Archive for November, 2010

November 30, 2010

>Clegg vs Porter…coming to a town hall near you

>The tuition fees debate just got a bit surreal today. Deputy PM, and Lib Dem Leader, Nick Clegg wrote an open to letter NUS President Aaron Porter politely outlining the absurdity of the NUS’ ‘Right to Recall’ campaign, and explaining why in many ways the coalitions proposals are much better than those of Porter’s beloved New Labour government, and indeed the NUS. In his essay of a response Porter challenges Clegg to a debate on the proposals in a public town hall meeting. Cue the ‘Rocky’ soundtrack.

VN suspects the DPM’s Office laughed with glee at this suggestion. Has Amateur Aaron forgotten the pasting Clegg gave both the then PM and Leader of the Opposition in at least two of the three leaders debates? The fee rise is an indefensible policy, but much of the remainder of the H.E. policy advocated by the coalition is not. That goes without mentioning what the proposals would look like had Clegg not been involved! Clegg would wipe the floor with Amateur Aaron, and perhaps go someway to putting this issue to bed.

The Labour front-NUS must no longer be allowed to dictate the countries political agenda. Clegg should, for once, rise to Amateur Aaron’s bait, and lance this particularly irritating red boil.

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November 30, 2010

>Q&A with Ed Miliband

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Labour Leader Ed Miliband has gone down the ‘Cameron Direct’ route and got involved in a Q&A event, this one hosted by the Kent on Sunday newspaper. Kent is an interesting choice, as it is just the kind of people New Labour could win, and Miliband risks losing.
Not a very inspiring performance, but it was nice to see him advocating his support for AV and for a living wage.  However, Miliband better hope that the coalition does last five years, as it is quite apparent that Labour are a long way away from being fit to mount a bid for Government.
November 30, 2010

>Sports Personality shortlist revealed

>The shortlist for the BBC’s annual Sport’s Personality of the Year Award has been announced. The people competing to succeed last year’s winner Ryan Giggs are:

Mark Cavendish
Tom Daley
Jessica Ennis
David Haye
AP McCoy
Graeme McDowell
Graeme Swann
Phil Taylor
Lee Westwood
Amy Williams

Not a list that is going to raise the roof, but VN is backing Graeme Swann to win, particularly if England are doing well in the Ashes. David Haye should also do well as a reigning world champion.

The award ceremony will take place on the 19th of December, broadcast live on BBC1, Radio 5Live and the BBC website from 7pm. VN will be at the ceremony to bring you some exclusive comment, gossip and pictures!

November 30, 2010

>Panorama should be ashamed

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After enjoying football at it’s best in the shape of Barcelona, VN then witnessed sporting TV at its worst in the form of Panorama. The programme was meant to be a groundbreaking insight into corruption into FIFA, football’s governing body, instead it was cheap journalism that will do nothing but jeopardise England’s fantastic 2018 World Cup bid.

It was quite apparent from very early on that the reporter Andrew Jennings has a longstanding personal vendetta against FIFA. The programme was laden with innuendo, hearsay, and decade old accusations. Documents miraculously appeared, high ranking FIFA delegates were doorstepped, no answers were forthcoming. The programme always claimed that it was about exposing corruption not damaging the bid, yet it tried to discredit claims the England would benefit financial from hosting the tournament.

That is not to dismiss some of the concerns around FIFA, they are manifold both in terms football and finance. However, this programme was embarrassing, created not in the name of free press or investigative journalism, but simply to damage the 2018 bid for the sake of a journalists vendetta. Jennings and Panorama knew they would get attention by producing this programme in the lead up to the vote. They achieved nothing but looking like attention seeking children, and damaging the chance of England hosting a fantastic World Cup.

November 29, 2010

>Review ‘Booky Wook 2 – This time it’s personal’ By Russell Brand

>Russell Brand is someone who, through unashamed editorial bias, tends to get some love on VN. Having thoroughly enjoyed the original Booky Wook, and the show to promote Booky Wook II, VN was excited to get into the book itself.

