Après Match 2008

If there’s one thing that always brightens up RTÉ‘s coverage of the big fitba’ tournaments, it’s the Après Match team’s piss-takes of the Irish TV pundits, which are usually shown at the end of the live coverage or highlights programmes. They remind me a lot of the early Only an Excuse? sketches from back home.

I’d missed most of AM’s Euro 2008 efforts so far, so I was happy to find out tonight that they’re online here[1]. I presume the site will be updated as they do more throughout the tournament.

Naturally they’re much funnier if you’re familiar with the Irish TV stations’ football coverage, although the targets include the likes of Graeme Souness, Liam Brady and Frank Stapleton who are familiar enough to viewers in the UK and elsewhere. That said, they actually started with a Sky Sports send-up this year—just a pity Gary Cooke‘s impression of Andy Gray is one of the poorest I’ve heard any of them do, especially as Risteárd’s Richard Keys is right on the money!

[1] RealPlayer plugin required, and doesn’t seem to work with Firefox, I’m afraid

Moon on a stick

In an odd twist of 90’s nostalgia fate, I had the opportunity to see (and, indeed, briefly chat to) both Stewart Lee and Richard Herring live in Dublin in the past couple of weeks… older readers on this side of the pond may remember they used to be a double act in the BBC TV shows Fist of Fun and This Morning with Richard Not Judy (some of which are archived on Stewart’s website). More recently, Stewart Lee co-wrote Jerry Springer– The Opera.

Enjoyed both their gigs, but Stewart Lee was probably a bit more to my rib-tickling taste. Then again, he is the 41st best stand up ever.

Holiday catchup

So, first blog of 2007… bliadhna mhath ur, and all that.

It was a fairly quiet break for us this year, at least in terms of travelling and seeing family– we did neither, apart from a one-night spa break up the road at the Johnstownhouse Marriot in Enfield. (The food there really is gorgeous.)

We were out and about around town a bit though… went to see Jason Byrne on December 23rd, and we took in Casino Royale, Flushed Away, Happy Feet and Deja Vu at the cinema (mostly for free– thanks Curly!)

Work-wise, I’m trying out a Sun Ray 2 at home for the first time this week… the technology is certainly impressive, although it remains to be seen whether it’ll oust my laptop as my working-at-home tool of choice. It would probably be more useful if I had one on my desk at work as well, to get the full benefit of session mobility– maybe it’s time to retire my old Ultra 10….

Out and about

Been a reasonably busy couple of weeks on the gig front, here’s the potted summary:

  • Colin Murphy: Nor’n Irn comedian, a weel-kent face on the telly over here, but first time we’d seen him do stand-up (as opposed to sitting at his desk on The Panel, of which we’ve been to a couple of recordings). I remember enjoying it at the time, but I couldn’t actually recount any of his routine now… I suppose that means I’m more likely to enjoy it next time we go and see him though 🙂
  • Deacon Blue: reformed Scottish earnest 80’s popsters (half of whom are better known for their television roles on Sportscene and River City these days)… bounced their way through all our favourites (Dignity, Fergus Sings the Blues, Real Gone Kid et al.), although Julie thought the intervening years hadn’t been too kind to Ricky Ross!
  • The Feeling: a lively and listenable bunch on stage, even managed to pull off a passable cover of Video Killed the Radio Star… suspect when I get around to listening to the rest of their album, though, it might seem a bit low-key in comparison.

In the bleak mid-Autumn

Is it just me, or does anyone else in the northern hemisphere find it bizarre that here in Ireland, November 1st is considered to be the first day of winter, rather than December 1st? (Likewise, spring is considered to be February-April rather than March-May, etc.) Or is it just in the UK that summer includes August…?

All set… ish

So, here starteth my last week’s work as a single bloke. The next time I sit at my desk on a Monday (the first one in October), it’ll be with a resized-but-still-doesn’t-really-quite-fit ring on my wedding finger, if I haven’t managed to lose it on a South African beach by then.

The arrangements have been far from smooth, and I’m secretly regretting not having a stag night1, but otherwise (largely thanks to Julie) things are about as organised as they’re going to be before Saturday week. Speaking as someone who generally hates weddings2, churches and being the centre of attention, I’d be lying if I said I was completely psyched up for the occasion just yet, but I’m sure the end will justify the means!

Now, back to all that work stuff I need to finish before I disappear for a month…

1A choice I made partly because most of the people I’d want to invite are scattered too thinly and widely around the planet to have any chance of attracting a critical mass, partly because stag nights in Dublin aren’t quite so appealing when you live here and have to wade through scores of them any night you go into town, and partly because the majority of frat house stag night antics have never held much allure for me anyway. As many pints as I could squeeze in at GUADEC was the closest I managed instead, but I’d have been having those anyway, and there wasn’t exactly much chance of a final fling there now, was there? :o)

2Don’t ask me why, I’ve just always had a strange aversion to them– I won’t even watch them in films or on the telly, if I can avoid it!