The Rambles of Neil Monnery

Another pointless voice in the vast ocean that is the interweb

I deleted my birthday from Facebook to see who actually knew my birthday…

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So yesterday I turned 31. A case for much joy and celebration (I had a microwave meal for dinner and fell asleep in the afternoon for the second day running whilst watching the closing minutes of that days stage of the Tour de France – damnit) so as you can see, I really lived it up.

Anyway about ten days ago I decided to remove my birthday from Facebook as an experiment. Every year 40-50 people, many of whom who don’t speak to me at any other point in the calendar year, will wish me a happy birthday, prompted by Facebook. So I wondered who would know without that prompt.

Usually I’ll wake up to a few messages but only my mum had posted on my Timeline. This continued throughout the working day although one of my best friends from school had sent me a text along with messages from both my sisters. I thought this would be it but then just after five o’clock I got a happy birthday message from someone whom I solely know via the internet. This means in all likelihood that this fabulous young lady actually had my birthday written down somewhere (bizarrely enough she is one of the handful of people’s whose birthday I actually know off hand. I think she is the only person whose I know who I’ve never met). This followed by another of my best friends from school leaving a message on my Facebook wall meant it started coming up in people’s feeds and they had a prompt and ten or so more happy birthday messages came.

I did this essentially to write a blog post to see how much we all rely on Facebook for something like knowing whose birthday is when. I’m as guilty of it as most. I know most of my school friends birthdays from memory (and the important landline numbers still) but go beyond my school friends then there are very few I know. Facebook has become essential to most people for knowing when there is a birthday.

Also I used to find it strange (still do) that people whom I’ve not conversed with since school will wish me a happy birthday if prompted to by Facebook. I only say happy birthday to those with whom I actually speak with from time to time yet some people feel compelled to say it to everyone if prompted to by Facebook, I’ve got to admit I just don’t get this. I know many of us are Facebook friends with many people we haven’t seen since school but I’ve found many of these people who have wished me happy birthday in the past on Facebook wouldn’t have done so at school when I saw them everyday!

Facebook at times is a bizarre service. I got a couple of messages last night asking if it was my birthday as I had posts on my wall saying happy birthday but Facebook didn’t say it was my birthday and they didn’t know who to believe. That is where we’ve got to boys and girls. I think that says a lot.

So anyway, I’m now 31, things are the same as when I was 30. My sister still thinks I look like a young Novak Djokovic (despite being older than he is) and the only person with whom I spoke face to face yesterday was one of my neighbours to tell her that the paint job on my balcony was fine and she could sign off mine as completed. That sums up my world pretty well. This is the fifth birthday I’ve ‘celebrated’ in this apartment and it is probably the last. Where I’ll resurface next in still very much up in the air but this 32nd year might not be exciting but it might very well be extremely significant in shaping the rest of my life as I look to move from a tenant to an owner. Scary times indeed.

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Written by neilmonnery

July 11th, 2014 at 8:35 am

Posted in Random Stuff

Andrew Strauss calls Kevin Pietersen a c*** on live TV but keeps his job – what bull

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Oh an open microphone. Broadcasting is a strange beast. I have dabbled as many will know and whilst many may have sympathy for Andrew Strauss following events yesterday. I do not. For the record I am no big fan of Strauss but nor am I a big fan of KP. I don’t really have a horse in this race.

For those who don’t know what happened then here is the article from the Independent – Andrew Strauss ‘mortified’ and ‘profusely sorry’ after he calls Kevin Pietersen a ‘c**t’ live on air. The former England captain thought he was off air (Sky were on an ad break) but in fact they were still live in other parts of the world and decided it was a good time to call Kevin Pietersen the c-word whilst his microphone was on.

Sky quickly made an apology, tweeting the following, Earlier comments were made during a break of play which were heard overseas. We apologise for the language used and Strauss followed suit by stating I apologise unreservedly, particularly to Kevin Pietersen. I am mortified and profusely sorry.

Sources seem to suggest that this will be the end of the matter but that just rings hollow to me. I have been a staunch admirer of Sky’s cricket coverage for many many years. I genuinely think their team is the best in the sport and might well be the best in any sport I watch. They hired Andrew Strauss specifically because they wanted him, fresh out of the sport after his issues with Kevin Pietersen, to essentially give a good insight into the inner workings of the England dressing room. Sadly for them, all he’s done is not comment or criticise because he’s still mates with except everyone bar Kevin Pietersen, who he’s been happy to tear apart, this is unprofessional and poor broadcasting but it is still not an open personal attack, which now he has done.

If Sky really believed in their brand and product then they would fire him on the spot. In all fairness the fact they extended his original contract (which covered the two Ashes series last year according to reports at the time) seems highly questionable. His broadcasting talents are well below the standards of his fellow top tier of Sky cricket commentators. Strauss can’t hold a candle to the likes of Atherton, Holding, Bumble, Hussain, Warne, Gower and yes even Botham and his constant grumpiness that he’s watching cricket and not fishing. Strauss adds nothing to the team but yet he seems to be being molded for big things by the corporation.

