Tag Archives: Jurassic Park

Welcome back, old friend. Lockdown provides one benefit.

26 Apr

We’re going left field today. Of course we should be talking about Saturday’s quite wonderful Brentford lockdown special with Sam Saunders and King Kev. Perhaps tomorrow. Instead, the memory has been tripped by an early morning message from friends in Australia and a trip to Africa that took place many years ago. A trip that was fuelled on something far stronger than a dodgy whisky run to Algeria. Err… Move along, nothing to see here. It was a trip that was powered by PG Tips.

So this one’s for Fay, Bucko, Rich, James and co today but, at the same time, feel free to come along for the ride if you want.

love a cup of tea as much as the next person. Or should that be ‘loved’. Lord knows it  kept us going some tough times – the aforementioned Africa trip being the quintessential example.

Back in the early 90s I spent six months going overland from Chiswick to Nairobi in the back of a truck via such exotic sounding places as Ouagdougo, Bangui and Kisangani to name but a few. Places I’d never even heard of before naively deciding that  being thrown together with 30 strangers and my University mate Rich would be the perfect way to put off entering ‘the real world’ after graduating. Some of which I’d never heard of even after we’d left them.

It was an amazing time. Sometimes scary. Sometimes rich in culture. Usually boozy. Often we were hungry. Ocassionally we ate like kings. There were fights. Angst. Stress. Dodgy guts and no toilet paper. Cabin fever – try crossing the Sahara with nothing to do for a week beyond playing Yahtzee, digging the truck out of (yet another) sand dune and look at sand.  Nothing to eat beyond powdered leek soup and Angel Delight. Made in a bucket. Andrea’s bucket….. I fell ill just thinking about that now we have hygiene once more.

If ever there was a metaphor for current life then there it was.

Moreso when you chuck ‘Eric Clapton – unplugged’ into the mix. How all but a few of my fellow overlanders had managed to bring the same tape, with it’s plinky-plinky acoustic stylings and piss weak mid-song banter, must be beyond the law of averages. But there you go. With no downloads or Apple Music it was C-90 cassettes or nothing.

And I reckon a good 26 out of 32 opted to bring ‘Handjob’, as I believe he had been nicknamed, with them. Because what everybody needed was yet another glass of ‘Malted Milk.’ It was stuck on almost repeat loop. A musical torture that kept hammering away at whatever place your mind was trying to escape to.

Eric slowly, and unwittingly, adding to the powder keg atmosphere that was brewing. Every twee chuckle from the audience another nail in the coffin of my sanity. That was, until salvation arrived. PG Tips based salvation. 

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This has to be against the Geneva convention

Whatever the stresses, hunger or confinement of the day there was always one thing to bring us together – a cup of tea.

No matter how hot it was or where we were, the stuff was always being made. The first rule of pitching camp was to get the fire burning and the water heater on. Forget dinner (such as it was) or washing up afterwards. It was always a case of getting the tea going before anything else. 

110 degrees in the middle of the desert – still need the tea. Want to climb a mountain in Algeria or need to rebuild a bridge in Zaire to cross a river? Fine, but not before a cup of tea. Stomach falling out of your arse? Pretty sure tea will fix it.

And boy did we drink it by the bucketload. Blue plastic mugfuls of the stuff. Overstewed and strengthened, if that is even the word, with powdered milk. Powdered milk that had quite likely been wee’d on by the family of rats we found nesting amongst the supplies somewhere in the Central African Republic. And by quite likely, I mean definitely.

Ahh – the sight of them being liberated from the Weetabix (Jurassic Park edition) and returning to the wilderness one I’ll never forget. But let it never be said that something as simple as rat piss got in the way of enjoying our breakfast cuppa. Anything but.

