Sunday, 30 October 2011

Bück Dich

It’s been a week since the Rugby World Cup has ended and already, I miss it not being on. Just to briefly cover what happened in the final weekend of the tournament, Australia beat Wales in a hard fought contest to the bronze medal. They won 21-18. The final was another close fought contest between France and New Zealand. Both teams didn’t play their best and I think it is fair to say that the best team finished 2nd. New Zealand won the game 8-7 and ended 24 years of waiting for another World Cup. Frances wait continues as they lost their 3rd World Cup Final. I said on September 18th that my pick was New Zealand, and they won the tournament. I am quite pleased about this and am excited to see what will happen at the next RWC, in England. Will Martin Johnson be England’s head coach for the 2015 RWC? IT is hard to say, but I think if he doesn’t go before, he will go if England doesn’t win the 2012 Six Nations tournament. I bet the Wales v France game will be slightly interesting this time around eh?

In other rugby news, since I last posted, Bath have played 3 games, 2 in the LV Cup and 1 in the premiership, and won all 3! The first was against Newport Gwent Dragons (16-46 to Bath), the second was against Worcester (which I was at, the full time score being 46-13) and yesterday against London Irish (the final score being 13-12 to Bath). 3 big and important wins for Bath going into next weekend’s game against the undefeated Harlequins. The Quins are on an utter roll at the moment and I don’t know if Bath will have enough to beat them, but I hope they do as I will be there. It is good to see the players from the Rugby World Cup returning now and hopefully we can build on these three games and keep going forward. The Heineken Cup campaign starts on November 20th, so that is something to look forward to.

That is all the rugby talk for this post done with, now on to another regular topic of this blog and that is music of the live variety.

A while ago now, I purchased a ticket to see Rammstein play in London on their Made In Germany 1995-2011 tour, which will be a best of tour. I really enjoyed them on the LIFAD tour but a best of tour can only be better than an album tour in my mind. Details of this tour have been scarce until recently. They hadn’t even released the track list for the best of album which is due to be released alongside the tour so while educated guesses could be made about what would be on the tour and what wouldn’t, no-one knew for sure. In all fairness, we still don’t but now we have a better idea. The first nugget of information was a picture of the stage layout (similar to that you would find on Ticketmaster).

TWO STAGES AND A BRIDGE?! Awesome! The show indoors in Manchester was superb, so I can’t imagine how much better it could be with 2 stages and a bridge. This makes me very happy. However there is still the stumbling block before complete excitement can be had. What will be played? Rammstein don’t mix setlists up (when they have such a complex stage show like theirs, it would be nigh on impossible to mix it up). Before the LIFAD tour, they played some rehearsal shows and the setlist was changed slightly but what they played then is much what we saw in Manchester and at Sonisphere. The following is the setlist from one of Rammstein’s recent rehearsal gigs for the Made In Germany 1995-2011 tour:

01 Sonne
02 Mein Land
03 Keine Lust
04 Sehnsucht
05 Asche zu Asche
06 Feuer frei!
07 Mutter
08 Mein Teil
09 Du riechst so gut
10 Links 2 3 4
11 Du hast
12 Haifisch

13 Bück dich (2nd stage)
14 Mann gegen Mann (2nd stage)
15 Pussy (2nd stage)

16 Mein Herz brennt
17 Ich will
18 Wollt ihr das Bett in Flammen sehen?

19 Engel
20 Amerika

Oh my fuck! That is pretty much the perfect Rammstein setlist for me. I could make some additions to make it the perfect setlist but this is amazing. This setlist absolutely smokes the one from the LIFAD tour. Seeing this makes me seriously excited for February and I’ve got a number of big gigs lined up before that! This is going to be just sublime. I also saw details from the show surrounding the song Bück dich.

