Archive for the ‘features’ Category

Books, features, music, Style

Is this the last word on Mod? Richard Weight’s MOD: A Very British Style on its way

By Stefano on January 30th, 2013

mod_weightAnd yes that cover looks great too. The images were taken by ace photographer Dean Chalkley who has lots of images of contemporary mods (and a film too – see the bottom of the page) on his site here.

Anyway back to the book. There have been plenty of Mod books before, but this looks like being a fairly definitive one for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it looks like it is going to properly tackle Mod history and its greater influence on popular culture in a way that other books haven’t. It is a moot point, for example, whether the real inheritors of the Mod tradition in the 1980s were the Acid House mob at the end of the decade (they took pills and danced all night), the C86ers (they had the bowl cuts and loved the 60s music) or the Casuals (whose clothes were more in keeping with traditional sharp mod values and tended to be more working class like the original Mods).

Without pre-guessing what Weight is going to write in his book I think he will make the case that Mod influenced them all. And that’s a story that hasn’t really been written in any depth.

Besides the Mod movement is very diverse at the moment – as this ‘What Type of Mod are you?’ post illustrates.

The  second reason why the book looks great is that Richard Weight is a very accomplished author. I read his Patriots book over a decade ago, and although I don’t remember too much about it now, I recall being impressed by both the depth of his research, and also the way he wasn’t afraid to fire off his opinions. The book looks at national identity in Britain between 1940 and 2000 and the decline of British-ness in favour of stronger associations of  being English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish. It really needs an update too and I’d be fascinated to read his views on the way that The Olympics, the popularity of The Monarchy and immigration have all fueled a revival of Britishness. Yet at the same time we could be just years away from Scotland leaving the Union.

In many ways too there hasn’t been a better time for the Mod book. Bradley Wiggins is still everywhere, heritage brands like Ben Sherman and Fred Perry are back in the limelight and there are plenty of bands who are creating music that has 60s influences at their heart.

The Who touring Quadrophenia a few months after the book launch should help too.

Anyhow, I am very excited by the book’s arrival and if you want to know more here’s the blurb from the publishers.

It is published at the end of March and will cost £25 for a hardback edition.

Welcome to the world of the sharp-suited ‘faces’. The Italianistas. The scooter-riding, all-night-dancing instigators of what became, from its myriad sources, a very British phenomenon.

Mod began life as the quintessential working-class movement of a newly affluent nation – a uniquely British amalgam of American music and European fashions that mixed modern jazz with modernist design in an attempt to escape the drab conformity, snobbery and prudery of life in 1950s Britain. But what started as a popular cult became a mainstream culture, and a style became a revolution.

In Mod, Richard Weight tells the story of Britain’s biggest and most influential youth cult. He charts the origins of Mod in the Soho jazz scene of the 1950s, set to the cool sounds of Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. He explores Mod’s heyday in Swinging London in the mid-60s – to a new soundtrack courtesy of the Small Faces, the Who and the Kinks. He takes us to the Mod-Rocker riots at Margate and Brighton, and into the world of fashion and design dominated by Twiggy, Mary Quant and Terence Conran.

But Mod did not end in the 1960s. Richard Weight not only brings us up to the cult’s revival in the late 70s – played out against its own soundtrack of Quadrophenia and the Jam – but reveals Mod to be the DNA of British youth culture, leaving its mark on glam and Northern Soul, punk and Two Tone, Britpop and rave.

This is the story of Britain’s biggest and brassiest youth movement – and of its legacy. Music, film, fashion, art, architecture and design – nothing was untouched by the eclectic, frenetic, irresistible energy of Mod.



features, Gadgets

Out of the blue – Apple launches a brand new iPad

By Stefano on January 29th, 2013

ipad-4-genIn today’s most surprising tech news Apple have launched, wait for it, a new iPad. But before we all get too carried away there’s no new design or extra features to tell you about.

The new model, which is aimed at serious iPad users and businesses, comes with a whopping 128 Gigabytes of storage – that is twice the previous top amount for an iPad which was 64 Gigbaytes

So if you have a large collection of music and/or videos or you are a creative user that needs to store a lot of content on your iPad this is going to be a good bet.

