Sunday, November 27, 2011


The title-winning Class of '92 has lost its most honest soldier. Gary Speed, you will be fondly remembered and sorely missed. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

New Things Everyday

"He was never as bad as he was made out to be but he's certainly better now than he ever was."

What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.

No, I don't wish I was at SF.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Still buzzing from Australia's Test win over South Africa at The Wanderers. It surely ranks among the most memorable fourth innings chases of all time for a variety of reasons - the quality of the attack, the target and the conditions chief among them. 

Most important, however, was the way this win was crafted by the most embattled players in the team - Usman Khawaja with a coming-of-age fifty, Brad Haddin with a badly needed one, Mitchell Johnson with an invaluable 40 not out under immense pressure and, perhaps sweetest of all, a career-saving 62 by Ricky Ponting.

It somehow seemed appropriate that the winning runs were scored by man-of-the-match Pat Cummins in his debut Test - those deliveries he batted out against Vernon Philander (not a bad first series) and Dale Steyn convinced me that whatever problems Australian cricket has, it isn't for a want of courage and commitment.

This image will make me smile for a long time to come. :-)


Friday, November 18, 2011

Woo Woo Woo, You Screwed Him

"I went to the 1996 and the 2002 Survivor Series at Madison Square Garden as just a fan and it seems like this year it’ll be no different. For months, Dolph Ziggler and I have been at each other’s throats. I’ve pinned him numerous times, I’ve had thousands of Broskis sign my petition, we’re gonna be in Madison Square Garden, I live in New York and John Morrison has the US Title match at Survivor Series and not me? Are you serious bro?" #manhattanscrewjob

You ought to be ashamed of yourself if you haven't yet signed this.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Musgrave Ritual

At around 3.30 a.m. this morning, on a whim, I dusted off an old, torn paperback, smattered with a cold tea stain on the first page that has been in my possession for at least eleven years. I flipped through the pages of this slender volume (from back to front, as I usually do) and suddenly stopped. The words “an anomaly which often struck me in the character of my friend Sherlock Holmes” caught my eye and I assumed my standard reading position - lying on my right side, head resting on my upturned right palm and wrist, the book supported by the fully spread four fingers of my left hand, with the little finger acting as a bookmark - and read on.


“ ‘It is rather an absurd business, this ritual of ours,’ he answered. ‘But it has at least the saving grace of antiquity to excuse it. I have a copy of the questions and answers here if you care to run your eye over them.’

“He handed me the very paper which I have here, Watson, and this is the strange catechism to which each Musgrave had to submit when he came to man’s estate. I will read you the questions and answers as they stand.

“ ‘Whose was it?’
“ ‘His who is gone.’
“ ‘Who shall have it?’
“ ‘He who will come.’
“ ‘Where was the sun?’
“ ‘Over the oak.’
“ ‘Where was the shadow?’
“ ‘Under the elm.’
“ ‘How was it stepped?’
“ ‘North by ten and by ten, east by five and by five, south by two and by two, west by one and by one and so under.’
“ ‘What shall we give for it?’
“ ‘All that is ours.’
“ ‘Why should we give it?’
“ ‘For the sake of the trust…’ ” 


“That must have been difficult, Holmes, when the elm was no longer there.”

“Well, at least I knew that if Brunton could do it, I could also. Besides, there was no real difficulty. I went with Musgrave to his study and whittled myself this peg, to which I tied this long string with a knot at each yard. Then I took two lengths of a fishing-rod, which came to just six feet, and I went back with my client to where the elm had been. The sun was just grazing the top of the oak. I fastened the rod on end, marked out the direction of the shadow, and measured it. It was nine feet in length.

“Of course the calculation was now a simple one. If a rod of six feet threw a shadow of nine, a tree of sixty-four would throw one of ninety-six, and the line of the one would of course be the line of the other. I measured out the distance, which brought me almost to the wall of the house, and I thrust a peg into the spot. You can imagine my exultation, Watson, when within two inches of my peg I saw a conical depression in the ground. I knew that it was the mark made by Brunton in his measurements, and that I was still upon his trail…”  

In an instant, I was transported to the time I first read The Musgrave Ritual, the night before my Class X Maths Board exam. And, much as I did all those years ago, I found myself stopping at the end of each of these passages, suddenly very aware of my surroundings and able to sense a quickening of my heartbeat--those precise little signs that convinced me that I was reading something quite out of the ordinary. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Rock's Best Theme Ever

The Rock's recent return to WWE programming made me re-visit the question of which music has announced his arrival the best. Among many, many contenders (the latest one is called 'Entertainer' by Jim Johnston), I pick this one, from his 'Hollywood' heel run in 2003.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Black Thursday

When I see this picture, I don't feel depressed or disappointed. I feel absolutely disgusted. As Graeme Smith tucked away that final, insipid ball towards the mid-wicket boundary in Cape Town this afternoon, it struck me that the only reason my initial reaction to what happened yesterday was one of numbing shock and not disgust was because I still entertained the thought that somehow, given the extraordinary happenings over the last two days, it was possible to turn this around.

