Nostalgia Trips Ahoy!

Back on July 7 1989, I went along to Belmore Sports Ground in Sydney to watch my local team, Canterbury-Bankstown defeat Western Suburbs 26-6. Little did I know on that frosty winters evening, it would be my last visit to watch a game there for almost 30 years!

A good deal of water has passed under the bridge since 1989. That’s why it was kind of special and nostalgic to head back today and watch a trial match against Penrith. An under strength Bulldogs outfit still managed to overpower a full throttle Panthers outfit 24-10 (not far off that 1989 score) but for me, I spent most over the afternoon and evening remembering good times and family memories that still burn brightly within today.

My grandfather passed away in 1992 yet he still had a profound impact on my life, installing key discipline techniques from his days in the army during World War 2 along with his guile from over 40 years as a qualified builder. He was a stern man but deep down, he cared deeply about all of us. He just didn’t show it too well. Regardless, every other Saturday or Sunday, he would pick me up in his yellow ute from our house on Reese Avenue and we’d be in the ground by around 12 pm to watch under 23’s, reserve grade and first grade. That’s four and a half hours or so in all sorts of weather watching the likes of Steve Mortimer, Terry Lamb and Peter Tunks ply their trades.

Mum would always scratch up enough money for my ticket in along with a drink and a pie. Sometimes even a packet of crisps! If Canterbury won, grandfather was quite talkative. However, following a loss, the walk back to the car and drive home was often fraught with danger if I attempted to dissect a conversation with him. He hated losing. Took it to heart and spent the remainder of the weekend speaking very little. I can get a bit like that myself I guess.

The ground hasn’t changed much over the past 29 years. It’s almost as it was in many respects which gives the venue that special charm and charisma many modern stadiums fall well below on. Suburban footy grounds are what drove rugby league in Sydney. It still does when occasional matches are taken back to various grounds. Sadly, in 2018, money talks the loudest so many clubs play out of hollow, soulless and heartless super stadiums (2 in Sydney’s case in point) which much make more money for the governing body but it destroys the heritage, heart and soul of the game by reefing clubs out of their roots. Modern sport and then some!

I hope this isn’t my last visit back to Belmore. The ground holds many cherished memories that seem like a lifetime away yet almost yesterday. Even today, I see lots of my late grandfather in me and I’m glad he installed his beliefs and values upon me as a young child.

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How To Save Money Without Trying!

Being a regular traveller, I have exhausted many ideas over the years on how to save money where I can. Be it advance bookings or other sucks means. The train to Brisbane airport is always an expensive affair. Unless of course, you know how to milk the system.

Now, the BAC is worth billions and turns over more than $100 MILLION most years. How do they do it you ask? One way is by charging extortionate train fares because they own the train lines to the airport. Today for example, it was going to cost me a tick over $28 from Nerang station to the domestic terminal but I only paid $11.32! How did I save over $17 you ask? Let me explain.

Yesterday, I purchased a new Go Card with a $10 deposit plus another $15 that got me two fares to Milton and then to Nerang leaving $1.32 plus the $10 deposit on the card. Following so far? Now, this is where the fun starts! This morning, I touched on at Nerang and then off at Brisbane domestic which then took my card into the negative by around $27. So I was only out of pocket for $11.32 instead of the full whack!

My trusty 24 hour Go Card can now be thrown in the bin and I can spend that $17 saved on better things, like a drink for the flight. Better the money in your pocket than a billion dollar rip off tax evading corporation wouldn’t you say?

I make around 10 trips to the domestic airport each year. That’s $170 plus back in my pocket which is by no means chicken feed.

Happy days and the little guy wins!

Whatever You Do In Life, Have Fun!

It’s come to my attention recently that the world we live in can be pretty fucked up.  Well, I’ve kind of known this for a long time actually, it’s just that things seem more fucked up now than ever before in my lifetime.  Perhaps, I’m just more aware of my surroundings?

A handful of days back now, I was reading an article on how Australian’s are meant to become less reliant on the aged pension in decades to come.  Are you serious?, I pondered to myself, feeling the rage grow inside me. It’s OK for our politicians to keep their multi million dollar pensions yet, the rest of us plebs have to work longer and save harder?  Get to fuck and back I say!

