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February 2nd, 2009

As of now, AFP reports that Arshavin has signed for £12m. Here's hoping, all the news seems to be like a pendulum today.

Ah, the Australian Open. Friday's semi was pretty unbearable, seeing as I was at my desk at work. So I was restricted to just flicking back and forth at the BBC Sport website and bashing F5 every so often. At one point I was muttering and cursing and my colleague enquired what I was up to. Keen not to draw too much attention to my attention being well, slightly elsewhere, I scribbled TENNIS on a Post-It and showed her. I got back a knowing "Oh..." Heh. They know I'm a real sport fanatic at work. Thankfully lunch was set number 5 and I was able to give the score my full attention. Oh, the last game and watching Verdasco claw back the break points, i practically put my fist through the desk...But then he couldn't get back the last one and I punched the air and got my head back down. When I got home my Dad handed me a piece of paper where he had detailed for me the most unbelievable shots Rafa had played during the match, which I then enjoyed on the BBCi rerun.

As the final began on 8:30am on Sunday I set two alarms (coincidentally, much like I did to get up at 3am to go to Wimbledon) to make sure I didn't sleep in. Soon enough, everybody was downstairs wrapped in duvets with their eyes on the match. The start was a bit of a scrappy one, I thought, and as ever, I was as nervous as heck. It's weird, though, I sort of enjoy the feeling, it's both exciting and terrifying at the same time. Another colleague of mine just can't bear to watch. I thought the first set was gone until those two amazing shots...and i was relieved. But then desperately worried when it went to 5 sets. And even loving and knowing the dynamo superman that is Rafa Nadal, I just thought, he must be too tired. But oddly, as the commentator put it, in the fifth it was like someone had just "switched off Federer's gas." There was just nothing left, and the serve went. And towards the end although I was doing cartwheels thinking my God, Rafa is so close to winning, I was also begging Federer not to lose it on a double fault because he's too good to lose like that. I was so thrilled at the end, not quite as flooded with relief and tears as after Wimbledon, but still thrilled. And as much as I love Rafa and I never ever want him to lose, Federer's reaction really touched me and I did feel a bit teary. But Rafa's reaction consoling him like that, well, it was a joy to see it. Sportsmanship, respect, talent, these guys have it all. God bless them both. 

Many thanks to natbat3 and feebomon for a lovely Saturday filled with Torchwood, D&P and Boyzone. Lord knows why I ever liked Ellie woman, her acting is as flat as a pancake. I was young and foolish. It was so good to see it again then, such a brilliantly plotted and amusing crime drama. There's nothing like it any more.

Anyway, the whole of Britain seems to be at a standstill thanks to the snow. We're so pathetic. I did walk to work today, hopefully tomorrow it won't be too icy as it could get dangerous. Off to catch up on my EastEnders before bed, I think.

As I finish typing it seems that the Arshavin deal has to be confirmed by the Premier League and so we have to wait til the morning. So be it.

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January 20th, 2009

A backhanded compliment...

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Work is running me ragged at the moment, everybody is so busy. But hey, in this economic climate, it's quite comforting to be busy. It's the longest week I've had for a bit, and one of the most challenging, but it was good on Friday night to get a thanks and a well done from the boss. It keeps me motivated, I suppose.

God bless the red button, I just watched the replay of Rafa's 1st Round match. He was awesome. Forehands like bullets, backhands that just gravitated towards the lines like they were magnetic...speed and grace and power and oh, I have missed the tennis. But bring back the sleeveless shirts! And I don't know if you agree,miss_lollo  but he also made a lot less noise? Which I missed too, because there's something comforting and rhythmic about those exulted groans as he hits the ball...Or maybe it's just me. I wonder if the semi-final against Murray will materialise...Early days.

A reasonable win for my lovely Arsenal at the weekend, hanging on in there somehow. When they did get their act together to go 2-1 and 3-1 they looked good. But maybe they just spoiled us back in 2003-4 and we're just too demanding. Not sure when I'll next be getting to a match but no doubt time will tell. Although I'm beginning to wonder if I will actually move this weekend, with no less than 5 football matches plus the tennis to devour. Oh and then there's the possibility of the Arshavin move. Please happen.

