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Monthly Archives: December 2009

Yes it is now official. Michael Schumacher will return to Formula 1 with Mercedes GP Petronas in 2010.

He will be 41 in January, and has said that he will be going for wins and the World Championship. Funny, I thought that is what all the drivers were there to do. If he does win a race, he will be the first 40-something driver to win a race since Nigel Mansell won the 1994 Australian Grand Prix. If he then goes on to become World Champion for the 8th time, he will become the third oldest Champion, with only Nino Farina (1950), and Juan Manuel Fangio (1957) being older, at 43 & 46 years respectively.

Back - Schumacher

In sadder news in today’s blog, Arnold Stang, the voice of Top Cat, died of Pneumonia at the age of 91. RIP

Arnold Stang & Top Cat

Finally, with Christmas fast approaching, I don’t know who often I’ll be able to blog from now to new year, but keep reading, and I’ll be back soon. Merry Christmas to you all, and BRING THE BOYS AND GIRLS BACK HOME!

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Last night I caught up on some TV that we had taped. The best programme was ITV’s countdown of the 20 best adverts that have appeared on British television from 2000-2009. So basically, it was ad of the decade. All of these ads can be found on YouTube, but I’m only putting on the winner. Before I do the countdown, I just want to mention a couple that I thought deserved a place in the top 20, but didn’t quite make it. These where the Guinness’s ‘Rhythm of Life‘, and Honda’s ‘Impossible Dream‘.

But now, the official Top 20. (If only we had Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page playing Whole Lotta Love. That’s the Top of the Pops music for those of you who don’t know). 

  • 20 – Budweiser ‘Wassup‘.
  • 19 – Cadbury ‘Eyebrows‘.
  • 18 – Halifax ‘X-Bomb‘.
  • 17 – John Smith ‘Ball Skills‘.
  • 16 – Sure for Men ‘Stunt City‘.
  • 15 – Calsburg ‘Old Lions‘.
  • 14 – Sony Bravia ‘Balls‘.
  • 13 – VW Golf ‘Singing in the Rain‘.
  • 12 – Citroen C4 ‘Transformer‘.
  • 11 – Barclaycard ‘Waterslide‘.
  • 10 – PG Tips ‘Breakfast‘.
  • 9 – Sony Bravia ‘Paint‘.
  • 8 – John West Salmon ‘Bear‘.
  • 7 – T-Mobile ‘Dance‘.
  • 6 – Guinness ‘Tipping Point‘.
  • 5 – Cadbury ‘Gorilla‘.
  • 4 – Honda ‘COG‘. (My No.1)
  • 3 – Compare the Market ‘Compare the Meerkat‘.
  • 2 – Skoda ‘Cake‘.

And the best advert of the decade is…Hovis ‘Go on Lad‘.

So there you have it, what a decade for advertising. But what will the years 2010-2019 bring us I wonder? 

However, none of these ads can really match this. I’ll leave you with what was voted the greatest ad of all time. 1998’s Guinness’s ‘Horses and Surfer‘.

Well, Liverpool played probably the most pathetic and hopeless game of football I have ever seen them play. They lost 0-2 away to bottom of the table Portsmouth. It was quite frankly an insult to the history of the club, and that is all I am going to say.

Kevin Pietersen almost gifted the first Test to his native South Africa by running straight down the wicket while Trott, another South African told him to stay put. Who’s side is KP on anyway?! England only just held on to draw the game with one wicket in hand after a massive batting collapse right after the run out.

But the bravest piece of sporting news at the weekend was when former Wales and Lions captain Gareth Thomas publically came out and said he was gay, making him the first openly gay player still playing. In the most macho sport in the world, this must be one of the gutsiest decisions of the year. But I don’t have a problem with it. The players and coaches don’t have a problem with it. The fans don’t have a problem with it. And anybody who does, can either give up watch or playing Rugby. Personally, I say ‘Well done Gareth Thomas, lets hope that if there are any other gay sportsmen and women, you have shown them that they do not have to stay hidden.’

