Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Britain Decides 2010: Trouble in Mind...

The polls open in less than six weeks and the odd, nervy, queasily fractious tone of our politics persists. I have read clever men in both the left/liberal and centre-right press saying this is an election that both main parties deserve to lose... Well, my vote is already in the bank, so to speak, but if I did need electronic help in my decision then I might take John Rentoul's steer toward the diverting game of VoteMatch.
Meanwhile Anatole Kaletsky said a few things with which I agreed in today's Times:
As Tory leaders become increasingly desperate and fill the airwaves with exaggerated denunciations of public debt, combined with hand-on-heart vows to protect every spending programme they mention and firm commitments to reduce taxes, what will voters conclude? That the Tories are Janus-faced on the most important issue facing the nation — the need to set responsible priorities for debt reduction through tax increases and spending cuts. And being two-faced translates into untrustworthy and contemptuous of the voters’ intelligence... The Tories want to present themselves as potential saviours for a nation that, under Mr Brown’s leadership, has suffered the economic equivalent of Dunkirk. But if they genuinely believe that Britain has suffered 13 years of shocking economic mismanagement since 1997, that reducing debt is an overriding moral obligation and that the country is now on the brink of bankruptcy, then Dunkirk-style sacrifices must be demanded. In that case — which might be described as the Greek scenario — the Tories are grossly irresponsible to promise tax cuts or protect spending programmes such as the NHS, not to mention foreign aid, bus passes and winter fuel payments...

Fenham Eusebio: Incredible Hulk?

Listening to this affable, decent, thoroughly professional, dishwater-dull post-match interview with NUFC’s top homegrown striker… whey, it could be wor Alan Shearer talking, back in his prime. But no, it’s Shola Ameobi, restored to the side after a frustrating break for injury, and back where he left off, scoring goals for fun in Division 2.
Is Shola about to get another shot at being a top-flight striker, a Toon #9 even? He seems to have held off the challenge of young Nile Ranger, very much a bench-warmer of late, sad to say; also that of Leon Best, who was bought as Shola-cover just as 'Marlene' Harewood was borrowed, and now seems to be struggling to get in the squad. Well, as Shola points out, there’s team spirit about NUFC these days, of a sort not seen since the Robson years. (When Souness was boss Shola was at times deployed on the left-wing, to little effect i.e. the occasional prolonged, gangling, aimless dribble.) The forging of a good team means competition for places, and exclusion. You need to earn your place, and in Shola, Carroll and Lovenkrands NUFC have had three proper notching strikers this season. Next season? Hmm. Even Wolves, as pundit Shearer pointed out recently, could score for fun when in the Fizzy Pop League…

A final Shola/Shearer point: it looks to me like Ameobi has used his convalescence to hit the weight-pile. His upper body has, to my eye, a newly rock-like aspect, reminiscent of how Shearer came back from his ankle break c.1998, shorter of pace but strategically self-reinvented as a serious tough nut. Some might say that with Carroll we have our bruising/eye-watering striker already in place, nee further applications, thanks. But aggression was a quality Shola always needed more of, and a bit more muscle will help with that.

Monday, 29 March 2010

First Bookhugger column: Gothic - The Beast That Will Not Die

As 'promised' last week, my first Bookhugger column is now posted up here and trailered like so:
The Richard T. Kelly Column: Gothic, The Beast That Will Not Die
For the first of his exclusive monthly columns for Bookhugger, novelist and screenwriter Richard T. Kelly explores the enduring popularity of the Gothic in literature and film – from Bram Stoker to Stephanie Meyer.
May you find something of interest therein...