NATIONALISING SAUSAGES

Navy gunboats defending our fish from the French. An army of Sikhs feeding European lorry drivers caught up in Kent. Shortages of broccoli and lettuce. Nationalising sausages doesn’t seem like such a crazy idea, now, does it?

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HIGH TRAFFIC NEIGHBOURHOOD

Took me an hour (as opposed to 10 minutes) to drive my lad home from school this afternoon, thanks in part to the High Traffic Neighbourhood (‘Improving access for HGVs’) in Southall ‘Green’. Like a rat, I tried the side streets and back roads option and found those to be jammed, too, and Scotts Road - although confusingly still two-way throughout - is now No Entry from the eastern end.

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A SUCCESSFUL HOME DELIVERY AND THE LOCKDOWN/LOCK-IN.

My second son was born late Saturday night (what would normally have been my beer night) two weeks ago, after a short, but intense, labour. He was delivered at home by two brilliant midwives, who were fully protected courtesy of customised #tinap bin bag aprons, unused clean air protest dust masks, and disposable gloves my wife stocked up on back in February when – without any scientific advice whatsoever – she somehow accurately foresaw the current coronavirus global pandemic somehow reaching the UK’s shores (and airports).

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RETURN TO WORK

I returned to work last week after my extended absence due to respiratory illness, which may or may not be related to three years of breathing the poisonous gasworks' air. I find I now have to literally climb over two rough sleepers camped outside the door of my workplace in order to get in. There is no more space in the nearby doorway, and the doorway around the side entrance is similarly occupied.

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SOUTHALL UNDER SIEGE: THE NEIGHBOURS FROM HELL

‘A lack of scrutiny,’ says John Freeman, Regulatory Services Officer at Ealing Council. He’s talking about lessons to be learned from the council’s response to the new asphalt plant built in neighbouring Hillingdon borough in 2014. ‘We didn’t expect there to be so much odour from a new building, or so many complaints.’ Moving swiftly on. Oppressive odour The highly contaminated old gasworks site in Southall has been kicking up a stink, too.

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TAKING THE PISS

Last night I arranged to meet a beautiful young woman and we spent an hour together alone in a dingy bedsit. Two weeks ago, I reported a crime. A broken window in an empty first floor flat, a couple of empty cans of Stella Artois in a small black plastic carrier bag, and a toilet bowlful of urine – the water tank had been drained and capped weeks ago, so there was no running water with which to flush away the evidence, or remove the stench.

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INCONSIDERATE CONSTRUCTOR

Lorry driver on his phone while leaving ‘Southall Village’ building site, right next to school entrance during school run. Got a load more verbals from the driver and his colleagues on site - ‘Did he hit anyone?’, ‘He doesn’t work for us!’ All part of the Considerate Constructors Scheme, aka Couldn’t Care Less Scam.

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SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND

Or, why I became a soccer manager. Not Top 100, SM or even football-related. Three years out of date. Depending on this last stab at pop stardom, I will be resigning from my post as Hamburg boss in the New Year, to focus - Pablo/Dani Osvaldo-style - on my musical career.

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SAME OLD ENGLAND

I’ve been writing (if that’s the right word) about the England football team elsewhere since 2006, and this is basically the theme: (even when we win) England are shit. If that’s not depressing enough in itself, and you are curious for more, here’s a little summary of what to expect should you enter the rabbit hole: The best place to start is my preview of England’s ill-fated plan to get to the final of the 2012 World Cup in South Africa under the guidance of disciplinarian Italian capo Fabio Capello.

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HOW TO BE A TOP FOOTBALL MANAGER

Leaked documents and video reveal the FA’s shortlist and assessment interview questions for the England manager’s job. Stuart ‘Psycho’ Pearce, who presided over some of the least attacking and creative Manchester City and England U21 sides in living memory, was asked to give some expert coaching advice on how to play more attacking and creative football in line with England’s DNA blueprint. In a rambling and incoherent response, he finished off by reminiscing about how he used to psych out opponents.

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A NEW INGERLAND

I wasn’t even born when we won the World Cup I’m forty-six now and all hope I’ve given up My wife asks me now ‘Why don’t you be a better fan?’ But all the players I loved at school already failed for Ingerland I loved you then, but I don’t love you still I bet you’d beat Portugal, but it ended nil-nil I don’t feel bad about letting you go

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WHATEVER HAPPENED TO... JIMMY CARTER?