The new 128GB iPad 4 is slated to hit stores on Tuesday 5 February, in black or white. It will cost £639 for the iPad with Wi-Fi model and £739 for the iPad with Wi-Fi + mobile phone data network-friendly model.

“It’s clear that customers around the world love their iPads, and everyday they are finding more great reasons to work, learn and play on their iPads rather than their old PCs,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing.

Bought a new iPad? Here are the top thirty apps to download first



features, Gallery, music

Five sad tales of musicians who went AWOL

By Stefano on January 29th, 2013

up-manicOn February 17th 1995 police found Richey Edwards’ Vauxhall Cavalier abandoned at the Severn View service station. They reported that there was evidence that The Manic Street Preachers’ guitarist had been living in the car.

As for the car’s owner, well nothing has been heard from him since. There have been alleged sightings in Goa and Lanzarote, while there are those believe that he took his own life and jumped off the Severn Bridge. I guess we will never know.

Edwards, however, wasn’t the first rock star who decided that they had had enough of their old life and wanted to start anew. Various members of Fleetwood Mac disappeared in the late 60s and early 70s to be discovered in the cradle of slightly iffy religious groups.

There are others too and I have rounded up five stories of musicians who, for one reason or another, completely disappeared. Some, like Richey, are missing presumed dead, others are just keeping an incredibly low profile while working on that magical next album. Then there’s the tale of Rodriguez, a singer whose life was shrouded in mystery before a film was made retelling his amazing tale.

The other thing about all five is that each of them has created some wonderful music, which in four out of the five cases, deserves to be much better known.

Jim Sullivan - whisked away by aliens?

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Perhaps the most dramatic tale of a musician going AWOL ever the Jim Sullivan story still intrigues everyone who hears it. The story has an added poignancy as the album that Sullivan released in 1969, UFO, is a special one that has recently been championed by a new wave of folk stars like Laura Marling. Anyway back to the story. In the late 60s Sullivan was a talented singer songwriter in need of a break. He got one when an actor friend of his, Al Dobbs, decided to fund his album. That record, UFO is minor classic - a perfect mix of dusty folk and Gothic country, yet with some strong pop undertones. Dobbs had ensured that only top notch musicians played on the album including several of Phil Spector's legendary Wrecking Crew band of session hacks. It really is quite an astonishing listen. Take Rosey, a delicate, gently picked ballad taken to new heights by pizzicato and then soaring strings. It sounds like the sort of track Lee Hazlewood would have written on a very good day. Most intriguing of all is the title track UFO, where Sullivan shares his obsession with aliens in an eery way that some believe was a psychic prediction of the fate that was soon to befall him. Sadly the album stiffed - it has been reissued by Light In the Arric Records and these days is hailed as a classic of its genre - and Sullivan went back to playing bars and busking for a living. Then in 1975 he decided to leave his wife in California and head eastwards to start a new life a session musician in Nashville. He never got there. His car was found abandoned in the desert while all his possessions were left in his hotel room. The last time he was seen was on the ranch of a family with mafia connections. The case is still unsolved, but there are some folk who believe that the UFO watcher's dream finally came true and he was whisked away by aliens. Others take the view that he may have been murdered and the body never recovered. Either way Sullivan left behind one superb album and an enduring myth which one day really ought to be turned into a film.



features, music

REVIEW: My Bloody Valentine @ Electric Brixton (27/01/13)

By Gerald Lynch on January 28th, 2013

It’s been five years since I last saw My Bloody Valentine live, and I’ve only just managed to recover the last fragments of earplug mined from my brain after surviving their sonic assault at Camden’s Roundhouse back in 2008.

Their 2013 return to the UK sees volume levels remain the same (watching MBV is like picking a fight with a 747 in a wind tunnel and losing, as I tweeted last night), but the setlist is a little different; there’s a new album on the way, more than 21 years since the launch of their seminal Loveless record. And tonight’s gig marks the debut of a few cuts from it.

Kevin Shields and co kick off with new number ‘Rough Song’, and for a band whose signature live attack is dished out with serrated guitars, the presence of a keyboard is a little unnerving. It’s a poppy number that recalls ‘When You Sleep’, suggesting the new album may have a fair whack of tunes as well as ethereal dreamscapes. It brings with it a tease from the usually-silent Shields, mumbling to a persistent heckler that the new album’s release could be as close as “two or three days”. What with Shields’ trademark tardy perfectionism, we wouldn’t start holding our breath just yet, but considering the album was apparently mastered back in December anything is possible.

