Why aye, monsieur

The land of song welcomes the city of great rock music for 90 minutes brimful of inane shouting and chanting dressed up as collective banter. Yes its time for the weekly ‘who are ya’s‘ and ‘your support is f*@king s%!t‘ to be eloquently presented by the neanderthal minority from one end of the stadium to the other. The Men of Harlech meet the Geordie Hordes as the passionate masses proclaim their city’s rites to Premier League glory. A musical son of Newcastle (born in Glasgow) recently provided us with a dialectical treat in the form of Why Aye Man, including the lyric There’s English, Irish, Scots, the lot. The following line talks about United Nations’ what we’ve got, which has been taken to a new level as Newcastle United can claim French, French, French and Argentinian is what we’ve got.

           

If you’re looking for the English then strangely it is the Welsh team line-up that will be of more interest to you! It’s 3.01p.m., and the home crowd are wondering…

City v Newcastle [1]

… which Newcastle team will they be up against: a cordon bleu menu served up with Chateauneuf du pape, or cheap plonk with a load of old pap? The away fans recall their old favourites, Lindisfarne, and the lyric Hey mr dreamseller, where have you been, tell me have you dreams i can see? For the first 45 minutes their dreams are answered as their team dominate pretty much everything of note that happens. With a half-time scoreline of 0-2 The Fog on the Tyne has done nothing to dim the view of the Newcastle players and fans, whereas the home fans are left wondering if the ‘Fog on the Taff’ has descended over their team, and fear a lyric of another Lindisfarne favourite: Had my share of nightmares didn’t think there could be much more.

Football has its moments, times when the bizarre passes off for normality, and this match duly obliged during the half-time interval… the away fans are treated to a personal performance of their icon tune, Blaydon Races, by the local and world famous Treorchy Male Voice Choir assembled on the pitch directly before them. Those of the Toon Army who hadn’t disappeared below ground to partake of the pie-eating challenge were duly appreciative of the gesture. The home fans played their part, with a backing vocal of a chorus of boos and obscenities; not a version that will be released for sale anytime soon! The second half couldn’t come soon enough…

City v Newcastle [2]

… and in a blaze of sunshine the cliche took on its usual embodiment; for the uninitiated football is often known as a game of two halves (yes, a first half and a second half… occasionally with four unequal halves if extra-time type competitions are being played… don’t ask, it’s probably just a need to out do cricket in the ‘need for explanation’ stakes).

Anyway, back to the real action… Cardiff City totally dominate the second half, scoring an early goal, and the away fans are now haunted by the Sting lyric: On and on the rain will fall… like tears from a star… how fragile we are. The casual flakiness of fans when their team suddenly change from being world-beaters to dead-beats usually causes something akin to introspection through the fearful chords of If I ever lose my faith in you (though ‘introspection’ and a shaven-headed neanderthal aren’t a regular mix to be found anywhere!). The home team keep knocking on the door (another one of those strange descriptions of footballing action), but to no avail. As the final whistle approaches the away fans are left to reflect on a brand new Sting song, as they take a battering And Yet I’m back, as they go away with the three points for a win. For the record the score is:

Bluebirds    1                                                 Magpies       2

          

Many thanks to the music legends of the north-east for providing the backing track to this post. I’ve been Juno, apparently listening to a report of yet another competition where different birds are represented, though my preference would be for a mix of both teams in a Blue-Pie stew. See you again soon.

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Tales from Dumbfuckistan

I seem to recall one George W Bush referring to many of the Eurasian countries as ‘the Stans’, which served well to demonstrate his expansive knowledge of world geography. While it came across to me as a simple way of grouping together totally separate countries, such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and others, he was clearly overlooking his own backyard… Dumbfuckistan.

I mention this because, being a cat for a stat, I was completely blown away (excuse the advanced pun) by a couple of articles about life in the US recently. The first was all about my cuddly cousins, with an all out assault on our favourite pass-time of baiting and killing other dumb creatures.

    According to academic sources we kill ‘billions’ of other creatures in the US each year. Not to be outdone, we clock up millions each year in the UK apparently, though my resident protector of the environment doesn’t allow me to join in, I just get to exercise vivid imagination, particularly where ‘dwaugs’ are concerned…….                    So, somehow we are the villains of the peace, when all we are trying to do is rid you lot of vermin and bring you warm gifts. At least we are doing our bit to keep researchers in jobs for obscure biology conservation institutes.