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Now with 100% less rat

Given the challenges we are currently experiencing c/o lockdown, I’ve found myself catching up a lot more with old friends. Several of whom I’d enjoyed/endured (delete as applicable)  the African odyssey with 25+ years ago. F*&k. Wow. That’s scary. But this morning there was a nice surprise over the messages – Bucko, pouring forth from Australia has put the question:

 “Nick essays on life and how to live it –  Fay and I find enlightening and entertaining. So mate can you please give a quick-shot  analysis on this this obsessive coffee culture…what is wrong with a nice cup of tea?”  

I’ve a lot of time for Fay and Bucko. Namely because he taught me about music, beer aswell as being quite the philosopher. “Never ruin a good story with the facts” being my favourite and one still used to this day. We’ve all remained great friends and have met up with each others many times over the years. Rich and I even had the denouement of Euro ’96 ruined in quite spectacular style upon our fast post-Africa catch up in Australia, although that’s a story for another day. 

The point being that a question from the otherside of the world is one which can’t go undheeded. Not when it comes from Bucko who, true to form, was sparked out cold at this juncture and had left Fay to ask it on his behalf. Got to love an Aussie who can’t hold his beer…. 😉

So – why coffee culture over tea? I’d not really thought about this but he’s right. There has been an almost subconscious move over to the dark side. My old friend tea now nothing more than a relic from a bygone age.

We’ve all manner of coffee chains where I worked before the spare room became the office in recent months. Their call has contributed to my enjoying the black stuff over the years. Perhaps because paying £3 for a teabag and a cup of boiling water compared to fresh ground coffee beans seems morally wrong. A damming indictement of my own laziness when the office kettle and box of teabags in the desk would provide an infinitely cheaper and identical alternative.

At least with coffee, only the most hipster of workplaces is going to have their own supply of beans and a grinder.

Then there’s just the power of that eSpresso hit (take your ‘x’ and shove it). The perfect kick start to a morning which is usually being run against the clock of school runs and commuting. Every second counts ; every caffeine boost a performance enhancing drug with which to combat the pressures of modern life.

One which has now become the norm and spilt over into the weekend. The cup of tea now a forgotten memory in our house. But why? Addiction?  Habit? Taste? Preference? Probably a bit of all, if I’m being honest. Plus I really struggle with milk these days. Unless it is brand new opened that second, anything approaching a day old hits the gag reflex. I can’t drink tea black ; I can with coffee.

Which is a crying shame. To miss out on the comfort factor and more relaxed way to start the day is truly a loss that has crept up without even realising it. Until now.

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Tea – comes in many shades.

So waved on by nostalgia I’ve done it…..

The kettle has been boiled and a fresh container of milk opened. The drink has been made and, my word, it’s amazing. I’m now on mug 3 and whilst it won’t be a case of saying farewell to the coffee, perhaps the two can co-exist on a more equal footing. Perhaps the feel good factor and more calming feel of Yorkshire’s finest is what we need in these crazy times.

If it was good enough to keep us together in the middle of the jungle it’s certainly one remedy for personal wellbeing right now. A way to try and cope with what’s going on outside as we look to avoid the confines of lockdown.

Assuming you can get hold of some.

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Nick Bruzon 

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The good, the bad and the ugly. A week in football as Aston Villa await and West Ham implode.

12 Sep

Brentford picked up all three points at Brighton to head into Wednesday’s game with Aston Villa in high spirits whilst Huddersfield Town and Newcastle United, like the Bees, both recorded a 2-0 away win. These, results that allow them to sit first and second respectively and, in the case of the former, sending Leeds United into the relegation zone where they now sit just behind Wigan Athletic. The supposed conflagration engulfing Will Grigg proving insufficient to stop them making it three defeats on the spin. Meanwhile, defeat for Fulham (Clayton Donaldson both scoring and missing penalties against David Button) and a tepid draw for the Loftus Road mob at home to Blackburn mean the West London triumvirate are separated by just one point and goal difference respectively.

That’s the most recent Championship action in a nutshell. Yet there has been so much more going on in the division and beyond. In the next of our regular Monday morning feature we look back at those things you might have missed from the world of social media over the last seven days.

