Thursday, September 6, 2007

Luciano Pavarotti - Margin

In 1990 something truly massive happened in England. Paul ‘Gazza’ Gascoigne single-handedly raised a tactically stale England side to the status of World Cup entertainers while another fat genius piggy-backed on his success.

It was hard to imagine at the height of Gazza Mania that his impact on football would be so limited in the years ahead. Instead it was the piggy-backing Luciano Pavarotti who’s impact truly lasted as he became famous across the country.

In 1989 English football was a struggling working class game. It was rife with violent tendencies and racism. It was something looked down on by social betters. And fans were caged like the scum they appeared from outside to be.

By the time England valiantly lost their semi-final, all that had changed. Even the Square Mile succumbed. Men in expensive suits crowded the same pubs as the denim clad commoners to take in the action and to learn how best to shout at John Barnes and Terry Butcher from thousands of miles away.

And the new comers were hooked. A world they were previously barred from became welcoming. The foreign language was overcome, the cultural hostility grew weaker, and the confusing code of unwritten rules collapsed.

As a football fan from before 1990, I would love to claim that football’s inherent glory made this happen. But were that the case it would surely have happened sooner. Instead an opera singer deserves the credit, or at least some of it.

Pavarotti is undoubtedly one of the greatest opera performers of his generation. And pointing out his poor acting skill is akin to complaining that John Terry should score more goals.

As the brilliant voice that linked football with the most elite of arts, he flicked a switch in the hearts and minds of people that would not normally peer down their nose twice at football.

His voice conveyed the hope and optimism that Paul Gascoigne gave a depressed English game. It conveyed just as perfectly the despair and hurt of that second yellow card. And most importantly of all it mirrored all of the grace, beauty, intricacy and depth that football at its best, should embody, and that for the first time in a long time the English side had managed.

Opera can do that perhaps because it is much like football. To the uninitiated it is a bunch of fat people in silly outfits making a lot of indiscernible noise. But for those who ‘get it’ there is endless beauty and debate to be had.

While pundits on the BBC rush to worship Pavarotti as the ‘greatest ever’, I can’t help but think of all their claims that the latest player doing well is the best ever.

I always wonder at such claims whether some one has found previously lost footage of Alf Common and his contemporaries, which would enable a comparison to be made. And it struck me that to say this of Pavarotti was just as unfair to Adelina Patti, a 19th century star that no living person has ever heard sing.

I can’t make her case for her. But more of a shame for Pavarotti is that I can’t even make the case of Placido Domingo, another of the three tenors, and just as widely recorded as the man himself.

You see, I remain uninitiated. I like Pavarotti because he reminds me of football. But he never initiated me into his art. And needless to say the Royal Opera House is therefore still the hostile place with confusing rules and a foreign language that it was to me in 1989.

Some claim that the rise of piss poor pop groups like El Divo shows a widening of opera to new audiences. But that is a lie. They are the equivalent of a mobile phone clip of some pop star playing ‘keepy-uppy’ and should be treated as such.

In truth the English people don’t understand opera, they don’t take great interest in it, don’t attend it, and for the most part can’t name a great performer of it besides the Italian himself. (I’m reliably informed Leslie Garratt does not meet with that description.)

So thank you Pavarotti for the fond memories and your part in a revolutionary moment in English football. I hope one day your own medium will open up too.

RIP.

162 comments:

tonyellis said...

Nice idea, Margin, I enjoyed it. What next, an appreciation of prawn sandwiches?;0)

Try this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OIExoUb8jk

Duncan said...

Thanks Margin,
This (which still brings goosebumps to me) was updated throughout the tournament with fresh clips but it started here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugGRe83ihis

Duncan said...

Of course, there was other music, and other teams there too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZBEVCPDo3g

MotM said...

Thanks for the piece Margin - it was a strange summer 1990 and Gazza and Pavva played their parts.

I'm still no wiser about opera, but Italia 90 and Nessun Dorma go together like, well, mozzarella and tomato.

As an aside, my parents' equally deceased cat loved Pavarotti - he would lie down and purr from the first bar to the last.

If there's a heaven and if there's a place for opera singing football fans, I bet Pavva is enjoying himself now.

gg said...

I've had music around me all my life, but never enjoyed opera.

I still don't rate it - don't really see it as an art form - but Pavarotti took me by the throat and gave me a good shaking in 1990.

What a voice! What a song!

And the man - he seemed (recalling some features on him that I read at the time) to stay himself, wolfing down amazing quantities of grub in the classic Neaoplitan way. Grand!

I looked up some lyrics:

Nessun dorma! Nessun dorma!
Tu pure, o Principessa,
nella tua fredda stanza
guardi le stelle che tremano
d'amore e di speranza!

Ma il mio mistero è chiuso in me,
il nome mio nessun saprà
No, no, sulla tua bocca lo dirò,
quando la luce splenderà!
Ed il mio bacio scioglierà
il silenzio che ti fa mia!

Il nome suo nessun saprà
E noi dovrem, ahimè, morir, morir.

Dilegua, o notte! Tramontate, stelle!
Tramontate, stelle! All'alba vincerò!
Vincerò! Vincerò!

Buon viaggio, Luciano!

Ebren said...

So.... sort of like what Freddie Mercury did for the Olympics in 92 then?

I would put the Taylor report, Sky, and Euro 96 a little ahead of Luciano - but the combination of that song and that tournament still powerfully resonates.

Margin said...

Thanks for the clips guys. I have tears in my eyes.

and if anyone wants to write the Ireland 1990 story I'd love to read it.

ebren

had the Taylor report, Sky, and Euro 96 also died this morning, I might have gone into a more detailed assessment of what happened.

gg said...

Same here, Margin - big mard buggers, that's what we are!

And thanks!

nesta said...

I thought this was very well crafted and I was especially delighted by the pretzel-like twist that the information travels.