Brave - Gareth Thomas

In more good news, X Factor winner whats his face, didn’t get the Christmas No.1! 🙂 Instead, the coveted sport goes to ‘Killing In the Name’ by Rage Against the Machine. Not a very Christmas sounding title, but at least Simon Cowell’s latest creation hasn’t taken the top spot at Christmas for the first time in 4 years. All the X Factor is, is glorified karaoke. All the songs are covers, nobody plays any instruments. That to me is karaoke. And releasing the winner’s single year after year at this time is to me chart fixing in all but name.

Any who, rant over.

And finally, BBC Sports presenter (and the man whose job I want) Chris Hollins and his partner Ola Jordan, or ‘COla’ won series 7 of Strictly Come Dancing. I wanted him to win from the start, and yes, he was my favourite.

Winners - Ola and Chris 'COla'

I got my wish! It snowed overnight and me and my sister didn’t have to go into school for the last day! 🙂

But because some of the main roads had to closed due to snow and accidents, I didn’t get to see my Grandparents. But I’ll defiantly be seeing them next week, so that isn’t so bad.

With our extra day off from school, my sister and I went up the garden with her camera for about 10 minutes and took some pics which you can see below. We also made a couple of videos, but I’m not forking out to be able to put them on.

Our garden from my sister's bedroom window

 

Snow on a garden table

 

In sporting news today, David Beckham will have to go back to Old Trafford, as his loan side AC Milan were drawn against Man Utd in the last 16 of the Champions League. Inter Milan boss Jose Mourinho faces his old team Chelsea in the same round. In the Europa League, Liverpool will play Romanian Champs FC Unirea Urziceni…no me neither. If we win, we will then have to play either Lille of France, or Fenerbahce of Turkey.

Formula 1’s dream come back took another giant leap forward today, with Ferrari confirming that Michael Schumacher has said that he intends to come back and race for Mercedes. In slightly bazaar F1 news, former Japanese driver Ukyo Katayama had to be rescued from Mount Fuji after getting into difficulty. He is said to be fine, but his two companions are feared dead.

Now I hate to have to end on a sad note on such a good day, but I feel that I have to. The infamous ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’, or ‘Work sets you free’ sign above the entrance of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp has been stolen. As a person who has been their twice, and felt the history, the suffering and the death all around me, I find it sick that somebody or some people can have the heart to steal a part of it. My betting is that it was either stolen by Neo-Nazis, a random criminal gang, or some Polish or Jewish people with some twisted logic.

Only dictators destroy, everybody else keeps what is there. Either as a memory, or a warning.

Sorry it’s been a few days, but I have been busy reading on the internet and catching up with some TV. Plus I’ve been waiting for more F1 driver line ups to be announced.

So, Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen have signed for Lotus, Lucas Di Grassi has signed for Virgin, and hot-shot Japanese new boy Kamui Kobayashi has signed for the coming back Sauber team. If you can recall, he was the Toyota driver who gave Jenson Button a hard time in Brazil, and beat his then team-mate Trulli in Abu Dhabi. Also, Renault have sold 75% of their racing team to Genii Capital, but will still race under the name ‘Renault’. Questions are now being raised as to what Robert Kubica will do due to the change of management.

In other news, we got our first snow of the 2009-10 winter yesterday and today. I personally wish that we can all wake up to a bright, crisp Christmas morning with 4ft of thick snow in the streets, flick on the news, and see that all our troops are coming home from Afghanistan and all other parts of the world where we don’t need to be. What do you think the odds of that are at the local bookies?

I HAVE JUST HEARD A MASSIVE CLAP OF THUNDER!! IN THE MIDDLE OF DECEMBER! WTF! I’ve also just looked outside and it is SNOWING!!!!! 🙂 Can we please get some more over night so me and my sister don’t have to go into school tomorrow?

Back to F1, and I found a Christmas message from the Red Bull boys Vettel and Webber.

Bet you didn’t see that coming. 🙂

It is looking increasingly likely that 7-times World Champion Michael Schumacher will make a return to Formula 1 with the newish Mercedes team in 2010. As you well know, he was only about a week away from racing for Ferrari again in 2009 after Felipe Massa’s horror accident in Hungary. Alas, a neck injury from a bike crash earlier this year prevent him from doing so.

