Stuart Pearce Fanclub, Piccadilly Line, 04/07/2005
Okay so here are my last words on Maria Sharapova:
My first viewing of Sharapova was during the 2004 Wimbledon Championships when she disposed of the Slovakian model, and part time tennis player, Daniella Hantuchokova. One's immediate impression was that here was yet another humourless and over intense member of the Russian female tennis mafia. However as a player and a person Sharapova seemed to blossom in the last few days of 2004 Wimbledon. Thus by the time she had triumphed at SW19 it was easy to conclude that she was both a great tennis legend in the making, as well as potentially one of the world most beautiful women.
So twelve months on what is the verdict. Certainly as a beauty she is the real deal. Anyone seeing the various pre Wimbledon promo vids will have been impressed on how effortlessly stylish she is and how elegantly clothes seem to hang on her. She also comes across in interviews as attractive, personable, goofy and giggly; like any 18 year old girl should. However on a tennis court that all comes to a halt. What struck me (and most TV commentators) after she stepped onto Centre Court to open her title defence, was how dark and vicious her whole demeanor was throughout each match. Assassin was the verdict of one commentator, which for my money could be prefaced by the words cold and sadistic. Gamesmanship is also part of her repertoire. Thus come the very big points, the length of the decibel shattering grunting extends to the moment her opponent is playing her shot; something I am surprised she was allowed to get away with.
Thus for my money her competiveness and will to win should guarantee her several more Wimbledon and other Grand Slam titles. This does not mean however she will be one of the all time tennis greats. She has neither the natural talent, athleticism (or even on court physical grace) that was the gift of Steffi Graf. In fact if I was to compare Sharapova's game to another player it would be that of Monica Seles (who herself didn't fare too badly until she was stabbed on court by one of Steffi's more deranged fans).
Tennis commentator Bud Collins said the real danger was the off court distractions. Well all I can say is that tennis should get used to the idea now, that she won't be around for too long. Thus someone with that beauty, personality, and physical presence, will sooner rather than later gravitate to Hollywood. Just as Kournikova was smart enough to know she had more of a future as a model than a tennis player, Sharapova and her team will follow the dollar to the big screen. After all what can you expect from someone whose eighteenth birthday party was (somewhat creepily) sponsored by Motorola.
Give him twelve months, and I bet we get a similar rant about Stuart Pearce. (Though possibly without the bits about being attractive and personable.)
Stuart Pearce Fanclub, Piccadilly Line (you know the one that only goes to Hyde Park Corner), 18/07/2005
Reading your Manchester/London internet piece, a few thoughts came to my mind. Namely: multiple bombings, 50+ people murdered, city centre in chaos; why that sounds like an average day in Baghdad to me. One hundred dead on this weekend alone.
This never happened there until Tony Bush and George Blair went and liberated the people of Iraq. Yet that situation (perhaps through a sense of national collective shame) barely makes the news now, as the politicians look around for ways to jump ship.
Whilst I congratulate Blair for selling the London bombings as an unprovoked act that came out of nowhere, I would have hoped Ken Livingstone would have been a little more clued in.
But they're doing two different things, surely? Blair's attempting to disconnect the bombings from the war because he doesn't want to be personally blamed for them. (You probably noticed that I rigorously kept away from the politics of the attack in my piece, but I will say it's gratifying to find that nobody believes him.) Livingstone, on the other hand, is the mayor of a working city, and his approach from the word go has been to try and bring people together to stop that city pulling itself apart. Of course, as other people have noted, that approach has its own dangers too.
Suzanne Vega Fanclub (we never really went away you know), Piccadilly Line, 20/07/2005
Hello Spank, I know you like the Simpsons, so I thought you might enjoy this. [dead link]
Incidentally that Stuart Pearce Fanclub bloke is a bit political isn't he! Perhaps he's pissed because he was forced to sell Shaun Wright Phillips.