Booky Wook II starts just as Brand is about to be launched into the celebrity stratosphere thanks to Big Brother’s Big Mouth and BBC 6 Music. The book is typically well written, but at times overly verbose, as if Brand is trying to show just how clever he is. This follow up is also slightly more self indulgent than than the first, talking about a helter-skelter A-list celebrity lifestyle, as opposed to the grit of the first. This change is significant, and similar to what has happened in Brand’s stand up. If you are a close follower of Brand’s work you will also be familiar with some of the stories, many of which appeared on the recent, brilliant, Scandalous DVD. Of course seeing the stories on the written page doesn’t stop them being laugh out loud funny, and Russell Brand’s storytelling is as hysterical on paper as on stage.

This book though comes delivered by a great big Elephant in the form of Sachsgate. As with the aforementioned Scandalous show, the subtitle of the book, ‘This time it’s personal,’ shows that this is another opportunity for Brand to put out his version of events. He succeeds in doing this though without dwelling on the incident, it takes up only one chapter, and without absolving himself of blame, responsibility or guilt. Furthermore, hhis insight into the madness of the British media, particularly the Daily Mail, is very astute, and worth taking on board.

Brand is similarly astute at dissecting the bizarre world of celebrity he know inhabits. He realises its ridiculousness, before  allowing himself and his unashamed ambition to dive headlong into it. He poignantly talks about feeling lonely, and the longing for a partner, despite the frequent exploits with the women he encounters. As a result, his descriptions of now wife Katy Perry at the end are very romantic and quite touching.

Booky Wook II doesn’t make Russell Brand ‘likeable’ in any traditional sense, however he is an engaging writer and deeply honest, which is worth far more. This book probably won’t win over any new fans, but it is well worth a read, and gives a fascinating insight into one of the UKs most naturally gifted performers.

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November 29, 2010

>Weekend’s action creates Premier League history

>All twenty English Premier League sides scored this weekend, a feat that will go down in the history books as it had never been done before. In total, 41 goals were scored across ten games to produce a brilliant advertisement for English football ahead of the week that decides the 2018 World Cup bid.

The goal blitz began at Villa Park on Saturday when Arsenal took on Aston Villa. The Gunners looked in superb form as they took apart a very young Villa side without managing to get the breakthrough. However, a defensive mix up was punished by Arshavin as he showed his class to break the deadlock.  Minutes later Nasri should have made it two as he rounded Friedel, only to hit his effort into the side netting.  However, he redeemed himself moments later with a superb volley from a corner following poor Villa marking.  The Midland outfit were then booed off at half time by their fans, which would have rattled the Villa youngsters.  Nevertheless, the teams emerged from the break with Villa looking the more potent going forward. Ciaran Clark scored a superb half volley from the edge of the box to put Aston Villa back in the contest, only for Chamakh to poke home and extend Arsenal’s lead four minutes later.  Clark then made sure the Villa fans once again had something to get excited about as he headed home his second.  The goal set up a thrilling finish to the game, in which Arsenal made defensive substitutions to try and close it out. With Villa pressing for an equaliser, Arsenal counter attacked to great effect which enabled Wilshere to nod home a fourth and seal the three points for Arsenal.

The win moved Arsenal momentarily to the top of the league with only Manchester United being able to take over them on the day should they overcome what looked like a tricky tie against Blackburn Rovers.  However, any chance of this game being a contest was soon over.  United, who have not been free flowing this season despite being unbeaten, simply swept Blackburn away with some clinical football.  Dimitar Berbatov became the fifth Premier Player to score five times in a game, with Nani and Park getting the others.  Samba scored a consolation for Rovers, but it could have easily been more for United as Robinson did well to prevent Berbatov grabbing a double hat trick.  The Bulgarian’s link up play with Rooney looked telepathic at times, but Rooney’s failure to score yet again may cause concern for United and England fans alike.