       Did I mention ‘a couple’ of articles? Well it was the more recent one by Henry Porter in the Observer newspaper on 22nd September 2013 that had me nearly falling off my cushion… American gun use is out of control. Shouldn’t the world intervene?

    With all the uproar about cats killing other creatures it seems to me that we have nothing to learn from you folk; at least we rarely go around randomly killing each other. These stories from the US about yet another gun massacre is one thing, but when you see all the statistics lined up end-to-end it blows your brains out (sorry!).

Total number of Americans killed in all wars from Lexington 1775 up to Afghanistan today is officially recorded as 1,171,177. Total number of civilians killed by guns (including suicides) from the killing of Edward Kennedy in 1968 to today is 1,384,171. Almost a quarter of a million more in 45 years than in the last 238 years of warfare. And still they demand their rights to an outdated second amendment to keep and bears arms, drawn up in days when the wild west was in vogue and coffee (or is that corrfee?) came in only one option, hot and wet.

         Henry Porter reminds us that since 9/11, when just under 3000 people died in that atrocity, there have been 20 terror-related deaths and 364,000 caused by privately owned firearms. Apparently, if the US witnessed that sort of carnage taking place in another country they would be hurtling down the United Nations by-pass on a mission to restore sanity, introduce democracy, and relieve the locals of their richer natural resources. For a nation notorious for its lack of passports and ambition for travel, perhaps the rest of us cats should be thankful… the less of their culture they export the better! If the obesity doesn’t get you the bullet probably will.

If Syrians had any humanity they would threaten to invade the US; after all, any country where over 32,000 of its own are being killed by its own every year has some serious anger issues, and probably needs some externally sourced mediation!

Then there is the advertising and accessorising of guns for little kids… a truly remarkable statement of a sick culture.

[All cartoons accessed from ‘images of…’ sites on the internet].

The style of entertainment has been slightly different this week, but I am still Juno, mainly because I don’t live in America. For those of you who do… stay indoors, lock all your doors, and listen out for the sound of the safety clip being released.

The City of Arcades

If there is one defining thing about us dames… it is that we do like to shop! Back in the wilds of East London I had to make do with scraps from street markets, and the bins of corner shops and local stores. I am not complaining, at times I had the choice of delicacies from many different parts of the world. It often felt like the United Nations emerged from the diversity of those very streets; and that got me excited about the idea of being near to Tiger Bay… the original United Nations-by-sea. But, that is not to be; I am near it, but the Tiger Bay I heard other cats talking about has long since gone.

It seems my local corner shop is now a great big John Lewis store, a bit more upmarket than I have been used to, but something I can easily adjust to as long as my personal banker keeps the taps running.

John Lewis 1

But wait… it seems this Cardiff place has something else to interest us discerning shoppers. It seems like the Victorians in this part of the world had an idea for building shopping ‘arcades’, and from the Royal Arcade in 1858 to the Dominions Arcade in 1921 Cardiff has become famous as ‘the’ city of arcades. As I slink along the shop fronts it can get quite confusing with all these different arcades with their fancy shops, and some not so fancy shops. High this and Morgan that, the odd Castle, and even a Duke, not to say a Wyndham (whatever that is).

Castle Arcade 1

High St Arcade 2

Duke St Arcade 1Dominions Arcade 1

Morgan Arcade 1

Wyndham Arcade 1

Then I hear there was a Queen Street Arcade, a Dickens Arcade, an Andrews Arcade, and an Oxford Arcade… all gone. It is enough to make your head spin, but at least there is one great industry thriving in all of these arcades… coffee! How much coffee do you think there is in Brazil… well most of it seems to have found its way to Cardiff from what I see as I mooch along these mini glass-rooved shopping cathedrals.

After a smooth cappuccino in the Morgan Arcade I am looking like this:

A few macchiato’s in the Castle Arcade and the world is beginning to look at bit like this [go see loads of brilliant images by my friend Fat-Freddies-Cat at http://www.panoramio.com/user/5357514]:

castle arcade cardiff - balcony panorama

Then an espresso in the Royal Arcade and I’m shimmying across the glass roof looking something like this:

Thank heavens for the dimly lit recesses of The Old Arcade… the more familiar territory of the alley cat, with its stretch of beer-soaked, cigarette-butt littered cobbles leading me directly into the culinary palace that is… the Central Market.

I will have many more tales to tell about my sojourns around these arcades (and the market), but in the meantime if I have sparked your interest in this unique feature of my city I suggest you go to http://cardiffarcadesproject.com/ for loads of stuff and things about each of the arcades. See you again soon. Juno