We all laughed but it was no laughing matter

One of the most prevailing stories of the 1974 football World Cup happened during the Brazil v Zaire (as they were then called) match. As Brazil lined up a free kick, a defender broke free of the Zaire wall and booted the ball as far as he could, receiving a yellow card for his troubles. African ignorance of the beautiful game was cited and laughter and derision was thrown at the men of the Congo. In fact, that kick may have saved lives. After losing 2-0 versus Scotland, then being thrashed 9-0 v Yugoslavia (as they were then called), the Zaire ruler threatened the players and insisted that they not lose against Brazil by more than 3 goals. The time wasting tactic at that free kick helped the Zairian footballers cause. They only lost the game 3-0. I’m not sure if they lived happily ever after. At least they lived.

The then ruler of the African nation was Mobutu Sese Seko Nkuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga (meaning “The all-powerful warrior who, because of his endurance and inflexible will to win, goes from conquest to conquest, leaving fire in his wake). Now there’s a name for a monster. Every day is a school day, they say. Alas, just like at school there’s no way I’m remembering that.

I do remember the free kick.

Chibber at the Art Gallery

It was more a case of save your money for God’s sake than art for arts sake that I suggested to my good friend, Chibber, we explore an art gallery rather than paint the town red, white and blue in a drinking establishment. This was, of course, pre-covid days.

At first hesitant by my complicated and sophisticated reasoning, rolling my Rs and elongating my Es, I could see my brainwashing was working and he agreed to enter the Chamber of Magical Dreams. Think he thought he was going to Disneyland.
Continue reading “Chibber at the Art Gallery”

It’s Greek to me

Not surprising perhaps. Phil has done some unusual things over his 97 years. He also seems to be stubborn to a fault.  Driving alone after a road accident he seems to have caused and without a seat-belt qualifies as evidence.

Today he is reported to have ‘surrendered his licence voluntarily‘. Which I’m sure is RoyalSpeak for being banned from driving. I mean, if I wanted to give up driving, I’d simply stop – with my licence intact. ‘Surrendering’ it implies police involvement – which I expect will lead in due course to serious charges.

O tempora et cetera

Yesterday I passed on to my reader Backside’s aversion to anthropological fantasies purveyed by the meeja; from Twilight to Harry Potter to Game of Thrones to Watership Down, all celebrating the supernatural or the improbable ad nauseam.

Today his other pet hate was exhibited: the propensity of celebrities to parade their emotions before the cyberpublic, presumably seeking sympathy and even greater celebrity = money. This time a fine tennis professional who regrettably lacks the dignity and self-respect to avoid the camera when he is overcome by sadness at his own fate (or rather the impending end of his playing career). Yes, I know it’s the fashion but p-lease!

Clash Of The Titans

The following is based on a true story that happened on MyT

It was the irresistible force vs the immovable object. It was Ali/Frazier, Creed/Balboa and Butcher/Aggie all rolled into one. Both parties claimed a win the day they jousted on a blog. I’ll let the Charioteers decide whom was the real winner.

In the Red corner- Ana The Imp: erudite, sophisticated, a voracious reader, mixes at the top of society, well-travelled,  a supernatural dream weaver entity, she owns a horse! She enters the ring to the hair raising orchestral strains of Dance of the Knights.

In the Blue corner- JW: unlearned non-googler, luddite tendencies, tractor blogger, usually found in the pub, day dreams a lot, owns a piggy bank! He enters the ring to the sawdust floor foot stomping The Sideboard Song.

This mismatch went the distance. Continue reading “Clash Of The Titans”

The book is better

Only a couple of weeks ago I read A Legacy of Spies, published last year; as ever with le Carrè, having to concentrate hard on the intricacies of the plot while drooling with appreciation at the vibrancy of his descriptions, both of people and places. And now I have almost finished re-reading Smiley’s People – written 40 years ago and as intriguing as ever. Continue reading “The book is better”

Full-colour horror story

The 1914/18 war was  always in monochrome; and film footage always depicted armies marching in double time, gesticulating like robots. But all that has changed, thanks to the modern technology Peter Jackson has deployed to shocking effect. I cannot imagine the reality of blood and guts in the trenches when the whole picture is revealed. Lest we forget? After this we never will.