As the band vanishes, Richard starts to play with the Keyboards. I've seen 'reviews' that say he turn's DJ and that this is the Combichrist influence, utter nonsense, he was playing the same intro as on LAB, complete with Woooo sections with the crowd, but with no burning keyboard. Eventually the stage centre doors open up and in a cloud of light and smoke Till reappears with Flake on a leash, Schneider and Ollie also tag along bare-chested and on all fours like dogs as well. (The only real area of conjecture that I am going to make is that in the full show, Till will have all three of them on leashes and he will lead them along the runway to the second stage. like dogs) So for tonight the area that is pretending to be the second stage is lit by four white spots from above, all other lights go out. Paul remains dressed on stage left Ollie and Schneider take up their instruments. , Flake is dressed in leather mini shorts with drop down butt flap, thigh high boots and a ball gag harness. There is no box for him to crouch on and he's pulled here and there by Till, really abusing him. Finally he adopts the position, crouching on all fours at the stage front, Till undoes the flap of Flake's shorts and we're treated to the sight of the pale soft moon of Flake's butt! No squirty penis tonight, but Till does pull out of his pocket a rubber pink dildo which he then pretends to insert into Flakes ass, but then, genuinely laughing, Till moves between Flake and the audience so he's blocking what he's doing from the audience, and tries to really shove it in, judging by Flakes reaction I'd say he nearly got there! just after that Flake while trying to re-button his shorts is yanked by Till and falls awkwardly onto a mike stand which looked like it hurt him, there really wasn’t enough room to do it all properly on the corner of the stage they were using.

So it goes without saying that I’ve purchased another ticket to see them in Birmingham.

That is all for this post. I have nothing else to prattle on about. Posting this the same day as my Volbeat review. Look out for a review of Fozzy coming soon from their Southampton gig as well as some other stuff. Now, go outside.

Review: Volbeat @ HMV Forum, London 29/10/2011

For weeks and days beforehand excitement for this gig had been building. This was a gig I’ve been looking forward to since the end of 2010. Volbeat had to cancel their 2010 tour of the K, which included a Portsmouth date. I was gutted as it meant another long wait before seeing them for the first time. That first time came at Sonisphere 2011, when they opened the main stage on the last day. They were one of the best bands that day for me (topped only by Slipknot) and in my review of them, I said I couldn’t wait to see them in October. That day was yesterday.

Before talking about the gig, I would like to quickly discuss the venue. The gig was at the HMV Forum which is in Kentish Town, London. I previously dismissed the chance to see Dimmu Borgir in this venue as I thought it was too difficult to get to (how things change, I’m seeing Dimmu in just under a month in Manchester). Since then, I realised the error of my ways and when gigs have gone there, I have seriously considered them. I’d not been though until yesterday and I would like to say that I am very impressed. There were discussions on the train up about how London needed another iconic venue such like the Astoria. I feel the Forum could fill that gap, until something new is opened. The only concern I have about the venue is sound quality. The bass drums over-powered everything

The night was opened up by Black Spiders, the band who were due to open for Volbeat on the cancelled 2010 tour. I’ve seen them in a number of support slots but they seem to get better every time. I hadn’t seen them since they released their first album, Sons Of The North, so I was looking forward to hear some newer material. A headache stopped me from seeing them at Sonisphere 2011 so I was very pleased they were supporting again. I was right to be happy about this as they were excellent. Opening with the crowd pleasing Stay Down, they got the entire crowd involved right away. Commanding all middle fingers in the air and several loud chants of “Fuck You Black Spiders”, the band was off to a very strong start. One thing which can’t be avoided is that very few people in the venue appeared to not know who Black Spiders were. During Stay Down and at other points throughout the set, the crowd were given the chance to sing the next line, which they did and loudly. Black Spiders have played a lot of support slots and it is clearly to their credit, as they played last night in a venue of 2000+ people, most of whom knowing and liking them. The set included KISS Tried To Kill Me, St Peter and Just Like A Woman from the Sons of the North and a couple of songs which were new. Black Spiders were excellent, and I fully expect them to headline the HMV forum one day, considering the reaction they got there. I am hoping they will do another headline tour in 2012. They did 2 legs of a headline tour this year and I missed both legs. Assuming there is a do-able date, that mistake will not happen again.

As the floor started to fill up more, the anticipation for Volbeat increased. I’d seen reports from other dates where people had said it was the best gig they had ever been to. As the lights dimmed and the intro music was played, the place was hopping. Volbeat got off to a fantastic start, opening with The Human Instrument, Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood and Heaven Nor Hell. Volbeat signalled early they intended this night to be epic. The roars from the crowd were near deafening when they played the first few bars of a song, especially at this stage for The Mirror and The Ripper. Not long after this, an acoustic guitar was bought on stage. This could only mean one thing and that was the tribute to Johnny Cash in the form of Sad Mans Tongue. The introduction of this song was a popular choice for the crowd as the cheer for it was massive. So far, the gig had been flawless for me and I was looking forward to hearing it continue to improve. After A New Day, Michael Poulsen addressed the crowd, asking what we wanted to hear. A number of suggestions were yelled out (quite a lot for Still Counting) before the band played brief parts of Motorhead and Metallica songs. Poulsen then said after asking for more suggestions that he likes Napalm Death, which got a cheer. During this cheer, Poulsen said something which I didn’t catch, but I can only assume it was an introduction as Mark “Barney” Greenway from Napalm Death walked out on stage to do vocals on Evelyn with Volbeat. This was a very cool moment.