I know little of the subject or the place or the time or the song and yet I understood.

Obituaries I expect need an added respect. Your tribute contains that and much more margin, thank you for the education.

munni said...

Nice. And ditto what Nesta said about the pretzel-like twist.

I was one of those who went from casual football appreciator to fan round about the summer of 1990 (in my defense, I'm a girl and was born in 1975), and Duncan's clips gave me a massive hit of temporal and spatial homesickness.

mimi said...

Margin: thanks for this. A well-crafted piece and far more interesting than the offerings that I heard on the radio this morning.

The summer of 1990 is drenched in sadness for me, but the football provided some small distraction from larger events and that Nessun Dorma was the theme became something of great enjoyment in our rather sad house. Having been brought up with huge and regular doses of opera, I was very bored with it, but the Pav singing reminded me of its worth.

You have reminded me of why, even if opera is deemed elitist and strange, there are just some voices and melodies that can only bring shivers to the spine.

A classic in this vein is Maria Callas in an aria from La Wally. A slightly obscure opera that was given new life in 1981 when Jean-Jacques Beineix adapted Delacorta's novella Diva for the silver screen.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyXQz_Rtt4M

mimi said...

And sorry about the well-crafted repeat (apols Nesta for using your words).

I read the article only before posting.

Having read others' comments now, and checked the links: tony - your girl Angela does a pretty fair version of the aria from La Wally too.

DoctorShoot said...

bravo Margin
you nailed it...

when I was a kid Mario Lanza films were still around and I watched them for the singing...
then Pav arrived with the operatic voice of the century and opened a big window for many of us...

and reached across the gap between opera, the popular culture of one era, to the popular culture of another...

flowers for the big guy

mimi said...

Just a thought, but the long-dead but fantastic Jussi Bjorling is available to us through the magic that is the recording medium, and he sings Nessun Dorma differently from Pav, but is, I am reliably informed, the greatest non-Italian tenor.

Worth 3 mins or so of your time to listen.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUbA5y1hnFg&mode=related&search=

offsideintahiti said...

A fine tribute, Margin. Thanks for that.

tony said...

mimi - I don't know about MY Angela; hers was the first version I found when looking for the aria...

This is what we chose for the end of our wedding ceremony:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcKdnkGBSgA

mimi said...

We think as one.
Posted that link over at the Bodego a wee while ago!

You've got to love it, even if you don't understand Italian.

byebyebadman said...

Very interesting piece Margin. Although I would argue that the 'change' you refer to in English football occurred due to the horrendous tragedy of Hillsborough and the Taylor Report rather than the tear-stained summer of Italia 90.

What was that summer really? England progressed beyond the quarters for once, and as in every single country round the world when you get within sniffing distance of winning something everyone tunes in. A passing fad - Euro 96 was the same.

And yet, the song does evoke great memories. For me though it is as much Milla wiggling in the corner, Caniggia breaking Brazilian hearts and Baggio gliding through the Czech defence as it is the performance of the England side.

Margin said...

byebyebadman

I'm not sure that hillsborough had the impact on developing middle class interest in football that you and Ebren suggest.

After all - in 1989 people widely believed "THE TRUTH" about Pool fans urinating on the dead and stealing their wallets.

Indeed some of those that didn't later develop some better knowledge of football apparently still believe hooligan fans were to blame. (Remember Boris Johnson's Spectator article about Liverpool a couple of years back?)

Of course that interest was perhaps better held because of the subsequent all seater stadia, and improvements in behaviour at grounds. But that interest had to be sparked I don't think the tragedy did that.

Margin said...

to all

I'm getting a big head with all the complements.

Thank you.

bluedaddy said...

Nice work Margin and pretty swift too.

I agree with Margin that a great deal of football's resurgence/broadening of interest in the 90s may well be traced to the Gazza/Pavva factor as a point of ignition. The 1990 tournament was pretty shite, but the lads done well and there was Gazza's skills and blubbing and Prefect Gary's 'Keep an eye on him' and Platt's last gasp volley and twinkly Uncle Bobby Robson. England's games made up in drama what they lacked in technical prowess.

Sky built on that feel good factor but they didnt really create it, did they?

Nessun Dorma was an inspired choice by the Beeb, especially when the whole inverted snobbery thing could have been held against them.

As for Pavarotti. I dont think knowing squat about opera can make any difference to recognition of his astonishing skill and artistry. What a voice!

mimi said...

Margin: I haven't had a chance today to read what the so-called "quality" press have to offer in the way of tributes, but at work this morning, I was able to peruse the red-tops.

I re-iterate what I said yesterday after hearing stuff on the radio.

This article is far superior to what I found on offer this morning. And not just for its interesting content and take on the subject, but for the style of the writing.

Cheers and thank you.

marcela said...

lovely, margin. agree with the twists of craft praise. really nice.

i think the deaths pre-sky and hornby and all that early 90s stuff are part of the conspiracy of factors which changed football, and more importantly football crowds, in england.

but this is a pavarotti obit and i think it's fab.

love some of the opera posted, too, and i don't particulalry enjoy opera. but mimi's la callas is quite... necktingling.


bluedaddy: "Prefect Gary's 'Keep an eye on him' " is genius.

great thread - maybe nessum dorma should be adopted as a pseud's anthem of sorts.

after all, who does sleep around here?

mimi said...

Marcela - glad you liked Maria.

There's no accounting for taste in music, but I love so much, from the opera to rude boys, to roots reggae, and so much other stuff. Goodness knows, I've been known to shed a tear listening to Robbie!

I think I saw, may be mistaken, that the Mail, of all filth, has secured an interview with Black Francis!

Hum, hum and more hum indeed!

mimi said...

