn`t drink to that though. So the turkey is going to be big at chez Livingstone this chritmas.

Back to the congestion charging issue.From the 19th February 2007,the Congestion Charging zone will be extended to the west to cover Bayswater,Notting Hill, North and South Kensington, High Street Kensington, knightsbridge, Belgravia and Pimlico.

Points to Remember

There is still no charge for driving around the boundary roads of the whole Congestion Charge zone.

No charge through the zone from east to west along the Westway and from north to south along Edgware Road, Park Lane and Vauxhall Bridge Road.

Residents living in:Euston Road,Marylebone Road,Paddington,Harrow Road,Warwick Road and Earl`s Court Road may also apply for a resident`s 90% discount even though they live outside the zone.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Chelsea Beats Barcelona

To say Chelsea has put London in the limelight in recent years is no gainsaying.As a frequent traveller especially in Europe,it takes only a few sentences after learning that i am a Londoner before the conversation involves Chelsea.Only Paul Scholes of Manchester United seems so popular abroad-strange that. Given the fact that he is not that celebrated at home.Anyway i am glad to be a londoner and a supporter of a club that brings pride to the city.

Last night`s Champions League encounter with our perennial `enemies ` Barcelona was always going to be a tricky affair. why ? With regards to the freakish incidents on saturday whereby Czech was stretchered off with a serious head injury then Cudicini was clobbered and had to be carried off too.Absurd or what? Two world class keepers taken out of action in the same match and having the small problem of playing Barcelona a couple of days after! Wonder why people say football management is a stressful job.

Well Hilario,the third choice goal-keeper proved an able substitute! Every time he was tested he lived up to the occasion.It was important to establish himsef early in the game as no make weight or a push-over because that would have increased Barca`s confidence and lead to pressure on him and his defence .This he did splendidly. I am confident he is a worthy member of the team.

I was petrified of rumours of Fabian Bartez being lined up for the post.Barthez?Ask for reference from Alex Ferguson first. I am sure Bartez was contributory to Alex Ferguson`s heart condition during his stay in United.So was quite relieved to find it was one of those urban tales thats nobody really knows who,where or how it started.Bartez on his day is as good as the best of them,but as bad as the worst on a lot of days for manager`s health.There you go.

Even though its only a one goal margin its still a very good win.If we can go to there and play as we did last night who knows we might even beat them 3-1 or something like that.We created a lot of chances last night . Chances so blatant they should have been converted.Matter of fact the scoreline should have read 3-0. Like i said we are not in a bad situation at all for the return leg.One thing is certain though Barcelona will score at home.

Go blues!