THE FRIDAY FIVE – 28.2.2014

1. Florrie – Seashells
2. DJ Fresh vs Jay Fay ft Ms Dynamite – Dibby Dibby Sound
3. Bruce Springsteen – Just Life Fire Would
4. American Authors – Best Day Of My Life
5. James – Frozen Britain

Tomorrow, is St David’s Day. As is tradition, there shall be a St David’s Day chart for Welsh readers. Enjoy.

FIVE SONGS BY WELSH ARTISTS

1. Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse Of The Heart
2. Stereophonics – Dakota
3. Manic Street Preachers – Motorcycle Emptiness
4. The Automatic – Steve McQueen
5. Scritti Politti – Absolut

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50 YEARS OF TOP OF THE POPS : FEB 21 – FEB 27

We begin this week’s round with a JJ and a JD born this week in history. JJ Burnel of The Stranglers, 62 this week.

While this week, JD Bradfield, or James Dean Bradfield to give him his full name, lead singer of Manic Street Preachers turned 46.

He has a brief solo career in the mid 00s. That’s No Way To Tell A Lie is a brilliant song.

And anyway, back to his day job.

James Dean Bradfield shares a birthday with another Welsh singer, Charlotee Church. The singles off her debut solo album were rather good you know.

And in a tenuous link that TOTP would be proud of, she was big in 2005 …….. like James Blunt

And from big in 2005, we go back a few decades to big in 1985 (well, 1983 actually, but don’t let that ruin a link) with Howard Jones.

And staying the 1980s, Quiet Life by Japan is just brilliant.

Meanwhile, George Harrison would have been 71 this week. Unfortunately, there is a lack of Beatles and solo appearances on Youtube, so I compensate by posting a cover when there is a Beatle Birthday.

As he’s my favourite Beatle, he can have Siouxsie and the Banshees doing Dear Prudence. I’m still to decide which Beatle gets Candy Flip.

Ally McLeod would have been 83 this week, but 78 is his, erm, lucky number, as it was 1978 he got immortalised in song by Andy Cameron.

You can tell the audience members who were told to turn up with tartan scarves thought they were going to see The Rollers.

Almost near the end of this week, two more pop stars celebrating a birthday today. First, Steve Harley ……

DISCLAIMER : Introduction features Jimmy Savile.

…… and Rozonda Thomas from TLC

And finally, it’s 38 years ago this week since the death of LS Lowry. A painter, not a singer, he has inspired sone songs, first by Brian and Michael …….

……… and a very young Status Quo, who had yet to discover Double Denim.

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : MATCH – 31.7.1999

It’s the last pre-season of the 20th century, and Match has got an exclusive interview with David Beckham, newly married, new dad, and just helped Manchester United to the treble.

The cover image, is of him celebrating just after the final whistle of the 1999 European Cup Final.

In news, Manchester United have a new away kit, and Match goes behind the scenes at the promotional photoshoot.

Meanwhile, Aberdeen manager Ebbe Skovdahl has had mattresses added to the training ground so players can get some sleep inbetween training sessions.

As it’s Team Tab time of year, Match has a handy guide on how to use and update them.

David Beckham’s interview gets four pages, talking about his eventful year, and how supportive (the newly knighted) Sir Alex Ferguson was, and how he deserves his knighthood.

Match does a feature on who the world’s highest paid footballer is …… Christian Vieri of Inter Milan, also the most expensive footballer in the world, earning 123 grand a week.

Of the Top 15, not one was English, or playing with an English club.

The highest paid player in England was Marcel Desailly, on 42 grand a week.

Alan Shearer, on 40 grand a week, was the highest paid English player.

Also getting four pages is Arsene Wenger, giving his advice on how to build a successful team.

The new Scottish season is about to begin, and Match interviews Henrik Larsson about Celtic’s chances, a season he would miss eight months of after getting injured in October.

A player from each club is interviewed and asked to predict the champions. Mark Viduka of Celtic was the only player not to predict Rangers to win the league. Rangers proved those eleven right by winning the league.