Just spending more time with the article and comments. Wasn't it the fire at Bradford that started the whole all-seater requirement? Hillsborough, I think did change things more than Heysel, because of a very fine documentary that put to bed the idea that the fans were to blame. Then that Hillsborough got taken up by other writers and featured in such dramas as Robbie Coltrane's Cracker didn't do the cause any harm. And to revert to Margin's first point of opera bringing in a different lot of followers, I would suggest that high quality drama and docs on TV did the same. People who would have written football off, took a second look.

mimi said...

Due to this article, only just spent time with Mark Elder's last year's stuff.

Nearly time for another fest, and I think I'll approach it differently this year.

pipita said...

This is wonderfully written Margin. Cheers. Two things I most remember of 1990 W cup -I was studying in England then- was the manner "Vincero" reached the number 1 charts almost as soon as the BBC screening of the Italia W cup had begun, and the way a completely boozed George Best was emphatically booed by the Terry Wogan audience after claiming that England played "shit" in that tournament. Actually their is a third highlight Im forgetting to mention...How I screamed my head off, along with two other Argentines, when Caniggia scored the winning goal against Brazil amidst the silent Oxford sunday afternoon.

pipita said...

By the way, where are my french pals Guitou and Offy?????? Not sure why, but Im suddenly in the mood for a late night rugby chat with them......

offsideintahiti said...

Always there for you, pipita, always.

pipita said...

Ha ha ha mon ami, couldn't have expected anything else from you:)))Tell me, how do you say "the puma" in French "le pumá"?? How about "los pumas" "les Pumés"??I'm assuming your not at all affected by what happened ajourd'hui

offsideintahiti said...

Hola,

Les pumas ont gagné. Well done, congratulations!

I actually overslept and missed the game, which wouldn't have happened if it was football.

Not too affected, no. I caught the last 5 minutes of the game and was actually quite amused to see the faces of the French pundits. Doom, gloom and doublegloom.

Funny thing is, I very nearly wrote a piece for Pseuds' about the last French Rugby championship final, won by Stade Français and their Argentine stars (Pichot & co.) and how the fact that the Argentines thriving in the biggest French clubs might backfire on us at the World Cup. In the end, I thought better of it than making a fool of myself writing about a sport I know very little about and have never played. My intuition was good, though.

And now, it's do or die against Ireland. Oh dear.

pipita said...

Me neither Offy, but I must admit I was somewhat anxious for that final whistle to blow...Probably first time I feel these emotions for a rugby team. Pichot I find pretty unbearable to be frank a "concheto" as we say here which translated is something lke a jet-setting arrogant

offsideintahiti said...

The really funny aspect is that the French squad has been in training camp since July 1st. Presumably to instil a "commando spirit", which would then be unleashed upon the world... or something. Oops.

pipita said...

Is that so?? They really be feeling the pressure, as far as I recall "les bleau" have not yet won the world cup n'est pas?? As I told you, I'm not much of a rugby fan, but really have fond memories of French legends such as Blanco, Jean-Pierre Rives, Fouroux

offsideintahiti said...

No, never won it. They played (and lost) two finals and one other semi-final. This year, at home, was supposed to be the one. But if they finish second in their group, they'll be facing the All Blacks in the quarters.

Are we off-topic enough? Ah yes, Italia 90, another great French success...

pipita said...

Ahhh yes, off course, they lost the 1987 final against New Zeland, now I remember. Can't recall the other final they lost. Why didn't France play in Italia 90?? Who eliminated them in the qualies?? That was the tough transition period between 86 and 98 I suppose

offsideintahiti said...

The other final was 99, I think, against Australia.

France and Italia 90? Eliminated by... Scotland! Transition yeah, you could say that. Deserves a whole article, probably. I'll see if I'm in the mood after tomorrow's game.

pipita said...

Against Scotland!!!!!!Bloody hell, forgot completely about that. Let me see...only can recall Mo Johnston and Charlie Nicholas for the Scots at that time. You must have had a pretty frustrated Papin and Cantona?? playing then. Are you seroius about writing that?? Don't get us all excited for nothing Offy......

offsideintahiti said...

Keep your knickers on for the time being...

pipita said...

Aaaaaaha!!!!!!Your chickening out. Anyway, I'll keep my faith on you all the same. Well, being it 2 am around these shores, and with all the women of this household snoaring, I think I'd better get some sleep myself. Bon nuit my friend

gg said...

Having, as I do, reams of data concerning the linguistic aspects of sport, I feel that I cannot withhold the following information from you.

In Swedish, "puma" denotes - apart from the cat - a very attractive young lady.

Thus one might say that our Marcela is a double-puma.

And before anyone makes silly comments, I would like to point out that flattery gets you everywhere.

Yours in Science,

Piaget Greengrasse,
Feline Professor of Archeolinguistics,
University of Korpilombolo

offsideintahiti said...

Or, in mathematical terms:

marcela = puma²

Professor Pakamambo
Head of the Psycho-Quantic Dept
Pakalolo Institute

gg said...

Mathematical terms?

You French are so, wot you zay -
unromantic!

Piaget

martillo said...

I've explained it all in my new fable: "The Puma and the Frog".

Aesop

pipita said...

Many thanks for your contributions Professors Greengrasse and Pakamambo. One of my recent anthropological enquiries on the nature of the rugby pumas led me to the dressing room of these fierce creatures, which is where I heard the following chant

"Yo te daré
Te daré niña hermosa
Te dará una cosa
Una cosa que empieza con P
PUMAAAAS"

As you may well know "niña" means "girl" in Spanish. However Prof Greengrasse I'd advise you not to jump into conclusions which may lead you to establish unfullfilling connections with the "the young lady" connotations of the Swede use of the word puma. Over in these parts, the word "gato" "cat" rather is used to refer to young ladies of promiscuous behaviour.

Dr Burrito Ortega
Instituto River Plei de Estudios Avanzados en comportamiento rugbístico Argentino

gg said...

