Dateline: Friday night, through the fog to the SECC, a soulless cavern on the banks of the Clyde. Glasgow, a city that manages to revel in living down to every cliché you’ve ever heard about it. As divided as cold war era Berlin, and where even the Catholic girls are orange.
We’re there for the previously mentioned Simple Minds gig. Excellent set list that featured all the classics, some of the new album and tracks from a number of the early albums too. At times it was easy to see and hear why they’d been on a par with U2 through the mid to late 80’s. Something was off however. They were good, but it wasn’t great and certainly not the best I’ve seen them. It may have been the acoustics in the building, or the mix of the sound but Jim’s voice just wasn’t there. There was an enforced hiatus mid-way through when a fuse blew or some other piece of technology had a melt down, but all in all it was enjoyable.
Support was provided by OMD, and boy did they put on a show. I’ve got a soft spot for them as a band, being as their high point is right in my era, but I’d allowed myself to forget just how good a band they are/were and how many memorable songs they did. They blasted through all the big songs you’d expect of them and for a guy who seemed tediously earnest in their hey day, Andy McCluskey showed a surprising sense of humour and genuinely appeared to be having a good time. It was almost enough to forgive him for foisting Kerry ‘Kebab Shop’ Katona on an unsuspecting public.
Ryan Giggs, Sports Personality of the Year. Take a moment to consider those words carefully.
Even allowing for the fact that “Personality” has never been a criteria, it’s difficult to defend this choice. Either the red menace of United fans, as pervasive as Kudzu weed, voted en bloc or the addled minds of X-Factor fans got their phone numbers mixed up. Lets look at the contenders:
Jenson Button – won the F1 World Championship in a team that didn’t exist just a few weeks before the season started.
Mark Cavendish – winner of six, SIX! Stages at this years Tour De France – was never going to win though as he’s largely unheard of and of those who have heard of him 75% find him insufferably arrogant. Not how we like our British sports stars.
Tom Daley – another World Champion, but he’s 15 and won the junior prize
Jessica Ennis – another World Champion, but it’s only athletics and she hasn’t been seen since the summer
David Haye – hmm, a World Champion too, Ok he shoots his mouth off, but he’s a boxer ffs.
Phillips Idowu – wait a minute, isn’t he? Yes, a World Champion, but as with Jess Ennis, he suffers from athletics and it all happened months ago syndrome.
Andy Murray – only three men in the world, the entire world are better than him at tennis, at one stage only one man was. He won more title this year than anyone, no Grand Slams, but not Mickey Mouse ones either….too Scottish.
Andrew Strauss – too posh, too South African, cricket is only on Sky so it doesn’t count anymore and besides, they lost to the West Indies before beating a poor Australian side.
Beth Tweddle – OK, it’s only gymnastics, but she is, you know, one of them, that’s right, a World Champion
Which brings us to Giggsy. A part time starter, some time substitute, what has he done of note this year? Hmm, let’s see now, he’s scored a few goals, none of them crucial and he’s been at best, United’s third best player, behind Rooney and Ronaldo in the latter half of last season. His only real qualification for making the final ten so far as I can see is the “astonishing” fact that he’s still able to take the field at the age of 36 without the aid of a wheelchair and stannah stairlift.
And as for Fabio Capello. Coach of the Year? For what? Guiding England to the World Cup from a piss easy group? What the fuck will they give him if they win the tournament? How anyone could overlook Dean Richards for this is anyones guess. Who did more for rugby’s profile this year than him?