Friday, 28 March 2008

Top 5 Footballers who smoked

A topic prompted by a discussion with fellow Fulham F.C. blogger Rich who writes the very excellent Craven Cottage Newsround. I was surprised at some of the names that popped up when I started to investigate this and, whilst a lifetime non-smoker myself, feel the players that made my eventual list would make a pretty decent five-a-side team.

1. Socrates - Brazil's bearded midfielder and one time captain made a fairly big impression on me as a teenager watching the '82 World Cup. An elegant midfielder, who had great vision and was genuinely two-footed, he didn't make his international debut until he was 25 but still managed 60 caps and 22 goals for his country. He has a doctorate in medicine and worked on a masters thesis that proposed football be reduced to nine-a-side in a bid to increase skill levels. He also managed to turn out for Northern Counties League side Garforth Town at 50 back in 2004. This quote from the BBC seems to sum him up fairly well "The chain-smoking former Brazil captain, a member of the Workers' Party and founder member of the movement Corinthians Democracy, became a leading figure in the push for political reforms in his home nation and is widely regarded as one of the most influential civilians to challenge, and ultimately end, the country's dictatorship".

2. Zinedine Zidane - Undoubtedly one of the greatest footballers of the last ten years, as with so many greatly talented footballers "Zizou" was a bit of an enigma. I took a while to really appreciate how good he was, with my glimpses limited pretty much to World Cups and occasional European games. My admiration for him rose somewhat when he was shown briefly vomiting prior to dispatching a penalty against England in the Euro 2004 group match. In 2002 he was selected to front a campaign against smoking, which probably went some way to explaining the outrage caused when a press photographer captured him having a crafty fag before the 2006 World Cup semi-final against Portugal.

3. Dino Zoff - One of the all time great goalkeeper's smoking didn't seem to affect the length of his career. Dino played at four World Cups and was 40 when he captained the Italian side that won the competition in 1982. Our own David James recently outed himself as a smoker and is currently staking a fairly good claim to be England's number one 'keeper at a very similar age.

4. Osvaldo Ardiles - When Ossie and Ricky Villa arrived at Tottenham following their countries triumph at the '78 World Cup they caused a huge stir. At the time there were very few foreign players in the English league and it was very exciting to see two World Cup winners turning out regularly. Glenn Hoddle, then England manager, defended Paul Gasgoigne (who was also famously unmasked as smoker just prior to the World Cup in 1998) saying "Paul's been smoking since he was in Rome with Lazio, six or seven years. If I tried to stop him for three weeks now, it might have an adverse effect. Ossie Ardiles was on 40-a-day when he won the World Cup with Argentina. It didn't bother Ossie and it doesn't bother me".

5. Sylvain Legwinski - Well I couldn't compile a Top 5 without including a Fulham player. Legwinski arrived during the Tigana era that was synonymous with fitness, good eating and professional athletes. Tigana had managed Legwinski at AS Monaco previously so clearly had no concerns about his habit. Leggy was something of a cult hero amongst Fulham supporters. His passion and work rate made him one of the hardest working players in the side and helped enable the flair players in the side to work their magic. He eventually fell out of favour with subsequent manager Chris Coleman, and there were suggestions that his smoking was at the root of this, however Sylvain eventually moved on to Ipswich Town where he won the Supporter's and Manager's Player of the Year Award for the 2006/07 and became the only Ipswich player to have scored in all the games against East Anglian opposition (Norwich City, Colchester United and Southend United) during one season.


Monday, 24 March 2008

Top 5 Albums (update)

This will be the first Top 5 I've felt the need to update. It's been something of a Sonics-mania weekend for me and the fact that their debut album "Here Are The Sonics" wasn't in my top 5 albums had been nagging at me for quite a few days. Not a duff track in sight and five or six absolute classics. REM drop out from my original Top 5 Albums but the rest hold on to their places.

1. "Surfer Rosa" - Pixies

2. "Ramones" - Ramones

3. "Here Are The Sonics" - The Sonics

4. "Nevermind" - Nirvana

5. "The Undertones" - The Undertones


Sunday, 23 March 2008

Top 5 versions of "Have Love Will Travel"

An Easter Bank Holiday special in celebration of seeing The Sonics live on Friday night. "Have Love Will Travel" is fast becoming one of my all-time favourite songs. It probably goes without saying that from my point of view The Sonics recorded the definitive and greatest version, a point emphasised by the fact that at least two other entries in my Top 5 are fairly straight copies of The Sonics interpretation. I was struggling to find five versions I really liked but for now this'll do.

1. The Sonics

2. The Black Keys

3. Thee Headcoatees

4. Richard Berry & The Pharoahs

5. Stiv Bators


Top 5 versions of "Louie Louie"

Second part of the Bank Holiday special, and this song's an institution on its own. The Sonics version is once again my favourite though I've still got a soft spot for the Kingsmen's more famous recording. Poor old Richard Berry's trailing behind his imitators again but he certainly knew how to write a good tune. Anyone who's off to see The Sonics tonight have a bloody good time - it'd be hard not too!