My esteemed Dr. Ortega,

I assure you that the word "puma" in Swedish merely refers to the attractiveness of the young lady in question.

Beauty is, however - as we well know - in the eye of the beholder, and I regret to inform you that my department has as yet been unable (funds, you know, the eternal curse of us scientists wot does research)
to investigate the (possibly promiscuous) hopes/intentions of young Swedish genlemen in the company of "pumas".

Yours in Science,

Piaget

marcela said...

prof. ortega from the donkey academy of sexitist studies:

you were in the pumas' dressing room??!

did you get to see a cauliflower ear up close??

yuk.

could i hope to raise a grant, in your learned opinions, distinguished professors from around the globe, to conduct studies developing the null hypothesis that a buenos aires 'gato' and/or a swedish 'puma' are what in blighty goes by the common name of 'bird'? or more like 'dog'?

and what, pray, would the chosen animal terms be in thailand, tahiti, california and down under, for example, to refer to the female of the human species? loose ones, cheap ones, pretty ones, ugly ones... old ones, young ones?

i don't really understand the first thing about rugby but also ended up on the edge of my seat for the last few minutes last night. and BTW, pipita, lay off gus pichot. he rocks. :)

i'm off to a real tavern tonight, to raise a real glass to some real pseuds.

eat your hearts out, offshores!!

gg said...

Dear Marcela -

no, not "bird", and definitely not "gato" or "dog".

"Puma" in Swedish is by no means as derogatory as any of those terms - quite the opposite, in fact.

byebyebadman said...

I was at a beer festival in Oxford last night and do remember a raucous cheer a some point in the evening which I guess was Argentina beating France at rugby. To be honest, that means nothing to me as I'm more League than Union in rugby tastes, and don't think Argentina have a team?

To wheel it back to Pavarotti, Nessun Dorma along with the horrendous 'Mona' by some no mark from Neighbours prevented my beloved Stone Roses from getting a well deserved number one in the UK charts in the summer of 1990. Think World in Motion also kept them at bay. Ah, when World Cup songs were good...

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=4nQItOROYlc

marcela said...

in that case, profesor cesped verde, please accept my apologies and may i be more gracious and thank you for the compliment :))

actually, my logic was faulty anyway - for the analogy to work 'puma' would have to also mean puma in swedish...

didn't mean to sound so grumpy :(

Oz Uni of Higher Studies Person said...

Students of beauty all:

distinctive expressions from the Australian University of Sexism: (an institution to whom I returned my honorary doctorate after being forced to read Gyn-ecology when a house partner was ill and I filled in for her at a series of women's studies lectures in a hall full of wary students)...

'little hummer' generally refers to a woman who not only dances beautifully with a girlfriend at a disco, but also knows how to sit coly at a bar between songs and glance your way occasionally...

'half back flanker' is normally applied to a female dressed in jeans and with close cropped hair and a nose ring, and who might give you a backhander if you get too close...

'cracker' is a special term referring to a woman who is not only instantly attractive to would-be movie star types searching for company, but applies to a woman who might 'go off' at any time...

'mile high special' is a term reserved for that particular person one may wish to encounter on a long haul flight in a dimly lit empty back row of business class seats, but might not want to be seen hanging around the terminal in the company of... usually an intellectual cut above the fancier...

true students of the Australian dialect will remember the song 'Rack Off Normie" wherein a Cracker of a Half Back Flanker threatens to smash Normies back window with a big lump of rock etc...

all makes the Puma seem rather attractive really...

gg said...

Dear Marcela,

welcome to the grumpy club!

Let's be fair: I feel a certain amount of responsibility for this spat/misunderstanding.

Whilst away in the country, I've thought about your post; i feel that I - without any ill intentions - overstepped the mark. A bit of innocent horse-play suddenly took on a serious nature.

For instance: you did not ask to be
brought into a discussion on "pumas". Yes, I did refer to you as "our Marcela" - a term of familiarity, perhaps endearment: I refer to my brother as "our kid" and my cousin as "our Jean". But you certainly did not ask to be brought into the discussion. For that, I apologise.

P.S. "Puma" in Swedish also means that sleek, graceful cat.

ingrid said...

gg, you grumpy old fool, in all these years you never once called me a puma. Boohoohoo

ingrid singing said...

je suis seule ce soir, avec mes reves eu.......

la muse en rose said...

Surely Ingrid should regrette rien?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_QABS88nDc

DoctorShoot said...

so, higher studies person,
in terms of Australian Animalia:

a 'Kangarooter' would be a half back flanker with a high powered gun, sitting in a ute in the bush, waiting to pick off an eager bounding mammal...

a "Platterpuss" would be the cat of one's dreams carried aloft on a silver salver in a boeing 747...

a "Koo a la" would be a princely stark cracker companion on bondi beach...

a "dingo off" would be a hummer who stayed on her barstool all night; a fizzer as it were...

mimi said...

Unsurprisingly, Doc, I don't like the idea of the "platterpuss". Sounds too much like something Offie would serve up in the bar, and my small furry ones are running in fear already.

pipita said...

Frankly Doctorshoot, with all the serious research and admirable dedication professors Greengrasse, pakamambo and burrito ortega are putting into this area of study...Shame on you
PD: Where's Ingrid from?? Suppose she's Swedish

chefoffside said...

Platterpuss à la crème, coming up!

Ingrid! Skin that roo and throw the puma on the barbecue, the embers are just right.

gg, when you're done with that koala, can I have it?

mimi said...

There are times when Ingrid should be otherwise engaged.

Perhaps she should enjoy a bit of this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKLspd7QQw0&mode=related&search=

DoctorShoot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mimi said...

I'm sooo glad I don't know what those girls were saying! Doc - that's a bad clip to post!!!

