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Euro 2016 Last 16: Hungary vs Belgium

A good match…

Offside Trap

On Sunday 26th June 2016, Euro 2016 was in full swing. The group stages of the highly prestigious tournament, held in France, was a very exciting ride, full of twisters and loop-de-loops. The biggest shock of the group stage was the final standings of group F, in which minnows Hungary and Iceland finished 1st and 2nd respectively, leaving group favourites Portugal having to scrape through to the next round using the slightly confusing 3rd place rule to get through. Austria, who were also tipped to dance through to the next round, ended up bottom of their group after a last second winner for Iceland in their last game sent Iceland into ecstasy, especially one Icelandic commentator, whose incomprehensible shrieking made him a viral sensation on the Internet.
The date mentioned earlier was not just some random date during the Euros, but the date of the last 16 matchup between Hungary…

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Gun control…

I know I’ve neglected this poor old blog. It’s the usual stuff of being busy and not having anything to say. It’s a killer for the creativity!

One year ends, and another begins, and I thought I’d just check in here, out of a sense of duty… A sense of obligation, you understand… I don’t know who to, but there you go. To myself, I suppose. Everyone has a web presence these days, right? And everyone is writing loads and loads of stuff about how exciting their lives are and how much they’ve got the answers to the world’s problems…

I’ve reminded myself that I was going to have a rant about gun control in the US. Yesterday, a two year old child shot and killed its mother, who was on a trip to Walmart with her licensed concealed weapon about their person. What kind of a world is it that allows and accepts that sort of thing happening? This is not going to be a long or complicated rant, because it just seems like a no-brainer. The free availability of guns means that people will get shot and they will die. What is the justification? It’s always tragic and it’s never justified.

Why is someone going to Walmart with a concealed gun? What is that all about?

It occurred to me that I wouldn’t know how to go about buying a gun. I know there is a gunsmith somewhere near where I live, because, bizarrely, they sponsor a roundabout on a nearby road, but that’s it. I don’t know the first thing about how to obtain one legally or illegally. The only guns I’ve ever seen in my life have been in the hands of armed police or members of the military. Even that is relatively recently, and always strikes a jarring note with me. I hope I never get used to the sight of guns. I’ve never, ever, actually held a real one in my hands. Long may that continue to be the case…

I’ve managed to make myself angry now, which is appropriate, I think. I don’t understand the ‘freedom’ arguments that some American advocates of the ‘right to bear arms’ would no doubt resort to. I don’t want the right to bear arms, and I’d very much prefer it is nobody else did either. That would make the world a significantly safer place, it seems to me.

I said I’d be back, and so I am…

One promise kept, with another blog post following so closely on the heels of the last. In other news, though, I have failed to get my bike out. I did fit the bike rack to the back of my camper van, so that must count as some progress. It shows intent, at least. Now just to get the thing out of the shed and me onto its saddle!

Umphrey’s McGee last night were fantastic. Lots of jamming and running one song into the next, as any good jamband should. I fear that I may have danced like a hippie for a good part of the gig, under the influence of beer. A complete lack of food didn’t help, I don’t suppose.

The support band was Syd Arthur, who managed to appear despite the absence of their drummer. Something about them having just returned from America and him having to take time out to get his hearing back. That’s what they said.

The Brooklyn Bowl inside the O2 in London is a really good venue, too. So good that at no stage did anyone require sight of my ticket. Big screens showed the Argentina v Iran World Cup game, which unbelievably remained 0-0 until well into injury time. It’s been a cracking World Cup, because the form book has fairly consistently been given a hammering. Notwithstanding England’s usual predictable meltdown, Italy and Spain have had problems, Brazil have looked unconvincing, and Germany managed a 2-2 draw against Ghana. The old order is under attack, and it’s refreshing.

A return to form? Or a false re-start?

It’s been ages and ages since I posted here. Not that my previous writings were of any consequence at all, but hey, that’s the point of a blog, isn’t it? To shout quietly into a void of indifference. That’s my thinking anyway, and by that measure, my blogging is an unqualified success. It’s so successful that nobody need ever worry about it influencing a single second of their lives in any way. Look at me – I’ve achieved virtual greatness!

It’s June, of course, and the idea that I might join in with Juneathon never even entered my head! I did have the opportunity last Sunday to watch, from a relaxed position, the cyclists of the London-Brighton Bike Ride, and I must admit that it did set me to thinking that I might do something stupid like entering it next year. It’s 54 miles, and this year there were 30,000 entrants (with only two serious accidents). I could do 54 miles as long as there was no pressure to start breaking world records or anything. In any case, to that end, I might even break my bike out on Sunday and give it some maintenance. Heck, I may even climb aboard and propel it for a few miles, just to see if I can. I promise to write to you about it, one way or the other, dear reader…

Without going into too much sorry detail, I have decided to get my financial arrangements under some level of control. This is a big deal. Budgeting and actually thinking about what I spend my money on are not things that come naturally to me. I’m wild and impetuous, and largely skint, so some control wouldn’t go amiss, it’s true. An app called ‘You Need A Budget‘ has caught my attention, and the free trial is currently running down. I’m not on a sponsorship and I don’t know any of the developers; just saying. It looks like a good, simple app, which is handy, because I’m pretty simple too.

Finally for now, a musical recommendation, and an admission of ‘guilty pleasures’.

I have a bit of a fondness for the ‘jamband’ scene, based largely in the US. Umphrey’s McGee are among the current ‘leaders’ of the scene, which does not truly have a single identity, and covers a lot of different styles. I would describe Umphrey’s as falling somewhere between Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa and speed metal. Yep, they’re that good, folks! They’ve been playing in London last night and tonight, and complete a three night run at the Brooklyn Bowl tomorrow night. Long sets with lots of improvisational jamming are the modus operandi, but also really tight playing with stunt guitars. Here’s a sample:

Later…

Atomised Albion: The Annual EXOTIC PYLON Bumper Winter Annual Review!!

This is a top blog…

Atomised Albion: The Annual EXOTIC PYLON Bumper Winter Annual Review!!.

Back to work, but not for long…

Ah well, it was good while it lasted, but it’s back to work tomorrow. The sun’s still out, and the festivals are still going on, but I’ve got to get my nose to the grindstone.

Oh, wait a minute; I’ve got some more holiday coming up next week! I’m going to Bestival! To see the Flaming Lips and Elton John! Ha ha 🙂 ! What a combination!

I wish I could get to the Arc Tangent Festival this weekend, somewhere in the countryside near Bristol, but I think that’s beyond me. In any case, it’s Liverpool v Manchester United on Sunday, and I can’t miss that. It is my intention to try to make a few more matches this season than I did last, but we’ll see how that goes. I’m optimistic for the new season, as I suppose all supporters are, but Liverpool are (joint) top of the league after two matches! These things matter!

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Resumption of service?

My blogging activities have been very sparse lately. I’m not sure why; just haven’t had much to say, I suppose.

Now is the time to resume activities, because I just know you’ve all both missed me, and my profound writing. In the meantime, watch this space…