21 October 2011


So, The Classical has reached its funding target. As we prepare to blow the lot on fine cheeses and rare 7" singles we'll buy but never actually listen to, before working out another Kickstarter pitch get the site started, we thank those who donated, spread the word, or psychically willed us to succeed.

At the moment, some fellow Classicists are over at Deadspin, discussing in the demotic American tongue the National Series: a based-ball competition of such repute that even I know of it. This year's Autumn Classical is a repeat of last year's epic struggle between the fearsome base-scoring machine of the Oklahoma Polar Bears and the fearsome base-preventing machine of the Tallahassee Wowz (formerly the Tallahassee Wowzer, formerly the Tallahassee Wowdoggzz, formerly the Kentucky Jolly Cowboys). The Polars stormed to victory in the Duke of Wellington Conference, defeating the venerable Virginia Based-Ballers in the Based Bowl by 89 bases to 2. Meanwhile, the Wowz claimed the Philadelphia Hot Jackets as their victims in the dramatic deciding rubber of the Dick's Sporting Goods Division of Glory. The aggregate score in the two-legged affair was tied at 5.2 bases each, and the extra third innings failed to separate the sides. The decision thus went to the panel of judges: fifteen-time All-Star Jimmy "Fingers" Jones, eighteen-time National Series loser Harry "Thumbs" Kopaszewski, and star of TV's Who's the Boss? Tony Danza. After their deliberations, they decreed that the Wowz's sliding had been considerably more awesome than that of the Hotsies, and awarded Tallahassee the pennant (the trophy having been stolen the previous day). The Wowz celebrated with the traditional mass brawl. Watch out in the Nationalies for Terence Lovely VI, their mighty short-step: he bowled one of the all-time great strikes against the Buffalo Assclowns in game 19 of the 2007 Snapple Division of Glory repechage round, a feat people won't shut the fuck up about to this day.

In other news...

Last year, we joined in with the Ravenscroft commemoration fest Keeping It Peel, and we're doing it again this year. It's next Tuesday, and we'll most likely be posting way too many Peel session tracks and various other stuff. If you want to take part, go here.

Webbie, the footballomusical expert behind Keeping It Peel, has made it a year-round concern with a series of Peel-related podcasts. I had the honour of selecting the choons for a Half Man Half Biscuit pod. Even better was the HMHB playlist chosen by Danny Last of European Football Weekends. And there's more where that came from. Go see!

Which leads us on to the happy news that, for the first time in the wretched history of this place, a new Half Man Half Biscuit album has been released!(!!!!!) It's called 90 Bisodol (Crimond), and don't even try guessing how good it is. God knows what the korfball enthusiasts will make of it, though. Above is the Marc Riley session version of one of its tracks, "Tommy Walsh's Eco House". Three verses, three deaths: can't say fairer than that.

Taylor Parkes, who you may know from When Saturday Comes and elsewhere, has written a great piece at The Quietus on Half Man Half Biscuit. Any article on HMHB which acknowledges that there's something more to them than slagging off Una Stubbs is already doing better than average, but Parkes nails the essence of the band better than anyone else has. Last year, also at The Quietus, he wrote a terrific piece on Mark E Smith as a narrative lyric writer. We want to write things like that when we grow up.

You'll be relieved to know (Nigel Blackwell must read the HMHB Lyrics Project) that the embarrassing error in the Riley version of "Left Lyrics in the Practice Room" by which reference is made to "Martin" Poom has been corrected on the album. Phew!


Speaking of which, Ireland play Estonia in next month's Euro 2012 play-offs. Hurrah for us! But our qualifying campaign has left the royal us feeling a smidge uneasy. Indulge us for a few moments as we tell you why over at The Run of Play.

I have also cleared the way for my becoming a grumpy old man by waxing nostalgic for the days of mass three o'clock kick-offs in English football over at TheScore's Footy Blog, which is now under the stewardship of old friend and, if I recall correctly, third ever SIATVS reader, Richard Whittall.

All that, plus Elliott's post hereabouts this week, is enough to be getting on with, you greedy sods.


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