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Posts posted by Nijo

  1. FFS it's the world cup not a world war - lighten up

    On that note, you all might find this amusing:

    Our Cup Rageth Over


    June 6, 2006; Page A14

    Soccer's World Cup is supposed to be party time for billions of fans

    around the globe. And it is -- insofar as the specter of a blind and

    embattled solidarity gripping the public mind can be described as a party.

    The 32-nation tournament, which kicks off anew in Germany on Friday, is a

    winner-takes-all competition where every match is a battle and the

    delirium of world domination takes a powerful hold on collective

    psychology. For one heady month the national team becomes the nation at

    war. The dread of humiliating defeat is in the air. In Brazil, Argentina,

    Germany, Italy, England, people don't so much look forward to the World

    Cup as hold their breaths, cross their fingers. They rally to the nation's

    colors. They hang out flags. These are dangerous emotions.

    That is not, of course, the official version. FIFA, the sport's governing

    body, likes to talk about "the beautiful game" bringing together the

    nations of the world in a spirit of friendliness -- a contribution, in

    short, to world peace. Indeed, the fantastic comedy of the World Cup lies

    in the tension between the pious internationalist rhetoric and the

    nail-biting, hysterical, nationalist reality. The television will do

    everything to convince you that you are watching a harmless "feast of

    football," while in fact the huge revenues the game is generating depend

    on the mobilization of emotions that commentators take care never to

    mention, except perhaps to condemn a lunatic fringe of hooligans. In 1998

    British fans vandalized various French towns. In 2002 Russian fans,

    watching their team's defeat to Japan on huge screens set up in the

    squares of Moscow, rioted. They destroyed Japanese restaurants and

    attacked any East Asian they could find. The greatest headache for this

    year's organizers will be law and order. In England, the Samaritans (an

    emergency counseling agency) will keep their staff at full strength to

    deal with the misery should England lose a crucial game.

    * * *

    The competition was born out of cheating. Soccer had been officially

    included in the Olympic Games in 1908. Players were supposed to be

    amateurs. England withdrew from the sport in 1920 when this was clearly

    not the case. In 1924 and 1928 Uruguay won the tournament with

    professionals masquerading as amateurs, at which point the only possible

    response for the offended pride of the other competitors was to

    acknowledge a fait accompli and get FIFA to set up a competition for


    This did not end the cheating. I know of no other sport where bad faith is

    so endemic, condoned and ritualized as in soccer, where lies and deception

    are ordinarily the rule. Every refereeing decision is contested, even when

    what has happened is clear as day. A player protests that the ball has

    gone over the line when everybody has seen that it hasn't. Passed by an

    attacker in full flight, a defender grabs his shirt, stops him, then

    immediately denies that he has done so. Unable to pass a defender, the

    striker runs into him and promptly falls over, claiming he has been


    Nor are refereeing decisions always convincing. To help Korea, co-host of

    the last World Cup, see off Italy and Spain, referees had to bend rules to

    the limit and some distance beyond. During the Turkey-Brazil game in the

    same competition, an angry Turkish player kicked the ball at the Brazilian

    Rivaldo, who had recently been voted best player in the world. Hit on the

    knee (by the ball!), Rivaldo collapsed, pretending he had been violently

    struck in the face. The referee sent off the Turk, eliminating him from

    the game. Afterward, Rivaldo claimed his deception was a normal part of

    football. The organizers, who had said they would be tough on dishonesty,

    fined him $7,000 -- a day's pay at his level -- but wouldn't suspend him

    for even one match.

    Developing, as it did, in Europe at a moment when industrialization was

    destroying traditional societies, soccer thrived on that nostalgia for

    community which was to be such a powerful emotion in the first half of the

    20th century. Ever more isolated, the modern individual could lose himself

    in a crowd, asserting a strong collective identity created out of fierce

    rivalry with a neighboring town. Chanted insults between opposing fan

    groups are the norm at European games. On the pitch, the extraordinary

    skill of the players, the colorful pattern of their rapid movements, the

    tension as one waits and waits for that goal that never comes, all create

    a collective enchantment that prolongs the standoff between the two

    enemies. At the end, if the police are efficient, and nothing too

    inflammatory has happened during the game, we can all return home with

    perhaps only a couple of rocks thrown.

