Intense and pressing

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However much I resent the play-offs when Salop finished third and so far ahead of the rest, the intensity of play-offs are evident.
The high pressing was again evident in the first half, but this time not so the control.  Missed passes, slipping cos of poor stud choices and poor decisions.
Just into the second half, it all came true and the pressure was non-stop for fifteen minutes, until triangles on the right wing led to an early strike from 8 yards that was driven before the keeper could get down.
As the half progressed, Salop fell back more, but it was under control and Salop progressed.
Not so controlled were the Salop fans who invaded the pitch to provoke Addicks fans, and some of them should have been expelled.
Another excellent photo by Gettys.
So Salop are on their way to Wembley.  If we can employ the pressing again, we shold be OK.

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Welcome home

Confident of a scoreless draw, but hopeful of an occasion, it’s taken watching the full match coverage on tv to realise that it wasn’t much of an occasion except for the Salop fans who were there. We were engrossed for the first three-quarters.


Highlights from watching the game –
– pleased as punch to welcome Joe Hart back;
– delighted too that Dean Henderson was allowed to play by Manchester United;
– Salop were strongest in the second quarter and the pressing was excellent;
– our centre-halves Toto and Sadler were brilliant;
– When Sadler went off for five minutes, we actually kept the ball in their half.
WP_20180107_14_11_55_Pro (2) Salop shoot against West Ham
Didn’t appreciate until seeing the tv coverage –
– West Ham had played their strongest available team,
– West Ham only had 4 touches in our box;
– we’d booed a West Ham player who’d had a front tooth kicked out
(our scepticism kinda kicked off with Hernandez kneeling at kick-off and then hamming up a knock).


Track 5: “Ceremony”, Joy Division

Something of a surprise that a band attracting national attention was playing at High Hall, a hall of residence at the University of Birmingham – but a very welcome one.
A fan through listening to John Peel, I’d seen them supporting the Buzzcocks six months or so previous.
I’d gone in my usual blue Littlewoods shirt (never one for fashion), and starting swaying to the very first song – “Ceremony“.  You just got into the groove and started dancing.  I’d even hung around towards the back so I’d got space to move.
There was a bit of a commotion when the lead singer appeared to have collapsed but he came back on.
Not long after, Buzzcocks did a BBC Radio 1 live concert and my mate looked at each other slightly confused when Pete Shelley said “this one’s for Ian Curtis who died last night”.
It wasn’t until almost a week later that an NME poster made it clear to us that he was the Joy Division lead singer.  And it’s kinda how we were – you liked the music, and didn’t worry about the individuals artists; against strut. But once we knew who he was – horrible shock.
This was to be the celebrity death that had the most impact on me, and of course the story has become very well known with 2 movies (a lot of “Control” was filmed in Nottingham and Mapperley Hills) and lots of documentaries, and even one of a series of 4 posters celebrating the event – the actual poster for the night got the date wrong and black biro was used to fill in the errant number “2”.


The recording of the concert was to be the second half of a double album of collected songs, despite one of the mikes not recording the first part of the vocals of “Ceremony” at a proper level.  (I was there, but I can’t hear myself …)
Even so, it’s my favourite version, of my favourite Joy Division song.

Track 5: “Ceremony”, Joy Division, from Still album, live recording from May 2nd, 1980 at Birmingham University.

Previous track – “Making plans for Nigel”, XTC.

Track 4: “Making Plans for Nigel”, XTC

The first gig at university, and that surprise that people thought it was so important to shout out the names of those favourite tracks, in case the band didn’t play them.
The concert hall at the Guild of Students was a nice size, and it was a pleasure to see XTC, part of the new wave, were the first headline act I was gonna see.

“Making Plans for Nigel”, XTC seemed profound then, but perhaps less so now, especially since we’ve lost British Steel, and the confidence we had to really run the country.
The song has many hooks, and the first of them is the drums. So distinctive.
And the song has cropped up in the most surprising of places.
In the crumbling streets of Havana, Cuba, we’d found a decent restaurant, save for the 2 men and a woman touring the tables singing a song at each – and expecting a tip.  And we so didn’t want to stop and listen to “Guantanamera” being sung for us, but we were the last table and the meal was a tad compromised cos we knew they were gonna reach us and we were gonna say No.  We said No, and then felt guilty as they graciously accepted our decline and moved away to the ’50s juke box, where they dropped a big old Cuban coin in the machine and those drums came out, moe powerful and engaging than ever before.

Track 3: “You’re Wondering Now”, The Specials

Again at a Salop home game, and a mate explains to me how ska was being re-worked as “The Prince” comes over the tannoy, and you’re getting ready for university, and after all the music the West Midlands has had (Slade, Black Sabbath, er, Judas Priest, ELO) it seemed yet another vindication for choosing Birmingham University.
And yeah, the region comes up with UB40, Selector and The Specials.

Yet as outside the mainstream as it sounded then, it an’t now – BBC tv’s “Death in Paradise” has even embraced “Wondering Now” made popular by The Specials.
I particularly like the Colchester Institute live performance “You’re wondering now”, Specials, broadcast by the BBC.
Can’t see it on radio, but the fashion, dancing and the performance is great, if let down by the “alright”s at the end.

Trains and planes and satellite pictures

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Loads of scenes with trains and railway lines – much better then “T2:Trainspotting“.
So this film couldn’t miss.
Lion” is at its best when showing action and landscapes; dialogue – not so good – a soap opera style of misunderstanding, whilst some of the lines are swallowed.
Despite it being based on a true story, I was sceptical.  A child being lost in the ’80s and not found?  The film explains it all, including just how many children are lost in India.