The rest of the set was just awesome (including the brief homage to Queen with I Want To Break Free), ending on 16 Dollars and Still Counting. 16 Dollars was excellent but Still Counting was just phenomenal. The crowd sang the opening lines of the song before Poulsen took over, and it was just superb. After a short break, they were back and blasted through a stunning encore which consisted of A Warrior’s Call, Fallen, Thanks, I Only Want To Be With You/Boa |(JDM) and Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza – the encore was just as tremendous as the rest of the gig. Volbeat played the opening of Raining Blood to close arguably the best gig I’ve been to this year. I used a lot of superlatives to describe how good Volbeat were, but honestly I could have used more. They were outstanding live last night and left me hoping for another UK tour next year (and a Wacken appearance hopefully).

Sunday, 16 October 2011

When The Time Is Right

One of the recent topics of discussion for this page has been the Rugby World Cup. As it has been on, and as I am a rugby union fan, this makes some sense. I feel a certain degree of sadness knowing that the coverage I am about to write is the semi-final coverage and that there is only one more weekend of Rugby World Cup action. I will likely continue covering rugby, but Bath rugby. There are two reasons for this. The first reason is that they are my Aviva premiership team. The second being that I have just purchased a mini season ticket for them, so will be going to see them play at least 8 times before the end of the season. I really am quite excited about this as my last visit to The Rec (Bath’s home ground) was a really fun time. Anyway, I will cover my visits there when they happen. For now it is semi final weekend of the RWC!

Despite being disappointed that England did not make it to this stage, I was really pleased that a home nation had made it to the final four. Wales have done really well in the tournament and deserved to be there. I know some people who opt not to support the Welsh in anything for the simple reason that they are Welsh (including Swansea in the Football Premier League) which I don’t quite understand. I get it if it is done in humour but to legitimately dislike a team for being Welsh is odd. Then again, I legitimately dislike and hope French teams lose at sport, so I guess I’m just a hypocrite really. Getting back to the matter at hand, I would like to think that the people I referred to earlier could find it in themselves (assuming they like rugby...I actually don’t know whether this is true for most of them) to support Wales. Wales v France was the semi final game from the northern hemisphere and it was always going to be a cracker.

It goes without saying there is probably only one major talking point of the game and that is not the result. In the 18th minute, Sam Warburton tackled Vincent Cleric. On first watch, the tackle looked perfectly legitimate which is what made the following melee between players confusing. In said scuffle, Warburton left the field, having been sent off by referee Alain Rolland. The commentators were shocked. The pundits were shocked. I watched the game with my parents and we were all shocked. Suddenly this game had changed and not in a good way. The referee in this one moment of madness had taken away the world cup semi final we had all hoped to see. Wales were now a man down with over 60 minutes to play. At half time, France went in 6-3 in front. It could have been much worse. Wales defended amazingly considering they were a man down. Their kicking was not great though (the conditions were really against them). France scored one more penalty and were 9-3 in front. Mike Phillips scored a try which was not converted for Wales to get the score to 9-8 to France. It was a close end but unfortunately for Wales, it was not their day and 9-8 was the final score. The end of the game and the major talking point got people asking questions non-stop about the game. The main one being a major “what if Sam Warburton never got sent off”? I didn’t think it was a red card. I thought he should have received a sin binning and told to calm down or he would be off. Just now, I have read that a directive was issued regarding dangerous tackles in 2009 which said the following (summarised by the BBC):

"The player is lifted and then forced or 'speared' into the ground (red card offence).
"The lifted player is dropped to the ground from a height with no regard to the player's safety (red card offence).
"For all other types of dangerous lifting tackles a yellow card or penalty may be considered sufficient."

Considering this, I am unhappy to report that I can see why Alain Rolland sent off Sam Warburton. It does not change the fact though that this red card was a key moment in the game and was fundamental in determining its outcome. Pro’s and ex-pro’s took to twitter to vent about the decision, believing it to be incorrect. Some examples (again sourced from the BBC):

• "Rolland u've had a shocker.... Not the first time either!!! We're not here to watch u.... (England wing Mark Cueto)
• "Should have been a yellow but never a red, poor Sam he's been the heart and soul of Wales! (England full-back Ben Foden)
• "Yellow card, no one says another word. Sam Warburton wrongly sent off. " (Scotland scrum-half Rory Lawson)
• "Really gutted for Wales - never a red card" (Ex-Scotland lock Doddie Weir)
Wales will now play in the 3rd/4th play playoff match. It seems really unfair and it will take a long time for Welsh rugby to shake this off. However I have been very impressed by the team and do believe they will continue to improve. Will they win the 2015 World Cup? I obviously don’t know but it is safe to say they cannot be ruled out of contention for it.

I have much less to say about the second semi final, which is odd considering what game it was. When people are faced with the question “what is the biggest game in rugby union” a lot will say Australia v New Zealand. The tri-nation tournament which took place earlier this year saw Australia and New Zealand each win a game against each other (Australia eventually winning the tournament). So it is safe to say going into the RWC, they were fairly even matched. The surroundings just added to the enormity of this contest; World Cup Semi Final in New Zealand. It had all the ingredients to be legendry.

Legendry it was not. It was a superb, hard fought game of rugby though with the best team winning (I guess this had to happen in at least one of the semi finals!) New Zealand just kept Australia out of the game for the majority of it and punished them whenever they could. They scored a try early on but the conversion was missed and so was a relatively easy looking penalty. I wondered at the time if this would come back and bite NZ in the arse. Australia scored a penalty following their first foray into the NZ 22 (although they battered the defence to credit has to go to them for not conceding a try). Weepu made it 8-3 fairly soon after and NZ were back on top. Weepu missed another penalty again which was easier than the one scored (or certainly looked so at least). Drop goals from both sides and another penalty score meant the half time score was 14-6 to New Zealand. The second half was mostly dominated by New Zealand, who scored the only points of the half. The final score was 20-6.

This means we will see the 3rd/4th place playoff on Friday be decided between Wales and Australia. I do think Wales can win this match and hope that they do. I will be unable to watch it as I’ll be at work but I am sure that I will be following it closely. The final will take place between New Zealand and France. I severely hope that the All Blacks add a second RWC to their trophy cabinet and condemn the French to a third RWC final defeat. As I said at the beginning of this post, it is sad to see the RWC come to an end, but it has made me realise how much of a rugby fan I am, and that will continue throughout this season and many seasons to come!

That will do for rugby coverage for now. However there is always more sport to talk about, so I will briefly talk about Pompey. I’m not going to go into each performance since I saw them last, but I will say it has not been great. There needed to be a change at Fratton Park and there was one. Steve Cotterill, the manager, was linked with the vacant manager’s position at Nottingham Forest, previously filled by former England manager Steve McClaren. I dismissed this rumour at first but thought “worse things could happen to Pompey right now”. Well, I was wrong to dismiss the rumours as he resigned as Pompey manager to take the Forest job, the day before the televised game against Barnsley. For the game, we had Stuart Grey and Pompey legend Guy Whittingham in the caretaker manager’s position. Whittingham said before the game that we would be playing the same tactics that Cotterill had been planning midweek, which made me grimace. However the formation was different than it had been for a long time, which was a nice change. However the performance in itself was much better by Pompey and while the first half wasn’t wonderful, it was promising. The second half was significantly better to watch and Pompey were rewarded with 2 goals in two minutes, the first being a superb strike by David Norris. The second a tap-in by Luke Varney. I was delighted. I am hoping we can build on this result and start getting some points on the board and get away from the dreaded bottom 3.


I am drawing a line under the sports talk. Hello to everyone who couldn’t give two shits about sport. How you doing? I have a few more things to talk about in this blog before giving my fingers a rest.

I am going to plug the shit out of this but on my other blog, I’m Done With Smoking, I’ve covered how I’m quitting smoking almost every day since I’ve quit. It has been 5 weeks since I last had a smoke so go give it a read and if you feel so obliged, comment on what I’ve written. Hell you could do that here as well if you like. Am I losing you? Thought so, moving on!