A little under three years ago I eulogised about Jimmy Carter (the footballer, not the peanut farmer) in a musical response to 20lb Sounds eulogising about Jimmy Carter (the peanut farmer, not the footballer). I wondered why Dan, the band’s Liverpool-supporting singer-songwriter, had neglected the opportunity to write about a player who is widely acknowledged (from a cursory search of fan forums) as one of Liverpool’s worst ever signings? Two years later (thanks to the wonder of the internet, and possibly also the wonder of Doug Whitfield and his Music Manumit Podcast), I received a reply:

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WHY ENGLAND DON'T HAVE A HOPE IN HELL OF WINNING EURO 2012

Six years ago I wondered if the lack of Englishmen in Arsenal’s team (and most of the other leading Premier League teams) would herald a new era of Scotland-like failure for the England football team? Well, thanks in part to Arsene Wenger’s penchant for Saintly youth team players (Theo, The Ox), we’re not quite there, yet, although undercover Scotsman Steve McClaren successfully tried and failed to qualify for Euro 2008.

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(THERE'S ONLY ONE) JIMMY CARTER (THE FOOTBALLER, NOT THE PEANUT FARMER)

A long time ago, back in January 2010 in fact, Dan Lynch’s band 20lb Sounds released their song Jimmy Carter (20lb Sounds) / CC BY-SA 3.0: This is our first original release. It’s called Jimmy Carter and as you might expect it’s about… well… Jimmy Carter, the former US president. We didn’t set out to write a song about him particularly, it’s just that someone came out with the line “Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer”, and it had to be put into song.

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THE WORLD CUP ON DRUGS: PURE-GRADE HEROIN CUT WITH SHAVINGS OF CLIVE TYLDESLEY

If England’s game against Algeria had been a Wimbledon tennis match, the two sides would still be at it today with the Dutch Master Johan Cruyff declaring it the greatest example of Total Crap Football ever played. Both sets of players would be awarded (honorary) knighthoods for their part in simulating Barnsley versus Grimsby Town at a freezing cold Oakwell on New Year’s Day in the late 1990s/early 2000s and no doubt the two managers would be encased in marble as a living testament to their obduracy.

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NO FUTURE IN ENGLAND'S DREAMING? INSIDE THE MIND OF FABIO CAPELLO

Fabio Capello’s master plan to take England to the World Cup final is finally taking shape. On the evidence seen so far, truly it is something of a fantasy. The sorry bunch of posers (Wayne Rooney, our only hope and Sid Vicious-like talisman ready to self-destruct at any moment, excepted) that represent our once proud nation may fail even to qualify for the ‘It’s A Knockout’ stages let alone reach the final for what would be our finest hour-and-half (plus extra-time and penalties, if needed) for 44 years.

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WHY ENGLAND DON'T HAVE A HOPE IN HELL OF WINNING THE FOOTBALL WORLD CUP IN 2010

We don’t have any goalkeepers who are not proven to be accidents waiting to happen. James, Green, Foster, Robinson. OK, so there is the untested Joe Hart.We don’t have any defenders who are fit or in form. Johnson, Ferdinand and Cole all injured. Terry playing like he has his pants down around his ankles half the time. Replacements (based on Capello’s selections so far) would be Brown, Lescott, Upson and Baines (since the useless Bridge has withdrawn).

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UNITED, BORN AND BRED: SUPER GLUE MACARI

The only United match I’ve been to in recent years was last season’s FA Cup tie at home to Spurs, courtesy of E.on’s sponsorship and their Family Football initiative. I went with a couple of my ‘clients’ from work, had a great road trip and fantastic all-round experience. One’s a Spurs fan, and I know he felt a mixture of joy and anxiety sat in amongst all the United fans (even in the Family stand) when Spurs went 1-0 up.

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WHY WE'RE CRAP: THE PROBLEM WITH ENGLISH FOOTBALL

It’s often the case that what in one sense is an undeniable strength can at the same time also be a real or potential weakness. English football’s great history and tradition raises everyone’s expectations, yet the English football team must compete on an increasingly commercialised and sophisticated international playing field. We have more fans, more money and more foreigners in our game than any other country, so it’s no surprise that when things don’t go to plan, everyone feels quite upset and let down.

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A NEW SCOTLAND? WHY ENGLAND'S FOOTBALL TEAM WILL SOON BE AS SHIT AS SCOTLAND'S

Is an all-foreign Arsenal bad for English football? But if all our top teams are made up of non-Englishmen….

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RED MISSED: HOW STEWART HOUSTON AND GORDON HILL MADE ME ANGRY AND DEPRESSED

United’s FA Cup tie with Wolves last weekend and Auntie’s ‘flashback’ (Rio Ferdinand?), reminded me to finally get around to posting a few of my own memories, originally prompted by George Best’s sad demise in November. George had quit United long before I can first remember watching them. But Best remained an important part of my United life - the school chant was “Georgie Best, Superstar, He walks like a woman and he wears a bra!

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