Having been Britain’s most expensive footballer four years previously, Stan Collymore was loaned from Aston Villa to Fulham as he looks to get his career back on track. Eighteen months later, he had retired.

Meanwhile, a new rap star was about to hit the charts, straight outta the mean streets of ………. Nottingham.

Andy Cole was about to launch his debut single ‘Outstanding’, which it was, and he offers his advice on how to be a rap star.

Match accompanied him at the video shoot, and there is a Smash Hits style lyrics sheet, if you want to sing along.

GLENTORAN 0-1 LINFIELD 21.2.2014

Sky Sports cameras rolled into town for Linfield’s visit to The Oval, David Jeffrey’s final visit to East Belfast as Linfield manager.

With Glentoran having two players suspended, lost their last game to the side bottom of the league, and Linfield going into the game on the back of a 6-0 win, naturally, I was going to be nervous going into this game. You know what Glentoran are like.

Glentoran started well in the first few minutes, forcing a couple of corners, which thankfully, came to nothing.

The first-half wasn’t very good, with very few shots on goal. Linfield only really got going in the final ten minutes of the half with Waterworth, Sproule and Lowry all having worthwhile attempts on goal.

Linfield’s best came when Sproule got in behind Glentoran’s defence, his shot save by Morris, the rebound hitting a Glentoran defender before being cleared off the line.

The best chance of the first-half came for Glentoran when Curtis Allen got behind Linfield’s defence, but his shot was saved by Tuffey.

Linfield’s momentum carried over into the start of the second-half. Sean Ward won possession and went on a run before being brought down in the penalty area. Clear penalty.

Matthew Tipton stepped up, and did that ridiculous John Aldridge/Cristiano Ronaldo pretending to take a penalty thing. At that point, I thought he was going to miss. Thankfully, he didn’t.

Disappointingly, Linfield didn’t push on for a second. Glentoran actually looked like the team that had just gone 1-0 up. For all their huff and puff, they never looked like scoring.

I’ve seen enough games against Glentoran to know it’s never won until the final whistle. No matter what the lead, you always worry they will fight back to get a draw. Maybe i’m just naturally pessmimistic?

For the first time ever, I felt comfortable at 1-0 up, even though I did get annoyed by Linfield fans singing “We are top of the league” with the game still ongoing. Did they not learn their lesson from April 2009?

Thankfully, Linfield saw out the game and won 1-0.

Didn’t play great, but didn’t need to. Were the better team and deserved to win.

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THE 1975 – LIVE AT ULSTER HALL 17.2.2014

The 1975, one of the success stories of 2013 were in Belfast last Monday for a gig at the Ulster Hall. It wasn’t their first time in Northern Ireland, having played at One Big Weekend last summer.

Since then, they’ve had a Number 1 album, and appeared on Top Of The Pops (albeit, the New Year’s Eve edition rather than the Christmas Day edition) – a long way from their first gig in Belfast, attended by, as singer Matthew Healy reminisced between songs, approximately 15 people.

To give an idea of their popularity, the venue was bunged by the time I arrived at 7.30 pm. Usually, when you arrive at a gig at that time, you can get close to the stage. Not tonight.

Opening with ‘The City’, Healy strutted onto the stage to the microphone, changing between playing his guitar, or just singing without an instrument. Guitar or no guitar, he looked comfortable in either role.

Between songs, he mentioned that there would be no post gig partying for him, as they had to get an early morning flight back to London to do Radio 1 Live Lounge.

Saving the best for last, they played their two big singles ‘Chocolate’ and ‘Girls’ during the encore.

During the gig, singer Matthew Healy stated that they were hoping to return to Belfast in the future but that “We are running out of places to play ………. unless we start playing big venues”

I have a suspicion that wherever they play when they are next in Belfast, there will be more than 15 people in attendance.

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50 YEARS OF TOP OF THE POPS : FEB 14 – FEB 20

We begin our look back at TOTP with Valentine’s Day. If it was your birthday as well, you share it with Ali Campbell from UB40.

