Klamath Feel The Noise

Coming home from another drubbing at the hands of a hated enemy, I was scrolling through my new iPhone, looking for something suitable to ease the pain. Midlake? Far too minor key. Hot Chip? Too cheery. Mark Eitzel? That’ll do nicely. There’s something in his tone of voice; that soft, gentle warmth that envelops you even as he’s singing about how he’s been drinking too much and he’s down on his luck and all that. Just what you need when you’re hacked off spending a grand a year watching a bunch of overpaid tossers fanny about.

The Man Himself

Speaking of pay, I read an interview with the charming Mr Eitzel toward the end of last year in which he stated that he was pretty much bankrupt; couldn’t afford to tour with a full band and was living from one month to the next. So, in honour of one of the finest singer/songwriters the US has produced, please listen to the song below and then go and buy the album from which it comes (“Klamath”). You can have it autographed and everything.

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday Maaarrrrkiiiieeee, happy birthday to you.

MP3: Why I’m Bullshit by Mark Eitzel

Or buy “Klamath” from Amazon here.

Whisper From The Past – Lambchop

It’s been a long while since I listened to Lambchop properly. Yes, I got “OH (Ohio)”, and played it more than a few times, but years have passed since I last put “Nixon” or “Is A Woman” or even “What Another Man Spills” on.

I’d forgotten how good they were. Really, stunning, proper good, not that seems-good-for-a-while-until-the-novelty-wears-off good. Now, one day in the dark distant future I shall do a whole 1,000 word Pitchfork 500 Missing List spectacular on Lambchop, about why they are so fab and why everyone who doesn’t think so is wrong, but for now, I’ll leave you with a few old live tracks.

The Wondrous Mr Wagner Himself

The Wondrous Mr Wagner Himself

Recorded at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in 2000, on their Nixon tour, these three songs show how wonderful a band they are. Gentle, richly textured songs, with more hidden depths than the Dale Hollow Lake, you find yourself drifting off into a world of strings, softly strummed guitars, horns, and a guy hitting a paint can with a torque wrench. Lovely.

In other news, hasn’t the football season come around quickly again? By the way, I have it on good authority that Mr Kurt Wagner is, as all the best people are, a Gooner.

MP3: Nashville Parent by Lambchop (Live)

MP3: The Old Gold Shoe by Lambchop (Live)

MP3: Theone by Lambchop (Live)

Buy Lambchop’s “Nixon” (CD) (And a right bargain)

Buy Lambchop’s “How I Quit Smoking” (CD)

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Newcastle United 1 – Arsenal 3 – Barcodes Wiped

5.30 kick-offs are a pain in the backside. If you haven’t got the will to go to the pub to watch it, and you don’t want to shell out money to the horrible Murdoch empire or the comically inept Setanta gang, you end up watching the first half of the match on a hooky stream from Azerbaijan before having to try and listen to snippets of the game on Radio 5 whilst trying to put a 3-year old to bed.

Worse still, the bit you watch is the bit without the goals. C’est la vie, as Pascal Cygan would say, before falling over in slow motion. Still, the first half was pretty entertaining. You could say it had everything except goals. Dodgy refereeing decisions, missed sitters by both sides, and a hilarious penalty decision topped by an even more hilarious penalty kick. “Ah, Mr Almunia, I shall pass the ball to you gently, for I am secretly an Arsenal fan and do not wish to score against my favourite team!”

Thank You Very Much, Mr Martins

Thank You Very Much, Mr Martins

The dodgiest decision of the first half came when Stephen Taylor (more of whom later) blatantly elbowed Arshavin in the face. How he wasn’t even booked, let alone sent off, is beyond me. Arshavin looked someone bemused by the lack of protection given to him by the ref (or rather the ref’s inability to enforce the rules of the game). Van Pershie missed an excellent chance, although he looked offside in the buildup. Newcastle had a number of chances too, which thankfully they also missed, in customary fashion.