For some reason, the Windows Media Player version [dead link] works better for me than your Real Player link. But thanks.
The Cineaste, London, 25/07/2005
Interesting reading your musings about the bomb attacks on this great city. And thanks for those websites about them, most of which I didn't know about. On the day of the two-minute silent tribute, I happened to be in the centre of Brixton. And a few minutes before mid-day, the high street was a cacophonous riot of bedlam, noise, bustle and people shouting at each other. Did they even know about the two-minute silence I wondered? Oh cynical me, because at 11.58 the pavements filled up with people from offices, shops and wherever, and someone sounded a klaxon - and the traffic all but drew to a standstill, and there was an extraordinary calm, unimaginable just a few seconds beforehand. Quite moving.
Glad you feel a Londoner after however many years here. But, what I've noticed (like you I'm strictly speaking an incomer (Surrey, since you ask)) is that "Londoners" never label themselves as such. Because, of course, they define themselves by what part of London they come from, so they're e.g. an east-end chav, a Kensington toff, a Mayfair squillionaire or a sarf Lunnon wide boy (or, despairingly, a Croydonian, but we won't go there).
Yes we've bounced back. More alert, yes, but definitely no hesitation about using the tubes - indeed my only thoughts yesterday as I negotiated the disruptions I didn't know about on my way to a cocktail tasting was serious concern that I was missing good drinking time (I needn't have worried - there was still plenty of time and alcohol for me to get inebriated).
Finally (or nearly finally), I can't help wondering whether Suze's obsession with Maria Sharapova is healthy. Yes she's a great player, but does/did he get so worked up by, say, Martina Navratilova or Lindsay Davenport (or Jimmy Connors?)
Finally (no it is, really this time - back to the bomb attacks), at least the bombers took some consideration about the day they chose (July 7th), so at least the bloody Yanks won't get confused about the date. Ha!
"Maybe it's because I'm a sarf Lunnon wide boy" doesn't work as well as a song lyric, though, does it? I dunno, I've lived in the same part of London for over twenty years now, but I've never really considered my borough as anything more than a base for my operations all over the city. Maybe it's something to do with coming in from outside?
plus49 - all the beautiful things
label: plusvierneun (lc 09559)
international release: august, 1st, 2005
worldwide online distribution via web-shop www.humpty-records.com
The first ever plus49 hit takes only five seconds. Played 100 to 200 times a day and be heard by over 15 million of people during the last two years. Plus49 composed the most fluffy airport-gong for pleasure of pilots, stewardesses and passengers of cologne airport. The Five seconds gave plus49 the freedom to produce an album (all the beautiful things) of ten marvellous pop songs - 41 minutes and 26 seconds of vacation. Plus49 take us on a mostly untroubled, light-hearted trip of reflection, enwrapping us with a well-balanced mixture of flowing electronic and rhythmic acoustic sounds, instrumental and vocal parts, temperate pop and fluffy electronics – thus moving somewhere between solid ground and slightly enchanted distortion. The first single you are my keeper takes off like a beautiful day at the beach and arrives finally gently in your ear as a beautiful souvenir.
Quotes: Radio42: "This is a real surprise! Elegant melodies, a little songwriting, warm tender voices, great folk for great people! Amazing!!"
Greetz Martin Lange
Music is to blame for all the beautiful things ;-)
Irritatingly, the site doesn't appear to include that fluffy airport-gong they mention. That single you are my keeper is, however, quite fluffy in its own right, and well worth a listen. Damn, I can't stop saying 'fluffy' now.
The Suzanne, Sheryl, Maria and Stuart Fanclub, Piccadilly Line, 01/08/2005
[re: letter from The Cineaste dated 25/07/2005]
In answer to Cine-eats:
Martina - not especially, although I have always admired the dignified way she fronted people out about her sexuality. Especially given the fact that when this first came common knowledge in the early Eighties, Billy Jean King was being ostracised and ridiculed for admitting that she had once slept with a woman.
