Ok, so my predictions have been a bit wide of the mark so far, but I did predict wins for Brazil, Mexico, and Chile. How could I miss out on Holland? 5-1 over Spain! Are Brazil and Argentina still the favourites? Will Van Gaal manage the same amount of success with Manchester United next season? Do I sound like someone who has had a quick look at the papers?

A quick recap of yesterday’s games from a #tweepstake2014 perspective:

Mexico (@bluebox99) beat Cameroon (@Arfablue) 1-0. The scoreline should have been higher for Mexico, one clear goal being ruled wrongly offside.

Holland (2010 World Cup runners up and represented in the tweepstake by @Braggovic) beat Spain (current world champions and represented by @NiicNok) by a staggering 5 goals to 1.

In the night shift, Chile (@dusted1969) beat a battling Australia (@zwanzig20) 3-1.

And so Holland and Chile top Group B, and Spain go to the bottom! Spain face Chile next Wednesday.

Brazil and Mexico top Group A. They will face each other on Tuesday night.

Blimey! That was like proper football stuff. What have I got myself into?

Before looking ahead to today’s matches here’s an update on prizes. More bigwigs have promised me some great goodies. All will be revealed in time.

And if you would like to sponsor my #tweepstake2014 effort please just donate a pound or two to Alzheimer’s Society here at my Just Giving page. My plan is to get to £1966. If I hit the 50% mark today my wife Zoe will do her rendition of the John Barnes rap from World In Motion by New Order. I may get involved too. It will be bizarre at the least.

And so to today’s games. FOUR!!! The last one kicks off at 2am!

First up Colombia (@SpiderMonkey987) take on Greece (@gingerdisco99). Kick off 5pm on the BBC). They will play at Estadio Mineirao (built in 1965, capacity 62,547) in Belo Horizonte. I think the Greeks are ordinary but, even without Radamel Falcao, I am looking forward to watching Colombia. I think they will win their opening game, although I doubt it will be a classic. Because it is the opening game, Greece will be even more defensive than usual but Colombia have got enough quality in their attack to break them down.

(Ha! Fooled you all! I just pinched all that from Mark Lawrenson on the BBC website! I don’t think that at all! I don’t think anything.)

Colombia 7 Greece 1

The second game is Uruguay (@BottyB) against Costa Rica (@jasonpettigrove). It kicks off at 8pm. It’s on ITV. It’s being played in Fortaleza in the 1973 constructed Estadio Castelao (capacity 64,846). This is a difficult one to call. Costa Rica abolished its army in 1949 but then Uruguayans “have access to more than 100 private daily and weekly newspapers, more than 100 radio stations, and some 20 terrestrial television channels”.

Costa Rica 1 Uruguay 2

And now the big one! 11pm, BBC1. England (@Christian_N_Orr) against Italy (@pettittsa). They will be playing in the stadium in the middle where the grass has been painted green. The humidity in Manaus will cause Italy to shrink. They will sweat and they will shrivel inside their tight blue tops and, by the end of the game, they will be no bigger than Subbuteo players. England don’t have to worry about this. Thanks to technology developed by Richard Dawkins (or Stephen Hawking… I can’t remember which… some big name scientist… maybe that one from D:Ream… or Magnus Pyke… Can’t remember. It’s not important. the technology’s there) they won’t shrink.

England 3 Italy 1

And, if you’re still with us, Ivory Coast (@jayscarblue) take on Japan (@Superblouse) at 2am! This match, for reasons unclear to all (even FIFA… especially FIFA) is being played in Brazil’s only unfloodlit stadium. It is the Estadio Esdarkio with a capacity of… Well, know one knows. Could be 10, could be 100,091: Until they play in daylight, or sort the lights out, we are all in the dark. Kick off 2am on The Adult Channel. This match will be won by Manchester City’s Yaya Toure.

Yaya Toure 3 Japan 0

Good luck, one and all. Here’s a song to end on.