Anything, that is, than being able to decipher a tune tonight. Even by MBV’s aggressive standards, something’s a bit off. The PA at Electric Brixton is overwhelmed by the band, with vocals (traditionally low in the mix for MBV by default) lost in the squall. You don’t expect subtlety from Shields’ screeching riffs and Debbie Googe’s bass pummelling, but even Shields finds it necessary to cut off ‘To Here Knows When’ halfway through.

At their most aurally-unapologetic however with ‘Feed Me With You Kiss’ and the closing 10 minute white noise endurance test of ‘You Made Me Realise’, the night hits a sadomasochistic state of nirvana, a blissful sonic-sucker punch to see the punters off into the night with a smile on their faces and bloody tissues in their ears.

Here’s a selection of choice Twitter commentary on the gig from last night:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Books, features

The US State with a Union Jack in its flag, the war in which we didn’t fight but grew vegetables and other weird episodes from British Imperial history

By Stefano on January 25th, 2013

As everyone in the UK knows there was once a time when the Union Jack flew in many, many places across the world.

Now, a website about style, football and gadgets isn’t really a  place for too many value judgements on the British Empire. Suffice to say that we did some good things, but we also inflicted an awful lot of damage too in subjugating, and occasionally wiping out indigenous communities. Also the repercussions of the lines on the map that Britons drew lingers on in The Middle East, South America, parts of Africa and closer to home in Ireland.

However one hugely astonishing thing about the British is the way in which people of this sea-faring nation have been just about everywhere in the globe.

It was a thought that last year inspired historian Stuart Laycock to pen a fascinating book called All the Countries We’ve Ever Invaded. It is safe to say that the list that hasn’t had any British influence is a pretty short one and includes The Vatican, Monaco, Chad, Mongolia and Paraguay among others. Britain has in fact invaded nearly 90% of the countries in the world, so it isn’t that surprising that in some parts of the world we don’t have the best of reputations.

Questions about the nature of British Imperialism aside the book does throw up some amazing anecdotes about places that have been influenced by the British that almost no one in this country has a clue about.

For example what about the US state that has a Union Jack as part of its flag? Or the German island which we ran as a major holiday destination for much of the nineteenth century? Or the Scandinavian country that we kind of ‘invaded’ so we could use one of its islands as a vegetable patch.

Here then are ten really great stories. Some are  inspired by the book , which if you love history really is a must purchase. I have also done some of research of my own and of course there are a couple of nods to Wikipedia, from whence many of the images came.

So without further ado let’s head for Heligoland.

Buy the book here.

1 Heligoland

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An island in the middle of the North Sea that apparently is a bit like Scarborough! Doesn't make any sense does it, but until near the end of 19th century we used to own an island not far off the coast of Germany called Heligoland. Until 1807 it was owned by Denmark, but we decided it would make a good little naval base during the Napoleonic War era and so annexed it. When peace arrived we did the decent thing and turned the little island into a holiday centre where it attracted not just Brits but also German artists, politicians and also anarchists and revolutionaries. It remained under our control until the end of the nineteenth century when we traded it with Germany for the slightly larger land mass of Zanzibar. We returned during WW2 largely on bombing raids designed to hit German ships. After the war we turned the uninhabited part of the islands into a bombing range, something that not surprisingly still rankles with some of the locals.These days it has gone back to being a holiday resort. Visitors take the ferry from Hamburg and then chill out on the tiny island. There's no private cars, or even bikes, so to get around you have to walk or use a scooter. Sounds like a fascinating place.



features, Gadgets

All you need to know about big screen phones aka Phablets – and the seven models that have been released so far

By Stefano on January 24th, 2013

In 2010 Dell released a new phone with a monster sized five inch screen called the Streak, and it went on to change the way we think about mobile phones. But not in the way that Dell had hoped.

The early models were filled with glitches and consumers didn’t really seem ready for a phone with a screen that large. Even Dell admitted defeat pulling the plug on the devices (it had also unveiled a 7 inch version) in 2011.