1. The Sonics

2. The Kingsmen

3. Motorhead

4. Paul Revere and the Raiders

5. Richard Berry & the Pharoahs


Thursday, 20 March 2008

Top 5 songs by The Sonics

A bit earlier than normal as it's a Bank Holiday weekend and, more importantly, I'm off to see The Sonics play live at the Forum on Friday night. I was introduced to The Sonics about 5 years ago and they pretty much turned everything I thought I knew about music on it's head. Formed in the early sixties they were initially an instrumental band until Organist Gerry Roslie began to sing vocals in 1964. Roslie's raw vocals combined with the band's wild distorted music to create a proto-punk vibe. More than ten years before the Ramones or the Sex Pistols, The Sonics were the true originators of a punk rock sound. They were pretty much over by 1968, and apart from a brief reunion gig in 1972 haven't played together for over 35 years. I'm really quite excited about seeing them.

All of my choices come from their 1965 debut album "Here Are The Sonics" (which means I clearly need to re-do my top 5 albums), I did try to squeeze something in from second album "Boom" but these five were just too good to ignore.

1. Strychnine

2. Have Love Will Travel

3. Witch

4. Dirty Robber

5. Psycho


Friday, 14 March 2008

Top 5 Songs about cars and driving

Really quick entry today as it's been a long and at times arduous week.

1. "One Piece At A Time" Johnny Cash - John R plans to build a car by stealing a piece at a time from the Detroit production line and hiding them in his lunch box. One of my favourite Cash songs, it has a great comic conclusion as it takes him a while to get all the parts and he ends up with a "49, '50, '51, '52, '53, '54, '55, '56, '57, '58, '59 automobile. It's a '60, '61, '62, '63, '64, '65, '66, '67, '68, '69, '70 automobile".

2. "Brand New Cadillac" Vince Taylor - Cracking British rock'n'roll song which was covered by the Clash on "London Calling". Despite coming from Isleworth I believe Vince attempted to pass himself off as a US rock'n'roller. It's understandable as a song about a brand new Vauxhall Victor probably wouldn't have had the same impact.

3. "Last Kiss" Pearl Jam - It's been so long since I heard this track I'm not actually sure I'd enjoy it as much as I used to. I liked the sentiments of the lyric. "The screaming tyres, the busting glass" I think you can guess where this song is heading.

4. "No Particular Place To Go" Chuck Berry - This has turned out to be quite a rock'n'roll flavoured top five. Probably my favourite Chuck Berry song and covered by just about everyone. It's the ultimate summer driving song.

5. "Don't Drive My Car" Status Quo - Rick Parfitt's paean to beautiful girls and his (then massive) car collection it's the anti-song to "Baby You Can Drive My Car" by the Beatles.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Top 5 Facial Hair Styles

Being someone who might be kindly described as follicly challenge I tend to make the most of the areas of my face where I can grow hair. As a teenage METAL! fan I attempted to grow my hair long, but never really succeeded. As the years wore on, and the realisation hit that I wasn't just receding a bit at the front but starting to look a bit bald all over, my hair cuts became shorter and shorter. I now enjoy the benefits of home hair clipping (more money to spend down the pub and less difficult conversations with your barber about what you've got planned for the weekend and where you're planning to go on holiday) which leaves me plenty of options for facial hair experimentation. In trying to compile this list I was struggling to find out the proper names of certain styles this website is excellent and the source I tended to favour though wikipedia has this list which is also useful and has a rather amusing diagram of styles from the 1900's.

1. Sideburns - Well trimmed but as elongated as I can manage. Keeping them long is not the easiest task as I usually shave without my glasses on and during the early hours of the morning I'm more than capable of chopping off a little more than I intended on one side. This tends to lead to my sidey's being considerably shorter on Friday than they were on Monday. Ideally I like to fashion a stylishly dashing point (reminiscent of Alexander del Piero, I like to think) but this rarely lasts beyond a Tuesday for the same myopic reason.

2. Circle Beard (Goatee and moustache) - Basically I got a bit fed up shaving and grew a beard. That either itched like bugger or looked a bit Shaggy-like around the cheeks. The circle beard has the benefit of quick and easy shaving without the annoying Shaggy comparisons.

3. Handlebar/Chopper Moustache - Extra kudos for its name. Quite like the idea of trying this but haven't yet had the balls. Also requires a bit more growth around the lip which means I need a particularly slovenly couple of weeks before attempting it.

4. Mutton chops - Classic big sidey's. Had a few attempts at this but never really managed the volume necessary for the full effect.

5. Petite Goatee (Goatee with no 'tache) - Definitely a bit arty-farty. Not sure how good a look a beard is without a 'tache above it and it also means having to shave the upper lip bit.