Saturday, June 22, 2019

Another Season, Another Divisive Kit Choice

Here we go again - the new football season approaches, and the new kits are being revealed. My beloved QPR is known for its hoops (NOT stripes), and while there is often debate regarding the thickness of the hoops, and whether or not they all go all the way round, the first team shirt rarely departs from the classic blue and white. So what may be changed in order to force fans and parents to stump up for the latest version? 

The most subtle change is to reverse the order of the hoops. Last season, the badge was white on a blue hoop, and the sponsor on a white hoop (we'll get to the trim in a minute):

This season, they are the other way round:

This little change renders the previous shirt utterly pass̩, and anotherʣ47 (plus more for any names or numbers on the back) must be found. Unless you are a season ticket holder or member, who doesn't mind waiting for a flash sale, or until the end of the season when you may use your "QPR Pounds" at the Club Shop.

Then there is the collar. In the end, I suppose that one is either a crew neck, a V neck or a polo shirt style collar fan. I'm a crew neck kind of person myself.

Finally, the trim. It is usually either more blue/white, or sometimes there is a red element in there. This year, however, INNOVATION! We have "gold". For me, gold is usually suggestive of some kind of great achievement. Certainly, the fans should wear gold in honour of their unfailing loyalty no matter who is manager, owner, chairman or playing (Bosingwa!). Not sure the players have yet earned that right.

Did I say finally? I know last season many people were blown away by the idea of a fuchsia pink away shirt. Some of us hated it, and some of us loved it. I love my pink shirt. I'm wearing it right now as I type. This season, my instinctive response to the aqua blue shirt without a hint of hoop and that gold trim, writing, badge and number is, che schifo! (Italian for YUCK!) I'm not sure if it is the shirt I would wear when invited for drinks on your yacht, or if it is the shirt that your crew would be wearing as they served my drink. It doesn't feel like a professional footballers' shirt. It doesn't feel like a QPR shirt. I'm hoping that the photo doesn't show that at least there is some kind of inferred hoop or two somewhere.

Meanwhile, the club has stated that if there is a clash with the aqua, the old pink kit will be the third one. Otherwise, for 2020 Errea have recycled it with our friends in the North.

Why so sad, Grimsby man? 
Whatever, of course, it is, now & always, COYRS & RTID!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

RIP Franco Zeffirelli (The Bar Mitzvah Story)

Listening to and reading the myriad obituaries here in Italy and around the world for the director Franco Zeffirelli, I'm glad to see that many of them refer to "Jesus of Nazareth" (1977) as one of his best works. This is because both my parents were part of that production. My mother, Evelyn, was part of the post-production voice talent. My father, Albert, was invited to the film set to train the young actor playing a teenage Jesus for a scene in which he would become Bar Mitzvah. This became one of our favourite stories to tell:

After first informing Signor Zeffirelli that the ceremony of becoming Bar Mitzvah only originated in the Middle Ages, and upon hearing that the scene would still be filmed, Albert set about his task, i.e., to teach a young Italian boy to say the blessings required for reading Torah. The moment came to shoot this particular scene, and Albert stood nearby as the student began his recitation of the ancient Hebrew words. The boy stumbled, and the director shouted, "CUT!" He turned furiously towards the rabbi. "But, Franco," Albert said, "every Jewish boy makes a mistake on the day of his Bar Mitzvah." "Not," replied Zeffirelli, "NOT when he is the son of God!"

Jesus of Nazareth (Wiki)
BBC online obit
Corriere della Sera obit
the Guardian obit
Independent obit
New York Times obit
La Repubblica obit
La Stampa obit
The Times obit
Washington Post obit

Tuesday, May 21, 2019


Sara the Cat wanted some attention yesterday, so she walked all over the laptop keyboard until she got it. Afterwards, I discovered that she had managed to type an e-mail full of gobbledegook, which almost got sent. I turned to remonstrate with her, and this is the look she gave me. Sigh.

NB what is the difference between gobbledegook and mumbo-jumbo anyway?

Monday, May 20, 2019

Rainbow Trullo

Our visit to Puglia was a tad damp, but we did get to see 3 rainbows in 2 days, and spent our first nights in a trullo.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Wayne's World Redux

Wayne Hennessey is a footballer. He was born in Bangor, Wales, and is 32 years old. He plays in goal, and has had a reasonably successful career, including 82 caps for his country. In January 2019, the above photo was posted on Instagram by one of his team-mates, Max Meyer. Max was born in Germany. To some people, Hennessey's pose in the photo might look like he was making a Nazi salute. A complaint was made and was followed by an investigation. 

Hennessey denied making a Nazi salute. According to the BBC, he said he "waved and shouted at the person taking the picture to get on with it" and "put my hand over my mouth to make the sound carry". Hennessey also submitted photos to the investigation that showed him making similar gestures during matches to attract the attention of his team-mates.

The charge was found "not proven."