But a seed had been planted.  Just as Dell was putting the Streak out to pasture Samsung surprised everyone by issuing its own huge screen phone – the Galaxy Note. It was a tentative launch too with Samsung stressing the handset’s stylus capabilities (it comes with a pen that lets you do many interesting arty things, hence the name the Note) as much as the five inch screen size.

At first reviews were a little lukewarm, but as time went by it was clear that there was a demand for a phone with a five inch screen and Samsung has gone onto sell millions of Notes. The big differences between the Note and the Streak is that the Note’s screen is much brighter, more vibrant and higher definition and its processor is so much quicker and better suited to web surfing and gaming. The fact that the Note was much skinnier than the Streak was also a key factor too.

A year and a few months on it is obvious that the Galaxy Note has had a huge impact on mobile design. For starters it has helped nudge the standard size screen for a mobile up a inch or two. Samsung’s own best selling Galaxy S3 has a screen of 4.8inches, and even Apple is rumoured to be working on a phone with a screen that is pushing five inches.

The Note also gave birth to a new mobile phone sector – the Phablet. It is is a moniker that many tech journalists, quite justifiably IMO, hate but it clearly describes a product that is a cross between a phone and tablet.

Here then is all you need to know about Phablets, from which you might consider buying one through to profiles of the seven models that are currently available (or at least coming in the next month or two).

What is a Phablet?

As the name implies it is a hybrid between a phone and a tablet. It can be used to make and receive calls, but its selling point is a big screen that makes it perfect for gaming, surfing the web and more. Wikipedia states that the size of the screen of a Phablet is normally between 5 and 7 inches. There are a cluster of phones that have screens not too shy of five inches – the 4.8inch screen on the Samsung Galaxy S3 being one – but these aren’t considered Phablets.

Why would I want one?

Personally I think that once you have used Phablet you can never go back to phone with a smaller screen. In particular phones with anything less than a four inch screen suddenly seem kind of ridiculous. Honestly. The large screen significantly enhances a person’s web surfing, gaming and ebook reading experience. It is tricky to read an ebook on a 3.5inch screen, not so on five inch one. As the phones are high -end models they tend to be stacked out the with the latest operating systems and fastest processors too. The phones currently all run the Android operating system and have access to apps via the Google Play store.

Why wouldn’t I want one?

Cue the Dom Jolly jokes. They are obviously larger than most smartphones. However even the Galaxy Note 2 with its 5.5inch screen fits comfortably in to a pocket of a pair of jeans. Their size also makes them slightly trickier to use than smaller handsets in that they are difficult to use one handed – to get the best out of them you  need to keep a tight grip on the phone while operating the touch screen with the other. To be honest I think most Phablet owners wouldn’t consider these drawbacks at all.

Could I buy one instead of a tablet?

Personally I love my iPad, but it stays mainly in my home. In contrast my Galaxy Note travels with me everywhere. I appreciate the bigger screen of my ten inch iPad when it is nearby, but then again I often just reach for my Note. In theory then it does kind of double as a tablet but one that you take with you everywhere.

How big are they going to get?

Well the discontinued Dell Streak was available with a seven inch screen. Currently the biggest Phablet you can buy in the UK is the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 which has a 5.5inch screen. The Huawei Ascend Mate may follow soon and that has a 6inch screen. There are lots of rumours of even larger screens. Samsung are also reported to working on two new models – a 6.3-inch Galaxy Note 3 and even a 7.7-inch screen or 7.9inch depending on which rumour you want to believe . They will be most likely be unveiled at Mobile World Congress at Barcelona in February.

Maybe at some point in the future it will be commoun to carry round a seven inch Phablet which is hooked up to a smart watch and a headset. The Phablet will act as a hub connecting with the other devices using Bluetooth. You will use the watch to get social media updates and text messages and the headset to make and receive calls. When you want to play games, watch TV or get online you’ll get the Phablet out.

What about Apple, Nokia, BlackBerry? Are they working on Phablets?

There are already rumours of an Apple  iPhablet (although CEO Tim Cook has denied this) and I’d be very surprised if Nokia didn’t unveil a Phablet that runs Windows in next month. I guess we will have to wait and see.