DoctorShoot said...

you are quite right mimi,
eating dogs is not at all the right thing to do...
and I sincerely apologise to all animal lovers and hope nobody else read my post...

mimi said...

Ha, ha, ha, ha, loud chuckling all around in the Mimi home.

I've read in many places that laughter keeps you young and is very good for you.

I shall keep visiting here for that reason.

Big laughs. Cheers Doc.

pipita said...

Chefoffside

Not sure how Professor GG's doing with the koala, but in the meantime here's my favorite koala singer-dancer. La Piaf would never have achieved such heights
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_toHAbRPXc

tony said...

Ah, so this is where the animal dance thread is hiding. Here's another http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFXY3a6_a8U

Pipita - No wonder koalas sleep 22 hours a day...

offsideintahiti said...

pipita,

lots of pumas in that clip, but I didn't see any koalas. I wonder what gg is doing with it, I need that koala in the kitchen asap!

DoctorShoot said...

offie
I posted a clip for you and pipita of two girls (Ingrid and friend) preparing dog soup (from the very beginning of the process where you have to give it a little tap with a crowbar and then take off it's furry jumper etc...)...
but mimi made me remove the post as the accent wasn't quite right...

offsideintahiti said...

Cool, can I have it in a email, then Doc, please? I'm always looking to broaden my recipe database.

DoctorShoot said...

offie
too silly to send really...
anyhow the sight of naked females preparing a helpless puppy for the dinner table would not really interest most people and the recipie was all in a foreign language...

offsideintahiti said...

People are too sensitive.

"It ain't nothin' but a hot dog..."

pipita said...

Hey lads this was a thread inspired by Margin's evocations of what Luciano did for England, and look at us quoting Melodia and the gorila dance and Rocío Marengo and the Koala's......Why on earth can't you send that video Doctorshoot??

file said...

whatever happened to the osso bucco Boris Beckers knee?

if there's a spot left I could probably make room

where's Ingrid got to? Hasn't she finished whipping the cream yet?

ingrid said...

Relax, file, as soon as I'm finished with gg and his kuddly koala, I'll take kare of you...

pipita said...

Ingrid

Take care of File or the osso bucco Boris Becker's knee?? Is Professor GG's koala dancing coming along okay??

ingrid said...

pipita,

I'm afraid you and your osso buccal will have to wait your turn. I can't take care of everyone at the same time. Oh, come to think of it...

munni said...

Koala's sleep 22 hours a day because they are all protein deficient. Eucalyptus not very nutritious. (Or at least so a zoologist once told me, and wikipedia has just confirmed it).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnKlgza58ek

pipita said...

Ingrid, Your getting it all wrong, it's File who ordered the osso bucco, I'm waiting with offy for the koala once GG's done with it

Nice try munni but I think Tone's gorila dancing is still tops on the chart show...

ingrid said...

And file will sleep 48 hours straight after I'm done with him.

file said...

or 48 hours limp?

ingrid said...

Don't play on words, young man. I may be Skandinavian but I know that limp follows straight as sure as night follows day.

Except, it lasts 6 months here.

file said...

)))

gg said...

(singing)

- Rum and koka koala...

Ingrid is only half-Swedish. She is the love child of Mr. Burns
- sorry, Eriksson! - and a Burnley lollipop woman he once ran over just as she stepped off the kerb.

Thus her name: In-grid.

pipita said...

Well, don't know what these scandinavians are up to but still no sign of Ingrid, GG, or the freakin koala. Night all

pipita said...

For crying out loud, there's Professor GG!!!!!!!What's all this Burnley lolipop stuff?? where the hell is that koala GG?? I'm even more confused then before, I better get some rest

munni said...

Pipita, nope, sorry, no one tops Stravinsky, who also gave us this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6RTUWDFnvg&mode=related&search=

(I do hope I'm not lowering the tone of the taproom too much, but considering this started out as a thread about Pavarotti I think I'm alright).

file said...

Munni, can't do YouTube but what about the celestial magic of Lakme?

like Nissan Dormavan, completely buggered by re-association

Der holle rache?

gg said...

Burnley is a town in Lancashire. Other Lancastrians think that people from Burnley sound like sheep when they bleat - sorry, talk. There is a famous novel set in Burnley: Bleat House.

A "lollipop woman" is a woman who holds a round "Stop! Children crossing!" sign on a stick, often in the vicinity of schools. Ours was called Marlene.

munni said...

file, I will never again hear lakme without thinking I'm on hold with british airways.

There are a few lollipop men, too, especially very elderly ones who scold you for walking too fast.

gg said...

munni,
yes - ancient male lollipops are often grumpy.

Now I needs must away to grump for money: in half an hour, I shall meet a classroom of folk who are under the impression that I can teach them English,

offsideintahiti said...

gg,

you mean they've not became aware that is what you're been teaching them is actually Archeolinguistics? I would had thought I would have might been obvious enough. After all, you teachen me everything I know about the lingo.

gg said...

Yes, Offy, I am thoroughly rumbled.

I am teaching them Surreptitious Archeolinguistics, as once imparted to me by those legendary Irish pioneers of the discipline, Sean O'Looney and Archie O'Lingo.

mimi said...

So sorry everyone. Never meant for Doc to remove his clip. I only meant it was bad in a truly suitable for the Taproom way!

Glad to see Boris Becker's knee has been brought out from the vaults to hit the menu again. Perhaps it could be joined by Freddie Flintoff's ankle?

pipita said...

Professor GG

Off course I've heard about that Lancashire town. Reputed colleagues such as Professors Martin Dobson, John Connelly and Frank Casper are only a few examples of the "golden era" of academia at Burnley during the 60's and 70's. Who can forget their contributions......However, It's Marlene the lolipop lady who has me more intrigued

gg said...

Ah, Marlene!