He should be gone and even if they chose not to fire him, he should be taken out of the spotlight of their Test team sooner rather than later. The first test against India starts on Wednesday and if Strauss is involved then we’ll know what Sky think is more important, keeping Strauss happy or allowing personal vitriolic attacks on people. Andrew Strauss is perfectly entitled to his opinion on KP but he is not sitting around watching the game on his sofa with his mates, he’s being paid a good amount of money by a big company to professional broadcast.

If Sky won’t remove Strauss from the firing line then he should do it himself. Ask to be stepped down or offer his resignation. I doubt he’ll do either but Andrew Strauss has never come across as a man high on principles anyway. Many many people have been involved in many many broadcasts and knowing what you can and can’t say isn’t exactly rocket science. If there is a chance your microphone is on then it is best not to say anything that can get you into trouble. Strauss fell foul of this and because of what he said and who he said it about (given their history) then his position would seem to me to be untenable but Sky have a history of backing their people beyond where they should so come Wednesday I fully expect to see the previous England captain on my screen and it will push me further towards TMS even though I’d be loathed to not listen to Michael Atherton or Michael Holding, who are supreme.

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Written by neilmonnery

July 6th, 2014 at 9:30 am

Posted in Other Sport

Tagged with ,

What is Cllr. Flewitt’s end game?

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This morning (well this afternoon really…I would pretend that I was all up early and reading the blogosphere but that really isn’t my style) so anyway, this afternoon I read that Labour’s new young mouthpiece in Southend had composed a blog post entitled MARK FLEWITT, LAPDOG TO ATTACK DOG? (yes he used all caps) and if I’m actually being fair, it is a very pertinent question and one that has reared its head inside of my mind.

Because you see, I like certain things about politics and I hate others. One thing that I truly despise is people who say one thing when in power and when they get removed for whatever reason, suddenly say the complete opposite. Going the other way is something I find less deplorable as we can all be idealistic but sometimes the realisation of power and what you can and can’t do means you can’t do everything that you want to. It is bloody annoying still but going from power to opposition and moaning just rings hollow as my brain just screams, ‘well why didn’t you do that when you had the bloody power then…?

Matthew speaks about the possibility of building homes on a piece of land in St. Laurence, which is probably what Mark should be talking about as a councillor for the ward. However in yesterday’s Echo he also had another entry – a letter to the editor – entitled ‘Sort ghastly Greater Anglia line’ where upon he lambasts the line and tells Southend Council that they need to be on the side of the Greater Anglia commuter as they face frequent delays, old rolling stock and high price increases.

Now let me just double check something here, Cllr. Flewitt is a Tory councillor, right? The Tories have run Southend Council for all but what, six or so weeks of his 10+ year tenure on the council? What the fucking hell did he do for the Greater Anglia line commuters in the ten years when he had influence on the side of the majority and ruling parties? I’m guessing not a great deal considering he’s saying just how shit it is now and I’m guessing the quality of the line hasn’t suddenly plundered since May 23. The line has long been the poor cousin of the old Misery Line as c2c really has invested and will continue to do so. The Liverpool Street to Southend Victoria line certainly hasn’t seen such investment.

So whilst Cllr. Flewitt makes what is in fact a valid point, the fact he has wrapped it up in a shot at Southend Council leaves me shaking my head in despair. Why didn’t he and his fellow Tory councillors do something about it in their ten years they had with him as part of the administration if he felt so strongly about it? It is all well and good telling the council they should look at the line (fair comment) but when you’ve had ten years involved with the organisation who could help sort it and you’ve seemingly done bugger all then your words ring hollow. It galls me that politicians do this – and Cllr. Flewitt isn’t the only one, he isn’t the first and won’t be the last and lets be blunt, politicians from all parties do it and it stinks.

Most of the more vocal and well known Tory councillors have either left or been removed by the electorate. It is probably fair to say that Cllr. Flewitt is now the most vocal member they have left in terms of name recognition and media presence. It does seem as though he is setting himself up to be the voice of the opposition but I personally feel as though he should focus his critique and time on things that he didn’t have influence over for the past ten years (i.e. things the new administration are doing that the Tories didn’t and things they continue to disagree with) and not just to make political capital out of things that he could have influenced for the past ten years but for whatever reason, chose not to.

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Written by neilmonnery

July 3rd, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Posted in Politics

Tagged with , ,

Five year-old fights sexual misconduct charge for voluntary ‘depantsing’

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I don’t know where to start folks. Sometimes I click on a link to a news story and I just get filled with rage and want to go all vigilante on the idiots that I am reading about. This is very much what happened last night when I read about this story in the Inquisitr.