Just listening to Radio 1 Live Lounge Vol3. REM's Munich is great but it just isn't the same without Tom Smith's bleak, bleak drawl infusing all the sadness. Pendulum have turned Violet Hill (which I alreay loved) into an ecletic electro mish-mash to adore. Guillemots Black and Gold is nice too. I really should put all the music I got at Christmas into iTunes. And listen to half the CDs I bought last year that I haven't.

God, it's almost Wednesday already. Where do the weeks go?


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January 3rd, 2009

Well, sitting here in Arsenal shirt, bandana and wristbands (well, what other way does a gal have to show her support for Rafa Nadal, eh?) awaiting the tennis. Apparently it's not on the radio, although I can probably live without our always very biased commentators fawning over Andy Murray as if he's the best tennis player since sliced bread. Fawn over him when he has won a Slam, yes, but not for now. Although I can't have everything, as Arsenal v Plymouth is on at 3pm, and I guess they felt they couldn't fit it all in, although just in case, I might just check the station in a moment. Hoping for some US Open revenge and hopefully a 2 or 3-0 at the Emirates today.

I've probably cursed it all now.

Til later.

¡Vamos Rafa! and go on the Arsenal!



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December 29th, 2008

Glad tidying for everyone...

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Aha, yes, I have crawled out from under my stone.

I hope that everyone had a good holiday season. My Nan's gone home so Christmas is officially now over and I am preparing myself for going back to work tomorrow with a large Martini and attempting to sort the pile of crap that I've been stockpiling at the end of the bed for the last 6 months. Thanks to nofrontiers100  for the nudge, I have an email to you that I started composing a while back while at work that I've been meaning to finish and send - I'll get to it tonight, or tomorrow if work is going slow.

So, the festive period passed with much booze and food as ever, and lots of laughter. The start of December however, was a bit of a donwer. Firstly my colleague who I consider a friend left for another job, it was all quite sad really. We always had such a laugh together and I shall miss her, it was always such a pep to my working day. I'm greatly indebted to natbat3  and the very amusing emails we traded in early December, which kept me tittering at my desk for a good long while. Then there was Arsenal v Wigan and Tash and I had a lovely lunch at the stadium. And Charlie George answered my question! Although I had started to feel unwell and was soon struck down by the awful bug that's going around. So after all the Eboue booing controversy ( I didn't boo but my God I was so glad he got subbed, his performance was just a disgrace...) the next week I was then off work for three days in bed generally coughing and blowing my nose. I missed the work Christmas party and the next week was a struggle, but thankfully I was better for Christmas.

My Nan arrived on the 23rd and then promptly told me that there was nothing on television and that we should just play cards throughout the entire festive season. Alas, we managed one round of Beat Your Neighbours out of Doors and that was it!
We all had a good time though, some nice gifts, lots and lots of chocolate. The Christmas telly was good, I suppose, Wallace and Gromit and The Royle Family being the gems. And despite promising never to watch EastEnders again after the cruel demise of Dennis, I loved Christmas EastEnders. I didn't think anyone else in the house had been watching until I came donwstairs afterwards with my Nan quickly announcing "Jack was in The Bill, you know." I think she sneakily tuned in for the cliffhangers...

The festive football was entertaining, with my lovely Arsenal continuing to be well, Jekyll and Hyde. I couldn't bring myself to watch the highlights of the Villa game. We should be able to defend a 2-0 lead, surely. Although my Dad did cheer me by telling me that of course, his Spurs were still in a relegation battle and that once Arsenal have all their injured players back, they'll be unstoppable. Here's hoping. All the talk about Andrei Arshavin is very exciting (just our sort of skilful and attack-minded player) but we need a defence more than anything.

Right, I'd better finish tidying up. Until 2009!



September 22nd, 2008

A sporting summer...