All the goals came in a ten minute period in the second half, by which point my son was merrily playing in the bath. First, Bendtner got his head to a free kick from Arshavin, after Clichy had been grabbed around the neck by Ryan Taylor (who should also have been booked, but mysteriously wasn’t). 0-1. Within a minute, Gallas had failed to clear, kicking the ball straight at Martins, who made up for his earlier mistake by whacking it into our net, rather beautifully I must say. 1-1. Then Stephen Taylor went off injured, and whilst he was being treated, his teammates decided they didn’t need to bother filling in that nice big hole in the defence, at which point Diaby decided just to run through it, then thump it past Harper to make it 1-2.

Thankfully for us, the Newcastle players still couldn’t be bothered to do anything about the nice big hole in their defence, Taylor being substituted for Little Mickey Owen, so Nasri ran through it too, and thumped the ball past Harper to make it 1-3. Lovely. As Taylor had already made two critical blocks, and had done enough to get himself sent off by any vaguely competant referee, you’ve got to say they got what they deserved.

We had some more chances to make it even safer, but Diaby hit the post and Harper saved from an excellent Van Pershie. The second half performance was better than the first, and Taylor going off really helped us. Diaby in particular looked lost in the first half, and Newcastle sometimes ran through our midfield at will for periods of the game. But they were unable to take the chances they were given, and we were, and by the time we got the third, they were a beaten team.

Arshavin has continued his mission to be a hugely popular Arsenal player. He’s strong and tough for a guy his size (munchkin), and playing in the Russian league has toughened him up enough to not worry about the nasty challenges and elbows of the Premiership’s Neanderthal element. Sorry, that’s being harsh on Neanderthals. A great signing, though frankly I would also have liked a central midfielder to remove the reliance on DiaSongNilson. Anyway, beggars can’t be choosers.

You can see highlights of the game on the marvellous Arsenalist. None of the usual suspects have done reviews yet. Honestly, I’m not even a proper football blog and I’m staying up late.

This loss puts Newcastle deep in relegation mire. I’m feeling somewhat conflicted about this, because I lived there for four years and loved the place. Great people, loads of bars, and I still remember how the mood in the city lifted when Keegan returned, whilst they were at the bottom of the old First Division. I’m rather fond of the place, and whilst the club are run by a pack of jokers, and some of the fans are somewhat, well, uncouth, I’d rather they didn’t go down.

But then, they’ve got people like this:

And this:

Kevin Nolan Tackle

(sorry, the Embed function doesn’t work for those)

And I think I’d rather not have to see some of those players again. Then again, if it was between them and Hull, I’d rather see Dirty Brown’s Tiggers go down, frankly.

Villa play Liverpool tomorrow at Anfield, so against my better judgement I’d quite like to see the Scousers win that one, and in every Arsenal fans wish list is for Wigan to beat Hull 26-0 tomorrow, whilst Phil “Are you questioning my integrity” Brown strips off naked, rolls around in the mud frothing at the mouth, before the men in white coats come to take him away to a nice, comfy, padded cell. Bit of a shame, really – going from being applauded off the pitch by Arsenal fans in September to public enemy number 1, just because you’re a sad little man who can’t take being beaten, so you have to make up loads of rubbish about one of the league’s most popular, and talented, young foreign players. Sad.

Edit: I realised I’d got my Taylors mixed up. Fixed.

Phil Brown Ends Long Arsenal Anti-Intimidation Run

Stating that Arsenal fans had “intimidated his team” during last night’s FA Cup Quarter Final match between Arsenal and Hull City, Phil Brown ended the unprecedented 762-match streak during which Arsenal fans had completely failed to intimidate the opposition. The run, spanning 17 years in all competitions, was without equal in the modern game and crushed the previous record set by Accrington Stanley between 1920-1929, during which the fans would often make cakes and sandwiches for visiting teams, and take them on tours of the local countryside, and was only ended after an Accrington Stanley fan accidentally ran over a visiting player’s cat in his horse and cart.

