Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Easter Weekend

Me and my girlfriend and a black VW Golf GTI 1.8T.
Left Friday, 08.30 - came back Tuesday, 20.30.
1,835 km and a return ferry ride.
Two cathedrals, Canterbury and Reims.
Shepherd Neame's Bishop Fingers and Spitfire ale.
Hotel du Vin & Bistro.
The Sunday Times.
Two cans of Red Bull.
Driving on the left side.
The Wedding Singer.
The Bravery, Jem, Kaiser Chiefs, Stereophonics.
Walkers Salt & Vinegar crisps.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Lloret de Mar

Last weekend was spent in Lloret de Mar, about 60km north of Barcelona. There was a nice beach ultimate tournament and I'm always up for a long weekend in Spain.

Lloret de Mar itself is a very touristic place. It's also where they host the Rally de Catalunya. It attracts all cheap tourists from everywhere, mostly Portuguese. In summer it crawls with Dutch and Germans. Unfortunately it seems that the development of this tourist trap is coming to a halt so it it attracts only cheap tourist going for a weekend of boozing and partying. Not that I mind boozing and partying though.

The tournament was great fun, we won 7 out of 9 (a record!). Partying was good (and unbelievably cheap) in Hollywood and Magic Park. Getting to Lloret de Mar is a bitch tough. I landed on Barcelona airport at 20.00 and got to Lloret de Mar at 23.30 even though it's only 70 km away from the airport. Unbelievable.

I was supposed to fly out on Monday night but on my way to the airport I got a SMS saying that the flight has been cancelled due to weather problems. So there I was waiting in line in the sales counter in the airport trying to get a new ticket. It took ages, but after that it meant another night in Barcelona. I headed straight back to Placa Reial and bar hopped with my team drinking Sangria all over the place singing Volare in French.

A nice weekend indeed. Next weekend: Canterbury, Kent.

"Donde esta la discoteca?"

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Josh Rouse, Idlewild, Athlete, The Futureheads

Last Tuesday the package from Amazon that I've been waiting for came in my post box. I ordered 4 CD's from Amazon UK: Nashville, Warnings / Promises, Tourist and The Futureheads (by the artists mentioned in the title above). I couldn't find these albums here so I resorted to Amazon with good result (and a good price - it was cheaper ordering them from the web than getting them in a store here).

On the same day I bought Moby's Hotel. So 5 new CDs in 1 day. Yippee!

Out of the 5, Josh Rouse's Nashville stands out. His previous album, 1972, was dedicated to the 70s and had that spirit in the songs. In Nashville, he seems to be happier, more uplifting. Too bad he is so underrated.

Idlewild's The Remote Part is one of my favourite albums. It rocks, it's mellow, it fits all moods. With Warnings / Promises they are a bit chilled and doing an R.E.M. out of Time. But still, these guys are worth listening to anytime.

Athlete is hitting back after the success of Vehicles & Animals. In V & A they sounded like college kids having fun, now they sound more mature, more introspective. They're also trying to fill the gap that Coldplay is leaving before their new album comes out. And it works.

The Futureheads are from England and play as if they are stuck in the 80s. Not Duran Duran 80s but more like Madness 80s. Can't imagine it? Go listen for yourself.

And Moby is back, this time without samples. He is playing all the instruments. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Good thing is that he's not doing Play again and is not going anywhere close to his punk days in Animal Rights.

All I need now is The Bravery, Jem and Brendan Benson and March will be complete.

Friday, March 11, 2005


I finally found the wristband I've been looking for. It's the yellow wristband that says LIVESTRONG sold by Nike in support of Lance Armstrong's cancer foundation.

It is for a good cause, a support for cancer. And on top of that it's a fashionable thing to wear. Nike sells them for $1 and all proceeds goed to the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

In Europe these wristbands are hard to get because everybody wants one. And because everybody has one, I got to have one too. I admit, that to some extent I wear it because it's fashionable but it's also a sign of support for the fight against cancer. My grandmom died when I was a kid because of cancer so I fall in the category of "lost a loved one due to cancer".

As for Lance Armstrong himself, I think he is an amazing athlete. He fought cancer, came back, and has won 6 the Tour de France 6 times. I just wished he would compete in other big cycling competition like the Giro d'Italia. But still, his acomplishment is amazing to say the least.

What pisses me off a bit is that I paid 15 swiss francs for this thing. That's about $13 or EUR 10. I surely hope that all the money I gave will go to charity but I doubt it. The store - which sells trendy stuff - is probably just making big bucks out of something that was intended for charity.

Lance if you are reading, go sue them!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Rinus Michels, De Generaal

Rinus Michels died today after complication following a heart surgery. He was one of the best football trainers ever and he will be missed.

In 1974 the Dutch team took everybody by surprise at the World Cup. They played total football where every player can play in almost every position and they were attacking beautifully with Johan Cruijff as the mastermind on the pitch. But outside the pitch it was Rinus Michels who was the mastermind. He basically created total football, a term which is now glued to the Dutch football style, a style which in fact does not exist anymore. The Dutch should have won the World Cup in 1974, they were the better team but in the final lost to Germany.

In 1988 Michels took Holland to another historical moment. This time by winning the European Championship. With Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten, Michels masterminded the victory that eluded him 12 years before. I can still remember seeing him at the side of the pitch, raising his fist in his coat after San Marco scored that beautiful goal (always will be the most beautiful goal scored ever) in the final.

I saw Michels in Lausanne a year ago when Holland was having a friendly match against Faroe Island.

It's an unfortunate loss for the football world.

Maybe one day San Marco will reach the heights that Michels achieves. I'm praying.