This week saw the 4th anniversary of the death of Doug Fieger, lead singer of The Knack. Sadly, we’ve no The Knack, but we have Girls Aloud ripping off My Sharona.

Born on this week in history was Mikey Craig of Culture Club. Here he is performing “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?”, ironically, he missed the video shoot (hungover, according to Pop Up Video)

And yes, I know “Karma Chameleon” is their best song, but you’ll have to wait until Boy George’s birthday.

Another birthday boy this week is Ronnie Vanucci. Hard to believe that “Mr Brightside” was almost 10 years ago.

Finally, we have a Duran Duran birthday. Andy Taylor, no relation to John Taylor or Roger Taylor, or even Roger Taylor from Queen. Or Taylor Swift.

It’s not easy trying to pick a favourite Duran Duran song. In fact, it’s about as easy as a nuclear war.

Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day is 42 this week. Here he is performing “Minority” in 2000.

We’ve already had one Taylor birthday this week, but there’s another one ……. Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters.

In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison for a crime they didn’t commit. In 2011, Ed Sheeran performed The A-Team on Top Of The Pops. Ed Sheeran as yet, hasn’t relocated to the Los Angeles underground.

I love the song, but this version ….. it really killed the mood in the studio.

The 2nd most famous Andy Williams in pop, Andy Williams from Doves is 44 this week, as was his twin brother Jez.

Sadly, I couldn’t find any Sub Sub, but i’ll make up for it with a double dose of Doves.

Talking of Andy Williams, The Beat had a big hit with an Andy Williams cover, but Dave Wakeling’s birthday shall be commemorated with “Mirror In The Bathroom” instead.

Bit of pointless The Beat trivia, Sting wore a The Beat t-shirt in the video for “Don’t Stand So Close To Me”

Ian Brown is 51 this week, and like fellow Mancunians New Order, i’ll treat Stone Roses birthdays to side projects, in Ian Brown’s case, his debut solo single, the best of his whole career, “My Star”

Meanwhile, Kurt Cobain would have been 47 today if he was still alive. Hard to imagine him getting old considering his early death.

He was born in Aberdeen you know. But not that Aberdeen. Aberdeen in Seattle.

And finally, remember the whole Tatu “controversy” of 2003?

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : MATCH – 22.12.1984

It’s Christmas 1984, and Match gets in the festive mood, with a cartoon of Bryan Robson as Santa, and Kerry Dixon, Glenn Hoddle, Ian Rush and Mark Hateley as choirboys with their uniforms in their respective club kits, while Mo Johnston is a schoolboy meeting Santa.

A double page feature asks a series of stars what their ideal Christmas would be. John O’Neill of Leicester City’s ideal Christmas is Midnight Mass, take delivery of BMW 635, take Felicity Kendall out for a spin, then head to Switzerland for a holiday. Steve McMahon also wanted to be on holiday in Switzerland.

John Barnes would like a holiday to Jamaica for Christmas, while Kevin Ratcliffe wants a Snooker table.

One person who has want they want for Christmas is Trevor Francis. Based in Italy with Sampdoria, he was planning to take advantage of Italy’s mid season break to go back to England over the holiday period, and wanting to watch a Division One game on Boxing Day.

Peter Brackley, commentator with ITV’s ‘The Big Match’ is interviewed where he reveals he supports Brighton, and that former Albion player Mark Lawrenson is “The most complete player in the country”

He also won a talent competition at Butlins when he was younger for doing impersonations.

Match gives a double page spread to a recent FA Cup 2nd Round tie between Bristol City and Bristol Rovers, which Rovers won 3-1, in front of a crowd of 20,000 – more than double any FA Cup crowd that day.

In the middle of the magazine, you could get a centre page poster of Gordon Strachan.

Clive Allen gets a Q and A. Kenny Dalglish is his favourite Football League player, while Michel Platini is his favourite foriegn player, and includes David O’Leary and Mark Lawrenson in his British XI. He also dislikes smoking and bad drivers.

Ever wondered who Clive Allen’s favourite pop star is? Christopher Cross.