Essentially, our government is trying to phase out the pension along with free health care.  It’s makes you wonder though.  Why do we pay all the taxes we pay when we get nothing in return?  Most of us work hard and try to build a comfortable life however, the older I grow, the more I realize that one just has to have fun with the limited time on earth we are given here on planet earth.

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Last week, I did something very naughty and reinstalled the Facebook application on my phone.  For those of you not in the know, I deleted it over a month ago to get away from social media.  My Instagram account went with it.  It was great.  I noticed I was finding my days more enjoyable and flowing by rather quickly.  My focus was directed on the better things in life.  My thought patterns were taking on a positive direction and after a while, I wasn’t missing Facebook in the slightest.  So why did I reinstall the app you ask?  Facebook is like a drug so getting off it means there most likely will be the odd relapse here and there.  It’s bloody hard to get rid of but the irony is that I am feeling a little more negative in recent days.  The nauseating side effects of social media ey?

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So why are so many of us not having fun?  Not doing the things we love?  Are we not making the time?  Are we letting our lives become overrun with social media and reality TV?  My partner has encouraged me to watch a most daft television show called “Married At First Sight” recently.  It’s train wreck TV at its worst!  Sadly, like the daily perils of Facebook, it’s addictive as all hell.  I. Must. Not. Watch. Rubbish. TV.  Repeat after me!  Yep, it’s yet another pointless chunk of time in my life that I am wasting when I could be nestled away reading my book or planning more travel adventures.

So what holds us back from having fun?  Let’s take a closer look shall we.

YOU’RE BORED!

What a load of tosh.  No, seriously, think about it.  How can you ever say you are bored?  That’s the sort of tripe small children pull out so why do so many adults complain about being bored?  Get some hobbies and interests wedged into your life.  Read a book, go to the movies, run, swim, hike, collect stamps, start a wine club or plan more weekends away with your loved ones.  There is ALWAYS something to do that can be fun not just for you, but those around you as well.

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YOU NEED TO SPEND MONEY!

Again, a load of tosh.  There are always money free options available to you at any given time. And if you do need to spend money on something, look up discount websites like Groupon or lasttix.  You would be surprised at how much money you can save.  Aside from that, what better way to spend time than with friends and family in nature where it is often free as a button.  Spending money does not assure fun.

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YOU DON’T HAVE THE TIME!

Yep, you guessed it, another load of tosh.  If you took the time spent on Facebook and/or in front of the television out of your life, you would gather an extra 20-30 hours a week to utilize on having some serious fun.  Turn your televisions off, delete your social media apps (I know it’s hard) and get our there!  Imagine how many books you would read if you spent your new found spare time reading?

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YOU WORRY ABOUT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK!

If you say you have never been in this position then you are lying to yourself.  It’s impossible to go through life in the western world and not worry what other people think of us at times.  It can be any number of situations or environments when we are around our peers that we second guess ourselves or do things to impress other people.  There is a famous Dr Seuss quote, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

I also enjoy the Oscar Wilde quote, “Be yourself because everyone else is taken.”

My personal advice to you is simply this.  No matter what you do in life and where you go, just have fun in the process!

 

Be Grateful, just be grateful!

I was out on a morning run this week and noticed a few things. A reality check of sorts if you like. Now, I’m no longer as fast as I might have been a few years ago (damn that ageing process) but I still enjoy a pleasant morning trot. For some reason though, I have been noticing more on my runs.

The first thing that struck me was the amount of elderly people out having a crack. Some were easily into their early 70’s and beyond yet, here they were pounding the pavements albeit at a slow pace but with some pace none the less. Proof in the pudding that you can never be too old to embrace exercise. There was also a young man with cerebral palsy out walking. Now, if anyone had an excuse to stay in bed on this fine morning, then look no further than the young lad battling cerebral palsy. What’s your excuse again?

Back in the post Crimbo rush there were people out everywhere walking, cycling and running. It was beautiful to watch. Early starts on New Year resolutions I suspect more than anything. By early January, numbers had increased ten fold. In fact, finding space on the city pavements became a hurdle of sorts. It was great! However, as is the case every year, too many people go too hard too soon and turn the fun & excitement of exercise into a chore. Work gets in the way again so before you can say “Happy Easter”, we are well back into last years lazy habits.