Here is the short version for those that can’t be arsed to click on the link. A five year-old from Arizona took his pants off in the playground at his kindergarten. The school reacted to this by making him sign paperwork acknowledging that he had indeed been guilty of sexual misconduct and have added to his permanent school file that he has been guilty of sexual misconduct during his school life.

What the fucking hell?

My actual response (and that of the Scot-come-Yank friend of mine that I showed it to) was simple. He’s fucking five. You know the courts are really big on honouring the signature of a five year-old who really knew exactly what he was signing. The school idiots claim that the student was fully entitled to have his parents there if they ask for them but as the five year-old didn’t ask for his parents then everything was above board. Let me repeat one bit of that sentence, the five year-old…he’s fucking five years old people. Five years old. If I teacher told me to do something at the age of five then you know what, I’d have done it. I didn’t get my rebellious streak until much later in my life. My Scot-come-Yank friend said that he hoped the signature was in crayon. I guffawed.

“Our school district uses consistent language for disciplinary infractions in order to provide clarity and track discipline data accurately,” Assistant Superintendent Jim Dean said in a written statement as he tried to cover his backside. See I’ve been kind there and called him Jim Dean not what I want to call him but I think it is fair to say my opinion of him and his actions are not exactly sky high at this point.

My favourite assistant superintendent also said ‘it’s just a label’ – yeah like having a sexual misconduct label attached to his permanent file wouldn’t hack him off. Like he wouldn’t want this to happen to his children or grandchildren. Some people are seriously so incomprehensible at times that you wonder how they are part of a balanced and successful society. The kid is I repeat five years old. Five fucking years old. We all know how mud sticks and labels like this would follow him through his schooling. Does he deserve that? God no.

Look if the teachers involved and good old Jim Dean got fired then I wouldn’t cry for them. Until they get in inside of their thick heads that they have acted in a wholly inappropriate way then then I have no hope for them. Maybe the Dysart Unified School District needs to look at the way it handles discipline. The poor kids mum believes that they didn’t take the kids age into consideration. Of course they didn’t – they just looked at the disciplinary procedures and followed them like lemmings.

Every single rational person I’m sure would look at this story and have the same simple reaction ‘he’s fucking five’ and despair at what is going on. The worst of it though is they’ve had two months to rectify their mistake and realise that they have boobed in a big way but instead of doing that, they have dug in behind their rule book and not looked at how ridiculous they all are.

So Jim Dean and associates I hope you twig just how dumb you are acting and reverse this ludicrous decision quick-smartish. However I fear that you won’t and five year-old Eric Lopez will be labelled for the rest of his school life as having admitted his guilt of sexual misconduct as a five year-old for voluntarily taking down his pants. The way the supposed responsible adults acted I’d just shocked the police weren’t called, the kid read his Miranda Rights and then hauled off to the police station in handcuffs.

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Written by neilmonnery

June 30th, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Posted in News

Ipsos Mori June Issues – Immigration tops the economy for the first time

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Oh people. How you make me despair. The economy for the first time in recent history is not top of the list of issues that people think are effectively the UK (immigration has tied with the economy before) as immigration now has a sensational six-point lead in the latest Ipsos Mori issue index.

Ipsos Mori June Index

June Issues Index

This is undoubtedly due in part to the European elections and the amount of air time that UKIP have been getting. The more rubbish they spew the more people believe it and therefore the more airtime they get and therefore more people believe it and so on. It just goes on and on and the media’s determination to build up UKIP has led to more people worrying about our immigration policy than how the economy is doing. Just how backward is that?

I know on one hand you could argue that this is good news for the coalition parties, people aren’t worrying about the economy as much and therefore it gives credence to why the coalition formed in the first place. If come polling day in 2015 the economy is bouncing back nicely, unemployment going down and job creation going up then it is likely that both parties can look in the mirror and think they’ve done a good job.

Problem though is that if this polling data is accurate then people care more about immigration policy and I think it is fair to say that these people aren’t the type of people that are worried that our borders aren’t open enough. The isolationists are starting to makes their voices heard. These are the people that blame foreigners for their own problems instead of actually finding the problem. Do I blame foreigners for the fact I’m unattractive to the female species? No, no I don’t. Are foreign men coming over here and wooing females that I would have had a chance with? I doubt it. I’m just not an attractive man. Of course at this point I’m kinda taking the mick but I think you get my point (although my attractiveness and lack of it has been well researched and backed up by copious amounts of evidence).

People are worried about foreign people coming over here and abusing our benefits system. You know what, some do. You know who also abuses the benefits system? British people. Is it ok that British people abuse the benefits systems? Do they have more rights to abuse it because they were born here? Nigel Farage abuses the expenses system at the European Parliament and he is lauded for it. Other people abuse the expenses system in Parliament and they go to jail and the public derides them. It doesn’t make sense. It is like there is one rule for one set of people and one for another. It is a joke. It goes against the basic principle that we are all equal.

