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Showing posts from 2016

Why Wait?

I have just one question, quite simply, why wait?
From as far back as late September we've seen plenty of Xmas adverts and sections in shops set up ready for people to buy their gifts and food for the festive season. It's the same every year, and seems to get earlier and earlier each time. Yes that bugs me, but that isn't the basis of this blog, that's coming now.....
Since about the same time as we started seeing the rumblings of Christmas and the festive period, I started to see stuff on social media from people proclaiming that 2017 will be their year, that 2016 has sucked and next year will be the one for them.
There's no denying that some events this year have been shit, a lot of people have been taken from us, there's been a number of atrocities across the world, then there's the fact that Brexit & Trump have divided opinions across the land. But then a lot of that can't be controlled by you and I, we have control of our own lives, making i…

New York, New York, New York

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So, New York, the city that never sleeps, so good they named it twice etc, you've heard all the quotes and descriptors about the place over the years, but to me it's just the city I don't think I will ever get bored of seeing.
I've been there 5 times now, twice staying in Manhattan and for the last 3 times staying just across the state line in Newark, New Jersey (as it's closer to Metlife stadium, the home of the New York Jets), and I don't plan on ending this tradition any time soon (unless of course money or some other situation means I physically have to). Each time I've gone, I've seen or been to something different, and that's probably one of the key reasons why I keep going back, there is always something more, something still left to see and experience.
This time was no different, for example on the Saturday morning of this trip I went back to the site of the World Trade Centre memorial and visited the One World Observatory. This is floors…

Through Thick & Thin

When you choose to follow a sport, or more specifically a team, you enter into some weird messed up kind of contract, one that allows you to be with them throughout a number of highs, but also condemns you to a lifetime of dealing with the lows, the struggles and the emotional frustrations of when things go wrong.

Me, I have a few sporting interests, and have 3 key teams that play a big part in the television I watch, the places I go, and the emotions I feel! It’s rare though that all three can leave you deflated at the same time, usually the benefit of having so many interests is that there’s usually one that will pick you back up!

This past weekend though it all happened at once, a tough loss for Concord Rangers on Saturday, a very poor defensive performance from West Ham leading to a 3-0 defeat at home on Sunday afternoon, then the weekend was topped off by probably the worst performance by a quarterback I’ve seen in my years following the Jets and the NFL as New York lost to Kansa…

Uprising 2016, An RPW Experience!

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Over the last 3 & a half years I got back into watching wrestling, the main stuff like WWE, and more recently the independent UK stuff such as Southside Wrestling which were holding shows at the Circus Tavern in Purfleet. Sadly it appears that Southside won’t be coming back to this part of Essex, so I had to look elsewhere for my local(ish) wrestling fix.

That’s where this blog comes in, my brother Stephen bought him & I tickets to Uprising 2016, a show at Bethnal Greens York Hall run by a relatively big UK promotion called Revolution Pro Wrestling. This company have their own extensive roster, but bring in guests from the international promotions like Lucha Underground & NJPW for shows.

The opening match of the night was between two guys I wasn’t familiar with, but it happened to be a fantastic opener with a lot of high spots. New Zealander Jay White who wrestles in New Japan Pro Wrestling took on and beat UK cruiserweight Josh Bodom, although the match looked to be go…

A Great British Beer Experience

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Anyone that knows me is aware that I am a big whisky fan, it's my tipple of choice so to speak and I attend a number of tasting events over the year. But what you may not know is that I do love a good ale too, not to the level of my whisky fascination but I do enjoy tasting a range of beers that I've not tried before.
On that note, each year in August the Great British Beer Festival takes place at London's Olympia (Kensington), and I like to attend most years, think I've done 6 or 7 now. This past Wednesday I attended the 2016 event, and this is my run down of what I saw through the day. There are people much more seriously into beer/ale than me, so I am not trying to say that this blog will be incredibly detailed, but it's my usual waffle so you know what's coming in general!
When I go to the GBBF, I have a system that works for me, which straight away may sound odd but from talking to other people that attend the show there are a number of people who have …

Words Well Written About Writing!