If the Beatles hadn't done "Lovely Rita", I'd write a song about her. In fact, I might anyway.

A heart of gold, total dedication to the cause of getting kids safely across the road - and a farthing short.

She - and she alone! - was convinced that she was actually called "Marilyn" (i.e. Monroe).

Could she flourish that stick!

pipita said...

Professor GG

Definetly, you should no doubt write a song about her. After all the Beatles's Rita was a metre maid, "lolipop lady" should sound even better on song. Re Lancashire in the 60's, have also been thinking that you should write something about your experiences on the Stretford End dring that golden age. I recall You gave me some simplistic excuse for not doing so not too long ago, but please reconsider. Well, Im aware I'm putting the pressure on you, so that will be all for the moment

offsideintahiti said...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2007/sep/11/facebook.myspace

Discuss

gg said...

offside -

very interesting, both generally speaking and with regard to the way this community arose.

A group of people, loosely acquainted, with a common interest (blogging on footy) and - suddenly! - a common "adversary" and a common cause.

We found that we could rely on one another in a conflict - something that a lot of internet acquaintances never get a chance to
discover.

Mind you, I think our sense of community is enhanced by us not having a lot of mug shots on here.

mimi said...

Offie: Guardian Unlimited were unable to deliver the page you linked to.
What have you done to them?

GG: I would agree (obviously not having had the chance of reading the article in question) with your comment that we are a loosely acquainted (though please don't ever call me a "loose" woman!) bunch. Not sure my common interest was ever football as I came here and made friends more through cricket and general madness.

There have definitely been times of adversity where I have found the crew here to be of stalwart and practical support.

Don't think pics would make any difference, though I have a marvellous set of sunset on the beach photos available to anyone.

Differences of opinions on this blog site have seldom led to horrid disagreements. I like that about the Corner. It's why I go on commenting and writing even when my pieces are read by only a few.

We should all be far more grateful, publicly to the Lord Ebren really. I think.

offside said...

gg,

I agree that what we have here is great. I also think face-to-face is the next logical step. I met three pseuds in the flesh this summer and I'm glad I did. I'm looking forward to meeting many more of you.

On a slightly different note, and to get back on topic (me?), since this is a tribute thread to dead musicians and Joe Zawinul has just joined Miles Davis and Jaco Pastorius at the Jazz Club de l'au-delà, here's a little sad music:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InZq9TR6SKQ

gg said...

offy -

thanks for the music!

R.I.P. Joe Z

It must be getting crowded up there...

Yes, what we have on here is great - compared to the alternatives. Yet I sometimes feel that compared to itself it's not so hot.

Some of those involved in the GU bust-up (not just the Tartan Scouser!) are oftenmost conspicuously absent. Some - not all - can be sighted on GU now and then.

Many "new" and exciting voices are heard here.

We seem to be able to resolve our conflicts - police ourselves - quite well; this is, generally speaking, a generous forum.

Did you met three pseuds? I thought it was just Guitou - on that red carpet.

Does Moorea have a parking space big enough for the charabang?

gg said...

pipita -

I've tried writing about my days on the Stretford end, but there's no lift in it.

I've started writing about Marlene the Lollipop Lady, but there's too much of a lift in it: all the erotic innuendos make it far too risqué for this staid forum. It's like George Formby meets Bernard Manning!

file said...

gg,

sorry to interrupt, but you can PM me the Marlene tale anytime

file said...

...and are there varicose veins involved?

marcela said...

"too risque for this staid forum" !!!

i'm afraid you've done it now, prof gg.

you will not be able to get out of it, now.

we must have the erotic tale up and running asap.

many thanks,

gg said...

Sorry to keep you guys in suspenders, but I have to leave the cyber world to do a mini-tour - first an Elvis gig, then a weekend singing at a cultural (GG = wolf in sheep's clothing?) conference centring around the (ex- but soon to be revived due to rising mineral prices) mining industry.

I'll try to hone "Ode to a Lollipop Lady" on the road - and I'll give all your regards, of course, to Kerouac if I encounter him.

file said...

good luck for the tour gg, sounds completely uninteresting and bland!

can't wait for
'Ode to a Lollipop Lady on the Road'

'...the zebra crossing led across the road and up her laddered tights...'

marcela said...

on the road with animal costumes... great.

have fun, gg. don't forget to pen our story during your rest time :)

pipita said...

Offy

Pretty devastated to hear the sad Zawinul news. He came to play to Buenos Aires three or four times, and each time I kept saying "I'll go and watch him next time he comes around" What twit. Typical......

GG

Good luck on the road, and hope something comes out of the Lolipop song. Re Stretford End, well, if you can't write why not sing about it then. I'm sure you can come up with some song about celebrating a David Herd goal for example

gg said...

File -

I think you have something there.

The zebra crossing led across the road and up her laddered tights.

She led me up the garden path with all her talk of torrid nights.

That could be a good start for the preamble part of the song - the old-time verse, sung without rhythm.

We can try to extend that bit - at least double, perhaps quadruple it - before hitting the chorus with:

Marlene the lollipop lady,
Please feel free to lead the way.
Marlene the lollipop lady,
Please feel free to make my day.
If I play my cards right, will you let me have a lick?

(Problems here: obviously, "stick" rhymes with "lick", but I want to find just the right degree of innuendo so as not to scare off any of our sensitive visitors).

OK - on the road again, in search of the muse.

Feel free to develop the theme, everyone - I'll give you a share of the royalties on this mega-hit when I see you!

mimi said...

gg: what makes you think our visitors are sensitive?

pipita said...

Mimi

I'm sure as hell not sensitive about GG's lyrics, but I foresee some complications when my little daughter ask's me to explain what exactly is meant by
"If I play my cards right, will you let me have a lick?"
I mean, cant tell her its a real lollypop the one Marlene is carrying

offsideintahiti said...

