Nice finish

Paola Di Canio scores a very nice goal in training – imagine living in a country where practice goals are shown on the telly.

The best bit about going to Premiership games was getting there early and watching the pros warm up – some of the tricks they casually pulled out when the pressure was off were just magic. It was just like a kickabout at the park, and unlike in the game itself, you could tell they were ACTUALLY HAVING FUN. Bless.

My best memory is sitting in the Park Lane stand at White Hart Lane with my mate waiting for Spurs v Chelsea to get underway. Chelsea were warming up in front of us Tottenham fans, and as kick off approached they sauntered one by one back to the dressing room. Gianfranco Zola stayed behind to practice free kicks, and lined one up from outside the box – and hit the crossbar. He lined up another – and hit the crossbar again, in pretty much the same spot, and we all cheered. That thick Sardinian eyebrow frowned, and he took one more – it flew neatly into the very top corner, just like he knew it would. We cheered again, while wishing he played for Spurs. Zola just gave us a smile and the thumbs up, and trotted back to the shed.

Zombie / Xmas gift guide 2006

I love me some Zombies, and can’t wait to finish writing this shit so I can get back to Resident Evil 4. At my house, nothing says Xmas like getting drunk and shooting at some re-animated rotting flesh, so here’s my top five Zombie gifts for this special time of year.

5. Sean Of The Dead. Yeah yeah, it’s a couple of years old now, but if you don’t have it, get it. If you have it, get Spaced for added Simon Pegg / Edgar Wright action.

4. Mob Zombie. This game is played with a specially designed portable PC – you walk around the room to avoid the zombie hoarde on screen getting at your brain. Just the thing if it rains Xmas day.

3. Zombie Survival Guide. Tagline: Organise Before They Rise. Perfect for beach reading while working on your sunburn. Can Zombies swim?

2. Dead Rising. Must. Get. XBox 360. Dead Rising is based on the Dawn Of The Dead premise – a Zombie attack goes down while you’re out shopping, and it’s up to you to get creative with the consumer goods to control the outbreak. Park benches, beach umbrellas, dumb bells, you name it, you can use it to mow ’em down. I’m heartened they’ve included a shot gun, though, it’s the knife and fork of any Zombie attack.

1. Zombie Portraits. Send this bloke in Canada a photo of yourself, and he draws you as a walking corpse. It’s just fantastic, and the kind of thing those loser portrait drawers at Leicester Square and the like should look into. How about getting a Zombie-fied drawing of a your normal living room portrait, and swapping it to freak your xmas guests out?

Down in Albion

Poor old England. Just when they were getting back in the series, they came out to bat on day five like Victor Meldrew trying to get a barman’s attention: “Do excuse me… dreadfully sorry, do you mind awfully if I… Blimey, whatever are you doing with my off stump, old chap?” and so on. Ten runs in ten overs is admitting defeat before they even got going – now the series is realistically gone, you’d have more luck getting Ian Chappell along to yoga than making a comeback.

The Aussies love winning, and it’s hard to see a way back against this all consuming Aussie tide of feel-good pom crushing fun for all the family, roared on by a commentary team more one eyed than the Toxic Avenger. Even the token pom Mark Nicholas has flipped, with unprovoked arse-lickery like “You have to admit the Australian’s bowling today has been top drawer”. (Where the F**K did that come from Mark? Are you in a cage with Bill Lawry’s pidgeons?) Coach Duncan Fletcher’s biggest mistake wasn’t his choice of spinner, it was winning the bloody thing last year.

Bonus link: The best of Warney. Not Safe For England Fans right now.

Indoor Football with Zinadine

I’ve played 6 a side football at various YMCAs around Auckland for the last four years or so. In Fever Pitch, Nick Hornby talks about acting your footballing fantasies in these games, that even though you’re a puffing, aching, sweating mess of a man that’s lumbered off an office chair to play, you can still feel like your footballing idols for a few minutes every week. This is true, and pathetically, I still remember and sometimes re- live some of the goals I’ve scored – including each and every one with my left foot.

Anyway, here’s some footage of ol’ short-fuse himself joining a 5 a side game – the last 30 seconds are pretty goddamn spectacular in a low key kind of way.

YouTube yourself away

If you haven’t checked out YouTube, well that’s valuable farking around time you’re never getting back, my friend. It’s kind of like Napster when it was free and good and unencumbered by all that pesky ‘copyright’ carry on. Basically it’s easy to upload videos for the world to laugh at, so you can find anything and everything. Bill Simmons, the brilliant US sports writer made a list of his best bits, so I’ve decided to pinch his idea.

Rugby highlights go up very quickly, so if you missed the match or your memory was mysteriously wiped by that box of whatever was on special at the supermarket, you can re-live Jerry sorting out George Smith’s dreads, or Ali Williams dumping Gregan from a couple of stories over and over again. And here’s a good compilation of recent All Blacks tries in one neat package.

Of course there’s loads of football – like the original Panekla penalty, the stuttering dummy one that Zidane did in the World Cup final, and then a reason to remember Zidane apart from the headbutt. You’ll find loads of Premiership fan footage, so you only need spit on yourself and stand in horse shit for an authentic UK matchday experience. I had no trouble finding my favorite goal ever – the angle he gets is just beautiful, you couldn’t do better with string and protractor.

Not The Nine O’Clock News do John McEnroe
and get it just right – and compare it with the real thing. What ever you’re into there’s something for you – so get in there before it goes legit. I have my non-sports / children’s TV ones here, here’s the Kelly song, and there’s even fun at the expense of the Aussies – everyone can enjoy that.