mardi 30 novembre 2010

A Tribute to Tony Goal

Definitely poker... though perhaps not the blonde.

According to Wikipedia: 'A limerick is a five-line poem in anapestic or amphibrachic meter with a strict rhyme scheme (aabba), which intends to be witty or humorous, and is sometimes obscene with humorous intent. It may have its roots in the 18th-century Maigue Poets of Ireland, although the form can be found in England in the early years of the century.'

I've never composed a limerick before but was inspired to do so by Tony Cascarino's autobiography 'Full Time', in which Ireland's most capped footballer reveals that his Irish ancestry is entirely fictitious. Like our Tone, limericks are most closely associated with Ireland, however, their true origin (like our Tone's) is unclear. This form of poetry therefore seems the perfect medium through which to express my admiration for an unlikely hero of French football - and for his book, to which the adjectives 'witty', 'humorous' and 'obscene' can be applied without hesitation.

A clue to be found in his name,
Cas wan't the Emerald he claimed,
More a rough diamond
Who shone with Ireland,
Running for Jack until he was lame.

dimanche 7 novembre 2010

The Wonder of Waddle

I'd intended to provide analysis of last weekend's Clasico* (a term that seems a touch hyperbolic and is bound to provoke the ire of the Académie Française) but as I went about my research, the internet yielded something much more compelling:

This extraordinary pop romp features two Phocéen idols, Chris Waddle and Basile Boli. Of course, Waddle had form - his proto-Jedward duet with Glenn Hoddle, 'Diamond Lights' - but 'We've Got a Feeling' represents a dramatic shift in his artistic sensibility. If 'Diamond Lights' captures the stark, mulleted discomfort of Thatcherite London circa 1987, 'We've Got a Feeling' is evidence of a changed Waddle.

In 1989, Waddle left Spurs for Marseille. He flourished in his new Mediterranean habitat, rapidly establishing himself as a favourite among fans and teammates alike. No more fiddling with synths in Hoddle's bedroom, now Waddle was dancing to a more relaxed rhythm... the rhythm of bongo-infused Europop.

Demand for new material from the melodic midfield maestro climaxed when, in 1992, he helped Marseille to a fourth consecutive league title. By this time, Waddle's partner in crime, Hoddle, was plying his trade for Swindon. He too had enjoyed success in sunnier climes - with Arsène Wenger's Monaco - before swapping the Riviera for the Commuter Belt, no doubt on the advice of Eileen Drury.

Although a glittering solo career beckoned, Waddle was the consumate team player. He cast about the Marseille changing room for someone who could match Hoddle's charisma and vocal dexterity. Step forward "big and strong" centre-back, Basile Boli. As the video testifies, the French international brought to proceedings a whimsy which simply doesn't feature in Hoddle's repertoire. Spurs-Art-Rock purists and mullet enthusiasts objected. Hoddle was dismissive, telling the NME, "Basile Boli was clearly a sinner in a previous life."

For my money though, the result of Waddle's second creative union confirms that his fans at the Stade Vélodrome were spot on to award him the nickname, 'Magic'. 'We've got a feeling' is as fresh today as it was on its release. If the accompanying video seems dated, that's because it served as a blue print for most of those now seen on MTV.

Waddle was an excellent footballer (witness his backheeled goal in 1989's Clasico) but 'Diamond Lights' and, above all, 'We've Got a Feeling' are his real legacy. On the pitch, he was just a man: as a popstar, he bestrode a spectrum of genres like a giant.

*For the record PSG beat Marseille 2-1 at the Parc des Princes. The salient details of the match are as follows: maligned PSG strikers Erding and Hoarau scored a goal each and there was no reported violence between rival Ultras, largely because Marseille fans weren't allowed to attend.

mardi 2 novembre 2010

Simply the...

Gratuitous Brest shot.

Having beaten St. Etienne 2-0 on Saturday, newbies Brest are top of Ligue 1. This is cause for mild celebration among neutrals - and delighted jigs among amateur gagmen writing in English about football in France (we're a small but proud community). I've been unable to prevent my busy journalistic/perverted subconscious from composing Bre(a)st related tabloid headlines to describe the team's success. It's been happening frequently and always at the most inconvenient moments, so what follows is an attempt to purge myself of the problem.
  • Perky Brest smother Stéphanois threat
  • What a pair! Brest 2-0 St. Etienne
  • St. Etienne disappointed at failure to get to grips with Brest
  • Brest silence knockers
  • Brest nip ahead of Rennes
  • Bust up in Ligue 1
  • Support lifts Brest
  • Timely substitution lifts Brest
  • Brest milk it as league leaders
  • Brest bazooka opposition
  • Brest: a two point cushion at the top
  • Brest two points in front
  • Brest a handful upfront
  • France's top side bra none
  • Do Brest have the legs?
  • Rivals plan to expose Brest
I think I'm cured...