The last team to be intimidated by Arsenal fans were the Albanian team Diýnamo Gãraÿmše, who during a UEFA Cup match in 1992, were reportedly “scared witless” by the Arsenal fans singing a song about Perry Groves. However, after the match it was revealed that the song (“Number 1 is Perry Groves”) bore a remarkable, and coincidental, resemblance to a chant in Albanian, describing how the protagonists were to tell the opposition’s mothers how many pornographic magazines were stashed under the opposition’s mattress.

Arsene Wenger was not available for comment.

Arsenal 2 – Hull City 1 – Move On, Nothing To See Here

Golly, isn’t Phil Brown a bad loser? His team take a lucky lead against us in this FA Cup Quarter Final, then instead of pressing on and maybe scoring another, they shut up shop, timewaste, and generally don’t bother to really play football.

Result? About five bookings for timewasting and arguing with Mike Riley (who was awful), then conceding a goal after some bloody-minded determination from Bendtner, and then conceded another from Gallas who was standing a good two yards offside after the ball came off a combination of Djourou’s head and the Hull keeper’s fist, he decided to stomp his tiny little feet and bleat that Fabregas came on the pitch after the match and spat at his assistant manager, Brian Horton:

For their club captain – Cesc Fabregas – to spit at my assistant-manager at the end of the game just shows you what this club is about.

To which I’d happily state:

To not bother playing football for 75 minutes, timewasting, being rubbish, and then making up a load of old bollocks about an event that didn’t happen and changing your story twice in an hour, then saying that Wenger got your keeper booked for timewasting after he spent approximately 36 years taking a free kick 20 yards away from where he should have been even after the referee warned him three times, is what your club is about. And oh yes, you look a total dick with that headset, and have I said you’re out of the FA Cup, you dreadful little man?

Cesc, a man with more class and style in his little finger than Phil Brown has ever experienced in his entire life, refuted the allegations, in a rather classy and stylish way:

“I categorically deny that I spat at anybody after the match. I have never done this in my whole career on the pitch, so why would I do it when I am not even playing? … I don’t why they are saying these things about me because it did not happen. That is the truth. I don’t even know who the assistant manager of Hull is or what he looks like.”

He also, sportingly, said:

I can understand the frustration of losing a game to a dubious goal, that has happened to me many times in my career as well. But this is not the fault of me or any of the Arsenal players.

How many times to footballers actually admit that they won a game thanks to a dodgy goal? Hardly ever, that’s how many. What a gent. I bumped into a friend from the press last night on the way home, and the feeling amongst the press is that it’s a story which will sell papers, but they felt it was highly unlikely Fabregas would do something like that. And he’s a Spurs fan. Ok, if it’d been Eboue, we’d have said “Yeah, sorry about that, he’s a bit special”. But it’s Cesc. He’s a god in human form. Worship him, o ye sinners.

Sorry, where was I?

Ah yes, Phil Brown. I thought we’d had our fill of bitter, twisted ex-Boltonites after the visit of the odious Sam Allardyce on Saturday, with his hideous team of diving, hacking thugs, but this takes the biscuit. These people are anti-football. They cheat, dive, hack, and when they still lose they resort to lies and distortions, blaming everyone else but themselves for their defeat. When they appeared on Goals On Sunday last week, there wasn’t even a mention of this:

Pederson Dive

The sooner people like Phil Brown and Sam Allardyce are eaten by a radioactive uber-hippo, the better.

I’m sure there will be more claims from the Brown camp over the next couple of days as they try to deflect from the fact that they are out of the FA Cup, and sinking ever closer to relegation. Me? I think it’s all cobblers.

Phil Brown

The sad thing about all of this is that for the first couple of months of the season, Phil Brown actually seemed like he was a decent manager. His team could play good football, they weren’t hopelessly negative unlike, say, Blackburn or Bolton, and he seemed ok. Headset aside. But since the wheels have started coming off the wagon, he’s turned into a bitter, twisted little git. Good riddance, I say.