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I hope everybody out there is well and OK :) Although you've all probably given up on reading me, if you hadn't a long time ago! Thanks tomiss_lollo for giving me a nudge.

Well, I haven't blogged in a long time, but I suppose the best way for me to recap is through all the amazing sporting events that I have witnessesd/attended in the last 6 months or so.

I'll start where I left off, just after poor Eduardo got crocked at St Andrews.  I think it was the Tuesday after Mothers' Day when it was the 2nd leg, Arsenal vs Milan at the San Siro. Something like 4th/5th March. I know it wasn't long after Mothers' Day as my Nan was over. All I remember of this match was Cesc's 25-yard screamer, standing up, pumping my fist and screaming out "VAMMOOOOSSS!" (well, he is Spanish...) and then almost sitting back down on my Nan! Then there were the two legs in April  against Liverpool, the penalties that never were. But most of all, Theo's dazzling run all the way from one end to the other, the pass and Ade slotting it home. If the San Siro moment was utter joy, then that was just a complete out-of this-world moment. I think I shouted out "It's up for fucking grabs now!" And then 90 seconds later was holding my head in my hands nearly sobbing. Yet another debatable penalty. So near, and yet so far.

On to late May, early June and Roland Garros. That hard, red Parisian dirt that us Nadal fans have never seen him lose on. Andrew Castle saying that as Rafa was in green he looked like the Incredible Hulk. The general belief that not even Federer would even have the slightest chance of winning did surprise me a bit. So the final everyone was waiting for arrived in due course and my Nan was at my house as the Federer-supporting slice of the household. She learned her lesson from my San Siro silliness, quickly shuffling across the sofa to leave a seat between us and exclaiming: "I'll move over, just in case you go mad!" In fact, it was a sedate affair, with Rafa breezing to victory and a general bafflement from all at Federer's ineffectiveness.

Then came Queen's, and me kicking myself, as a couple of weeks before I had seen there were still tickets available for the final. Albeit, very pricey and right at the back. I weighed up the chances of Rafa being in the final and and thought that he would probably win RG as in 2007, and then thought of the Nicolas Mahut episode in 2007 and decided against it. Stupid me for ever doubting him! Oh well, I suppose the view was better on the TV anyhow. It was a close match, but I was very pleased with the outcome.

After a good few years of considering it, I actually went to Wimbledon this year. After a bit of a last-minute decision, Claire and I went on the first Friday, 27th June. Seeing as it was such a late decision we couldn't really camp, so we left on the 0430 train, the earliest we could possibly manage. I think we got to the end of the queue at about 6:20, which wasn't bad going and there were perhaps two or three lines of the campers ahead of us. It was a glorious morning and by about 7:30 we were slapping on the sun cream. I think at about 8:30 the stewards were dishing out the wristbands and we got on No2 court, guaranteed seats for the whole day, which was pretty good going for our first visit.

We got into the actual complex before the grounds opened and had a wander around before finding out where wthe court was and then going on another wander when everything was open. We saw a bit of a practice match and then began to wonder why there were so many people crowded around another practice court, so we ambled over to have a look. There he was, defending champion, cardigan and all...Roger Federer.  Practicing serves and things. I got told off by a grumpy security man as I stood on a bench to take a photo. It was good to see him in the flesh, one of the true greats, albeit from a distance!

The first match we saw was Kuzntezova, against another Russian, someone with a double-barrelled name. Just our luck, 45minutes in, along came the rain. Well, it wouldn't be Wimbledon without rain. So we sat in our macs while the veterans around us piled into their lovely green Wimbledon all-in-one ponchos. We did have a great view though, as we were at the end rather than in the middle and having to constantly look back and forth. The delay was a couple of hours I think, we got through Kuznetsova's victory, then Fernando Verdasco vamos-ed all over Tomas Berdych, Marcos Baghdatis beat someone who I can't remember and we saw a bit of Liesel Huber playing doubles before we decided to leave just after 8. A fantastic day, perhaps the only negative was having to grab McD's on the way home as all the food and drink at Wimbledon is stupidly expensive. All those £6 glasses of Pimm's and we still can't win any Davis Cup matches!