Ding, Ding, Ding – we have a winner! What’s this? You have won the award for hitting the nail on the head of the UKIP voter – they believe that we are not all created equal. People that are different should not have the same rights, when I say people who are different, what I really mean is people who do not share their philosophies and thought processes with. Of course not everybody that votes UKIP believes that but it is a general point.

Obviously I have a different viewpoint. For example the Ipsos Mori issues index has the NHS as the fourth largest issue facing the country today. You know another thing? If UKIP had its way and pulled us out of Europe and basically closed our borders then the NHS would collapse. There are so many EU and non-EU staff within the NHS that we should be eternally grateful that they choose to come over here and provide vital care for us. If I am in a traffic accident then I don’t care what nationality the doctors and nurses are and nor should anyone else. Caring about that is about as flat out dumb as you can get but heck people do. It beggars belief.

The point though is the media are fanning the flames. The majority of people in this country care mostly about the economy. I know this not because I’m spoken to every single person in the land but because it is sound logic. If people have a job and have money then they can afford food and a roof over their heads. That always has to be the first thing on the minds of any person. Whether foreigners are working here or claiming benefits here should never ever be the most important issue. Never.

This data doesn’t shock me although it does sadden me. The issues of the EU and immigration were always going to rise the more people heard from UKIP. The more people get told that something is a problem then the more they will believe it. I just hope the other parties don’t just lurch to the right because of this type of data. I fear that at least two of the parties will and that in itself will fan the flames even more. The more people get told something is a problem the more they will believe it and if UKIP, Conservatives and Labour all chase these votes then boy we are in for a depressing feeling in this country for many years to come.

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Written by neilmonnery

June 27th, 2014 at 11:44 am

Posted in Politics

Tagged with ,

My weight loss story…

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I got fat. Not just jolly fat. I got fat. As those who know me in real life will know, I live alone, I work from home and I pretty much lived off of takeaways. This led to my weight slowly rising due to the fact I was eating terrible food and getting nigh on zero exercise as even my commute to work was from my bed to the PC (via the en suite) and that wasn’t the most taxing of walks.

It had reached the stage where I would walk to the supermarket and be drenched with sweat. Not just a bit of sweat on my brow but my t-shirt would be soaked through on the back and moistening up nicely on the front. I know, such a great look.

The top range of my BMI to be in the ‘ideal’ range is 12st 2lbs. I reached just over 14stone with my BMI hitting just north of 29, as those who follow these things will know that 30 is considered obese. I was on my way to being obese and I needed to get things under control.

A few years ago I got my BMI down to 22 from 27 in about a nine month period. Then I kinda reverted back to type and in the three years since I saw it rise from 22 to 29. Grim. So I needed to get it down once more so I made a few decisions. Firstly as some of you will know I was a caffeine addict. All I would drink was coca-cola which isn’t very good or either your teeth or your insides. For over a decade that is all I drank. In 2010 I changed this and would only have a cherry coke every so often and would instead drink squash. For four years now I have kept up with this. I can only imagine how my health and weight would be had I not made this change.

I bought an exercise bike and put it in my spare room and put a TV in there. The plan was I could watch something whilst riding the bike. I got it in December and it goes up to 32 levels. When I started I couldn’t even turn around the pedals around on level 32 and would be lain prostrate on the floor after 10-15 minutes on level 5 gasping for a drink to quench my raw throat and to stop the lactic acid that was pulsing through my veins. Slowly though I built up my leg muscles and my body stopped hurting and I could build up both the intensity of my workouts and the length of them. Six months ago 15 minutes at level 5 was hard work. Now 100 minutes on level 32 is how I roll.

That was however getting quite repetitive and I think my body was getting too used to it so I have started going out for long walks every so often. On Sunday I had a six to seven mile walk in the warm weather that I could really feel on Monday morning. A lot of that walk was uphill so I was using muscles that I don’t use as much as when I’m on the bike. This has been a problem – I have worked out nigh enough exclusively on the bike and really should be doing a variety of things to get many more muscles used.

Diet wise takeaway food was out but not much else has changed. I have started to cook my own food a bit more often but in general I still eat what I want to eat. In terms of snack food I can still destroy a six-pack of cherry bakewells without too much hesitation but when I do I know that those are the days I’ll work out the hardest.

So about six months on I am now south of 12 stone and my BMI has been in the ideal range for about three weeks now. Even at the end of the day I’m still in the ideal range (in general most people put on around two pounds a day just in food or water weight only to lose that weight overnight). I am proud of this. I’m still not to tip top shape – a long way from it – but yesterday I was walking back from getting the local rag and I noticed that I couldn’t see my belly protruding from my t-shirt and you couldn’t even notice the bump of it, that is quite a significant step.

