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Archive for July 2011

Black Is The New Black

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It’s always embarrassing when you turn up at a party and someone is wearing the same dress as you. Especially if you are a man.

Due to a momentary miscommunication my mum and mother-in-law were a credit card swipe from buying outfits in the same colour for my recent wedding. Had the transaction been completed then we obviously would have had no option but to postpone our nuptials until an alternative outfit could be sourced for one of the pair.

A similar sartorial collision is looming at the Rugby World Cup. England have peered into their wardrobe and picked out a little black number to use as their away kit. Which clashes with the home strip of the host nation New Zealand, the All Blacks. Apparently they wear all black as well.

Jonah Lomu has a problem with this. He says it’s disrespectful to New Zealand players. It seems only Kiwis are allowed to wear black. You have been warned all you funeral-goers, Benedictine monks and emos – expect a spear tackle very soon.

Perhaps we can accuse Lomu of being a little dramatic. It’s not as if England are wearing shirts embroidered with the slogan “New Zealand are Rubbish Idiots” and I am as certain as I can be that they are not planning to wear black should they come up against the hosts.

If every national sporting side was so possessive about their chosen colours then we’d have to invent new colours and I can’t think of any off the top of my head. So let’s just agree that England can wear black when necessary and New Zealand whenever they like. They can also do their funny little dance before the game too.

This Is Not A Negative



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No pleasure should be derived from the news that Wales have slithered below the Faroe Islands in the latest FIFA rankings. Absolutely no gratification whatsoever should be gained from the fact that a nation boasting a PFA Player of the Year and its own Premier League club has dropped precipitously below a team representing a volcanic crag in the North Arctic populated exclusively by fisherfolk and guillemots. None.

What is quite amusing however is that this Welsh ignominy was apparently sealed by a punctilious Faroese student (it’s him and the fishermen and the guillemots) called Jakup who spotted an erroneous calculation in the original Fifa listings which had Wales above his motherland.

His sums were corroborated by a Romanian computer programmer. Edgar is his name. Edgar has his own website which works out FIFA rankings and UEFA co-efficients and all sorts of fun stuff. So you don’t have to.

I commend you to pay it a visit. It’s a sexy mathematical cocktail of bewildering statistical permutations and potential seeding information and, and, sprinkled with pithy quotes from the Bible.

You can e-mail Edgar in case you think your FIFA ranking is wrong. I might contact him. Just to say that I like printing boring stuff on the internet too.

This is Jakup. I think.

Written by harrisharrison

July 28, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Detecting Rubbish

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I’ve had my head turned. I wrote a piece for a humorous magazine which requested submissions on the theme of ‘play’. I wrote about the crap metal detector I had as a child. They got back to me to say they “just didn’t find it funny enough” and ‘there aren’t any gags in it”. This is hilarious, not because it isn’t true, but because it’s so blunt. They also remarked that it “was too much like a piece of creative writing” so at least they thought it was creative.

The upshot is that I have a lot of spare words. So I’m giving them to you. My sentences are a non-renewable source and I’m well ecological and green and everything and therefore I’ve decided to recycle them.

Consider the following a unwanted piece of gristle and yourself the dog under the table:


Fun exists in its purest form as a child. As such pleasure-seeking is easier than at any other time in life. Like getting into a box and pretending it’s a Volvo. Searching for a ball in a dark room. Mud. In all its forms. The carefree joy of careering down a flight of stairs head first in a sleeping bag. Simple entertainment unimprovable by new-fangled toy technology. Such as my metal detector.

I can’t recall exactly what it was that fired my enthusiasm for detecting metal. It was long before the Time Team made digging up stuff cool. Perhaps it was that my house was in close proximity to a Roman road, and the promise of disinterring some ancient booty was too enticing to resist. And so I asked my parents for a metal detector for my birthday.

As soon as I unwrapped it I was suspicious. It was smaller than any contraption that I had seen on the television. There were no giant headphones included with it. I assumed that these were essential. It was also assembled with bright orange fittings, clunky appendages that seemed extraneous and made it resemble a Fisher Price object.

My doubts were confirmed upon using it for the first time. A fundamental flaw was revealed: it could only detect metal that you could see. I placed a two pence piece under the rug in the sitting room as a dress rehearsal for later treasure-hunting. Nothing. The carpet was obviously impenetrable to the detector’s powerful glare. This may have proved an impediment when looking for antique hoards buried under centuries of earth.