    But what is passion and identity for the fans is money for the organizers.

    Since television rather than ticket sales became the main source of

    revenue, and the amounts of money at stake spiralled accordingly, the

    temptation to fix matches grew. When the latest scandal in Italian

    football broke a few weeks ago, most fans were not surprised to discover

    that the most successful club, Juventus, has for years been able to

    influence the choice of referees for crucial games, ensuring that their

    team gets favorable treatment. Paradoxically, rather than chasing the

    hardcore fans away, this cheating only intensifies their passion. They

    support their team despite the system, against the system. The sense of

    embattled identity just grows stronger. The more soccer appears to be in a

    mess, the more excitement it arouses.

    Held every four years, the World Cup shifts this excitement from the local

    to the national scene, suddenly involving huge numbers of people who have

    never been to a soccer stadium, rarely watch the game on TV, and are not

    accustomed to handling the emotions it so effectively arouses. Incapable

    of judging what is happening on the field, they are easily influenced by

    partisan commentators. Watching the game at home they cannot enjoy the

    catharsis of the crowd experience, where losing is offset by a sense of

    community. Many a dog and cat will pay the price for this when, in the

    logic of the knockout competition, every team but one goes out.

    In the stadiums, too, many spectators will have little idea what is going

    on. Apparently terrified that real soccer fans might turn up in any

    numbers, the German organizers gave no preference to season-ticket

    holders. Instead, they assigned tickets to all comers on a lottery basis.

    Applicants didn't know whether they were likely to be watching Mexico

    versus Angola or France-Korea, as if what mattered was the pure spectacle

    rather than the emotional engagement in it. So, while in distant Mexico

    and Angola people go into paroxysms in front of whatever televisions they

    have, the crowd in Germany will likely watch in polite bemusement, perhaps

    waving the colorful flags they will no doubt be given to help television

    create a sense of festival.

    "The civilizing passage from blows to insults," wrote the philosopher Emil

    Cioran, "was no doubt necessary, but the price was high. Words will never

    be enough. We will always be nostalgic for violence and blood." Soccer

    offers an ambiguous middle ground between words and blows. In a parody of

    conflict that constantly hovers on the edge of chaos, it brings together

    two of our strongest yet contradictory impulses -- for universal

    brotherhood and world domination. Perhaps Americans find it hard to get

    involved because they are still busy with the real thing.

    Mr. Parks is the author of "A Season with Verona" (Arcade Publishing, 2002).

  2. Perhaps someone could interpret the dream I had the other night then as 6 featured in it a few times.

    I was working in the lending department of a building society (this really was my job before I had children) and we were having a celebratory dinner. Gordon Brown was there and he said we were celebrating 6% growth. He was giving out chocolate cake. It was served up in those big rectangular tins they use at school and cut into squares. He only gave 6 people a slice and it was bloody disgusting. I'm not normally one to turn down a bit of cake but it really was awful and everyone just left it on serving table.

    I'm feeling quite perturbed by the presents of GB in my dream.

    Looking for answers, yours

    Confused :blink:

    Maybe there's too much egg in the economy so interest rates will be increased to 6%.

  3. Your in danger of being elected the global villages idiot if you carry on quoting such inane nonsense.

    I'm not in contempt of my neighbours, check out the posts on here decrying everyone else in England as chavs and you will find those drips who literally hate those who live next door to them.

    It's a vicarious form of self hatred this anti English Englishness.

    Hey I quoted Dante!

    Edit: This time I'll include a ;)

  4. Unless something drastic changes in the next 18 years I wouldn't recommend university to my boy.

    Degrees have become pointless.

    Even when I went to uni it was easily possible to get a job and promotions and work your way higher up the food chain in the time you would have taken to get a degree.

    I left after one year of uni with the intention of taking a single year out to build up some funds, but got a job. Within a year I was earning at least £10K more than I could have hoped for as a graduate salary.

    I disagree, though I suspect I'm splitting hairs.