Samsung Galaxy Note 1

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It wasn't the first Phablet - that accolade was arguably scooped by Dell and its Streak - but the Galaxy Note, which was unveiled in late 2011 and went on sale in numbers in the UK in early 2012, was the first big screen to go mainstream. At its launch Samsung focused as much as the stylus (and the creative opportunities that it offers) as much as the big screen. But it soon became clear that gamers, hardcore web surfers and ebook readers were drawn to its very impressive 5.3inch screen. The phone's eight mega pixel camera is excellent too. It has gone on to sell millions and spawn a host of imitators that appear on the following pages. If you want to buy one in the UK now is a good time. You can pick one up on contract for as little as £20 per month. They can often be found in second hand stores too as some original owners have upgraded to the second version. Prices start at just under £300.

 

 

 



features, Football

The Premiership’s 15 best African players of all time – Drogba, Radebe, Mido (!?) and more

By Stefano on January 16th, 2013

So here we go again. The African Cup Of Nations kicks off this week to the delight of football fans everywhere and the chagrin of a small group of managers who lose key players for a few weeks.

Later this week we’ll asses which clubs are going to suffer the most during the month, but for now it is time to look back and salute some of the great Africans who played in the Premiership.

I have chosen 15 players who in one way or another all made their presence felt in the English league. Some, like Mido, only really shone for one season, others, like Lucas Radebe and Lauren had a huge impact over an extended period of time.

Anyhow here then are the 15. Tell us in the comments who we missed. And roll on South Africa v Cape Verde Islands.

Pics from Wikipedia

Freddie Kanoute

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Not too many Malians have made their mark in the Premiership - Liverpool's Mohamed Sissoko is another that springs to mind - and in many ways Kanoute's story is one of unfulfilled promise rather than total success. He had interesting years at both Spurs and West Ham, creating chances and scoring the odd goal for both teams. Spurs fans weren't however too fazed when he signed for Sevilla in 2005. They perhaps should have been for Kanoute became a huge star in Spain where his goal ratio - not too far shy of one per two games - thrust the team into the upper echelons of the Liga while propelling them to two consecutive UEFA Cups. In recognition he was named African Footballer Of the Year in 2007.



features, Gadgets

The 12 gadgets that will shape the year – the very best of CES 2013

By Stefano on January 14th, 2013

So CES, the world’s biggest consumer electronics show, has been and gone for another year. And what a blast it was too. In some respects it was the most interesting show in a while, largely because it saw a lot of new emerging technologies from smart watches through to high-end 4k TV sets.

Along with our pals at Tech Digest we have gone through the hundreds, make that thousands, of products and picked 12 that we think will be then ones that will shape 2013.

I don’t think any will have the impact of say the Apple iPad, Amazon Kindle or even Samsung’s early 3D TV sets, but they provide a template which a number of makers will take and refine to deliver the iconic gadgets of the future.

Without further ado then – here is our top twelve.

12 Sony Walkman W273

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Sony used CES 2013 to highlight how it has re-invented an old friend. It is reviving the Walkman in the guise of the W273 - an MP3 player for active types. The lightweight player is waterproof too so you can take it swimming. It has 4 Gig of storage, works with iTunes and each battery charge gives you eight hours of power.



Accessories, features, Gallery

Quick it is snowing – five very cool sledges to buy

By Stefano on January 14th, 2013

Ok, so it predicted snow and all London got was a very light dusting, but if the forecasters are right – and they are never wrong are they?! – there should be more snow on its way.

So now is the time to get yourself a sledge. If you order it now it ought to be delivered in plenty of time for when the real dollop of the white stuff happens later in the month (That is provided the postie can brave the snow to get through to drop it off .) Here then are five great sledges to choose from and The Beatles giving a masterclass in how to use them.

Porsche Aluminium Sledge £300ish

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If you are feeling flash then this sledge is a Porsche. Yep it is designed by the same people who put the cars together and comes with a logo to prove it. It is made from very sturdy aluminum and has a fake leather seat. There are however two bits of bad news. One, it is priced like a Porsche and two, it is second hand only, they do pop up on ebay from time to time.



features, music

12 of the most disastrous second albums of all time – Stone Roses, Duffy and more

By Stefano on January 9th, 2013

Aaah the tricky second album syndrome, it catches a lot of bands on the hop doesn’t it? After all you have a decade or so to piece together the tunes for your first album, while the second is often flung together in a heartbeat after months of touring.