I have no doubt that had I monitored what I ate more closely and had I been having a more balanced exercise regime that I would probably be at least half a stone lighter already. This is something I am going to work on over the next few months as I look to get down to south of 11 stone. I think 11 stone should be the northern point of my weight and that is what I’m aiming for. 11 stone would be a BMI of 22.7. So my aim is around there and hopefully this time around I won’t let it all slip.

Losing weight has many benefits but most of all it is the health issue. Yes I would love my body to look better but really that isn’t too big of an issue. The fact that I can sweat like anything just due to a light stroll was never ever a good thing. This was the primary issue to take on with this weight loss project and I can see that it is getting better (although still not exactly great).

Losing weight is not easy but if you have determination then it is eminently doable. I think my best advice to anyone reading this and wanting to lose weight is not to worry if you go through days or weeks of losing nothing or nearly nothing. I have had weeks where no weight has come off and found it disheartening but I’d look for reasons why and then try to sort out those issues. Another thing is you can do too much and eat too little. You need 1,500 calories a day inside of you so ensure you eat. I had days where I would hardly eat yet work out two hours on the bike and would wonder why I’d not lost any weight.

Discipline is important but isn’t essential. So you have a bad day and eat a packets of cookies and go to a BBQ and eat some burgers. Such is life. Just roll with it and carry on working out and your body will forgive you. If I can lose two stone in six months and still eat cherry bakewells and chocolate doughnuts by the bucket-load then anybody can lose weight.

Just keep positive and you can do it. I did and I’m starting to feel much better for it both health wise and also mentally with my own body image.

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Written by neilmonnery

June 24th, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Posted in Others

World Cup – The TV Battle – BBC v ITV

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So far I have seen every minute of the World Cup bar a snooze during the first half of the Iran v Nigeria game yesterday. I also have read a lot of feedback on the presenters, pundits, commentators and co-commentators (otherwise known as summerisers to certain people who like a disparage me) so I thought I’d put my views forward for the seven people that might read this:

Presenters:

The BBC use a former Golden Boot winner, darling of English football, Walkers Crisps seller and all around Mr. Nice Guy. ITV use an overexcited 47 year-old Brummie. It really should be a slam dunk for the Beeb shouldn’t it? Well it isn’t. Gary has improved a lot since his shuttering start eons ago when he replaced Des Lynam as the host of BBC’s Football output.

There is nothing wrong with Gary but there is also a lot to say positively for Adrian (and indeed Matt Smith). Adrian’s style is certainly less relaxed than Gary’s but he certainly injects more of his personality. When they presented the pre-game show from the beach on Sunday afternoon, you saw Adrian in his absolute element and it was a thoroughly enjoyable pre-game.

Both the Beeb and ITV have more than competent front men. I have a feeling Adrian gets a lot of stick because a lot of people think that they can do better than him. Hosting live TV is not easy and I think he does an admirable job.

Pundits:

We’ll start with the cream of the crop – Thierry Henry and Lee Dixon. Henry has been the breath of fresh air that everyone expected him to be and shows why everyone is fighting over securing his services going forward. A Sky team of Neville, Carragher, Souness, Hoddle and Henry is pretty dreamy. Dixon is the class of the ITV field and we knew that going in once Roy Keane decided not to travel to Brazil.

Dixon anchors the ITV team and is the man who can put together some actual analysis and not just opinion. Something his fellow pundits seem to struggle with.

Away from the top pundits we have Rio Ferdinand who I’m just not warming to as a pundit, his defence of Wayne Rooney’s performance seemed to show that he is still too near to the team to be subjective. In what was a bizarro moment it was this exchange that shown Alan Shearer is not as awful as the popular opinion says. Shearer was adamant that Rooney has to get that effort on target in the second half and he wouldn’t let it go. Good for Alan.

Over on ITV we have Glenn Hoddle who has always been a more than solid pundit. I still don’t understand why he hasn’t gotten another crack at management – certainly at Spurs. Fabio Cannavaro seems to struggle speaking in English and Patrick Vieira is missing Roy Keane as they could have been a fiery pairing.

Of course there is also Ian Wright but he’s in the Robbie Savage mould of just being awful but keeps getting TV work. Robbie Savage had a stint at co-commentary last night and oy vey.

Commentators:

Guy Mowbray has been handed the gig as the top man at the Beeb again for this tournament but he is being dragged down by the choice of co-commentators he’s been stuck with. This is an issue across the BBC. Jonathan Pearce had an absolute stinker in the France game the other night getting all in a fluster regarding goal line technology. He needs to learn that silence is golden and a TV commentator doesn’t have to speak for every single second.

Over at ITV then Clive Tyldesley has been the top man since Brian Moore retired. There is nothing wrong with his commentary and he calls big moments well but I just yearn for Martin Tyler and/or Ian Darke who are both better but both commentating for non UK audiences once more this World Cup. ITV’s number two is the only one of these people that I have met during some work experience with 107.4 The Quay many moons ago – Sam Matterface. I still have very little idea how he rose from calling Portsmouth games on local radio to going to the World Cup as ITV’s #2 commentator but he has. He isn’t Jon Champion and he probably isn’t even Peter Drury but he isn’t horrific and is certainly better than Jonathan Pearce – although that isn’t saying much.