In no time the final arrived and I was away at my Uncle's, as he and my Dad got tickets for the British GP, so we juggled between the channels, hoping to maybe catch a glimpse of them, until the tennis finally started. I think my jaw dropped even at the first point, boy, they were whacking it right from the outset. I remember Rafa had a good few break points in the first set and knew he would take them eventually. Then he fought back in the second set and I probably thought I was dreaming that he was two sets up and on top. The fourth set was just, well, so tight, and so close. Those match points were just unbearable. By the rain break in the fifth it was dinner time and I just couldn't eat, I was so on edge. I think this was the lowest point of the match for me, as I really thought Fed had the momentum. And I thought there might not be any more play. My uncle gingerly coaxed me back to the TV and they were back. And I couldn't sit still. I kept jigging my legs up and down like a maniac. By now everyone was pretty fixed on an amazing match. My uncle and aunt aren't mad sport fans and I don't think they'd seen anything like it before, especially not me living through every damn point! Then, the break came and even then I just didn't know what might happen. It was so, so dark. miss_lollo , if you're out there, can I ask you your opinion on the 30/30 point in the final game? (I think you know what I'm referring to...) I've watched it again on the DVD a few times. Then it happened. Rafa did what he always does, he makes you play that one more shot you didn't want to, and Fed had put it in the net. And I was so glad everyone was so engrossed that we didn't put the lights on, as I let it all out and just cried with joy. i had said previously that the 2007 final was the best sporting event I'd seen, and this topped it by about five times, it was sensational play from two great champions. And it would have ruined my weekend if Rafa had lost.

Wow, I feel a bit drained after going through all that again!

I didn't really get to see a lot of the Olmypics live, mainly because of the time difference and of course having to work so not being able to stay up. But I did thoroughly enjoy all the highlights and Great Britain's great triumphs. Poor Paula though, I know I started this blog around the time she was running in Athens and uit just wasn't meant to be for her I suppose. Such a shame. Maybe she can win in London, she certainly knows the course. It might just be too much of an ask though. But it was so refreshing to see the Olympians' endeavours in a nation where all our football clubs are being taken over and ludicrous amounts of money are being spent on players and salaries. And of course, we all know who won a gold medal...

I went to my first Arsenal game, the first game of the season against West Brom. I was madly nervous and excited, which was not helped by the walk up about 10 flights of stairs to get to my seat. But it was a win and a great day. Tash and I went to the FC Twente match, which was an entirely different atmosphere being a Europen tie and a night match, Sadly only one of the four goals went in at our end, but we were very near the front, and right in with all the guys singing the songs, which was great. We're off to the Everton game next month. Here's hoping for a win!

The US Open..ha. Loved Rafa's blog in The Times. Somehow had this gut feeling that Murray might win...just because for once, he had the right attitude. And although I'm still not his biggest fan, I credit him for reaching the final. But I watched it on holiday from my hotel room and it was no contest, and Fed wiped the floor with him. I was pleased, because Fed deserved to get something this year, everyone saying he was finished and he proved them all wrong. Part of me did want the dream final again so much, though.

I expected Fed to win, but I did not expect England to win in the Maksimir. No sir. Although no Eduardo and Kranjcar did mean that Croatia were without two of their best players, I was thrilled to see Theo step up and go through them like a hot knife through butter. It was so very, very good to see England play well again. I knew he could do it.

I think that's about it. Work wise things are about the same, although I am writing a lot more now which I am very pleased about.

Til next time...sorry this was such a long, sporty rant!

