The all singing, all dancing blog of Alex Guite

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Shooting yourself in the foot

This morning I enjoyed a rare luxury: a Saturday morning lie in, listening to The Today Programme (this is the link to click if you don't listen to Radio 4). There was some fascinating coverage of this afternoon's big match, Ireland vs. England. If you're a rugby fan who has stumbled across this blog by searching "six nations" I'm afraid I'm not going to start offering my armchair opinions on Wilkinson's injury problems or whether or not the Mark Phillips pay deal will spark wage inflation (check it out: I mentioned some topical issues in rugby). Rather what caught my attention was that this will be the first time an England team has played at Dublin's Corke Park stadium. The reason for this is not as I initially theorised because it had been the centre of a delayed building project and only recently opened (more topical rugby references). In fact it opened in 1913. It turns out that it is significant that England will play there today because in 1920 British Police Auxiliaries entered the ground during a football match and shot indiscriminately into the crowd, killing 13, in retaliation for the assassination of British intelligence officers.

Understandably everyone is treading pretty carefully and there has even been debate about whether to play the national anthem. In fact, the England team were given a presentation about the stadium's history and the shooting. England coach Brian Ashton had this to say on this morning on the radio: "We're well aware of the significance, well aware of the honour it is to play somewhere like this".

So far, so good. Then this:
"We'll just go out there and give it our best shot in this game of international rugby."

There are literally lists of sport cliches he could have used instead. He could have said "We'll just go out there and bring our A-game." That would have been fine. There is no way that could be taken out of context. Or this would have worked instead: "We'll just go out there and give it 110 percent." That also would have worked.

Of course it doesn't really matter, sport cliches are pretty meaningless. Or at least I hope so as otherwise theoretical physicists would probably want to examine footage of the recent England vs Italy match because according to Ashton "[England] got caught in a one-dimensional game". I'm not sure how to even begin visualising that.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Hot off the press: Albert Hall Mansions Fire

Apparently one of the reasons why you, I and everyone were chosen as 2006 Time Person of the Year is because of the power of citizen journalism through blogging. I don't know about you, but although I was honoured to receive this title, I felt kind of awkward at the awards ceremony.

The thing is that I can't really adequately explain what this blog is all about since it started one evening when I had an infected insect bite. It probably wasn't about citizen journalism though. That sounds way too web 2.0 for me. I guess for me it's more to do with publishing hilarious anecdotes about housemates. In fact the closest I've ever got to citizen journalism was by hanging around near my house in Battersea with a whale.

Until today that is, when one of the Albert Hall Mansions caught fire. Armed only with my mobile phone and an observation tower high up in the middle of South Kensington I did total citizen journalism. It felt so 2005.

I'm not going to try and make puns about this combustion because Charlie was on fire today with his scorching post about the incident.

So in the humble spirit of citizen journalism, here are some photos: