29 August 2005

Newcastle 0 - 2 Man United

As always, it was a tough match at St James'. Newcastle played very well in the first half and made it very difficult. It was good to see United stand up to the bully-boy tactics and just get on with playing despite getting kicked from pillar to post all over the place.

Where would we be without Wayne Rooney? This is the second time in three games that he's been the difference for us and whenever he gets the ball I start getting that odd buzzing feeling in my bones I used to get when Eric Cantona played. The first goal showed he can be a sniffer as he capitalised on Boumsong's mistake but the second was fantastic. It was the ninetieth minute of the match and he still managed to dreg up the last bits of energy to defend in the right-back position, win the ball, beat his man, sprint down the pitch and send a gorgeous pass to van Nistlelrooy to score. It was phenomenal.

Rooney and Ruud have put the hairs on the back of my neck up. I hope they stay there.

28 August 2005

What have I done?

Last summer my holiday reading was Vikram Seth's brilliant A Suitable Boy. Right now I am reading a book called Learning the Law. The ideas are interesting but it's a bit dry because I don't think lawyers are trained to write eloquently.

Maybe I will change that by knocking out my first contract in rhyming couplets. Something like:

We will sell you some of our honey
And you agree to pay us some money.
And if you don't, in short,
We'll see you in court.

Maybe if I do that, it will also be my last contract.

27 August 2005

Niall Quinn's Disco Pants

Football fans can be very witty at times. I've just heard the best chant ever and I can't get it out of my head. This is by Manchester City fans on their ex-player Niall Quinn (to the tune of Here We Go):

Niall Quinn's disco pants are the best,
They go up from his arse to his chest,
They are better than Adam and The Ants,
Nial Quinn's disco pants.

Niall Quinn and his disco pants

Jakarta, Bali and Surabaya

So one day in April, right, I’m having lunch with Vid and Fel and we joke about how cool it would be to go on holiday to Bali with everybody. Four months on and we’ve done it. We went to Bali. Seventeen of us. For three days. Some people even threw Jakarta, Surabaya and Makassar in to their holiday mix as well. It was an amazing week and here’s what I will remember the most about it:

Shopping in ITC: There’s not a lot in Jakarta to show people but Vid, Fel and I decided to take everyone to ITC in Mangga Dua to buy cheap (and therefore probably stolen) goods. Chris and Shifu stopped at every fake DVD stall we passed and bought enough to set up their own shop. We wish them all the best at Customs.

Shifu taking liberties at Fel’s house: Shifu made himself at home by walking around Fel’s house in his boxers in the morning. This is not surprising from the guy whose regular pick-up line is “Are you alone?”

Raman and the turtle sate: Our tour guide Raman told us that Balinese men eat turtle sate on their wedding night to prepare them for...erm…action. But before the boys went out in search of this mystical delicacy he warned us that he over did it on his wedding night by eating 15 sates, giving himself a stomach ache thus rendering himself incapacitated and getting a first telling off from an unhappy Mrs Raman.

Being banned from tanning: I told Shiling I didn’t have a six-pack so she banned me from taking my shirt off at the beach. At first I thought she was joking but when I took it off at the water sports centre she ran towards me wagging her finger saying “No no!” Just in case I wasn’t surprised enough, she whipped out her camera and took a picture of my belly.

The monkey stealing Gary’s glasses: At the monkey forest one of the cheeky little things hiked up on to Gary’s shoulder, nicked his glasses and legged it up the tree with them. Luckily, one of the guide ladies remembered that I had bought strawberries to feed them so she grabbed some from my bag, tempted the monkey down with them and stole the glasses back.

“SI-O-LENCE!”: Our midnight dip in the hotel pool was stopped by a nutter European annoyed by the noise we were making. He threw his chair at us from the third floor balcony, smashing it to bits on poolside. The security guard came, had a little chuckle and told us to go and make noise in the other pool instead. The guy probably wanted some silence so he could sleep but I bet he didn’t get a wink that night from the guilt he must have felt afterwards.

Polar bear
: If you don’t know it, ‘polar bear’ is a bit like ‘mafia’, which is a bit like ‘murderers’, which is a bit like ‘cluedo’…well, maybe not but it’s a fun and addictive game anyway. We played until 4am for two nights in a row. I’ve never known a sitting room game to get people so worked up. In the heat of one particular moment, Hong Choy jumped up on his chair and pointed at Chris and I while screaming at everyone that we had to be the polar bears. He was right about me – I was polar bear with Gary but we went on to win the game anyway. This was partly because his assertion later that Gary was polar bear was based merely on the fact that Gary “looks like a polar bear”. It was hilarious.

Being offered drugs on Kuta: Do I look like a druggy? I got offered marijuana and mushrooms four times on the beach. Four times! I got used to it by the last time so when the last bloke came up to me and Fel and whispered “Marijuana?” I just told him “Sorry mate, I’m not selling”.