Oh, Arsenal’s performance? Not very good. The back four were ok, but the DiabSong central midfield partnership seems to think that passing sideways is the epitome of stylish play. Walcott huffed and puffed to little effect; Arshavin looked dangerous (that volley at the end of the first half was sublime); and if Van Persie had spent as much time finding space as he did moaning at the ref, he’d have got a hat-trick. Bendtner did very well to force the goal. Whilst he has his critics (including me), he’s really starting to work hard and use his arrogant temprement to good effect on the pitch. Still, we won, that’s all that counts now. Chelski in the semi-final awaits, at Wemberley.

As you can imagine, lots of opinions today. First of all check out Arsenalist for the highlights, some great comments from East Lower and Goodplaya and a top sweary rant from Arseblogger. I was going to say “Spitting Mad” too. Gah.

Till next time.

Arsenal 4 – Blackburn 0 – More Acid, Vicar?

That just takes the biscuit, that does. I had two childrens parties to go to today, so had to miss the game, following the game on Twitter . After about four league 0-0′s in a row, I really was thinking we’d probably balls it up again. Plus, as I was getting my son ready for one of the parties, I looked out of the window, and could see a bird circling high in the sky, toward the north-east. It looked like a vulture. Maybe a Sam Allardyce looking vulture, come to pick over the bones of our challenge for fourth place.

And frankly, if we’d just left it up to Bendtner, it really would have ended 0-0. Just have a look at this:

Dear oh dear. We know that players can’t score every match, but really, this boy needs to start performing. If he was half a good a player as he said he was, he’d have got a hat-trick today.

Thankfully, we’ve now got Arshavin in the team, and Walcott is back, providing valuable pace and craft to a side that’s been dreadfully lacking in both.

The first goal came after Walcott pegged it down the wing, and the ball deflected in from a Blackburn defender from a seriously tight angle.

The second was all Arshavin. He took it down the left, cut inside, skinning the poor Blackburn defender, and he then smashed it in from a seriously tight angle. 2-0 made it safe, and you had to say it’d been coming, following Nasri hitting the crossbar and all sorts of other chances.

Arshavin's Goal

We then got two more goals in the last couple of minutes. Lovely cross, Arshavin hit the crossbar, then Eboue, yes, Eboue was on hand to get the ball in off the sole of his boot.

In injury time, Vela was foolishly taken down by Olsen, and for some reason Eboue took the penalty. And a great penalty it was too. I’ve been a pretty serious critic of Eboue, largely because he’s rubbish but I can’t criticise a guy who has just scored two.

Full highlights available here from the great Arsenalist.

So, a great win, we’re now back in fourth and have a superior goal difference to Villa. They, of course, play Spurs tomorrow.

Come on Spurs.

I feel dirty.

Anyway, Arshavin is off the mark, the team are playing well, and Man U got spanked at home by Liverpool. 1-4, eh? Who’da thought it, eh?

Come on Spurs.

It still doesn’t feel any better.

Roma 1 Arsenal 0 – Who Watches The Penalties?

Ok, dear Reader, I didn’t watch the match. Instead, I decided last week to book tickets to see Watchmen at the local IMAX for last night, forgetting that Arsenal were playing. And the film’s ok, you know, considering they’ve filmed a book widely considered to be unfilmable. Not sure that it was wise changing the ending though. You know, with Ozymandias teleporting loads of fluffy bunnies to New York and Moscow to show the world’s leaders that fluffy bunnies are lovely and to live in peace. But still, not a bad way to spend nearly three hours.

Certainly better than watching what was, by all accounts, a pretty dreadful match. I’ve only seen the schoolboy-esque defending for the Roma goal and the penalties, but Arseblog and Goodplaya point out the rubbishness. Vucinic’s penalty was so bad that Almunia stopped moving and just sat down on the goal line, looking baffled. You can see it all here.

