SOCCER: I hate the word

We are now in the middle of the FOOTBALL world cup. This is a world game in which many nations play FOOTBALL. FOOTBALL is a game played predominately with your feet (hence foot) and kicking a round ball (hence ball). Pretty straight forward and logical I feel. So why has this hateful word soccer come into such predominance? Could this be something to do with the US of A, where they insist on calling their game of American (Rugby) football football?  To give you an idea of this confusion, when I googled in “FOOTBALL“, for an initial pic, I was bombard with American (Rugby) Football images!!

Pele Wallpapers

I will have to consult the all knowing seer Wikipedia for illumination on these matters but a few initial thoughts.  Soccer, did Ronaldo, Messi, Beckham, Pele and Maradona all kick the foot ball with their socks?…NO…This is not Socks Ball but FOOTBALL!  

I simply do not understand American (Rugby) football. I feel I got a little closer recently watching a comedy movie (Yes, I am using the word movie because the film moves) with Keanu Reeves called “The Replacements”. Ah, this is a form of Rugby, a bit Union and a bit League. I thought!! They have a scrum down of sorts. Where is the hooker to kick the ball back (No, not some lady or gentleman of a certain “profession”).

We played a bit of Rugby, both Union and League when I was a kid. I was often the hooker (in the game, er ball game!). I loved the fact that you could kick the living s*** out of some irritating a***h*** with relative impunity, the sports teacher could not really see what was happening inside the scrum.

OK, back to American (Rugby) football. From what I could make out from the movie, the ball goes into the line out/scrum and then comes out some where. It is a total puzzle to me what is going on inside the line out. The other features of this game are also a source of huge bewilderment. Enormous American (Rugby) football players seem to bounce into each other. They seem to be dressed like extras from Robo cop, gladiators meet Mr Blobby and the Michelin Man. The little itty bitty tinsie winsie American Rugby ball is occasionally kicked the length of the pitch. This seems to be the only time the ball is kicked. The touch down and scoring a goal, try, or what ever it is, seems exactly like Rugby Football. The ball seems to be passed forward as in Rugby League, (If I remember.) There are lines painted all over the pitch like some crazy huge stripy jersey! I assume these have some significance in the game?

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So why do Americans have the nerve, the audacity and arrogance to call their American Rugby (running with the ball mainly) game FOOTBALL? They hardly ever kick the bleedin’ ball.!!!!?? Pax Americana? They assume that what ever goes on inside their(admittedly) quite large country should be Holly Writ across the whole globe? Are they impervious to what is happening outside their boundaries? This is not a “I hate the USA” blog. Yes, I am a Brit, and I love Jazz, worship John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong. The Yanks had a lot in shaping movies. Awesome Orson Wells, The Cohen Brothers, Spike Leigh, Clint Eastwood , Mel Brooks and on and on. And much else. I do not agree with Mr Gove, the UK Education Minister seeming to want to take out American literature from the exam syllabus, books such as “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck and other American classics! “Far too radical, dear boy!” But this is culture Imperialism, soccer instead of FOOTBALL doth vex me muchly. Ah the Cheer leaders, now this is something I can relate to!. Young ladies dressed pleasantly, dancing wildly, rhythmically and energetically in formation; most delightful for a fast aging English man.

So what are the other main “running with the ball games” around in the world? Consulting the all seeing eye Wikipedia there is:-

Australian Rules football http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_rules_football. One of their names for this is footy, very Australian. I notice in the photos they are not dressed up like extras in the next Terminator movie, even though this seems a very physical game.

Rugby Union: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rugby_Football_Union I just spotted this in Wikie Pickie “Algernon Rutter was elected as the first president of the RFU. “Looks like the “posh boys” started up Rugby Union much the same way the US posh boys started up Face Book? Love that name Alegernon! Rugby Union is a world game. . It is played in the UK, Ireland France Italy and Romania. Huge in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand with their “All Blacks”.

Rugby League: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rugby_league This is the game I liked best as a kid. It developed from Union and is mainly played in Northern England. Again no medieval armour is required for this game!

Gaelic Football: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaelic_football. This seems a hell of a game as well. Another, partly, running with the ball game. And American Football:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_football Yes, it derives from Rugby Union and “posh boys” seemed to be in at the start of it again. Compared with all the other “running with the ball” games, there are lines and lines of rules in Wikie Pickie for American football. Do you need a manual to follow this game? The Canadians have their variation as well I see.  Is this just a “nicer” version of the US game?