Co-commentators:

Phil Neville was given the chance to call England games after the auntie decided Mark Lawrenson was too dour for the top team. Then Phil Neville spoke and whilst what he said wasn’t actually that bad – the way he spoke was a real turn-off. The fact 445 people have complained to the BBC about him is a joke but it certainly wasn’t a great debut. Elsewhere the Beeb has Mark Lawrenson who is ok, Martin Known who certainly is not and the more than adequate Kevin Kilbane. They gave Robbie Savage a chance and er…yeah. I think the less said about that the better. Never again BBC. Never again.

ITV leads with Andy Townsend and whilst I think he gets a lot of very deserved stick, they might not have anyone better. They had Jim Beglin on staff for ages but got rid of him when he was in fact superior to Townsend and since then the likes of Clarke Carlisle have been given a chance to impress as they seem to really like the Matterface/Carlisle combination but I just don’t get it.

All in all I’d say the BBC probably has the better team and when it comes down to it I’ll watch the final on the Beeb I suspect. I think both channels can be comfortable with their studio outfit but when it comes to behind the microphone, the BBC has Jonathan Pearce who is a real turn-off but otherwise (bar Savage’s attempts) they are ok (I think Phil Neville will get better) but ITV just don’t have anyone bar Clive Tyldesley who I’d say was anything better than average.

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Written by neilmonnery

June 17th, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Posted in Football,Media

Tagged with ,

Nick Clegg & Ed Miliband photographed with a copy of The Sun – cue over the top reactions across the board

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Holy crap. Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband have been photographed with a copy of the countries most popular newspaper. Burn them both at the stake now. I mean seriously. Anyone who does that is surely not capable of representing the country. Sometimes politicos live in this ridiculous political bubble where we think we are right and that those who disagree with us are just plain wrong. That is part of politics that I truly despise.

Ed Miliband was snapped with a copy of the paper and got an attack from the leader of the Labour group on Liverpool Council. No surprise and probably fair game. Ed is not a stupid man and he knew that photograph would go down like a lead balloon and would piss off Labour voters in Liverpool. Here is the thing though, they still aren’t voting for anyone else so he can piss them off with no real consequences. Apparently he is ‘very very sorry’‘ for both endorsing the newspaper and being photographed with it. Why should he be? He is the leader of a national party, not just a localised party in an area that rightly despises the newspaper. More people who buy The Sun vote than any other newspaper. It is a big potential electorate for him and for the other party leaders.

The Green Party tweeted out a photo of Miliband, Cameron and Clegg endorsing the newspaper and saying that there was another way and that people should join the party based on the fact they hadn’t been photographed with a copy of The Sun nor seemingly endorsed it. Are they for fucking real? Seriously Green Party? What type of person bases their vote let alone membership of a political party based solely on their newspaper of choice? I’ll give you the answer to that question because I’m a kind fellow – a numpty – an absolute numpty. Surely people who join political parties have a wider scope of reasoning to do so that the newspapers that political leaders are photographed with? I didn’t see Nigel Farage endorsing The Sun yesterday – does that mean everyone should join them too? Idiots.

Ok I got sidetracked a bit there. Now to attack my own lot *cracks knuckles* – yet again we had the whole Page 3 issue come up on Lib Dem Voice with regards to this. I’m not surprised. When I saw it pop up on my twitter timeline I also knew exactly who the author was and what they were writing about. I also knew exactly how the comment string would go. If there is something that will unite liberals it will be an air of superiority as depressing as that sounds – we all know it is true.

So on to the article itself. Nick shouldn’t have endorsed The Sun’s England Football Team Special Edition because of boobs. Yes those two things that protrude from a woman’s chest to generate milk for babies is at the crux of this. Boobs should not be seen on page three of a national newspaper. Everyone knows my views on this, if you don’t like it then don’t buy it. The women are free to pose for the newspaper if they so desire. It is a free country. This is the type of issue where liberalism and equality come to blows in the eyes of some people. Still it isn’t really the issue today and I have written about it so many times and been told that because a) I don’t have milk producing organs on my chest and b) I’m not a parent means that I have two strikes against my name and have no standing to have an opinion on it. I do love liberals.

Gareth Epps in the comments said, ‘It is more than ‘not just a good idea’, it is insensitive, politically damaging and stupid beyond belief. Absolutely a ‘heads must roll’ moment.. Politically damaging? So showing support for the countries football team and posing with the most popular daily publication in the land is politically damaging? Stupid beyond belief? Do these people live in the same world that I do?