So we’re through and get to meet Barcelona, FC Porto, Villareal, Bayern Muenchen or one of the remaining English sides. Villareal or Porto, please, random number generator. I *think* the draw is tomorrow.

More linkage etc later, hopefully, and more Pitchfork 500 goodness. I might even write a better Watchmen review.

Arsenal 3 Burnley 0 – Acid In The Cola

Sometimes it’s nice for us to go back to the old days when teams would come and play us and not be all defensive, putting 10 men behind the ball, and actually come and play football. It’s even nicer when we say “Thank you very much, kind sirs!” and proceed to thump them. The icing on the cake comes when all three goals were extraordinary, in their own way. Two were as fine examples of how footballers can be truly balletic, with a flick of the boot, with poise, grace, style and athleticism. And the other was scored by Eboue.

Seriously though, go and watch Vela’s goal. He latches onto a through-ball from Arshavin, beats one defender with a lovely touch, holds off another defender, then chips it beautifully over the keeper. He sure does like doing that. 1-0.

And then go and watch Eduardo’s. Song sends over a cross to the edge of the area, and Eduardo runs onto it and kind of slices it with his left ankle, and it fair shoots past the keeper into the far corner. They showed it about five times in the stadium and we couldn’t make out exactly what he’d done, and having watched it properly on TV I can only say that it’s absolutely extraordinary technique. A couple of people have been saying it was accidental, but watch closely – there’s no way he’d be moving his leg the way he did if he didn’t mean it. I suspect it’s something he’s practiced and this is his way of saying “Yeah, you might have broken my leg horribly and kept me out of the game for a year, but look what I’ve learnt. I’m back.” I said on Twitter at the time that it was astonishing. Watching it again and it’s even more so. I’m glad to have seen that one in the flesh.

Eduardo's Goal Vs Burnley

Eduardo's Goal Vs Burnley

Boy, it’s good to have him back.

The third was extraordinary for other reasons. Song backheeled it to Eboue who took a couple of touches and smashed it past their (rotund) keeper into the net. Yes, you read that right. Eboue scored! I’ve seen it all now. I don’t think I’ll need to go to another match. It’s like seeing Gus Caesar score. Or John Jensen. Actually, that’s a bit harsh on Jensen, he wasn’t too bad a player. Well done Eboue, and hopefully that’ll add a couple of million to the transfer fee when we get rid of you in the summer *crosses his fingers*.

Anyhow, Burnley tried and could even have got a penalty at the end, not long after hitting the crossbar. But mostly we have to thank them for trying to play football. Fools!

Other reviews of the game at Arseblog, Goonerholic hails Song’s excellent performance and Goodplaya does the usual ratings. Personally I think Song had a very good game, but this was a Championship side, and Diaby was disappointing, given this was a Championship side. Everyone else looked decent; Gibbs in particular had the best game I’ve seen him have. Against a Championship side.

Not that I’m trying to set expectations here. This was a Championship side.

Oh, and one word for all the people on the lower tier who legged it inside and up to the upper tier when it started raining icy badness from the sky. Don’t blame you.

So, we meet Hull at home in just over a week and if we beat them (and I really think we need some more revenge after their 2-1 victory back in September) we’ll be meeting Chelski at Wemberley. By which time we should have Cesc back, and hopefully be able to field our strongest team for pretty much the whole season (barring any injuries and suspensions).

Right, I’m off to finish off another Pitchfork 500 post. This site is mainly about music, you know, but I do like wittering on about Arsenal you know. Even when we win.

West Brom 1 – Arsenal 3 – Phew, At Last

After spending the whole of February not scoring any league goals (or conceding any, for that matter), Arsenal finally managed to get their shooting boots on tonight and win. In a fairly frenetic first half, ol’ pinky boots Bendtner scored an early goal, thanks to Scott Carson making a hash of a fairly save-able chance. West Brom then managed to equalise from a free-kick, with Eboue doing himself no favours by jumping out of the way of the ball whilst in the wall. Alumunia didn’t look too pleased, I can tell you.