I say I am going to do new things for this blog all the time. This won’t be a regular feature but it might crop up occasionally. However, it has a snappy title called “Prick of the Post” – How’s that for a fun name. Anyway, this is given to someone who has fucked me off for whatever reason. In this instance, it is Axl Rose. It is surprising, even to me, that he managed that from where he is. I love Guns N’ Roses. I think they have released some superb albums and I really liked the latest offering, Chinese Democracy. It isn’t ground breaking but it is a good album. However, after seeing Guns live in 2006, I had very little interest in doing so again. Axl did not come across good during that set. I have actually just read some reviews about the set I saw in 2006 which were very complimentary. All I remember is it started off pretty poorly but got much better as it went on. I also remember seeing a Guns N Roses diehard fan crying when Axl walked off during another hissy fit. That is what I associate with GnR now. I found myself gaining a lot of respect for Axl when reading the chapter in Chris Jericho’s second autobiography, Undisputed, where he talks about meeting him and spending a fair bit of time with him. Anyway, they must be doing something right as whenever they come to the UK, they sell an arse load of tickets and truthfully, I always find myself considering going – despite Download 2006. The main reason I don’t, other than the aforementioned DL2006 set is the concern as to what time the show will actually begin. Axl released a statement recently, dealing with the issue of the band coming on stage late. This is taken from Planet Rock’s website.

"Love it Hate it Accept it Debate it — You want 8 o'clock shows go find F-R-I-E-N-D-S or hit a cinema somewhere...or you wanna be informed go catch the 10-o'clock news... this is Rock N' Roll! Treat yourself don't cheat yourself thinking you're gonna go to school or work or whatever you 'normally' do the next day. Oh and remember before you get high and never want to come down. 'You can have anything you want but you better not take it from me!' This is Guns N’ Roses and when the time is right the stage will ignite. Looking forward to sharing that with rockers soon!"

What I take from this statement is to hell with the rules the venue sets for a gig and to hell with the next day – if I want to see GnR, I have to be prepared that they will come on stage when the time is right. So if I want to see GnR, I have to book a hotel basically as they aren’t coming to Portsmouth any time soon. And even if I do that, they may not finish in time for me to get back to that hotel. Cheers! What this statement appears to say is that going to see GnR is a treat, and it should be treated as such. Sorry Axl, but for this statement you are a cunt. He clearly doesn’t realise that people can’t just drop everything to see GnR or any band. Almost every other artist who performs live respects their money-paying crowd by turning up on time and putting in a good performance. They accept that while it is rock and roll (or whatever genre), people have taken time out of their lives and money out of their wallets to come and see them and reward them for doing so. Not every gig is good, but the least they do is turn up at a respectable time. Turning up at 11pm is not acceptable and justifying it by saying “its rock and roll” is horse shit! Fuck you Axl, now I definitely won’t pay to see you again.

Finally, Wootton Bassett has been given the royal seal of approval and can now use its full name of Royal Wootton Bassett on recognition for the townspeople paying their respect to the soldiers who had died fighting for this country in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hundreds then Thousands lined the street to pay their respects to soldiers who had died. The people paid their respects to 355 people who had died and passed through their town. I think this is a just reward and I think it is one of those feel good stories that everyone can get behind. I do think the Queen herself should have been there to oversee the first town in over 100 years being given the royal seal of approval, but regardless of that, this is a good thing which has happened and it is perfect recognition to the residents and the respects they paid.

That’s all I’ve got. I’ll probably be back to post about next weekend. More rugby on TV and my first visit to The Rec. I cannot wait!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Review - Evile @ The Talking Heads, Southampton

The more I go The Talking Heads, the more I like it as a venue. This visit I was given a new reason to be favourable to it. Gig venues as a rule charge too much for drinks. If it is a gig venue which rarely hosts gigs and is closed more often than not, then I guess that is fair enough as they won’t get much of a discount on their bulk buying. However, I’ve been to venues in London which charged £4 for a can of beer, and one in Portsmouth which charges £3.95 a pint of beer. The Talking Heads charges £3.20 for a Carlsberg or Fosters pint which is fair for a gig venue I guess. However, they were selling bottles of Fosters Gold for £1.50 a bottle. As a result, I got nicely drunk during the gig which isn’t something that happens very often. However, I have 2 more planned visits to the Talking Heads this side of Christmas, and hopefully at least two more in 2012. I really like the venue.