If you are smart you have saved a few great songs from your early days to tide you over. If not then you better hope that the substance induced writers block disappears and fast.

The tricky part is deciding do you simply try and replicate that first album and risk accusations that you haven’t moved on? Or take the band in a different direction and then risk alienating the fans who loved your early stuff. Either route is fraught with danger.

Here then are twelve apocryphal tales of bands whose second albums were in one way or another disastrous. Some of them, in fact many of them, are actually pretty good, but, poor reviews, a lack of hit singles and a general falling from fashion meant that they stalled, and in some instances killed, a band’s career.

So have a look through the list and tell me which ones I have missed in the comments.

If you enjoyed this check out the following

Under rated 90s British indie bands

Under rated 80s British indie bands

The best Psychedelic albums of 2012

12 The Thrills - Let's Bottle Bohemia

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With So Much For The City, the Irish band patented the sound of 2003, all jangly guitars and west coast harmonies. Much was expected of its follow up Let's Bottle Bohemia, but in spite of the first two tracks - Tell Me Something I Don't Know and Whatever Happened to Corey Haim? - this was a lot lighter on hummable tunes and The Thrills' audience disappeared. It is actually quite a good album, but suffers quite badly when compared with that incendiary debut - a maxim that applies to a great many of the second album flops.



features, Football

The ten most popular Premiership players – the ones you admire and respect

By Stefano on January 3rd, 2013

If you were to do a poll to find out who is the most popular player in the Premiership Robin Van Persie would probably win at canter given the billions of United fans across the globe who would vote for him.

But is he really the most popular player in the Premiership? Thought not. So I asked a highly cultured group of footy fans to name who their favourite Premiership players are, the catch being  that they couldn’t nominate anyone from their own team – and naming a player from their rivals was positively encouraged.

So which players do you admire? Who do you like watching? Who do you respect? And who would you think would be top value if you went for a drink with them?

Here are the ten players we came up with. Tell us who we missed in the comments.

Images from PA

10 Paul Scholes

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Ok, so I know some fans don't like him because he can be a bit un-necessary when tackling, but you have to admire the United midfielder for his talent, loyalty to the Reds and down to earth approach to life. How many other Premiership players would take the bus? The only other United players to get nods were Rooney and Michael Carrick. If Carrick could repeat his United form for England this year he'd probably get a few more.



features, Football

Why Spurs now have a stronger squad than Arsenal – and this from a Gooner

By Stefano on December 27th, 2012

Up until this season if you had suggested to an Arsenal fan that their pals at the other end of the Seven Sisters Road had a stronger squad you would have probably been chased all the way back to Edmonton.

However, as the season progresses and Arsenal’s results and performances get weirder and weirder, it has become painfully obvious to a lot of Gooners that the superiority over their neighbours that they once took for granted, might be about to come to an end.

At the time of writing both teams are, along with Everton, the key contenders for that fourth Champions League slot. If you asked me though who I think will be hosting Champions League games next season I’d say it is more likely to be Spurs – and this from a Gooner. And it isn’t just me. Catch them in a more reflective moment and many Arsenal fans would agree that their worst fears might soon be about to be realised.

I have gone through both squads and compared the Arsenal and Spurs players (to be fair I am way more familiar with the Gunners, but I have watched a lot of the Spuds on the TV this season) and the sad part is that, while it is still pretty close, in certain key areas, Tottenham have the edge. There is probably a greater number of Spurs players who I wish were wearing red and white than probably since the late 80s, and fewer Arsenal men that Spurs fans covet.

So, take the tour and say what you think in the comments. Like most Arsenal fans I remain optimistic, but that optimism is born out of two things – 1 A feeling that we have managed to sneak a Champions League slot so many times before. 2 That Ivan Gazidis isn’t kidding when he says that Arsene Wenger has plenty of cash to spend in January. Whether Arsene spends it though is another matter.