When I was younger, I hated Michael Schumacher. He never let anybody else win. He and Ross Brawn (who part owns the Mercedes GP team) and Jean Todt (the now president of the FIA) even prevented his own team-mate from racing against him and winning. Another reason why I didn’t like him was because he drove for Ferrari, who are McLaren’s arch enemies. All his success and our lack of it in the first half of the decade filled me with anger. He also broke practically every single record in the book with out even trying at times. I cried when he won his 6th World Championship in 2003, breaking the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio’s record that had stood since 1957. The same happened when he scored his 66th pole position at the 2006 San Marino Grand Prix. This was a record previously held by Senna, and it was at the same track at which he was killed, so how would you expect me to feel? He was also one for trying to ram other drivers off the track. Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve have both suffered at his hand, but Villeneuve survived to win the title that year. Damon didn’t as we all know. In qualifying for the 2006 Monaco Grand Prix, he deliberately parked his car at a tricky corner to slow Alonso down. It worked, but he didn’t get away with it.

But now, strangely, I want him back.

He is one of the all time greats, but his statistics disguise his ability. Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet all had to race against and beat each other in the 1980s. Just to let you know, these four drivers have won 11 World Championship and 146 Grand Prix. Schumacher meanwhile, had practically no opposition. The only driver he said he feared was Mika Hakkinen, and he retired in 2001. But I want to see how good Schumacher is compared to todays F1 drivers. I want to see him race for real against: Hamilton, Button, Massa, Alonso and Vettel. Alonso has beaten him to a couple of titles, but its been a while.

And finally, as a piece of poetic justice, I want to see Rubens Barrichello’s Williams scream past his Mercedes to take a win, as revenge for what happened at the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix.

Ryan Giggs has just been named BBC Sports Personality of 2009, with Jenson Button runner-up and Jessica Ennis third. As a F1 fan, I really wanted Button to win as Lewis Hamilton had come second the previous two years. But alas, we’ll have to wait another year and win another title to get a F1 name back on the trophy.

Usain Bolt won Overseas Personality for the second year running (Ha Ha), and rightly so. And Golfing legend Seve Ballesteros received the Lifetime Achievement award for his legacy in Golf and brave fight against Brain cancer.

In other sporting news, Liverpool lost again :-(, this time 2-1 at home to Arsenal after we where leading at Half-time. I have just about lost all patience with the Reds now. My confidence in them is at an all time low. I just don’t know what to do anymore. But I supported McLaren through the thin, and I shall do the same with Liverpool.

In F1, my all-time hero Ayrton Senna topped yet another ‘Greatest Driver of All Time’ poll. But this one was voted for by his peers, rivals, inspirations and admirers. See the whole top 40 by following this link. http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/80517 

 I’ll leave you now, because I have yet another blocked up nose, and it is driving me mad. Byeeeeeee.

Hi everybody. Big news today. Formula 1 will bring in brand new rules for the 2010 season, which should make it even more exciting.

Firstly and most importantly, the new points system. As of 2003, the top 8 drivers scored: 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1. But as of next year, the top 10 drivers will score: 25-20-15-10-8-6-5-3-2-1. This will make the drivers want to race even harder for the race win, with the gap between 1st and 2nd now at a record high 5 whole points, whereas the previous gap between 1st and 3rd was just 4 points. Some people say it’s too Americanized and MotoGP-like, but I think it is a great move. Much better than the other idea of ‘the driver with most wins is Champion.’ The World Champion should be the most consistent driver, and one who would win the title with a couple of lucky wins.

Here is a comparison of last year’s top 5 drivers and 2 teams with both the old and the new points systems.

  • 2009 Driver’s Championship: Button = 95, Vettel = 84, Barrichello = 77, Webber = 69.5, Hamilton = 49.
  • 2009 Constructor’s Championship: Brawn = 172, Red Bull = 153.5. 

 

  • 2010 Driver’s Championship points: Button = 230.5, Vettel = 203, Barrichello = 183, Webber = 175, Hamilton = 120.5.
  • 2010 Constructor’s Championship points: Brawn = 413.5, Red Bull = 378.