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February 24th, 2008

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What a horrid weekend for the Arsenal. That tackle was just awful and I'm so gutted for Eduardo, not only will he miss the rest of the season in England but of course, Euro 2008. I was so looking forward to seeing him play in the summer. I was just so depressed during Match of the Day, these things trascend the scoreline when someone gets so badly hurt like that. I don't believe that there was any malice involved but thos was a disaster waiting to happen with all those bad tackles that have been blighting the football recently. Some are suggesting that he will be fine, others that he'll never play again, some only one bone was broken, others say both tibia and fibula.  Apparently the club are releasing a statement tomorrow. In the meantime, get well soon Eduardo! Now we have to win the league for him and galvanise and pull together before everything falls apart.

I watched Gladiator earlier on.  Great dialogue, great acting, great swathes of bloodthirsty action. Just as I expected really!  I also watched Good Night And, Good Luck, which I thought was good. Quite amusing in some parts, but I always enjoy things that are based on true stories. I did find it a bit hard to get into at first, but it did pick up after the first half an hour or so.

This week's ER here was Blackout... (My, I had such a cheery TV night last Thursday with cot death in Emmerdale and then ER...). I  thought Maura was very good as always...I just felt quite sad throughout. And couldn't quite stop thinking about how much I wanted Abby's boots and handbag.  Loved the scene where Pratt was trying to get Abby to go home though, very well done. I remembered reading on a board somewhere that the encounter was explicit and by five to eleven was thinking that it wasn't, should have known it would crop up at the end. I don't think it was that bad, I could have done without it but I understand why it was there. Just made me sad. I'm not indifferent about next week, but not excited either, really. Just somewhere in the middle.

I think  I shall read a bit and then go to bed, I'm all filmed out for the moment.

January 17th, 2008

Had a lovely night out last night for Tash's birthday, nice meal, lots of silliness and innuendo.  I never fail to be amazed by all the folk milling about in London, there were so many people going to restaurants and the theatres. Oh, and annoyingly loud teenyboppers coming back from Spice Girls at the 02 making so much noise I wanted to ram their stupid glowing lightsticks where the sun don't shine. That would have given them something to make a noise about.

Work was a bit frustrating today, I think I'm in a bit of a funk with it, but it could be worse and I'm sure things will pick up shortly. I think most people have peaks and dips with their work, so I'm not too worried.

Rafa Nadal going well in the Australian Open, no doubt I shall be sneakily monitoring the score tomorrow at my desk if he has a night match.  Watched the replay of Baghdatis v Safin earlier on, fantastic tennis. BBCi is always good to us with the tennis, nothing like a bit of play during breakfast.

Patiently awaiting ER on MoFo.  I thought The War Comes Home was a decent start. I thought it had a lot of good parallels with the previous premiere, loved Abby refusing to leave Neela, was laughing at Morris hiding from Moretti. I liked Moretti's war monologue a lot, and Abby's response. The end shot was also very good..."We wait..".  Refusing to watch the Channel 4 one as I bet the 8pm - 9pm slot means they've had the scissors at it. Or at least, they will have to at some point.

I think I will have a big spring clean at the weekend and get rid of anything that I really don't need.  I might emerge from a heap of crap some time on Monday!

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January 12th, 2008

A heads-up for miss_lollo  . The BBC's sports correspondent Rob Bonnet interviews Rafael Nadal in Chennai, ahead of the Australian Open.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/player/sol/newsid_7180000/newsid_7183400/7183420.stm?bw=bb&mp=wm&news=1&bbcws=1



Enjoy!

January 10th, 2008

Seeing stars...

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My aunt died suddenly on the 27th Dec and we had her funeral yesterday afternoon.  My Mum's been coping alright really, I've tried to encourage her to talk about all the good memories and good times.  When she told me in the week that she had lost another sister I told her to remember all the joy and good times she'd had with them, because there are people like myself who don't know what it's like to have a sibling. 

Anyway, I wore my Arsenal scarf as I couldn't have thought of anything more that she would want to see than the colours of her beloved team.  I remember when I was a kid she always signed my birthday cards with "Up the Gunners!" The service was very nice, with some traditional Welsh songs, so good to hear them being belted out with such emotion. It's sad how, because my Mum's family is so big, that a lot of people we only ever see at funerals, because as one of my relations noted: "There are no bloody weddings any more!"  My aunt's granddaughter, who is only 9, was so devastated. She let off a balloon with "Thinking of You" on it when we were at the cemetery. After all the formalities things were a bit more relaxed back at the house, and in the spirit of my aunt we had a good laugh and a few drinks in her memory. All the best Auntie Gwen, we will miss you.