Lower down the table West Brom thrashed Everton 4-1 thanks to strikes from Scharner, Brunt, Tchoyi and a Distin own goal.  Tim Cahill had brought Everton back into the game to make it 2-1, but Mikel Arteta saw red to which West Brom took control of the game.  The manner of the defeat will surely hurt David Moyes, who now finds his side only two points above the relegation zone. Fellow relegation candidates Wolves and West Ham both picked up crucial victories.  West Ham beat Wigan Three three goals to one while Wolves came from behind to beat Sunderland.

Elsewhere, there were score draws for Bolton against Blackpool, Birmingham against Fulham, and Stoke against Man City.  Stoke and Bolton both had to rely on injury time equalisers to share the spoils in what was a brilliant day of football.

With the amount of goals scored on Saturday, Sunday had a lot to live up to and it did not disappoint.  Chelsea who have struggled of late continued to show their frailties as a defensive error from Alex’s poor back pass allowed Carroll to race through and put Newcastle into the lead.  A deflected Kalou effort made sure the teams went into the break level, with neither side managing to find a winner in the second half.  Alarm bells may well be ringing for the Chelsea faithful who have now seen their side turn from unbeatables to vulnerables in a matter of weeks.

The last game of the weekend saw Liverpool go to Tottenham.  So far this season Tottenham have struggled in Premier League games when they have played a midweek Champions League game.  However, today they may well have just found a cure to the European hangover.  Skertel gave Liverpool the lead just before the end of a good first half.  However he went from hero to zero as he put through his own goal, after a great run from Modric, to give Tottenham the equaliser.  Prior to the goal, Jermaine Defoe had the chance to bring Spurs level from the penalty spot but sent his effort wide.  Both sides hunted for a winner, but Aaron Lennon stayed more alert than Paul Konchesky and, two minutes into injury time, ran through to beat Reina and send the Tottenham fans home happy once again after a very impressive week.

by Oliver Holmes

November 28, 2010

>Peter Sissons is not fan of Anne Robinson’s work

>In future, newsreader Peter Sissons would probably do well to check whether or not the cameras and microphones are still on before commenting on fellow BBC talent….

November 26, 2010

>Gloria De Piero plays the sacrificial lamb

>Being on the Paddy and Ken show last was never going to be much fun for the Labour lamb sent to the slaughter, but new girl Gloria De Piero faired particularly badly. Like most in the Labour party she has screeching and finger waving down to a tee. Is there a training session of self-righteous anger that runs at Labour conference?

While Ashdown and Clarke brought wit and knowledge to proceedings, De Piero offered nothing by cheap, humourless tirades. Even on Howard Flight, where VN slightly agrees with her, she rendered her point meaningless but saddling up and getting onto her high horse. The rants became so boring and predictable she almost made Nigel Farage seem reasonable. Almost…. You can still watch the Paddy and Ken show on BBC iPlayer.

November 26, 2010

>Albarn’s iPad album could be out ‘before Christmas’

>Having taking an animated band mainstream, Gorrilaz  frontman Damon Albarn has refused to be left behind in the tech stakes, and has recorded the next album on his iPad while on tour. He told the NME that using his new favourite toy had prompted him to record ‘a completely different type of record’, which could be out by Christmas. As far as VN knows, no tracks have escaped the precious portable device yet.  

iPad music seems to be the 21st Centuries version of lo-fi, with a growing scene emerging around making music with portable devices. VN doubts whether the iPad will become a standard part of the studio set up, but it will be interesting to see if an album produced on one is listenable.

November 25, 2010

>Tory Peer Howard Flight warns of the poor ‘breeding’

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Picture via The BBC

Newly appointed Conservative Peer Howard Flight has commented that changes to the welfare system might encourage ‘breeding’ amongst those on benefits. Not surprisingly Downing St. has distanced irself from these delightful remarks but, after Lord Young’s comments just a matter of days ago, it looks like the Cameroons still have a little bit more work to do.

Flight has form though. Michael Howard removed him as a candidate in 2005 after saying the party would make cuts if elected. He has also served as Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party.

Such a shame he hasn’t taken his seat in the Lords yet…flight seems such a reasonable chap….

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