Football at sunset on the beach: We claimed part of Kuta
beach for our selves and had a game right by the sea. The sideline was the tide. The girls got bored and did their usual thing of jumping up for the camera while the game was still going. The moment was made memorable by the gorgeous sunset. I must admit that I felt very moved by the beauty of the setting…which is probably why we lost the game.

Karaoke in Surabaya: The difference between karaoke with girls and karaoke with guys is that girls like to hear a technical brilliance in your voice and enjoy the music. Guys just like to make noise. Guys outnumbered girls 6:3 in Surabaya so we just made noise. Having said that, Fel and Kian Hui have awesome voices. They sang the slow songs very well. Chris and I shocked the girls with our rendition of ‘Sexual Healing’ but the best moment was everyone singing and dancing to ‘YMCA’. Thanks to Yus and Yudi for taking us (although it did worry me that you had the Karaoke place’s number on speed dial).

Thank you everybody for a fantastic trip. I won’t ever forget it. Thank you especially to Yus for being so hospitable in Surabaya and giving us a good time.

However, I want to give the mother of all thank yous to Vid and Fel who worked so hard to get us to Bali and made the dream come true. Also for having us in their houses. You girls are the best.

25 August 2005

Soon soon

Sorry all for not blogging about Bali yet. I've spent the last three days trying to put the story together in film so haven't really thought about it in words yet. Editing is fun but tear-jerkingly annoying at the same time. You have to be so anal - It has taken me about eighteen hours worth of work to put together nine minutes of film.

For now I leave you with a photo of Chris and a nice chap I met in Surabaya called Darwin. He has a black t-shirt just like mine.

Check out Shiling's blog for her account of the trip, more pics and a whole lot of pink.

23 August 2005

Tired little polar bears

I think we've given a new, better meaning to the phrase 'late nights and early mornings'. The trip to Bali and Surabaya was so fun and we made the most of it by playing around very late in to the night (killing polar bears, swimming, getting chairs thrown at us and karaokeing) and getting up quite early to enjoy the days (but still being late for Raman). As a result, I am totally knackered. I've just weighed myself and I am two kilos lighter than before we left. How that happened despite all the food we ate I don't know but when I'm more awake I will write about the trip and start work on the video.

For now, thank you everyone for a great time and I hope you all got home safely.

15 August 2005


The boys at Lonely Planet certainly know how to sell a place. While looking for things to show everyone when they come to Jakarta today I stumbled across LP's invitation for us to "consider Jakarta the 'big durian' - the foul-smelling exotic fruit that some can't stomach and others can't resist".

This was the first but sadly not last strange metaphor that they made in their guide. Despite my objections to my home city being called a 'foul-smelling exotic fruit', I can at least see what they mean. This, however, is not the case with their description of our National Monument, the Monas (not a fancy name, just the merging together of the words Monumen Nasional). The Monas is, apparently, "a phallic symbol" of Indonesia's might. You what?

Firstly, Indonesia has very little might these days. Secondly, Monas is not phallic man! It's just a big tower with a chunk of heavy gold on the top. Sometimes you project your own imagination on to the world and, well, LP seem to have some imagination. When I spoke to Vid about our plans I told her about what I'd read. She'd never heard the word phallic before and I was loath to explain to her what it meant. We're taking everyone there anyway so they can have a look, take pictures and show their parents and friends that they've stood beneath Asia's largest willy.

You dirty dirty boy...

14 August 2005

It's back!

Spread the news and let the world rejoice. But blow no trumpets for my return to blogging. Instead, give it loudy for the return of the football season. Woohoo! I was already experiencing some withdrawal symptoms (ask Jen, whose offer of a kickabout I turned down in favour of a trip to the Bullring) so it's lucky the season's begun again.

And what a start it was for Manchester United. We won 2-0 at Everton yesterday and played like a team who could seriously challenge for the title again. Did you expect any less? Park Ji Sung looked good on his debut, as did Edwin van der Sar in net. Talking about pies, the biggest thing to come out of yesterday was how important a player Wayne Rooney is going to be for us this season. He was immense just behind van Nistelrooy in attack. Everything good about United's attacks stemmed through him be it through his fast running or imaginative and accurate passing. I'll give him my pie anyday.

Last week I went to the start of the Championship at the Madejski Stadium to see the mighty Reading vs Plymouth Argyle. Plymouth painfully won 2-1 in the last minute so we'll not talk about the game.

However, the day did give me an idea of an alternative career. If all goes to pot at law school, I'm going to try my hand at being a football mascot. How cool a job would that be? You get to dance around the pitch like an idiot and hug the players when they score and no one knows who you are cos you're dressed as an over-sized cuddly toy. Yet another thing to consider over the next glorious nine months of the English football season.

If anyone else is considering going in to mascotdom, check out http://www.sports-mascots.co.uk/ . South End United's mascot Sammy the Shrimp is now officially my favourite shrimp in the world.