We’ll start off, as ever, with Brentford.The win over Brighton and the trip to Villa Park on Wednesday have everybody in high spirits. Regular correspondent Bernard Quackenbush summarising one of the best moments from the Amex in a single tweet. Kids, you may need to ask your parents.

Billy Reeves, in the meantime, taking over from stats guru Luis Melville with something which, if not over elaborate, shows what true football immolation is (and please, let’s NOT rip off that song. It’s bad enough we’ve appropriated one from Oldham).

And talking of stats, how’s this for an Aston Villa related one? Brentford really have nothing to lose and everything to gain later this week. With a fleet of free coaches heading up the motorway c/o the club sponsors, will you be there to see if we can move that ‘W’ column from 0 to 1 ?

But, as ever, it was Kitman Bob who proves to be the wonderful random element, a so called ‘x-factor’, at Brentford official. The frog DNA in the otherwise ‘perfectly safe’ laboratory controlled environment of club twitter. (Bob, if you are reading, that’s a good thing – trust me). Let’s hope he doesn’t get preserved in amber and, instead, keeps the zingers coming…

Saturday saw a surprise visitor to the New Inn. Former Bee and Leeds United legend Chris Kamara (amongst the numerous accolades on his still glittering CV) popping in for an afternoon off.

Regular readers to this column will be aware of my admiration for Sam Saunders. Our number 7(seven) summing up everything it means to play for Brentford in terms of what seems to be his genuine love for the game, the team and the fans. Then , of course, there’s the shorts, the tan, the free kicks and his wonderful use of Twitter.

Before we move on to the wider football world, the  last Brentford related matter of the week concerns a supporter rather than a player. Specifically Luis Adriano. Whilst, of course, a few fans have released club related books in recent years (with varying degrees of success and publicity) Luis isn’t one to overly blow his trumpet.

Yet he has taken the step of writing a third novel. And it is has just been released. Words can’t put into, erm, words what a huge undertaking this is and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. The link below should give you more of a flavour

Next up, referees. We’ve seen a much tougher stance from the men in black this season in an attempt to cut down on back chat, abuse and petulance. Rightly so, in my eyes. Yet, equally, the hard line has extended to diving, pulling and now, it seems, general over-exuberance. Certainly something for our own players to watch out for following Nottingham Forest’s late equaliser at Villa Park yesterday.

But if Pereira had it bad, spare a thought for Joe Hart. Already shown the cold shoulder at Manchester City, he had a rotten start to his loan career at Torino. The performance on pitch was bad enough, by all accounts, yet things had already gone South before a ball was even kicked.

Not even opponents Atalanta running out to Status Quo ( Whatever You Want) was enough to inspire him. Many thanks to the soothsayer of scores, Richie Firth on the Absolute Radio Christian O’Connell breakfast show, for that gem. As Richie noted this morning, “How often do you hear of teams running out to Status Quo”. Sadly, never – Richie .

Perhaps my own suggestion of ‘Down, Down’ for our own #BeeTheDJ not quite so silly !

Still, if Manchester City have made a shrewd move in the transfer market with that one, can the same be said of Manchester United? The much trumpeted record transfer of Paul Pogba hasn’t, so far, proven to be the success intended.

As ever, though, it is the regular visitors to this column that provide the weekend’s big story. West Ham have done it again. If Hart was hapless, what does that make the Hammers? Fisticuffs in the stands and the scared children were the least of their concerns after Saturday’s result.

Angelo Ogbonna of West Ham, who didn’t make it onto the pitch during the 4-2 home humping administered by Watford,  still took the time to share the score with his followers. Proving a point that he hadn’t featured or just totally misreading the situation? As one Brentford fan noted, imagine the meltdown if Harlee Dean had done this..

C2C railway had to give this advice to their passengers. Things going well at the Olympic Park, then ?

But it was an X-Factor reject who really summed thing up for the one time Upton Park outfit.