So it's been a while since I got typing out a blog, I've been podcasting with the guys on The SmarkCast, and verbalising a blog type thing on soundcloud (which some of you may have listened to over the past few weeks). But earlier this week I was on another one of my holidays/trips, this time to Mallorca doing nothing except sit by the pool and chill out, I thought it was about time I got back to writing again.
The thing is, I'm going to be writing a hell of lot again over the coming months as football season is getting under way, so of course that means the matchday programme will be back in full swing. In each issue I always write a page worth of “editors notes”, pretty much the same as one of these blogs, but given that I've tried to make some improvements to the programme this year, I've given myself even more to write and get in it. Add that to the newsletter that we're now producing as a club every month (with additional ones in between) then I am not ma…

Madrid in a word, Magnificent

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So it’s been just over a week since I returned from Madrid, another beautiful city I had the pleasure of ticking off of my ever changing and expending mental list of places I want to visit!
When I booked this trip up, I’d not quite realised that a) I was travelling out on a bank holiday so it would be busy, and b) it was the half term holidays so it would be busy. Heathrow was certainly busy when I got going, but it wasn’t an issue, as the time had got closer I’d come to terms with the fact it’d be chaos! What I didn’t bank on though was the flight out being incredibly uncomfortable and probably the worst I’ve had so far. Don’t get me wrong, I know the more I fly, the more likely I’ll encounter problems, but damn it was the bumpiest and most nail-biting take-off I’ve ever been a part of! I didn’t let that bring me down though, once I’d got off the plane and stretched my body back into shape all was well again!
I’ll be honest (as ever), I didn’t have much of a plan as to what to see i…

Waving Goodbye To The Boleyn

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There has been, and will be over the coming weeks, a number of articles and blogs written about the last game at the Boleyn Ground, Upton Park, and the majority of them will be written by people much more experienced than I, and written in a much more professional style too. But I wanted to get my words down on paper, or at least the internet, as I know when that final whistle blows and the curtain comes down on that historic stadium, a part of me and every other West Ham fan will be gone forever.

Many people will write about their first visit to the stadium, about how they remember exactly who they saw and who they were with. Some will write about the legacy of the club, about the academy and the seemingly endless line of young England internationals that have walked through that tunnel to the pitch. Whilst others will simply bemoan the fact that we as a club are moving to a new stadium and leaving our home of 112 years behind. Me, well I do have plenty of memories of Upton Park, m…

Family, New York, And Talking About It

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Last weekend I, along with my brothers and dad, went to Newcastle for my cousins wedding, it was an emotional occasion as it would be the first time all this side of the family would be together in one place since my Nans funeral last February.

It was a great celebration for Claire & Stevie on the day, even though our southern clan struggled at times to understand a word Stevie and his side were saying (the Geordie accent can be a tough one to get round). I enjoyed catching up with the family again, it gets said all the time but it’s sad really that a lot of the times we catch up are at weddings and funerals. There were a few standout moments of the weekend though for sure, the grooms speech got a lot of us choked up as he’d lost his mum recently, and also mentioned our Nan, so tears flowed from my aunts & a few of us. Speaking of my Nan, about 10 years ago we had a family photo taken for her, one of which was all the cousins together. The wedding was the perfect opportunity …

Whisky, Podcasts, and What's Next

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Bit of a catch up this blog, not one specific topic but two main ones as noted by the title! Recently I attended Whisky Live, and subsequently wrote a lengthy blog about it. In said blog I also mentioned the Whisky Weekender, which took place this past weekend (run by the guys at The Whisky Lounge). Of course I attended and had a blast as always, catching up with some of the same people I'd seen just two weeks previous at Whisky Live. One difference though was that I took a long time friend along to what was her first whisky event.
Now she likes whisky, and going in to the event had a general idea as to the type of whisky she liked, as anyone who is slightly familiar with a dram would have. But as I've said before, these shows are about sampling new whiskies and finding out what other drams you like and enjoy. It was actually a proud moment seeing my friend try some rather different whiskies from what she was used to and finding out that she really enjoyed them. It was also g…