Any Scots out there wanna have a pre-match war of words? Allez les bleus!

offsideintahiti said...

gg,

good luck with the writing. Now, for inspiration (and the quintessential lollipop song), here's Serge again:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Nr0dUcrAU0

mimi said...

Scots? War of words - I can only assume you're talking football. We've lost the cricks, though proudly reaching three figures. Not so shabby.

And the Aussies lost too!

offsideintahiti said...

0 - 1

FANTARTANSTIC :)

Come on, Andy, don't leave me here on my own. I need some Highland Comfort.

HannibalMcbrooks said...

France 0 Scotland 1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2R1TMNxPj8

offsideintahiti said...

HmcB,

did you watch it?

hanniballmcbrooks said...

Marcel Proust, Marcel Marceau, Francois Rabelais, Charles Boyer, Albert Camus ... CoCo Channel can you here me Coco Channel? ... your boys took one helluva beating!

I didn't see it but I read that the goal was a pearl.

offsideintahiti said...

Pearl? Ground-to-Air Missile, more like.

HannibalBrroks said...

Offside

Did you know that I had been banned from GU as MarvinGaye?

mimi said...

bloody norah chaps, is this all true? Scotland won the fitball and our mate hannibal banned - again.
What's all that all about?

offsideintahiti said...

No, Marv, I didn't see that happenning. What d'you do again, got up Rob Smyth's nostrils?

You can believe it Mimi, and I just realised I've never seen France score against Scotland in a competitive fixture. Ever.

mimi said...

Offie: is that the case? Haven't France trounced Scotland in petanque?

And no talk of Rob, please. He's done his last OBO for GU and is moving on. I do like his new home. They were kind to me yesterday and said I was exactly their target audience!

hannibalbrooks said...

I'm suspended. Not banned for any specific post but 'suspended' for generally being 'disruptive'. I had a spat with Barry G and he took his ball home. It was on the blog for last Mondays podcast. My comments were mentioned in the pod on Thursday, I upset a few people on the GU staff. I'm 'suspended' until I agree to 'comment upon the sport and not the journalism.'

If they even suspect that I'm posting under another username then they will ban me without explanation or hesitation... they said.

mimi said...

hb: I think you should stand true to your beliefs and harry those GU journos relentlessly. And when they treat you in a less than fair and diplomatic way, just come straight on here and dish the dirt on those fiendish weilders of the right-wing pen!

Power to your typing elbow, fellow Pseud.

hannibalbrooks said...

Right on, write on ... sister mimi.

byebyebadman said...

Good a hit as it was by McFadden, the keeper tried to do a 'for the camera' save and made a pig's arse of it.

Some typically OTT reaction to the England win(s)...apparently if we keep this team together for infinity we'll never lose again, or something like that!

Stunning away win by Wales as well, but will probably only get half a column as they are out already.

mimi said...

OMG - byebye: did I miss a rare Welsh victory there? Soo busy following my adopted country as they battled Pakistan, and then excited as Australia suffered a rare defeat, my blood didn't stir to a Welsh win. Gadzooks - there really is too much sport!

offsideintahiti said...

Oh yeah, I'd seen the Marvin Haggler/Glen Dheinous bout. An absolute shocker of a refereeing decision, if you ask me. The man is a disgrace.

byebyebadman said...

5-2 Mimi, in Slovakia. Bellamy scored twice but apart from that it's all good news from Bratislava!

Just been watching the interview with Ponting after their defeat, he looks suitably embarrassed. No doubt this will transform into smugness when Australia come through and win the competition.

Too much sport on TV? Never. When entire channels can be taken over with wall-to-wall Big Brother it makes me think there's not enough...

mimi said...

byebye: did you mention smug and Ponting in the same paragraph? Shame on you!
Never never must we accuse the Aussies of smugness.

offsideintahiti said...

Marv,

if you have to fly under the radar, watch your use of smileys, they're a bit obvious.

byebyebadman said...

I actually quite like Ponting. He is a phenomenal captain.

I'm sure he can take it, he gives out enough when his team have won!

hannibalbrooks said...

offside

OK ... thanks, there are lots of little thins I have to be wary of doing. But I knew that you would realise it was me if I did one of those ;o)

Rob and Marvin were getting on better than ever before. Then it all went the way of the pear with Barry and the Mods.

mimi said...

Time to retire. Offie: have you a smidgin of some cold cuts for an sandwich before bedtime? Bit of cold oak-smoked koala would be tasty.

offsideintahiti said...

Mimi,

after what gg has done to the Koala, I couldn't find much use for it in the kitchen. How about a large glass of Macallan 12 yrs, sandwiched between two pints of the black stuff?

Marv,

Barry seems to pride himself on being able to take on the bloggers in slagging matches. Why resort to bannings and suspensions, then? Childish.

tony said...

hannibal - you were Marvingaye? You were pretty cheeky, I noticed. Also you've dropped the ollie connection...

offside - have you said who you met in the summer?

sorry about the images but:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mu0efgKBYVQ

offsideintahiti said...

tony,

" you were Marvingaye? " I must be dreaming...

This summer? I met this Spanish pseud called Martillo. What a prat.

antoin el dur said...

come to barcelona and say that, gavacho!!!

offsideintahiti said...

Sorry, tony, couldn't resist.

Thanks for "gavacho", my mother used to call me that when I was little.

hannibalbrooks said...

Offside

Exactly. I treat Barry no differently to how he treats me or anyone else. He likes to bully people intellectually with his wit, but he can't get away with that with me because I can give as good as, or sometimes better, than he can, and he has come to realise this from experience and so has had to resort to alternative methods.

Rob and I were starting to get along just fine, but that is until I read his England piece tonight, which, apart from the fact that it largely contradicts his last England blog following the Germany debacle - the cheeky sod has taken several points that I made in my first post on the Germany blog (the one were I mentioned South Pacific island football matches ending 17-0) and presented them as his own thoughts and opinions in tonight's England blog ... check it out if you don't believe me.