You see this goes back to the whole bubble issue. The political bubble is very much something that politicians are tainted with by members of the public but lets be honest – plenty of politicos are in the same boat. Liberals are probably the worst in our air of moral superiority. We pronounce this freedom for individuals to live their lives as they please but the moment someone decides to do so that is against one of our opinions we turn on them. This isn’t just about this issue but it is something I have noted for many years.

Personally I don’t buy The Sun. I don’t read it online. However I don’t care who does or doesn’t. I don’t judge people on their choice of newspaper. I used to buy the Daily Star for the train because it was cheap and easy to read. Do I think I should be judged because of that? People will say that I am but one man and no-one cares what newspaper I buy but Nick Clegg is the leader of a political party and should be more sensitive. Liberals don’t like The Sun and therefore he shouldn’t have anything to do with them. Yey 18% of people who identified as readers of The Sun in 2010 voted for the Liberal Democrats – doesn’t our leader represent those people as well as those of us who don’t buy The Sun?

In 2005 Labour were +10% compared to the Tories amongst readers of The Sun but in 2010 they were -15%. They is a 25% swing within five years amongst a readership of just over 3million at the time. This is why – rightly or wrongly – The Sun is important. Should Nick (or Ed) be lambasted for posing with a copy of The Sun? No way, no how. Yes they’ll piss off many people who don’t buy The Sun but many people do. On the doorsteps of everywhere except Liverpool will who posed for a picture with The Sun be an issue on the doorstep above the economy, immigration, the NHS, crime, green issues, housing, banking etc…? Of course it won’t.

So politicos it is time to get our heads out of our own arses and realise that a photograph of a political leader with the most popular newspaper in the country is not a big issue. We like to think it is but it really isn’t. The time when someone solely bases their vote or their opinion based on one photograph is a time that scares me. I like to think that humans have the capacity to use their brains and I give them the credit for doing so. If some believe that this photograph solely will crush either Ed or Nick in the polls or at the ballot box then I am disappointed that those people have such little faith in the people of this country.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

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Written by neilmonnery

June 13th, 2014 at 11:25 am

Posted in Politics

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My story of being Catfished…

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Ah catfishing. For those of you who don’t have any idea what catfishing is then here is the word catfish as described by the urban dictionary, ‘A catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.’ It came about because of a documentary someone made about someone on the internet and has spawned a successful TV show, although so far in season three it must be said it has been darker than the previous two season’s.

Last night we saw an episode where someone created a fake profile and promptly killed them off and it took me back to something that happened 18 months ago to me and having done some digging today I think it is time to write about it freely and openly.

There is a TV show called The Newsroom which is pretty fantastic. I would tweet about it whilst watching it and a friend of mine (who definitely does exist for I have met her despite her living in the US of A) also watched the show. She then introduced me to one of the characters on twitter, for fans of the show actually created twitter handles of characters of the show and would commentate on the show and real world events as these characters. Bit weird but all a bit of fun.

Anyway I was then introduced by both my friend and one of the characters to another women and we started to communicate. I wouldn’t say anything romantic but we just talked about each others lives. She was portraying a character from the show (albeit one that was never seen on screen) but we weren’t communicating with her in that character. Reading that back it sounds weird but heck, even at the time I found it weird but I have communicated with many a random person on the interwebs in the past 15 odd years so I just rolled with it.

Over the next few months we’d communicate more and started to move away from twitter to e-mail. Then suddenly everything went silent and that as they say was that. I thought it was strange but I suspected that real life events had become more interesting and thus she had decided to neglect random people on the interwebs. Makes sense to me and her account just stopped tweeting. Several weeks later she DM’ed me and told me that she had been in hospital. She had suffered from complications of the flu outbreak that had hit Florida. We picked up our communications again for another few weeks and then once more everything went silent.

As this had happened before I didn’t think too much of it and then one day I noticed her DM’s had disappeared from my TweetDeck. Her account had been deleted and that was that. Again I didn’t actually think too much of it and the year carried on before suddenly on Christmas Day I got a DM from the character from the TV show that had introduced us informing me that she had died due to complications from her initial bout of the flu. I was confused but something didn’t add up so I did some investigating.

I had her e-mail address and decided to do a google search the username in her e-mail and I found another twitter account, girl with the same name, looked very similar, so I looked through the people she followed and followed her and I found the same mutual character from the TV show. Weird I thought. Very weird. At this point I suspected that she had not in fact passed on so I did a search for death records in her state for her name – no-one of that name had passed away in 2013. At this point I heavily suspected that she was still alive but was trying to work out who or why I was informed of her ‘death’

Well I just consigned it to history in my head until last night’s episode of Catfish re-awoke my intrigue in the story. I saw her second twitter account had disappeared so I went on to the character’s following list and searched for her name and bingo – I found another account with a new twitter handle and this time it wasn’t locked. I could see that whilst it was quiet – it was certainly active.

