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The Secret Footballer’s Guide to the Modern Game

The Secret Footballer Guide to the Modern Game

 

The third book from The Secret Football takes a different approach from his first two, almost deliberately light, seemingly designed as a stocking filling with a mixture of short bursts of gossip, analysis and opinion. Continue reading…

Sports Books 2014 Q4

Taking Our Ball Back cover

Mark Perryman of Philosophy Football picks out the best final batch of sports books 2014.

I’m sorry but you won’t find here the just-in-time-for Christmas sports autobiography blockbusters. With just enough manufactured controversy to ensure blanket coverage when they are launched. even a skim read will reveal that on the contrary they tell the reader very little they didn’t either know or suspect already.

Instead I would recommend a weighty volume of this sort, A Companion to Sport edited by David Andrews and Ben Carrington. The range of coverage, from Monty Panesar to football’s 2010 World Cup, is matched by the variety of insights, sport as a contested space being the overarching theme. As an academic book scandalously expensive, but any well-stocked library. should have a copy. Continue reading…

Mega Bottle Ride

A Football Column following on from Emmanuel Adebayor’s comments deflecting Tottenham Hotspur’s poor home performances onto the atmosphere at White Hart Lane.

Tottenham’s fourth home defeat from just six Premier League games has been followed by more excuses, with Emmanuel Adebayor claiming that the pressure of playing at home is too much for the players. Once again, as a profession, football is unique when a well remunerated failing performer looks first to blame the paying customer for their own shortcomings. Continue reading…

Nightcrawler

nightcrawler-2014-movie-poster-hd-wallpaper

Juliet Kidd’s first piece for The Substantive looks at the film Nightcrawler.

Director Dan Gilroy has taken all the bits of LA we never see and simply turned the lights off, creating a further sense of disorientation that mimics the personality of Lou Bloom.

Lou is a loner in his late 30s. His appearance is thin, beige and greasy and there’s an odd intensity about his personality. We see him easily inspired by freelance cameraman taking footage of a bloodied car crash and thats where his obsession starts. Continue reading…

Hack Attack

Hack Attack How the truth caught up with Rupert Murdoch

Nick Davies’ Hack Attack: How the Truth Caught Up with Rupert Murdoch is one of the most important stories of this century so far. The hardback book is a big tome and the weight of evidence contained with it is compelling. It tells of a six-year long effort which succeeded in exposing the widespread criminal activities taking place in the newsrooms of Britain’s best selling newspaper, despite attempts to scupper the investigation by the public corporation that owned the paper, the police and the official press complaints body.

The News of the World hacked voicemails of the families of dead soldiers, victims of crime and terrorist attacks, dead school children, members of the public who happened to be associated with people in the public eye, politicians who both did and didn’t hold sensitive information to the state, royalty and people who just happened to have be famous due to their profession or the way the media wind blew. They didn’t just pounce on those who didn’t change their voicemail pass codes, their private investigators changed passwords through employees in mobile phone operators. They hacked emails. And they had private investigators listen into phone calls and disrupt police investigations.

And for years they got away with it until this investigation finally broke through numerous walls of denial and obstruction to expose not just the News of the World, but the abuse of power by its owners.

Continue reading…

Boardwalk Empire: Finale

Boardwalk-Empire- A recap

A day trip to Atlantic City at the turn of the Millennium was nothing special; the arcades and casinos had plenty of senior citizens in jogging bottoms staring intently into slot machines where they poured their dimes, while outside the boardwalk was full of seagulls shitting as if they were on a bombing raid. Boardwalk Empire took us back to a time when that strip was a base for a power struggle, adapting the story of the real life sheriff turned political operator who ran the city in the 1920’s, Enoch Johnson, into Steve Buscemi’s Enoch Thompson (Nucky) as the centre piece of the times. And it was the delivery of the fictional characters and their stories amidst some obnoxious narcissistic figures and gratuitous violence, which produced moments of television of the highest quality. Continue reading…

Football Ticket Prices & Empty Seats

England empty seats at Wembley Stadium

Football analysis can become awash with meaningless stats. Players can play great balls into dangerous areas or even clever reverse passes, but if players aren’t making the right runs, to a one-dimensional blogger it’s a misplaced pass. Likewise, a player’s movement and runs could be constantly causing problems to the opposition, taking players away that creates space for others, yet the I-pad coach is more concerned with touches on the ball, which in turn leads to bad decisions, that only the statto that can’t see the bigger picture defends. Andre Villas-Boas’ withdrawal of Aaron Lennon at home to Manchester United last season, Spurs’ most dangerous player on the day, is a case in point. Much more significant football stats were released this week though, with the BBC’s Price of Football Study. Continue reading…

Gone Girl

Gone Girl

Some have said Gone Girl is the story of modern marriage; others, fairly, note feature films including Play Misty for Me, Basic Instinct and Fatal Attraction have undertones of misogyny which don’t represent society and wonder if Gone Girl is cut from the same cloth. But it is neither.

In the second Moviedrome Guide that accompanies his introduction to Play Misty for Me in the sixth TV series from 1993, Alex Cox wrote about the above the tendency of those films: Continue reading…

Political Books Autumn 2014

Mark Perryman reviews the political books taking us into autumn 2014.

Unspeakable Things jacket

This autumn has been dominated already by two lots of morbid symptoms. The unseemly sight of Labour Unionism cosying up to the Tories, Lib-Dems, the financial and media establishment in defence of the ancien regime. Accompanied by UKiP’s spectacular and seemingly irresistible rise, now fracturing the Tory Right’s vote more effectively than ever, the protest vote that just won’t go away.

What possible cause for any optimism then? Because outside of the parliamentary parties’ mainstream there is a revived freshness of ideas. Two writers in particular serve to symbolise such brightness of purpose. Laurie Penny’s Unspeakable Things is the latest collection of her writing. The spiky subversiveness of Laurie’s journalism best summed up by her book’s sub-title ‘ sex, lies and revolution’. This is feminism with no apologies given, no compromises surrendered and a sharp-edged radicalism all the better for both. The Establishment by Owen Jones is every bit as much a reason for igniting readers’ optimism but also the cause of a quandary. Owen is an unrepentant Bennite, a body of ideas and activists with next to no influence in Ed Miliband’s Labour. The organised Left outside of Labour in England at any rate, borders on the non-existent. Owen is described on the book’s cover by Russell Brand no less as ‘ Our generation’s Orwell’, a bold yet fitting accolade. Yet Owen’s writing aims, like Laurie’s, at something beyond being simply a critical media voice. Quite how, is the quandary for both. Continue reading…

Camus, Clough & Counter Culture

Camus, Clough & Counter Culture

The independent football fan in the UK first began to have a voice and a community in the mid-eighties with the emergence of club football fanzines, following in the tradition of music DIY fan publications. The fanzine was an outlet of thought for the masses that were then the life blood of clubs, but were rarely heard other than for 90 minutes on the terraces.  Fanzines brought together the solidarity of the cause of following a club (usually through thin and thinner), humour and popular culture. Continue reading…



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