However, alcohol prices aside, I like the venue as a whole. The layout (aside from one pillar...) is superb in my opinion with a standing area (where there is a table) and a raised area where the bar is, but there are more tables for people to sit if they so wish. The atmosphere when I’ve been before has always been good. I had previously attributed that to people being in a good, relaxed mood as they were going to see Ginger from the Wildhearts. While I am sure that is the case, the people for this gig were also in a good, relaxed mood which meant there was a positive buzz in the room. This is always a good thing before a gig.

I might be crucified for this, but I can’t remember the name of the opening band. I think (!) it was Terraform, but I don’t know that for sure. Damn you alcohol! Anyway, they were really good (which is what makes my memory fail worse). They seemed to be a decent hardcore/thrashy type band that is very tight live. The lead singer kept taking jaunts into the crowd throughout the set which was quite entertaining. They were very enjoyable. The second band one was Savage Messiah who much like Evile were a thrash band. They were also really good. I think their main problem was their lead singer’s banter in-between songs. He was saying things like “here’s a song, you won’t have heard of it” and “you won’t know this one”. Admittedly, I didn’t know a great deal of their set but I did a little research of them before the gig on Spotify. They may not be a massive band by any means, but don’t come on stage saying “hey, you don’t know us!” – it seemed to be a very strange attitude to have. Musically fine, but that bugged me. It was at this point I saw the members of Evile in the crowd, who all walked passed me to get on stage.

The tour was in support of their new album, so unsurprisingly, Evile came on stage and started off with the title track from their new album, Five Serpents Teeth before breaking into the classic that is Killer From The Deep. It was clear that Evile were going to be superb early on. What followed was a setlist made up mostly of songs from the new album with a couple of classics from the previous two albums. In-between some songs, there was some on stage talk which the front man from Savage Messiah should take note of. Firstly, Matt Drake expressed surprised about how many people showed up. Hopefully they had a good attendance at Brighton as well so they’ll consider coming back to the south more often (Wedgewood Rooms next time? Please!) There was also some banter between band members after Ol Drake thanked the venue staff and supporting bands, so Matt promoted him to vocalist – it was funny stuff. The new material all sounded superb but special mentions have to go to Eternal Empire and Cult. Both songs are stand out songs on the album and are stunning live. Cult will probably become one of my favourite songs by Evile. 10 songs into the set, Evile announced they were going to play one more song and it was up to the fans. Now, on previous setlists for this tour (the album launch shows), they finished the set off with Armoured Assault. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it on previous reviews where I’ve seen Evile at festivals but I am desperate to hear them play this song live. It was the song which got me into Evile! Anyway, the choice was Armoured Assault or Enter The Grave. Armoured Assault maybe had 2 or 3 (me included) vote for it so Enter The Grave was played. I love Enter The Grave but come on! Will I ever see Armoured Assault live?! I fear not.

The gig was superb. Evile were on top form and the new album sounds really good live. They said on stage they were very proud of it and from what I heard, they have every right to be. I hope as they do more shows and more headline tours, they play longer sets. They played 11 songs in Southampton and I’m sure they could have played more. Other than that, and them not playing Armoured Assault (again!), I have no complaints. Go see Evile on this tour if you can, you won’t regret it (assuming you like them. If you don’t, well go anyway!)

Next review will be at the end of the month for The Answer and Volbeat. Probably will be one review as they are 2 days apart. We’ll see

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Rest In Peace Steve

I have pre-ordered myself an iPhone 4S. After much decision making I’ve decided to do this because it is time to upgrade and rather than wait for next iPhone (which might come next year), I’ll get the newer model which is due on Friday. The new model sounds really good as well, which helps matters. It is an upgrade to the iPhone 4, rather than a complete rebuild. It is being released alongside iOS5 which enables the user to do so much more with the phone. It comes with Siri, a voice controlled program which you can send messages via, or just search for information. I am underselling it with that description but from what I’ve read, it sounds like a fascinating upgrade. The new camera looks immense as well and it has the ability to film in HD. It also comes with a brand new processor (used in the iPad 2) which means it will run faster. Basically, the new upgrade sounds awesome. It is just unfortunate that its release is at the same time as a really sad piece of news for Apple and Apple fans alike. Hell, you don’t even need to be an Apple fan to be sad about this news. Steve Jobs has passed away after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Below is the tribute message found on

Steve Jobs – 1955-2011
Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.