Lindsey Davenport - Again not really. Although the archetypal tennis professional, she has always struck me as someone who with a bit more grit, could have achieved a whole lot more. Her total capitulation to Mary Pearce in this years French Open semi final, was an insult to the Rolland Garros public who would have paid a lot of money to attend on that day; and yet another indication of how insular tennis players actually are (god bless em).
As for Jimmy Connors - All I can say is Connors is for me the ultimate Tennis God, who as a young man I tried to model my whole personality on (pathetically failing in the attempt I might add). Although the last of his grand slam victories was in 1983, the essence of Connors the man was in his 1987 Wimbledon third or fourth round victory against the Swede Michael Pernfors, who at one point was leading 6-1, 6-1, 5-1. For more on Connors click here. Incidentally it was excellent that the BBC used him extensively in the commentary this year, to counterbalance McEnroe's revisionist Eighties anecdotes, being treated as undisputed facts.
One question back at you though: define healthy?
That's enough tennis. Ed.
Byron Rourkacha, GBG Animation Studio, 03/08/2005
Event Date: Thursday August 11, 2005
Time: 7:00pm – 10:00pm
Place: 655 12th Street / Downtown Oakland / Buzz # 422 / 2 blks from 12th St BART
Green Beings Global Animation is hosting a festive get together next Thursday, August 11th at the Director’s loft in Oakland. Please read the event agenda here [dead link] or go to our website [dead link] for more information.
The walls will be covered with moovie art, namely piggies, and the food should be scrumptious! All are invited: from big studio cheeses to little pinecones like us, still making our first film. [dead link]
Please bring a friend, loved one, refer an animator or technological genius for half the price, and if you send a willing investor…WE’LL GRANT YOU A FREE PASS TO HOG HEAVEN AND TICKETS TO OUR PRESCREENING EVENT IN SF!
However it is, have a great day okay!
What with this letter and the one about Barron Storey dated 24/05/2005, that now makes it two invites to Californian arty gatherings I've received so far this summer. Lord knows why. The moovie [hijacked link] looks like it could be fun, though.
Stuart Pearce Fanclub, Piccadilly Line, 10/08/2005
Okay this is strange.
Last night after the Everton Champions League match, ITV2 then showed the 1998 movie The X Files. Close to the start of the movie, Mulder and Scully narrowly make it out of a skyscraper blown up by terrorists. As the building collapses the police car they are escaping in is blown across the street. As it comes to a rest, among the fallen dust and debris, the camera does a full frame zoom in on the rear side panel of the vehicle, which says '911'.
Yes I know, but still don't you think that is a little weird. I mean I know Mulder and Scully were always chasing conspiracies, but surely they weren't in the business of prophesying them as well.
Anyway there are no X File references in these two links so perhaps I am the only one who has spotted this?
Ha! That's NOTHING. If you're an X-Files fan, you'll know The Lone Gunmen, the three conspiracy nerds who pop up for comic relief every so often. They had their own short-lived spinoff series, also called The Lone Gunmen. The pilot episode was shot in 2000, and broadcast in March 2001. Here's a detailed plot summary. March 2001, as I said.
Stuart Pearce Fanclub, Piccadilly Line, later on 10/08/2005
Now normally I would be tempted to say on your one, that the idea of using an airliner as a (whoops better not say that word in an email) had been covered by Hollywood in the 1996 film Executive Decision, and that The World Trade Centre was a known target from the real life 1983 attack.
However the fact that the three nerds are connected to the X Files, and made a very brief appearance in last night's movie (when Mulder is in hospital) does make this all very weird.
Incidentally if you get time, have a look through the Wikipedia links. My favourite bits are:
1) The unexplained collapse of World Trade Centre 7.
2) The vertical collapse of the two towers, which would suggest the structure simultaneously giving way on all four corners, when logic would suggest one side would weaken first and topple each over sideways.
3) The 5 frame time lapse security pictures from the pentagon [dead link], which don't show any aircraft.