Whilst writing this I just did a google for her name and the state she lived in and I found another twitter handle, which is her, this time the twitter header is a photo of her/someone is high heels and handcuffs dangling off her/someone’s ankle – surely I’m the kind of guy she’d want to know if that is what she is into? Having just read the tweets on that account and seen photos – I can confirm I am exactly the type of guy she’d want to know, makes this all the more bizarre.

So yeah, I have no idea who this person actually is. I think the name is accurate and the state she lives in. If she decided that our friendship wasn’t something she wanted to continue with that disappearing without a trace was fine but what was with the message that she died from our mutual contact, what the hell was that all about? Unless she has created several new accounts since she passed on then she is most certainly still living. I haven’t decided to message any of these accounts for answers and just thought I’d write a blog about it, it is weird and makes very little sense, but on the other hand it is both interesting and perplexing.

If she ever reads this and wants to rise from the dead and tell me the story then I’d be fascinated to hear all about it. If not, well, it has given a few people an interesting story to read.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

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Written by neilmonnery

June 10th, 2014 at 7:58 pm

Posted in Random Stuff

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When is a social media comment fair game for the political blogosphere?

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In April a UKIP candidate for election in Southend posted on his Facebook that he was a bit pissed off and intended to move back to Cambridge in August. A month later and he won election to Southend Council. He has subsequently deleted the Facebook post but for some reason is is providing a bit of a stir and I feel compelled to defend the candidate.

Like others – I had seen the post before the election. I didn’t feel compelled to blog on it because I didn’t feel it was a story that needed to be written. It isn’t as though I thought he was only a paper candidate so wouldn’t win, as those who spoke to me in the run-up to the elections, I thought UKIP would make significant gains across the borough even if they didn’t campaign hard. The national protest vote was there and coupled with the European elections then it felt as though UKIP were going to have a good day. I just felt as though it wasn’t fair to write a story based solely on a Facebook comment – and more importantly now he is a councillor – I still don’t.

Social media is a strange beast. We all post things that taken out of context can be used against us at a later date. That just seems the way of the world. Now pointing out if someone has racist tendencies or something similar is probably fair game for your political blogger. A UKIP candidate for Westborough certainly tweeted some shall we say ‘interesting’ comments a long time before he was selected as a candidate. I certainly question whether this is fair game but it probably is as it shows a history of a person. I will say though that people trawling through years of someone’s tweets shows quite some desperation. I suppose this is one thing about the lack of Lib Dem social media presence locally – it is harder for us to trip up or have comments misconstrued.

So anyway back to this particular case. A candidate (who was in reality a paper candidate) was pissed off with someone (or a selection of people) and stated that he wanted to move on. That happens but do you know what else happens? Things change. For example it is not exactly a secret that I am looking to move out of Southend. I am in the financial position now where I want to get on the property ladder and the cost of purchasing in Southend doesn’t really add up for me.

I work from home and can move either to a cheaper area of the country or I can move back down south where I have family and friends for a similar amount to what I could afford here. Still though things can change. I may stay in Southend, it is hard to predict the future. Had for example I stood and won election then I would see that as a reason to commit to the area for four years. I suspect the councillor in question may have similar feelings. This happens in every election, a paper candidate suddenly wins from nowhere and they have the choice of whether to get stuck in or whether to quietly quit within a few months. I don’t know this man from Adam but I have seen nothing to suggest that he is going to walk away now that he has been elected and I really question whether bringing up something he said before the situation changed is fair.

We all make decisions in our lives based on the facts we have at our disposal at the time. If nothing changes in my life then when I buy it will not be in Southend. However if something significant changed in my life then maybe Southend will continue being my home, who knows? Cllr. Davies may not share my political values to any significant degree but I don’t think that there should be any traction about a comment he made on Facebook two months ago that doesn’t effect anyone. Now if he did indeed go through with moving to Cambridge then it would be a story and certainly something the other parties could use to show that KIP candidates may not be committed but until that point, I think it should be off limits.

Being involved in the political blogosphere often leads to decisions to be made about what to write and what is fair comment and what isn’t. There is no question of intrusion of privacy here as it was a public comment on his Facebook but it is fair to write about it? I think my PoV is clear. My Facebook is private and set to friends only – and I even filter people out of statuses should I feel that I would prefer they not know what I am thinking. My twitter however is totally public and whenever I think about writing something that could be misconstrued then I sit there and read it and have a good think about it before I post it. I do the same when writing on this here blog.

I think we should just sit back and see what happens with regards to Cllr. Davies. I think it would be smart for him to issue a Press Release or write a letter to the editor of the Echo to clarify his position, certainly if he is planning on sticking it out. That should end any speculation that may build up. Whether he needs to or whether he should feel compelled to is another matter but once the bandwagon has started rolling then it might be wise to put the brakes on it as soon as possible but I do feel for him that his comments have resulted in several blog posts on the matter that seem to attack him on the matter, which I feel is unfair.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

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Written by neilmonnery

June 10th, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Posted in Politics

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