As I am typing this blog, I am listening to music via iTunes. I presently own my 2nd iPhone and am shortly going to purchase my 3rd iPhone. I own an iPad 2 and have previously owned 2 iPods. The creativity of Steve Jobs has changed the way I live my life. I can’t imagine using another phone on a day to day basis. People ask me why I love my iPhone as much as I do and the simple truth is that it just works for me. It has increased my expectations of what a phone should and could do for me. I have previously flirted with other music playing software and always ended up back in the familiar territory of iTunes. iTunes and the iTunes store has revolutionised the way I listen to music. Listening to music on iPods makes you realise why they are the best MP3 player on the market. When they first came out, I didn’t get the point of an iPad. Now, having owned one for 5 or so months, not only do I get it, but I love it. It has changed the way I do things on a day to day basis, whether that is writing a blog or a letter on Pages, or simply playing games while on the train – it has made a massive difference in my life. Put simply, I accept that not everything I have listed here is directly down to Steve Jobs; however he created and saved the company responsible for them. His ideas I’m sure helped create these items which are changing people’s lives. He changed the world as we know it. So from an Apple user, I would just like to say thank you to Steve Jobs. My thoughts and condolences are with his family and his friends. Rest in Peace Steve.

It has been quarter final weekend in the Rugby World Cup and it has been an emotional one it has to be said. It started with Wales v Ireland and it was a superb display by the Welsh. Their defence was rock solid throughout the game and the Irish were sloppy at times. Wales put in a solid performance against Fiji and this one was better. They won the game 22-10 and fully deserved it. The next quarter final was the real emotional one as England played France. I could speak for a long time about this game however I am just doing a summary of the games. I will talk more about England after. In short, France arrived at the game fired up and looked a completely different side to the one that was humiliated by Tonga the weekend before. England, when they had possession and looked threatening, continued to shoot themselves in the foot. They gave away a lot of possession and penalties needlessly. England lost 19-12 to France, and they deserved to lose. Today the first QF was Australia v South Africa and I only caught the second half (damn you alcohol). The second half was a hard fought contest. I do feel South Africa were hard done by due to poor refereeing. They scored a try but the ref said there was a forward pass (which I didn’t see even after the replays) and Australia were tackling very high without punishment. The referee seemed to either be very lenient or not notice. How he could have missed some of them though is beyond me. Australia won 11-9, and as a result the South Africa coach has already resigned; a real shame. The second QF was New Zealand v Argentina. I naturally assumed that this would be a walk over for NZ and they would make it to the semis, no questions asked. However, Argentina were nobody’s mugs and asked NZ some serious questions at times, including scoring the only try of the first half. NZ were more dominate over the span of the game but the final score of 33-10 does not to Argentina any justice at all. The semi finals are now:

Wales v France
Australia v New Zealand

England’s exit from the tournament at this stage is very disappointing. The question is what can be done? I’m unsure about Martin Johnson’s position as head coach. He seems to be good tactically but I just wonder about discipline. I’m not talking about the off the field activities here, I mean purely on-field discipline. I mean that is what let us down majorly. We struggled against Scotland and Argentina and got lucky but our discipline in those matches was shocking. I and others said that as soon as we play a better team, we will be found out. That is exactly what happened against France. Should Martin Johnson stay? I honestly don’t know at this stage. I think we need to see the squad for the Six Nations and how we do at that. By which I don’t just mean results wise, I mean performance wise. If we play like we did for some of that World Cup, we will not retain the Six Nations. I also think a number of big names who are starting to get on a bit need to retire from the international fold. I think we have seen better days from Tindall and Wilkinson. They may have a use for test matches before 2015 but it might be helpful for them to bow out now and let England build a new team. There are a number of other faces who I can’t imagine seeing at the 2015 world cup. These are Sheridan, Mears, Thompson, Shaw, Palmer, Moody, Easter and Cueto. Some of them may have a role to play but I am thinking 4 years down the line and it might be time to feed new blood into the squad for that tournament. We shall see what happens but I am awfully disappointed to see England exit in the QFs when they could have made it to the final (as the Draw was very favourable to them).

Final Thought: In the song Missing by Everything But The Girl, the singer says she misses someone like the desert misses the rain. Does the desert miss the rain at this point? I am not sure why this came to mind other than hearing the song on the radio and thinking “well, the desert probably doesn’t miss the rain, making this entire song moot”.