In League tables, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Arsenal were seperated at the top of Division One by two points. Liverpool were 8th, 9 points off the top.

Brian McClair of Celtic got a poster, his reward for being Nike’s man of the month. Interestingly, 1984-1985 was the first season and English club wore Nike. Sunderland, since you ask.

The foreign news feature reports that Giorgio Chinaglia is planning a comeback at the age of 38, while Steve Archibald is in goalscoring for for Barcelona, and Fortuna Dusseldorf have asked their players to take a wage cut.

LINFIELD 6-0 BALLINAMALLARD UNITED 15.2.2014

After a three week absence, Windsor Park was my destination today, as Linfield took on Ballinamallard United. The day, would be dominated by off the pitch events.

The match itself was a non event, as Linfield got an expected routine win. I wasn’t expecting a 6-0 win, so i’ll more than happily take that.

Ballinamallard were set up to frustrate, and try to score on the break. It was important that Linfield got an early goal. There were chances, two of them were spurned early on.

The opening goal came just after 20 minutes, in comical fashion, when Phil Lowry tried to control to shoot, Alvin Rouse was out of position anticipating the ball to go elsewhere, and the ball went over the line.

From there, there was only going to be one winner, and goals from Matthew Tipton and Andrew Waterworth gave Linfield a 3-0 half-time lead. It was now a case of how many.

With Crusaders capitulating at Solitude, it was important that as many goals as possible were scored, with the goal difference so tight between Linfield and Cliftonville.

After a slow start in the second-half, Linfield stepped it up, makeing it 4-0 through Lowry.

A penalty gave Lowry the chance to get a hat-trick. Naturally, his shot was saved by the keeper.

This was now the perfect opportunity to give Ross Clarke some game time, which he got, and managed to make it 6-0. Inbetween, Ivan Sproule made it 5-0 with his first goal for Linfield.

Sproule was lively throughout, and was utilised, receiving more of the ball than in recent weeks.

A clean sheet, a win, six goals – Plenty to be positive.

However, it is events off the field that are taking a share of the headlines.

Farcically, and shamefully, Ballymena Borough Council has declared that the County Antrim Shield Final must be all-ticket.

Considering this venue was confirmed in January, to only now declared the game all-ticket is nothing short of a shambles.

Even more of a joke, is that I have never had to buy a ticket for a Linfield league match in Ballymena, and this the County Antrim Shield is a match that will attract less of a crowd.

Speaking for myself, i’m undecided wether to go. Mainly because of the hassle that will be involved getting the time out of work to go. (I don’t get home from work until 6, so it would be a tight squeeze to get home, fed and onto the road for a 7.45pm kick-off)

That match, will be the last cup final Linfield play with David Jeffrey as manager, as it was announced today that he will leave the club at the end of the season.

It’s probably the right time for both parties to have a break. However, the farewells have to stop, as there is a job to do over the next 10-11 weeks to ensure the league title is won.

Jeffrey deserves respect for his service and success as a player and manager, but that can wait until April.

I am slightly concerned by the timing. Ideally, it should have been made public at the end of the season. Managers doing a long notice period rarely work. Juup Heynckes is an exception rather than the rule.

That said, if we win 6-0 every game between now and the end of the season, i’ll be happy to be proved wrong

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LONDON

Was in London last week for a short break, just as I was in February last year.

The reason I went back to London for a second successive year was simple, I had a lot of “Unfinished business” in London. I did and saw a lot of stuff when I was in London last year, yet there was still so much I didn’t do and see.

For that reason, London was always going to be my choice for getaway in February 2014.

Amazingly, I experienced travel problems before even reaching London as the airline moved my flight from a sensible 11am to 6pm. To fly out at 6pm would be a waste of a day. With the 11am flight cancelled, I got mine changed again to 6.45am.

The early start might be inconvenient, but at least I would get a full day in London.

A rearranged flight was only the start of my travel problems. Due to a Tube strike, I was going to have to go to my hotel by bus.