Images PA

Goalkeepers - Spurs

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So who is the best North London keeper? It is a bit of a moot point recently given that Wojciech Szczęsny has been out for a chunk of the season with injury and that AVB can't decide if Hugo Lloris or Brad Friedel is his number one keeper. Friedel's contract extension though might partially answer that one though. To be honest it is hard to choose between the three of them. I really love Szczęsny and like most Arsenal fans are desperate for him to succeed. He is a step above Almunia at the very least. What gives Spurs the edge though is that they have two quality keepers, Arsenal have one plus Mannone... A quality signing - Reina? - could even things up a little, but at the moment Spurs have the edge.



features, Football, Gadgets, Websites

10 things we changed our minds about in 2012 – from red trousers to big phones

By Stefano on December 23rd, 2012

We are British, and let’s face it we can be fickle. We might have a thing for an underdog one year, but the minute they start realising their potential and being successful we enjoy nothing more than taking them down a peg or two.

Here then are ten things we changed our mind about in 2012. These are things that we accepted as wisdom for at least some of the year, but revised our opinions on. Some in a negative way, but a surprising number in a positive way.

What have I missed?

10 Draw Something

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There was a time last Spring where you couldn't go anywhere in public without seeing iPhone-toting 20/30 somethings trying to guess what each other were drawing. The company was snapped up by Zynga for $180 million and its future seemed assured. And then, quite weirdly, we got bored with it and Draw Something became not the must have app of 2012, but rather this year's Chatroulette.



features, Video

The five best ever kids TV shows (for adults) – Press Gang, Horrible Histories and more

By Stefano on December 21st, 2012

So the BBC is finally pulling the plug on showing kids programmes on mainstream channels like BBC 1 and if you want to entertain your youngsters you’ll now have to plonk them in front of CBBC or any one of about a hundred US channels.

In the general scheme of things this matters very little. It does however give me a cheesy hook to highlight five great kids programmes that quite frankly are wasted on the little blighters.

These five are all solid gold viewing for adults – some intentionally so, others just because they offer a snapshot of a fascinating period of time.

The number one is a current programme and if you don’t have kids you quite probably know nothing about it.

What would you add to the list?

5 The Tomorrow People

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Thames TV's flagship kids sci-fi show from the 70s was brilliant first time round and is just as much fun now. If Dr Who relfected the BBC in the 70s, inspired but a little earnest, Tomorrow People personified ITV, much more groovy and packed with cool pop culture references. The crew, named Homo Superior as they have reached the next stage of human evolution, are blessed with special powers which enables them to among other things, read each other's minds and teleport themselves using a special belt. The team got involved in some wonderful, if at times, controversial capers. The most notorious of which, Hitler's Last Secret, had half of London's kids decked out in Nazi regalia and the German dictator returning in the guise of an alien, ready to establish the fouth reich. The plots are ingenious, the charactars lovable (especially the chirpy Mike Bell who joined the cast in series four) and there's a visionary view of tech too. I wonder if Steve Jobs was a fan, because take a look at what's on the table? It doesn't half look like an iPad. It is available on DVD if you want a closer look.



Celeb style, features, Football, Heroes and Celebrities, Sports

Brandish’s fifteen men to watch in 2013 – who is going to be influential in tech, style, sport and politics?

By Stefano on December 19th, 2012

So 2012, a year that promised much, and in the case of the odd sporting event at least delivered in spades, is heading for the exit door.

What then will 2013 bring? Who are going to be the key people that we will be talking about in tech, sport and style?

Our rather small panel of Brandish writers got together then to name the 15 people we think are going to have a very good year in 2013. Some have achieved incredible things already, others will become much higher profile next year. We may of course be way off the mark, but at this point if we were betting men these are the 15 we’d be slapping the cash on.

So here’s the list. Who have we missed?

Pics from various sources – some are PA. The Martin Brighty pic was originally from the excellent Modcast.

Carl Jenkinson

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Picture 1 of 15

Arsenal's young English right back looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights at the beginning of last season. But since that shaky start he has arguably become the Gunners' most improved player and a long stay at The Emirates, as well as an England career seems certain. Jenkinson is also intelligent, articulate and passionate about the club. Like his fellow countryman Jack Wilshere, his commitment to charitable causes hasn't gone un-noticed too. Along with fellow Gunner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, he personifies much of what a model young professional should be.




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