In its defence the detector was brilliant at finding doorknobs. If you were ever approaching a door and weren’t exactly sure where the doorknob was, then simply move the detector slowly around the frame of the door until a buzzing sound is emitted – and there, you’ve found the knob and are able to pass through the door.

In my desperation I headed to nearby Cambridge and to an antiquarian shop which specialized in peddling spurious historical items to the many tourists in the city. I bought some fake Roman coins. I went back to the Roman road and scattered the coins by the pathway. And then “detected” them. A hollow pleasure.

The metal detector was very quickly put aside. I didn’t even keep the box for my Volvo fantasies. The detector was shoved in a narrow cobwebby crack by the tumble-dryer, left to fester in an open grave. Maybe one day in the far-flung future the detector itself will be discovered by inquisitive archaeologists. Perhaps they will ponder what its use was. Definitely not metal-detecting.

Written by harrisharrison

July 26, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Oh What A Lovely Wall

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It seems that is now illegal to remark on Rahul Dravid‘s qualities as a batsmen without also voicing an additional comment about his good character. Everyone agrees that ‘the Wall’ is indeed a very nice wall. Nasser Hussain went as far to say gushingly that Dravid was a “sensational guy”, perhaps revealing a latent man-crush.

I have once encountered Dravid at close quarters. He was on Oxford St, standing outside Aldo. I can vouch that he appeared very courteous and humble while window-shopping for mid-priced loafers.

I can add Dravid to Shane Warne and Abdul Razzaq to the list of international cricketers that I have seen on Oxford St. It’s a rich seam, particularly when you consider I’ve only come across one footballer in that period. Jan-Aage Fjortoft. In HMV. True story.

I worry about Dravid. He looks a bit spoddy. I can’t help thinking that people might take advantage of his better nature.

We need a wicketkeeper. Rahul, put your pads and gloves on.

We need an opener. Rahul, put your pads and gloves on.

We need a wicketkeeper, and then opener immediately afterwards. Rahul, put your pads and gloves on and then put your other pads and gloves on.

Rahul, make us a brew.

Rahul, go get us some fags and a Toffee Crisp.

And so on.

Bet he makes a nice cup of tea.

Written by harrisharrison

July 25, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Waugh Games

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Crooked cricketers of the world be warned. Steve Waugh is on a crusade to disinfect the game, to rid it of its vermin. And don’t go thinking you can lie to him. He’s got a special machine that will uncover your porkie the second it drops from your mouth.

But I’ve always been led to believe that lie-detection was the shifty associate of mainstream forensic science, a technology only to be trusted when employed in dubious cop movies. If it did work, then the entire judicial system would be reduced to “did you do it?”, “no”, “computer says you’re lying, you’re going down”.

Given his confidence in the efficacy of the polygraph, it may be that Waugh has seen too many of these films. In fact, it doesn’t take a bounding leap of imagination to conceive a scene in which the former Australian captain and his twin have hauled in some snivelling rodent for questioning and are playing out some outrageous ‘good Waugh, bad Waugh’ scenario. Mark attempting to wheedle out information with his persuasive charm. Steve prowling in the background, dabbing at his sweaty lips with his beloved red hankie, waiting to bring MCC justice to bear on the suspect’s fingers with the blade of his bat.

I’d watch it.

Coming to a cinema near you

Written by harrisharrison

July 23, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Selectors Prefer Blondes?

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It is the debate that has split the country in two. The nation has not been this riven since a roundhead first offered a cavalier outside to taste his musket. It’s Blur vs Oasis. Moore vs Connery. Pro-life vs abortion.

The latest hot spud demands that each and everyone of us ask fundamental questions of our own worldview and decide exactly where we stand. Do you prefer brunettes or blondes? State or private education? North or south (Leicestershire)? Burly or willowy? Tall or really tall? Swing or seam?

Yes. It’s the continuing discussion as to whether the England selectors will opt for Tim Bresnan or Stuart Broad for the first test at Lords.

I’d go for Bresnan. The selectors will probably plump for Broad. I don’t know really.


Written by harrisharrison

July 19, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Kelly Osbourne and Shivnarine Chanderpaul

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Welcome to the first and last in a series of sportspeople that resemble celebrity pets. This week’s effort is a cover shot from Cosmopolitan of Kelly Osbourne cuddling something that looks a lot like Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

No, seriously what is it?

I genuinely don’t know what this animal is. Is it a cat? A dog? Or even a tiny bear? Maybe it is just Shivnarine Chanderpaul.


Written by harrisharrison

July 14, 2011 at 6:01 pm

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