    Yes, in some (perhaps many) cases it's better for a person to get out there on the job market and start grafting. But it does depend on the person and the industry. You try getting a job as a programmer without a degree and you'll get nowhere... perhaps start in QA and work up to web design, but it's a very hard path. The same goes for any technical occupation.

    I agree that the new wave of degree subjects are pointless, and pushing 50+% of students through is counter-productive. However, if your son obtains 4 A-grade 'proper' A levels and is capable of studying law or medicine at Oxbridge, would you really recommend against it???

  5. You may joke - I am a development surveyor and an architect just presented me with the following floor areas for a potential scheme in Crawley:

    1 bed flat = 41 sqm

    2 bed falt = 47 sqm

    These places would be fine if you a) had no furniture, B) didn't enjoy moving around too much, and c) had no visitors (or visitors who would talk to you from the street).



    Oh, a veritable mansion. I don't know what you're complaining about.

    My flat from 3 moves ago was 28 sqm...

    Billy Shears I like the way you think - hardly ever out of tune. ;)

    These FTBs could also buy shares in 'real' property, perhaps 1 or 2%.

    Just think, by the time they're 60 they might even own a whole house of their own. :o

    Hang on, isn't that how it works in Islamic countries (no mortgages, see).

  6. this means that I have rapidly slid down the social scale in the last couple of years.

    I have to admit that I used to feel this way (IIRC it was World Cup 2002 when it really kicked in, what with it co-inciding with the Jubilee) but my personal circumstances have changed so that I can now fly the flag and pretend that I'm being "ironic".

    actually, being a contrarian, like many on here, I would feel much more like flying the flag if I were in Scotland, Wales, France etc etc... but amongst a large group of Ingurland fans I would feel a sudden urge to don lederhosen and sing "deutschland uber alles" B)

    Oh, I shall be flying a German flag out of the window.


  7. As a quick point, there is no option in the poll for STRs except "I want a crash".

    I sold my house for personal reasons and started renting because it was right for my circumstances at the time. To be honest I was looking at flats both to buy and to rent so my options were fairly open... in the end I needed the flexibility and decided to rent. See my join date for the timeframe.

    Of course, I do think houses are overpriced and would benefit from a crash, but I don't think this defines me as an STR. I never went into STR intending to ride the crash.

  8. I don't understand how this is embarrassing. Embarrassing for all the black criminals caught by an electronic crime detector? The police stop more black people because black people cause crime because the police stop more black people, is that what you mean?

    Indeed, because nobody wants to state the obvious.

    It doesn't even need to be embarrassing: "This just goes to show that we are failing to meet the needs of the black youths and communities, leading to a culture of underachievement and crime." It's plain to see in academic results and crime stats and other markers, and the more they ignore it or try to find convenient excuses the worse it will get.

  9. Despite its historically positive performance, property continues to be the victim of an onslaught of the STR speculators who keep promising an imminent crash just around the corner.


    I think you overestimate the influence of this website.

    It's not like we're a huge hedge fund manipulating the market. Property is a juggernaught, it'll turn when it's ready.

  10. The fact of the matter is that you should have rented your place out while you went travelling. Simple. So should all of the other STR's on this forum have done what they could have to hold onto their places rather than sold.

    Nah, personal circumstances and all that. Since I sold up I don't have to talk to a certain somebody ever again. That's gotta be worth her weight in gold! ;)

  11. I don't know anyone who pays more than £600 as an individual - most prefer to share and save £5-6k per year for other things.

    I think you're talking about average (ish) London income. Say £400 costs + £600 rent, x 12 + £6k savings = £18k net or about £30k gross.

    Now take £60k gross (not normal but also not unusual). £36k net minus £1200 rent + £800 costs x 12 leaves £12k savings per year. Income, rent, costs AND savings are all doubled. In other words, the same proportion of gross income is being spent on rent (24% in this example).

    The point being that the £1200 rent is probably being spent on a flat that would cost £300k to £400k to buy, so it's just the same problem scaled up slightly.

    It's all relative.

  12. I'm sure there are things you could do, like saving in your wife's name, or wrapping £14k in a pair of ISAs. That's off the top of my head, but it must be worth your time to research at least. Maybe they are shelters from a benefits pov.

    As Vinny said, the system is wrong if you have to ask this question.

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