Now that that hope has been crushed by two of the ugliest Test hundreds one could ever be subjected to, there can be no running away from the fact that this is the lowest I have felt in seventeen years of following this once-magnificent cricket team.

And though I saw it live and in living colour, it is the black-and-white version of the Newlands scoreboard that will remain burned in my memory.   

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Waitlist Blues

Why is it that the words "I'll let you know" have come to dominate my life?

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Breathe, regroup, kick on

Back in seventh after a cynical, fantastic, beautiful, ugly 1-0 win at Leicester. A few reinforcements in January would really help, though. I'm not dreaming of it just yet, but I'd be disappointed in the extreme if I'm not anxious about league results come April.

Friday, November 04, 2011

The End of a Fascination

Any album that (a) has a title which is nonsense, (b) prescribes its own pronunciation for said title (it’s ‘mylo zy-letoe’, apparently) and (c) unabashedly declares itself to be a concept album drawing on a wide range of seemingly powerful influences better be good. Unfortunately, the overwhelming feeling at the end of Coldplay’s fifth album is one of superficiality and of a band now utterly, irreconcilably adrift of the kind of music that made them great.

In keeping with the concept album feel, three of Mylo Xyloto’s fourteen tracks are sub-one minute interludes (one of them is even called ‘A Hopeful Transmission’, lest there be any doubt) and that is really where the problem begins—the ‘concept’ is of a ‘love story with a happy ending’ which (a) is battered into submission by Chris Martin’s alternately whooping and whining vocals and lazy lyrical imagery (‘Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall’ is referenced on ‘Paradise’ and ‘Us Against the World’ on ‘Major Minus’, all of which are painfully contrived from his bag of rainbow clichés) and (b) isn’t far removed from the majority of standard-issue Coldplay anyway.

With such a thin musical premise, the songs themselves need to deliver and, about halfway through ‘Paradise’ it dawns on you that this isn’t another experimental foray, this is what Coldplay is now—melody-driven power pop built for arenas, replete with ‘woah-oh’ choruses and a sea of shimmering synth sounds. In that sense, the last three years have not been a long journey at all—‘Paradise’ is the direct successor to ‘Viva La Vida’ from the previous album, much as ‘Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall’ is an aggrandized version of ‘Strawberry Swing’. Other indications of musical continuity with their own past are to be found on ‘Hurts Like Heaven’, ‘Don’t Let It Break Your Heart’ (almost laughably similar to ‘The Hardest Part’) and ‘U.F.O.’ (Martin’s oddly lumpy vocals literally run out of things to sing about roughly halfway through), but none of these transform the urgency and earnestness that have never been in doubt into anything remotely fresh or groundbreaking.

As expected, there are some bright spots but virtually all of them—the piano motif on ‘Charlie Brown’ (you’d think that if they wanted an instrumental track so bad, they’d have picked this) and the jagged guitars on ‘Major Minus’ in particular—speak more to Brian Eno’s influence on the album and, more worryingly, make them sound uncomfortably like U2. This isn’t a harking back to the good U2 of the late 80s/early 90s either (it’s worth keeping in mind that, going by the ‘jural correlative’ theory I use to force symmetry on everything, this ought to be Coldplay’s equivalent to Achtung Baby), this is pinching riffs to pass off as a sleek 2010s rebirth of U2-lite.

There is also more wholesome, heart-warming, echoing Coldplay goodness on ‘Us Against the World’, which features the full range of Martin’s voice and is as evocative as anything they’ve ever done but also as ‘cruelly magnolia’ (since that is the colour for the album) as anything they’ve ever done. Then there’s ‘Up in Flames’ (built around a very un-Coldplay-like sparse, decaying drumbeat) and ‘Up with the Birds’ (which closes the album full of the flashes and flares of shimmering sounds that dominate the previous thirteen tracks) which, again, suggest that there’s some really good music they could produce if they so choose but disappoint for precisely the reason that they choose not to.

As if to seal the discussion, there is a collaboration with Rihanna on ‘Princess of China’, which wouldn’t be out of place on a Rihanna album, such is the extent of Coldplay’s immersion in hook-laden, get-up-and-dance-pop (albeit with a sample pinched off Sigur Rós). It is smartly done, too—a genuine surprise on an album almost devoid of it.

And so ends my fascination with Coldplay—the band that has substituted imagination with electropop, the band which now opens at #1 on music charts around the world on the back of an album which doesn’t have a single song that can be properly identified with the smooth, emotive three-piece rock that brought them this far.  

I'm not sure if there's a point to this story but I'm going to tell it again.

My photo
I've been wilfully caught up in the self-defeating quest to get to know myself for years. I've never expected anything beneficial to result from such a quest. I tend to evoke extremely polarised reactions from people I get to know in passing. Consequently, only those people who know me inside-out would honestly claim that I'm a person who's just "alright." It's not a coincidence that the description I've laid out above has no fewer than, title included, eleven references to me (make that twelve). I'm affectionately referred to as "Ego." I think that last statement might have given away a tad too much. Welcome Aboard.

IHTRTRS ke pichle episode mein aapne dekha...


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