Love A Whisky Or Three

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Those that know me, know I enjoy a whisky or two, ok maybe more than two, and over the years I have been to a number of whisky tasting events. There's plenty that go on during the year, with three main ones that take place in London. There's the big one, The Whisky Show, in October, The Whisky Weekender in a couple of weeks, and most recently there was Whisky Live (this year I will be attending, and possibly writing about, all three)
I first attended a Whisky Live event many moons ago, back in 2008 if I remember right, and since then I've attended every London event except for 3 years ago when I was ill. Needless to say I am familiar with the set-up and how the event has changed over the years. The first one I went to was in Westminster, the Royal Horticultural Halls to be precise, then the next couple of years the event moved to a bigger space at the Hurlingham Club in west London, before switching to the Honourable Artillery Company near Old Street where it remains to thi…

If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made A Choice

Life is a wonderful thing, and it's amazing when you look at it how so many seemingly small decisions can end up having long lasting and almost life changing consequences.
I look at a few key moments actually that have played a part in putting me where I am today and having some of the experiences that I have over the past few years. I know I've mentioned it before, but one tweet suggesting I go watch Concord Rangers was essentially the start of what has been a 6 year journey as part of a club I now see as family. Back then, I would never have even had a thought that a) I would fall in love with the club as much as I did, b) I would become good friends with the players & people around it, and c) that I'd end up being a committee member and editor of the matchday programme. The experiences that have come my way can essentially all be traced back to going to that first game.
It hasn't stopped there though, the team is on the verge of their 4th cup final in as many y…

Beautiful Bruges, Where Next?

I'm writing this just over 24 hours after returning home from a couple of days in Bruges, a couple of days away where I could chill out, take in the sights and clear my head of any issues that have been bugging me recently (all work, so nothing too major).

Bruges, for those that don't know, is a city in Belgium, about an hour by train from Brussels, and overall about 3 hours journey from London via the Eurostar. It's one that has a rich and diverse heritage, with various influences that have shaped its style over its history (Flanders/Flemish, French, Dutch etc). Up until this past week, all I'd seen of Bruges was pictures on the tv, and mostly from the film "In Bruges" (one I'd highly recommend you watch too), but that was enough for it to be high on my list of cities to visit and experience.

(As a background, early last year I made a mental list of cities I wished to visit and see now that I have a) the time, b) the money and c) the motivation. Rome, th…

It's Officially Wrestlemania Season

Wrestling, sports entertainment, something that continues to polarise opinions across the world, but remains one of the most watched regular episodic programmes on television. And this time of year is its most important, the Road To Wrestlemania from this Sundays Royal Rumble through to the biggest event the company puts on at the end of March/beginning of April, Wrestlemania.

So with the biggest, and possibly most profitable period for the company in full swing, it would be the perfect time to put out their best product on their main shows (Raw). However if anything, regular viewers would have noticed that the main event product just isn’t provoking the entertainment and excitement that this season should to bring fans in. A big reason for that, at least in my opinion, is that much of the storyline is what we’ve seen before, it’s the same old thing, and the characters that are doing it just don’t provoke the same emotion as the first time we saw it (see Stone Cold Steve Austin com…

My New York Jets Journey (So Far)

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It's been a while since I've posted on this blog, which is a shame really as it means that the writing I have been doing has been elsewhere, mainly the Concord Rangers matchday programme. With the obsession I have ensuring that a different article goes into each programme, it’s easy to forget that I used to write these blogs purely because I enjoyed doing so, not out of any sort of responsibility!

Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy the writing, rambling on about my opinions and thoughts so that the few people that buy a Concord programme get to read them, but there’s something about doing these blogs that just made it easy for me to write! Anyway, I’m back to waffle on about the NFL, and there’s not much call for that in a football programme!

In 2002 I went to New York for the first time, did the whole sightseeing thing, and as one of a number of souvenirs I bought a bath towel, a green one emblazoned with a New York sports team emblem. At the time it was just as souvenir, …