Robert lloyd out of The Nightingales

I’m reading Renegade; The Lives and tales of Mark E. Smith at the mo and it’s a right old read. The Fall; a band that’s had 10,000 members, all hired and fired by Prestwich’s finest living man. Ok, some of them walked, but they don’t count. I haven’t got a clue what The Fall are on about most of the time, but that’s ok by me. It takes me about 20 years on average to get to grips with lyrics. The sound comes first and then maybe later I’ll fill in some gaps. Or not bother. Yes, not bother. if I just want words I’ll buy a book. That’s what I did with Renegade and it’s a book that won’t shut up.

So, that’s a long roundabout way to get to the Nightingales. I’ve never known of them, but they’ve been around a bit, and over the years they’ve hobnobbed with The Fall. That’s it. That’s the connection. I think Mark E. Smith may like the Nightingales; may even be friends with Robert Lloyd, the band’s singer and songwriter. But then again…

Watch this and read this and see where you are. I know this; Mark E. Smith always makes me think of my Uncle Ken. I’m not sure why. Something to do with pubs in Prestwich.

So, last night I went along with Ben Norris to see The Nightingales. Although we were firstly there to see the support to the support to the support, David Cronenberg’s Wife. See them sing My Best Friend’s Going out with a Girl I Like.

The support to the support have gone from my mind, but the support was the marvellous and wilfully perverse Ted Chippington, a comedian who does his best to make an audience, well, angry. A comedian reading from notes, in German… or Russian, or Polish. I don’t know. A comedian who calls out for subject matter from the audience and then refuses to make a joke out of it.

When me and Trev started doing comedy in 1982 as The DevilfishhornClub we used to tell these “jokes”.

Joke 1. My dog’s got no nose. How does he smell? He can’t, he’s got no nose.

Joke 2. Have you seen my mother-in-law? No, course you haven’t. I’m not even married.

Joke 3. Doctor, doctor, I feel like a pair of curtains. You need to see apsychiatrist, you’re obviously mentally ill.

And so on. You get the idea. Anti-jokes. Then we got into kids tv and had to start smiling and pointing at each other on publicity cards.

I think we were maybe a little Chippington-esque. We certainly did enough hard gigs supporting local bands at the International in Rusholme. We even attempted comedy at the Hacienda, along with the Buzzcocks and the Redskins at a Lesbians and Gays support the Miners gig. Now there’s a combo-title you don’t see too often these days.

Anyways, I’m going off the point. Ted Chippington was great and awful, good and bad. Stewart Lee and his wife were there and me and Ben said hello. I muttered somethig inane about how his current show, The Stewart Lee Comedy Vehicle (BBC2), has had me laughing out loud. I’m a fan, and as a fan can’t help acting like a fan. He was very gracious about it. And like Ted, Stewart will push his audience, taking a joke as far as he possibly can, taking it all the way around the world until it comes back at you, anti-funny. And funnier. I wanted to find Stewart Lee talking about the rappers but couldn’t so have a look at him taking on Joe Pasquale in this great clip. Then, for a treat, watch Stewart Lee track down Ted Chippington.

I know. That’s a lot to make you watch. If you choose one item from the above links choose Stewart Lee does Joe Pasquale.


"get to the end of the cue"

I’d been playing pool all day; Interleague. My team, Waterloo 2, won all three matches, but no thanks to me, only managing 2 out of 6 frames. I had to take my cue to the 100 Club. I left it propped up by the photo wall. By the end of the evening it had gone. The staff weren’t much help. Eventually I tracked it down to behind the bar. They guy behind the bar, before handing it back, quizzed me as to what it looked like. A pool cue. He brought out the box. He wouldn’t hand it over. He wanted to know what colour it was. I think they were a bit pissed off because I hadn’t paid to put it in the cloakroom.

“If there was a career ladder Ted would have been carrying it rather than climbing it.” James Brown.

“I suppose there’s a case to be made, he was this country’s Andy Kaufman.” Phil Jupitus.