My first post is at aug23 at 1.22am

I'd love it if someone cut and pasted my comment onto Rob's England blog tonight and pointed out some of the similarities ;o)

I'd do it myself but that WOULD be putting my head above the parapet.

tony said...

but what does it mean, offie? Here it means something like 'rosbif' or 'frog'.

ps It's ok, martillo gets on my nerves too...

hannibalbrooks said...

Offside

Sorry .. this is a link to the Germany blog...

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/sport/2007/08/22/bobbies_blog_on_england.html

offsideintahiti said...

tony,

what do you mean "what does it mean"? You call me names and you don't know what they mean? You wigglynooper.

offsideintahiti said...

Marv,

Did you read the comment by DaveMere on Rob's thread?

"And I reckon Rob Smyth nicked this article from miro's comments the other day."

wittgenstein said...

Jo! offside... rosbif and frog mean something. What does gavacho mean?

offsideintahiti said...

Ludwig,

I'm not sure. I think it dates back to Napoleonic incursions into Spain. It's just a derogatory term for "Frenchman" in Spanish. Better ask one of your local acquaintances about the actual meaning. What does Martillo think?

martillo el guiri said...

martillo thinks that the Spanish, uniquely, have some insulting expressions which don't really 'mean' anything. I, for example, am a 'guiri'. It has no meaning. When I was in Thailand, I was 'farang', which, they tell me, means 'clumsy white buffalo'.

pakamambo said...

Ahem, I don't know if I should claim this so publicly, but "farang" actually comes from the people of Siam having problems pronouncing "français", especially the "fr" bit. Apparently, the French gave them so much grief back then, that all foreigners were banned from the country for a long time. And the word "farang" came to mean "foreigner", in general.

Pr Pakamambo
Head of Insultolinguistics
Pakalolo Institute

munni said...

farang is Hindi (I think a borrowed word from Persian, actually) for a foreigner in general. Sometimes derogatory and sometimes not, depending on context. I assume it's the same word in Thailand.

munni said...

Oops, I've just seen Professor Pakamambo's far more learned answer. Far be it from me to argue with such an esteemed authority on insultolinguistics.

pakamambo said...

Munni,

Hindi, Farsi, or Thai, I'm sure the general meaning of farang is "dirty, foul-smelling, greasy-haired, frog-eating, chain-smoking, arrogant Frenchman" or something close. Maybe Professor File can tell us more when he resurfaces from his opiate-induced slumber.

And to get back on topic once again, on this thread of many tributes, it was thirty years ago today that it was business as usual in police room 619.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTlzamUlQkg

Pr Pakamambo
Head of Annivertributology
Pakalolo Institute

offsideintahiti said...

And if "anyone" is looking for a new username, SteveBiko is as good as any ;o)

file said...

Farang means Guava (the fruit)

but for usage I'd refer y'all to Prof.Pakamambo, the Thai language comes from Sanskrit and Pali, but has been influenced by Mon and Khmer (and English and French) over the years so Munni's about right too, the claims that Farang is derived from pispronouncing Francais also hold water as France in Thai is Farangset

Thais are notoriously slap happy when it comes to things like this, until mid 19c the only written language was the Royal one

nb. the pron should be Farang, but is usually lazily said as Falang

totally impressed by the erudition of my colleagues here who have no reason to know South East Asian linguistic roots other than their personal genius

re names for girls; Thais love to compliment people and I can't think of any Puma type words, the norm is to call girls Nong Sao or Pi Sao (little sister/big sister) depending on her relative age or status compared to the speaker, a girl (or guy) who likes to play the field is known as a Pii Sua (Butterfly - lit. ghost shirt)

of course I know little of their activities though I once had to verify the gender of a doe-eyed Thai human for a visiting emeritus colleague...

Yours in Blathering

Prof. Finton Marmalade
Dept. of Hot Air
Somewhere in the Jungle Uni.

file said...

btw/ youtube has been allowed back into the jungle, in celebration of this momentous event I offer fellow psods this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSSGiA4f5cs

Finton

gg said...

Just done the Elvis gig for a bunch of pensioners (well, Elvis would have been 70+ by now)and ow I've stumbled over a computer.

"Farang" - very interesting; I always thought it was a corruption of "foreign", not of "France".

Though of course the French are foreigners everywhere, even in France.

Hannibal: I can't claim to be surprised. That Glendenning really
is a soft bugger: likes to dish it out, but can't take it. What a wally!

P.S. That means we have an equal number of bans, I believe. I'll try to score again soon.

pipita said...

Andrewm
Common you wee scot, I've seen you re-emerge in the GU Scotland blog so show up here as well will you....Great win btw, much as I feel for Offy who is suddenly enduring a series of home defeats lately. And where the hell is Monsieur Guitou?? Probably in trouble after speeding in some lost californian freeway

pipita said...

Professor GG!! Welcome back. Missed you out there. Did you get to sing the lolypop lady song to the Elvis pensioners?? At least some kind of medley with "don't be cruel" for instance

mimi said...

Thanks for the Biko link. For some reason I've playing the song a lot this summer. Didn't realise though that it was 30 years.

This really is a fine place.

gg said...

Fantastic!

Mimi designates this a "fine place", and everyone buggers off.

Is there a new tap room?

Back from the culture do. I've had enough culture to last me a lifetime.

I saw Marlene and her lollipop annihilated by an army of Hell's Angels - led by Barry Glendenning - on my way home today.

file said...

wotcha GG,

from culture vulture to blog dog eh?

really sorry to hear about Marlene, dirty, vicious, immoral and the Hells Angels aren't much better

there's a dead good ghost story here if you're of a mind

Tweet it, digg it