Finally great to see the Space Shuttle flying again. Yet if I really wanted to be naughty I could come up with a host of conspiracy theories (of purely my own making) about Columbia, and how NASA may have been duped both about the purpose of that mission, and by the findings of the accident investigation board. I won't bore you with the details though, well not unless you ask.
Depends. Will I have black helicopters flying over my house for months afterwards if I publish them?
Stuart Pearce Fanclub, Piccadilly Line, 19/08/2005
Well I am sending so many letters here now, that it must be only a matter of time before Spank gives me my own column.
Anyway I probably average between 10 to 15 trips to the theatre per year, most of the time watching with my hands folded thinking ho hum. Thus when a play so completely wastes you, that you can still actually remember what it was about, even by the time you have made it back onto the tube, then you know you have witnessed something special.
The play in question is Telstar at the New Ambassadors Theatre, telling the story of Sixties record producer and tortured genius Joe Meek. Thus the performance of Con O'Neill in the lead role is so 100% full on, that it is impossible to believe that this guy can perform it every night without eventually having a complete nervous breakdown.
All I will say is that by a clear mile, this is the best thing I have ever seen in a theatre.
For more on Joe Meek click here. [dead link]
Looks like it's currently scheduled to close on September 10th, so hurry. More details here. [dead link]
EDWARD EUGENE BASKETT, 04/09/2005
I CALL HIM CHRISTOPHER - MY LETTERS TO CHRIS MATTHEWS OF HARDBALL
THINK YOU WILL ENJOY THIS EXTRACT FROM THE ABOVE BOOK ABOUT TO BE PUBLISHED.
PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINK FOR LOTS OF SMILES AND LAUGHTER, AND USE AS YOU SEE FIT.
EDWARD EUGENE BASKETT
EDWARD'S WRITTEN TO ME - sorry - Edward's written to me once before (letter dated 21/02/2003), and I still don't understand why he thinks I'm the right person to help him promote his books. This interview may or may not help your own comprehension.
Stuart Pearce Fanclub, Piccadilly Line, 09/10/2005
Couple of things to get through here:
Firstly, one titbit (geddit) missing from your Russ Meyer piece, was that circa 1977/78 he was commissioned to make a documentary about the Sex Pistols. The actual project eventually being taken over by Julien Temple and becoming The Great Rock 'N' Roll Swindle.
Secondly, due to the uncertainty of recent results (not least the one in the League Cup) this correspondent shall temporarily be reverting to one's true name, which is of course THE JEM FANCLUB.
If you click the Finally Woken web link you get to hear the whole album for free. Particularly recommended tracks being: Just A Ride, They, and Wish I (in that order). After all, any new artist who cites the late great Bill Hicks as a major influence must have something going for them.
As I mentioned in the Meyer piece, the DVD of Mondo Topless includes a 40 minute Jonathan Ross documentary from 1988. A short section of that is dedicated to the aborted Sex Pistols project, Who Killed Bambi?, and even includes an exclusive five second clip of Meyer's original footage. The ideas sounded fun - Meyer wanted to make London look the way every American tourist sees it, and cast Marianne Faithfull as Sid Vicious' mum - but apparently Malcolm McLaren's butterfingered approach to financing meant it all fell apart four days into shooting. In the interview, Meyer gleefully accuses McLaren of setting punk rock back 22 years.
Jem's quite enjoyable, but you just know that in a year or two she'll be the soundtrack of every cheesy wine bar, like the Gypsy Kings were fifteen years ago.
The Jem Fanclub, Piccadilly Line, 17/10/2005
Following back to back wins against Everton and West Ham, I am pleased to announce that the Stuart Pearce Fanclub has been reinstated/reformed/rejuvenated/rewhatever.
However as a treat for all you thousands of Jem fans out there, here is the video of her single Just A Ride.
er Broadband only folks (so that rules you out then Spank)
Well, that didn't last long.