But if West Ham fans feel like they are getting the rough end of the stick, spare a thought for Southend United. Their loan deal with Crystal Palace not proving quite as well researched as the one which brought Sullay Kaikai to Griffin Park

Nick Bruzon

Do we really want Griffin Park to become Jurassic Park?

21 Mar

Are Brentford on social media lockdown after #SwiftHipstergate overshadowed the post match press conference following the Blackburn?

And no, that’s not a typo but at present we can all take subsequent use of the word ‘debacle’ as a given.

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John Swift wasn’t smiling (or a hipster) after Dean swung the disciplinary axe

None of the usual suspects have tweeted anything football related, let alone gone again. Whatever your thoughts on that most awkward of phrases, the use of Twitter and Instgram (amongst other mediums) provides a valuable insight into squad morale and feeling. Both good and bad. Yet there has been nothing out of Harlee, Sergi, Sam, or Nico since the loss to Blackburn.

Has Dean Smith ordered a clampdown to try and maintain some semblance of control? Are the players taking a deliberate step back given the oxygen of publicity breathed into the situation by our head coach after he walked straight into Billy’s gentle probing with a very honest answer to Swift’s absence? Or is there nothing more to this than an overactive imagination from yours truly?

Personally speaking I think that although pushed into a corner from one respect, Dean has made the wrong decision here. Swift shouldn’t have started against Blackburn simply for the performance, or lack of, in the QPR game. But to then limit your bench options when there is a player who has apologised immediately, and must be chomping at the bit to prove doubters wrong, is very much the proverbial condemned man opting for canibalism as a final meal.

Casting the social media net that bit further afield to upper management, only Chief Executive Mark Devlin has dipped his toes into the waters of cyberspace on anything like a regular basis. Whilst Matthew Benham published his ‘cryptic clue’ last week, it was the first time he’d posted in a long while – albeit understandable given his prior absence (presumably as a result of some of the crazy abuse and comments being directed his way).

Chairman Cliff Crown and co-director of football Rasmus Ankersen, both previous exponents of Twitter, haven’t posted in almost a month. 27 and 22 February respectively, to be precise. Both of which is a huge shame for a club that has always been so big on fan interaction and, whether we like it or not, are going through somewhat of a rough patch on the field.

Whatever the reason I can understand why the players, at least, are taking somewhat of a backseat. Any attempt to pour oil on troubled waters at that moment would be more like chucking it onto an already raging chip fire. Indeed, such is the depth of feeling and emotion out there about our current predicament that I’ve seen people calling for Dean Smith’s head (metaphorically) and a return for the likes of Andy Scott or Martin Allen.

Say that slowly. Andy Scott or Martin Allen.

Both are men I loved in their day. Andy – both on the pitch and in his early stint as manager. Martin – well to say he is larger than life is probably an understatement to rank alongside suggestions that Steve Evans gives a calm and measured post-defeat press conference. These days though, Andy is more associated with highlights in ladies hair than on Football Focus whilst Martin Allen would, surely, be a step back into the Jurassic era?

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Martin – larger than life

Whilst I have huge respect for both men, they’ve had their time at Griffin Park. More importantly, would a fourth different Head Coach in less than a season be of any real benefit? Things aren’t working out at present, that’s for sure, but to bring in yet somebody else with so few games to go would be both a brave and risky call.

Much like the loan signings we are supposedly after, if anybody was any good they’d already be in employment at the moment. Unless, of course, Steve Coppell is reading (he isn’t).

Whatever the pitchfork wielding mob are calling for, I fully expect Dean to be at the reins when we start up again against Nottingham Forest in just under two weeks. Besides, IF Matthew was even contemplating a change (and its a bigger IF than Steve Evans) surely he would look for a short term internal fix?

Somebody who has their UEFA A coaching badges. A former player with diverse knowledge of the European game. A man who knows the players, who has a reputation as a motivational speaker and, now that FCM are out of the Europa League, may have a bit more time on his hands.

I’ll leave that thought with you…

Nick Bruzon