Was swiftly back at work today, back to churning through articles and shipping off issues. Was rather amused that my colleague had to remind me that ER starts again tonight, although I suppose my mind was rightly elsewhere. Although clearly Channel 4 don't care too much anymore either, after shovelling it away to 10pm on MoFo (More 4) and barely doing any promotion whatsoever. I know that it's not as popular any more, but surely it does pass for entertainment, unlike the newest pathetic installment of Big Brother on E4. Whatever. Hopefully at least the premiere will be a good start.  There's always the S10 box set on the 28th...



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January 1st, 2008

Top Tracks - 2007

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I hope that everyone had a good Christmas/holidays, and Happy 2008! 

Seeing as there's bugger all on TV as usual, here are my thoughts about my favourite tracks of 2007. In no particular order, some just from memory and some from my top played this year. Lyrics are not mine, but are used in worship!

1. Maxïmo Park: Parisian Skies

You said we never talked
But there's a lightness that it brought
Refracting all my sins
We never lacked a thing...

Hard really to pick a favourite from the exemplary Our Earthly Pleasures but this final track is just so lyrically brilliant and so full of energy.

2. Guillemots: Made Up Love Song #43

I love you through sparks and shining dragons I do...

Just a little delight of a song.

3.  Gwen Stefani: The Sweet Escape

Yes, my favourite part is Akon going Woohoo, Yeehoo in the background!

4. Editors: An End Has a Start

I won't disappoint you as you fall apart
Some thing should be simple, even an end has a start

There's something about the bleak tone of Tom Smith's voice that even seems to transmit some hope in this track, which just seems to rush along.

5. Ne-Yo: Because of You

And it's all because of you..

Just so very, very catchy and happy and upbeat.

6. Robyn: With Every Heartbeat

Maybe we can make it alright
We could make it better some time...

Even with the pounding dance beat in the background, Robyn's vocals get across the despair and fragility.  Fabulous. The Radio 1 Live Lounge Version is exceptional.

7. Brian McKnight: Unhappy Without You

I hate it when you turn it off and on
When the morning love is right
Then you turn left and the day is gone

I can't say I've loved Ten as much as I thought I would, but this song is the standout for me, catchy chorus, lovely drums, great vocals and ad-libs from Brian as ever.
8. Stevie Wonder: Ribbon in the Sky
From now on, it will be you and I...

Beautiful piano, amazing vocals, I have no idea why I didn't download this years ago, I had always heard how good it was.
9.  The Hoosiers: Worried About Ray
They say the future's out to get you
You know that I won't let you fall..

Quirky and fun and very reminiscent of ELO.  Love it, but the album was disappointing.

10. Maroon 5: Better That We Break

Saw you sitting all alone
You're fragile and you're cold

I just love the ending of this, the slide guitar and Adam's ever more despairing vocals. Again, though, hard to pick a fave from IWBSBL.

11. Damien Rice: Rootless Tree

And it leans on me like a rootless tree



Anguish, love, hate and possibly just the most hurt laden chorus ever? So intense.

12.  Amy Winehouse: Me and Mr Jones

It just bumps along like an old soul classic but still seems fresh and vibrant.  And fuckery is the best word ever.

13. Justin Nozuka: After Tonight

Tell me how you feel
And if I'm getting near

Radio 2 introduced me to this song, and I just love the way he sings he word "darlin'". Very nice.

14. Beverley Knight: After You

No sun ever shines through the shadows of dawn
I wish I could dream but the nightmare goes on


Another fantastic album from Beverley. Why did she release a radio edit though, when the album version was so far superior?

15. Timbaland: The Way I Are

Bad grammar, impeccable beats.


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