However, we managed to get on top thanks to some really shoddy defending, with Kolo Toure scoring a header, and Bendtner got his second not long after from a through ball from Kolo, to make it three. Normally, you’d say “Game Over” but not with this lot. Thankfully, our defence held firm, with Song moved into the centre-half position after Kolo went off injured, and he actually looked ok there.

Hooty McOwl could have got three, and was unlucky that Carson decided to make up for his earlier ineptitude by making some saves. We had more chances to make it safe(r), but typically, didn’t take them, and Almunia was forced into some good keeping a number of times, especially after Ramsay had made a hash of a back-pass.

We even saw the league debut of Fran Merida. Not that he did much in the five minutes he was on. Though we were expecting a hat-trick from him, at the very least. We should sell him now before he disappoints us further.*

One quick word about the Baggies. They do try and play football, which is great to see in these ultra-defensive days, but with the defence they’ve got I’m afraid they’re destined for the drop (again). Shame – every Baggies fan I’ve ever known has been very nice. And I can’t say that about many other fans.

Anyway, I’m happy with the win. This puts us three points behind Villa, who play Manchester Citeh tomorrow night. And Citeh can be good, they can be terrible, and Villa’s luck is sure to run out at some point so let’s cross our fingers and toes for Citeh to win 23-0. I’m not even going to moan that Eboue was a bit rubbish and that Diaby only looks good playing against a team at the bottom of the league. No, it’s all positivity round here tonight. Oh yes. We won, we scored more than one goal, and it was away from home in freezing rain (in which the travelling support made themselves proud).

Now, bring on Burnley!

Linkage: Just The ‘Holic

*This is a joke

Arsenal 0 – Fulham 0 – Groundhog Day

Get up. Get ready. Go to the game. Watch our midfield uselessly pass the ball sideways. Watch our wide players cross the ball to no-one. Go home.

Get up. Get ready. Go to the game. Watch our midfield uselessly pass the ball sideways. Watch our wide players cross the ball to no-one. Go home.

Get up. Get ready. Go to the game. Watch our midfield uselessly pass the ball sideways. Watch our wide players cross the ball to no-one. Go home.

Get up. Get ready. Go to the game. Watch our midfield uselessly pass the ball sideways. Watch our wide players cross the ball to no-one. Go home.

It’s getting a bit dull this. Yet another game with no goals. The last time we scored at home against League opposition was against Bolton, and that was only one and it came in the 84th minute. We’ve only scored more than three goals against League teams twice all season, and one of them was a bloody draw. It’s really been a bloody awful season. We’re now only two points ahead of Everton, which means that if they overtake us, we’ll not even make the UEFA Cup, which even Spurs have managed in the last few years.

This simply isn’t good enough. This is a team that finished four points behind Man U last season, but we’re hopelessly off the pace in this one. I’ll save my full thoughts for another day, but I’ll just say that we’re becoming mediocre, almost as bad as those dreadful mid-90′s teams that managed to finish 12th and 10th.

I can’t even blame Eboue, as he looked ok-ish when he came on as a sub. Diaby was dreadful, Denilson passed sideways so much it became comical, and we just looked bereft of ideas. I’m very sad about this lot. And worse, it appears that even Nasri (who scored some stunning goals earlier in the season) has been infected with Arsenal-itis. Given the ball in a great position on the edge of the area, he chose to fanny around for what seemed like 23 minutes until the entire Fulham defence massed around him. Why didn’t he shoot?

Oh. I’m too sad and too full of cold to write more now. Come back tomorrow, I might have developed my sadness into a full-on epic.

Linkage: A Cultured Left Foot, Goodplaya on booing, and an Arseblog who sounds even sadder than me.

More tomorrow.

Oh, and sorry for the delay, I’ve been naughty (inadvertantly).

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