Due to the lack of transport options, Thursday was always going to be a write-off, but it wasn’t a total write-off. There were some Tube stations open, so I made the most of the ones that were.

Brixton was one of those open, so I headed there in late morning. I had a specific reason for wanting to visit Brixton, as I wanted to head to O2 Academy to try and get a ticket for Tom Odell on the Saturday night.

I’d tried online with no success in the weeks leading up to this, so I thought i’d try turning up at the venue. Turns out the venue box office is only open on the night of events.

It wasn’t a wasted trip as I had a walk around Brixton, Brixton Market, accidentally stumbling onto Electric Avenue, immortalised in song by Eddy Grant. Managed to get some excellent Street Art pictures when I was in Brixton.

From there, I headed into the City Centre and had a walk around, before heading back to the hotel for a brief sleep before heading East that night.

The reason why I was heading to East London was that I had an audience ticket for Life’s A Pitch on BT Sport. The studios are in Stratford, near the Olympic Stadium. I didn’t get to see much of the stadium though.

Just a pity it took nearly two hours to get from Stratford to Paddington by bus, thanks to Boris and Bob’s Comedy Act.

After a brief sleep, I was up early on the Friday morning to go on the Shoreditch Street Art Tour. Unfortunately, like the day before, I was frustrated by public transport, as delays on The Tube meant I missed the tour.

I was already en route to Shoreditch when I discovered the delays, so it was too late to turn back. Luckily, I had travelled through Shoreditch going from Stratford to Paddington, so had a mental note of where the Street Art was.

I had a walk around getting photos. If I go to London again, i’ll definitely try to go on a proper, organised, Street Art Tour.

From Shoreditch, I went into Oxford Circus and Leicester Square for a walkaround, before heading to Greenwich to go on the Emirates Air Line, a cable car journey across London Docks.

Got some good views due to it being a clear day, but it wouldn’t be an essential thing to do in London to be honest. It would certainly be a unique way to spend a night out, if it wasn’t for the fact that no booze is allowed.

From there, I headed in the direction of one of London’s most famous landmarks, Wembley Stadium. But it wasn’t Wembley I was visiting, it was the nearby Fountain Studios (where X-Factor is filmed) for Alan Davies Apres Ski, for which I had an audience ticket.

It was a very stop-start recording which got never really got going, to be honest, which is a shame as I like Alan Davies.

Saturday morning was spent in Camden. I went to Camden for a morning last year and loved it. Had a walk around Camden Market, and got some Street Art photos.

Saturday afternoon was spent in East London, watching Leyton Orient v Peterborough.

When in London, i’d hoped to take in a concert. Each concert I wanted to go to, I seemed to be thwarted.

Phoenix are a band I love, but inconveniently, were doing a gig in London the day before I arrived. Foster the People and Bombay Bicycle Club were doing XFM Sessions, but I couldn’t get a ticket.

Del Amitri were doing a gig in Hammersmith on the Friday night. I like Del Amitri, but not enough to spend 30 quid seeing them.

I wanted to see Tom Odell on the Saturday. I turned up at the venue to try and get a ticket. The Box Office was sold out. There were plenty of touts outside flogging, but the prices were extortionate. Looking at the volume of people already queing up to get in, it wasn’t worth it for what would be a crap view.

Luckily, on the Saturday night, I had a Plan B, a comedy gig at Bloomsbury Theatre headined by Katherine Ryan and Tom Rosenthal.

On the Sunday, I had a lie-in before heading to White Hart Lane for Spurs v Everton. After that, I headed into Oxford Circus to watch the United game (the less said of which, the better) before spending some more time in the City Centre.

That night, I discovered Prince was doing an impromptu gig in London, but, like the other gigs this week, I missed out on a ticket, being elsewhere when the queue was forming.

Monday morning, my last day in London, was spent in the City Centre again, making the most of my final day in the city, before heading to Gatwick and flying home.

And that, was my trip to London, an enjoyable experience despite the transport mayhem and being unable to get concert tickets.

Where will I be headed in February next year? Who knows.