In other F1 news, Abu Dhabi and Brazil have swapped places on the calendar, meaning that Abu Dhabi will now be the last race. Renault will race in F1, but probably under a new name, but we will have 13 teams on the grid in Bahrain in March. And next year we’ll have ex-drivers on the stewards board at every race to hopefully make fairer and quicker decisions about race incidents. Hopefully McLaren will be treated equally for once. (Did I really type that?).

Away from F1, I got some bad news music wise. I would be able to see Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton next year, because the cheapest tickets for the shows are over £60! :-(. It’s not fair! If me and my Dad had the money, we would go, but we don’t and we can’t. WHY DO CONCERT TICKETS THESE DAYS HAVE TO BE SO F-ING EXPENSIVE. I WOULD GIVE MY RIGHT ARM TO SEE ERIC CLAPTON, BUT JUST BECAUSE SOME POSH TOFFEE-NOSED OXFORD, CAMBRIDGE OR EATON GRAD, OR CITY WORKER HAS SOME CASH, THAT MEAN THAT THEY CAN GO AND I CAN’T. IT SUCKS! When I went to see Roger Waters, one woman asked me ‘So, whats this going to be all about then? I had a good mind to tell her that I tought it was disgraceful for her to be there, without a clue about the show or the music, when a genuine fan and lover of his works was at home cursing that fact that people like her were there instead of them.

Anyway, rant over. See you later everybody.

Here it is. After much brain scratching and soul-searching I finally have my six-piece all time fantasy rock band.

Firstly, the name. The band is called VY Canis Majoris. That is the name of the largest Star known to man, so I thought that is was quite an apt name for this ensemble.

Now, ladies and gentlemen let me introduce the band.

On Drums & PercussionNeil Peart of Rush.

Almighty power and rhythm, and little pieces out of the blue as well make him the ideal stick man.

On Keyboards & PianoKeith Emerson of Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

Honestly, how many people can play that well upside down?

On Bass GuitarChris Squire of Yes.

Absolutely brutal. I hope he brings his triple neck Bass to the gig.

On Rhythm Guitar & Backing VocalsMark Knofler of Dire Straits.

He’s finger picking good isn’t he?

On Lead Guitar & Backing VocalsDavid Gilmour of Pink Floyd.

And finally, on Lead Vocals & Additional PianoFreddie Mercury of Queen.

The ultimate showman, and a voice that could demolish buildings. He is sorely missed.

So there you have my all time Rock group. Tell me what you think, and tell me your dream group if you like.

Thank you very much. Goodnight, and have a safe journey home.

I always go to concerts with a sense of dread. Is the band going to play well, or come out at all? Well Fleetwood Mac did come out. And boy did they play well.

My little sister is as much a Fleetwood Mac fan as I am a Pink Floyd fan. In fact she is named after one of their songs. But they are still one of my top bands. They wrote the song that was the sound of my childhood. ‘The Chain’ was as I am sure you know, the BBC F1 theme for decades. I was a little disappointed that they didn’t go into an extended jam on the song though.

However, they more than made up for it with crashing renditions of their songs ‘Tusk’ and ‘Oh Well’. Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham also stole the show with ‘Big Love’ and extended Guitar solo in which he let the standing audience down the front ‘play along’ with him.

But the biggest moment of the evening was when singer Stevie Nicks told the audience that Christine McVie, former Keyboardist and ex-wife of Bassist John McVie  was in the audience. We all wanted her on stage, but she is retired now and it wouldn’t have happened. Drummer Mick Fleetwood raised the roof with a rather flamboyant drum solo as part of the encores.

The only draw back of the night was sitting right at the back and in the ‘Gods’, but thats what you get when you pay only £23 per ticket. What ever happened to the days when you could see people for under £10 I ask you?

But anyway, just like when I went to see Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters at the O2 Arena last year (oh yes!), this will be a night that stays with me for the rest of my days.

I’ll leave ou with ‘The Chain’ from when my Mum and Dad saw them in 1987, and it being used by the BBC.