Ok, whatever. Maybe they did not feel that they had enough evidence for a reprimand or punishment. The thing that I find so unpalatable is that Hennessey claimed that he had no idea what a Nazi salute was. WTF?! The panel stated, " ...when cross-examined about this Mr Hennessey displayed a very considerable - one might even say lamentable - degree of ignorance about anything to do with Hitler, Fascism and the Nazi regime."

Am I being ridiculous when I question how that could possibly be at all possible? As the Guardian wrote:

"In a development that gives hope to everyone who wishes to exist for more than three decades in a state of child-like innocence, it emerged that Mr Hennessey succeeded in becoming a fully-formed adult without becoming acquainted with the most basic details of the life and times of some moustachioed character called Adolf Hitler and his band, the Nazis. "Don't mention the war" is an instruction that appears to have been followed to a tee by everyone Mr Hennessey has ever met in his whole life."

Hopefully, at the very least, the court of public opinion will persuade Mr Hennessey to fill in this particular gap in his knowledge. Meanwhile, how many more people like him might there be out there?

BBC report
The Guardian's Fiver comment
David Squires cartoon

Friday, August 10, 2018

Moving On 2 - Last Suppers

So you have successfully cleared your cupboards and your fridge, donating as much as possible, and trying not to imagine how many families would be fed for a week by the 3/4-filled jar of red lentils you just poured into the bin. You're leaving in less than 48 hours, and do not have time to find someone to take 2 half-used packets of Basmati rice, a jar of Mrs Elswood sweet sliced pickles and a bottle of Paul Newman's honey-mustard salad dressing. It is nearly 3 pm, and you have to eat something. Time to go to the supermarket (and deposit the unopened food items with ok sell-by dates in their donation bin).

Here's the thing - what may a vegetarian without a working oven, or any pots or pans, or dishes or plates, and who packed the kettle already - what might such a person bring home for lunch and dinner?

And don't forget the lack of cutlery, or drinking utensils.

I came home with some Tyrrell's sweet chilli crisps (only £1), a plastic pot of tomato and wheatberry soup, an innocent strawberry smoothie, a roll of tall bin bags, a few avocado sushi and - the piece de resistance - vegetarian spring rolls!

Note to self:  there were no sachets of sauce included - WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? Well, possibly that the sweet chilli crisps would ameliorate both the lack of sweet chilli sauce and the crunchiness of a fresh spring roll. You were wrong.

Another note to self:  Modenese-Chinese fusion is not well-represented by using precious artisanal balsamico as a substitute for soy sauce.

I weep for my carbon footprint today. Now, back to the final phase of packing - the suitcases!

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Moving On 1

Some boxes in the garage

Boxes. Cardboard boxes. Cardboard boxes with all the flaps still present, rather than ripped off in haste by whoever had to stock the shelves. I decided to go with wine boxes, the ones that held 6 bottles. I figured that even when they were stuffed with the heaviest books, if necessary I would still be able to carry them.

The guys in the Majestic Wine shop keep a wall of empty boxes ten or so high to use instead of shopping bags for customers. When the wall was at least 6 boxes high, once a day they would let me take as many as I could carry. That would be 7. After a few days of this, someone asked me if I actually even liked wine. I explained that I am kind of allergic to alcohol (true - albeit mildly. It makes me feel like fire ants are crawling across my scalp. The ants are ambling, rather than fighting. Still, it's not very pleasant. The same thing happens to me with chilli).  I didn't mention that I mostly drink Palwins Number 10. Say no more. It took me several days to dare to ask the grumpy one if I could use one of their shopping trolleys instead of my hands. 

Actually, people can be so lovely. As I tried to push a laden supermarket trolley of vari-sized boxes over the cattle grid leading to the main road, the security guard forbade me. "The trolleys do not leave the car park!" After explaining my situation, promising to return it within 30 minutes and a bit of a chat to find out more about him, M. let me go. Upon my return, S. in the wine & beer section said if I came back the next day, he'd flatten and save me a few more. Over the next 3 days I got c. 75 boxes from this lovely man. And, as I plodded up and down Ballards Lane, trying to control a trolley that clearly had vertigo, various people offered me more containers, or names of people to ask for in other supermarkets. And all this during the worst of the heatwave. So so kind. Nu, I made sure to call the manager to name-check the guys who were so helpful, although I did not give details in case M. got into trouble for letting a trolley out of bounds!

The best part? Instead of the companies paying money to destroy these boxes, we were recycling. Evviva! 

So, for two weeks I was obsessed with boxes. And packing tape (the cheap kind doesn't stay stuck in the heat). And freebie newspapers with which to wrap, and stuff crevices (one day in the far future I shall unwrap a Rosenthal soup tureen and wonder who on earth Clare Balding was). So far I have packed 170+ boxes. Who knew that somebody like me would have so many books? & photographs? slides... -ves ... papers ... STUFF.

Shabbat is nearly here. Cannot wait for a bit of a rest.