As for the word “soccer” I remember an American guy here in the Philippines telling me it has English origins. I have tried to track this down here on the web without success so far. So the beautiful game, the present World Cup. Association rules football can be one massive wind up.If you have two well matched sides with good defenses, one goal may well make all the difference. You do need the magic man (or woman in ladies football which is getting ever bigger). Messi for Barca, Barcelona, will perform his magic after that brilliant side does its short tikie tackie passes down to the goal.

So to date, Holland thrashed Spain 5. 1.  Out goes my prediction that Spain will win the cup. Italy beat England 2 1. Reading the account on line here, Rooney couldn’t get it together, so nothing new there. So whats the betting it will be Brazil v Germany final, with the Germans winning on a final penalty shoot out?  I could blog on and on about the huge money in world FOOTBALL. But I will just end and say, dear Americans; yes you can call your game of American Rugby football football, but the rest of the world (well the Indian sub continent play cricket ) play FOOTBALL not soccer! Di ba!!!

 

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My memories of the 60’s.: Part 2: The Build Up 1964 – 1967

My general memories

My first tranche of writing here covered the period prior to 1964 and the initial stages of this period.

I am checking all my memories against MrMrs/Ms Wikipedia. You can be sniffy and “academic about Wikipedia but I feel it is brilliant. From what I see they are pretty accurate. Anything else can be a nightmare, if you want to find specific information quickly on the web, this is the only way! Photos are sourced from the web in this blog, I have no selfies!

I dealt a bit on my old history teacher and the two micro mini minxes previously. This I feel must have been a round 1966, the third year of my stay in that Secondary Modern school. I must have been 13 at the time. This kind of figures.

A huge amount was happening during those three years in the general culture in the UK . I will get onto that later. As for myself I have been trying to remember the effect this had on me. We did not have selfie selfie digital pics then. I was never one for too many selfies. Living now in the selfie seflie capital of the world, Manila, Philippines you cant avoid them, but even now I am still pretty self-effacing.

So when did I mutate from a mod into a hippie? I am thinking this happened at around 1969 when I was 14, but as I said I have scant photographic evidence of this.

Things swung ever upwards

The general pop culture seemed to be on an exponential curve during this period. The Who were the mod band and came out with “My Generation” in October 1965. This was all about “speed” or  amphetamines, the “mod” drug of choice. Just “You Tube” in the Who around this period. They still seem pretty staggering even now. May be “proto punk” in what they did. Pete Townshend smashing up his guitars, Keith Moon thrashing all over the place with the super cool John Entwistle holding it altogether on bass But a year later with the Beatles Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Band at the end of 1966 there was another shift. Hippiedom had arrived. It would take a book to explain all of this. I was still pretty young then but I did sense all these changes and most of us were pulled along with this.

I had discovered Soul

This was the start of the “Pirate Radios”. The first was Radio Caroline out at sea. In 1964. I had an old “Steam Radio” with a wire rigged up to an old TV aerial outside my bed room window. I was able to pick up most medium and long wave as a well as some short wave if I remember. For any young person who may have happened on this blog bear in mind it was not easy for us oldies to find out stuff then! No web, no wi fi, no lap tops, cell phones, tablets etc etc, just an old “steam” radio. crackling away.

It was “Hold on I’m Comin’” by Sam and Dave which first “blew my mind’ in the vernacular of that era. “What the hell is this” I remember thinking, a great repetitive riff, a really tight sound and great bass line! Yes there had been some soul on “Ready Steady Go” and “Top of the Pops”. Some of the British bands around this time were certainly very good, apart from the Beatles, Stones and the Who there were the Kinks and the Hollies, Lulu and a number of others, but I felt there was something else with the Soul of early Motown and Stax from that period. I may well have heard this first on “Pirate” radio!

The “Pirates” were important in opening things up. The TV was dominated by the BBC and Top of the Pops and ITV’s Ready Steady Go. The old Home, Light and Third programmes went in 1967 on BBC Radio to be replaced by Radio’s 1,2,3,and 4, pretty much the pattern now back in the UK.

It was this “openness ” which was a very good feature of this period. You could quietly explore and “do your own thing,” something that had been really difficult before.

 

 

My Memory of the 60″s. The Start

The 60’s …The Start!

Intro

 

 

I have started here on Word Press with an article on a long dead relation and his folk violin. But it strikes me, being 61 now, that I am shifting from middle age to old age. The “60” are now 50 years ago!

I will therefore outline some of my memories in this very important decade. The focus will mainly be on the pop, rock world and fashion with glancing comments about other aspects from this period. I will use good old Wikipedia to check against my memory. I am starting to suffer from the occasional “senior moment”.  Photos here will be sourced from the web.

 

I need to shift the time frame forward by four years. For me the 60’s kicked in with the Beatles in 1964. It peaked through 1967 to 1969. It then trailed away during the early 70’s. Then punk came through. So the 60’s for me equals 1964 to 1974.

 

Pre “60’s”

I was born in the South of England, the New Forest, Hampshire. A quiet, Hobbit like “Shire” kind of a place. My father was doing pretty well as a builder. So we had a TV, car, fridge and washing machine. All that stuff had come in during the 50’s.

But everything was terminally boring! On the radio there was “Sing Something Simple”, “Semprini’s Serenades” and Perry Como was big! On the BBC you could watch “The Black and White Minstrel Show”, unbelievable looking back now. Rock and Roll had exploded in the mid 50’s, then it seemed to just vanish. Food was boring, apart from my mother’s cakes. Well it stayed boring for a long while in the UK! Fish and Chips (french fries), sandwiches made from unbelievably dire white bread slices filled with awful hams and cheeses, along with the ubiquitous English pot of tea. Every cup drowned in milk and masses of sugar!

Black and White Minstrel Show.jpg

Stuff was changing

Doctor Who started on  Saturday, 23 November 1963 (Wikipedia of course!). Yes, I did hide behind the sofa when the Daleks first appeared. Z cars had started in 1962. There was a shift taking place.

1964

Harold Wilson had been elected Prime Minister. A new (well new then) Labour government. The “patrician” Tory years had past.

Stuff Changed

But the defining moment for me was the Beatles appearing on “Top of the Pops”. Looking back now at those four well scrubbed suited young men singing “Love You yea yea yea etc”; they look “cheesy” now, as the kids say. This is all outlined brilliantly in “This is Spinal Tap”, showing  Spinal Taps’ formative years.

But when my father saw the Beatles on television he was less than impressed!! “Turn that bloody noise off…I’m going to bed”.

I went to a pretty bad Secondary Modern School, having failed the 11 plus. I put my head down and got myself a place in a 6th form college at the end of it. The “60’s” hit all us kids pretty hard.

As a teenage boy then you had to make a decision, were you a “mod” or a “rocker”?

Mods wore “Beatles shoes” and “Beatles hair cuts”. Rockers were a sort of biker culture, having their origins back in the Rock and Roll 50’s. I am a big fan of the “Leningrad Cowboys” who have preserved this look complete with the “quiff”. I also had a cousin who dressed in full red drapes, but he was actually from the 50’s in his style. Smooth boys were mods and the rough boys from the council estate were rockers if I remember. I wanted to be a “smooth boy”. This impressed the girls more. They started to be an interest of mine around then. There were a few major Mods and Rocker riots in the mid 60”s on the South Coast. So we had punch ups in the playground. A few boys were canned by the Head who was an ex navy sea captain. I always got away with it!

A square quartered into four head shots of young men with moptop haircuts. All four wear white shirts and dark coats.

Girls and Mini skirts

I will end this blog here with this important topic! Painful! Moving from 1964 to 1965, the mini skirts appeared and it was not long before they become micro minis! Being now a teenage boy with the “hormones” rushing in, this was not an easy period to live through.

One memory is etched in my mind. We had a dreadful history teacher who droned on and on about the British Raj and all the fine generals and viceroys that had run India during the British Empire. For a group of kids in a Secondary Modern, he might as well have read out of the phone book!

Two young ladies always took the front seats right in front of him behind his desk. (His class control was a little lacking if I remember.) They both wore micro minis! They crossed their legs and sat back starring at him for the entire lesson. The game was to see how long it took before the old buffer went beetroot red. It was not long as a rule. The rest of us would giggle and shuffle around in our seats.

I remember the odd cuddle with one girl in a class room cupboard. Another liked showing me her bloomers! One of the two micro mini minxes had wanting me to do her history homework for her. I was the class swat at the time. Looking back, I feel I missed an opportunity. I seem to remember how I would get away with this? The added worry of the Head’s cane and my father’s reaction may have been part of my decision in turning down this intriguing request!

I will move onto the mid 60” period next. That is leading up to the “Summer of Love” in 1967, and what happened afterwords!