Smart footwear is half the battle. I swear by my Brooks Glycerin’s. You can run for hours in these things and feel little to no stress on the body. At a hearty $240, they are worth every penny! The cheap running shoes will only increase the risk of injury and cause you long term problems. Now, if only Brooks would give me some free gear for years of endorsing their running shoes?

I digress.

So what is stopping you from joining elderly pensioners and disabled runners, walkers and cyclists? Have you gone soft? Are you lazy? Have you torn a heartlidge????? No seriously, if a young man with cerebral palsy can get out for a morning walk, there is every chance not one of your excuses will wash.

Why not use some mental toughness and make exercise a habit? It might take time but you will no doubt feel and enjoy the long term rewards. All you need to do is cut 5 or 6 hours a week out that you would otherwise waste on Facebook and Instagram then channel that energy into exercise. You know, it’s not too late to allow that new year resolution of jogging back into your line of sight. Bin the stupid diets off (they are for lazy souls) and put in some effort. Make exercise a habit you no longer feel any resistance to. Go on, I dare you! Most of all, just be grateful you live in a country where you can freely exercise in.

Are People Born Stupid Or Is It Taught?

One could say, I was most excited to be seeing the last silver screen performance from esteemed British icon, Daniel Day-Lewis.  The record holding three time Oscar winner for best actor in a feature film is renowned for his method acting roles which began with 1971’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday”.  From there, Day-Lewis has performed a number of extreme roles including “My Left Foot”, “Gangs of New York”, “There Will Be Blood”, “Lincoln”, “The Last of The Mohicans”, “In The Name of The Father”, “The Crucible” and the ever so charming, “My Beautiful Launderette”.  As you can see, he rarely, if ever, takes on a role that isn’t a performance of candor.

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When I arrived at Palace Barracks for a Thursday night screening of “Phantom Thread”, it was thrilling to see a large crowd gathered for the 8:40 pm session.  I thought to myself, “It’s so amazing that so many people have come to witness Daniel Day-Lewis in his final film role.”  The film is based on a fictional dressmaker, Reynolds Woodcock, who makes only the best garments for London’s high society.  He lives with his sister, Cyril and falls in love with a waitress whilst on a countryside escape from the rigors of London life.  I should note, it is directed by Paul Thomas Anderson who last worked with Day-Lewis on “There Will Be Blood” in 2007, a film Day-Lewis also won best actor for at the Academy Awards.

As I made my way into cinema 3, I noticed the throngs of people I had assumed were in attendance for “Phantom Thread” were actually making their journey into cinema 4.  What on earth are they going to see I pondered?  Then, the words I feared most were uttered from a young couple nearby.  They were in fact, flocking to see “Fifty Shades Freed”, the third instalment of perhaps the most atrociously diabolical film franchise ever to grace cinema screens.  Let’s be honest now, these poor attempts at kinky cinema are utter dross on every possible level.  There are no redeeming features to declare.  The Fifty Shades franchise is the greatest train wreck in cinematic history alongside the Fast & Furious rubbish that still gets dished out.

With the shock still setting in that so many had come to spend their hard earned on the worst film release of 2018 (big call I hear you say but the correct call none the less), I entered cinema 3 to find myself and just three other hearty souls in wait for “Phantom Thread”.  All four of us were lone souls, left in awe at what we witnessed on the screen before our eyes whilst an almost packed out cinema next door were being entertained by well, I can’t even bring myself to call it acting.  You get the drift.

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So what did I learn from this disheartening experience?  It reinforced my firm belief that a large portion of our society are brainwashed Neanderthal’s incapable of thinking for themselves so they flock like sheep to any old dross dished up to them regardless of how bad it gets.  Still, it’s not just the Facebook generation of millennial who are this incapable to think on their own two feet, it’s been this way for a very long time and I doubt it will ever change.  The moral of the story?  When it comes to watching one of the most iconic actors of our times or settling for one of the worst films in history, take the former every time.  Most of all.  Try your best to stop being an obtuse brainwashed idiot!

Liverpool Win Their First Title for 2017/18!

With only days to go in the January transfer window for 2018, it has emerged that Liverpool football club will claim the 2017/18 “Net Spend” trophy in the “big 6” category for the umpteenth time.  Sources close to FSG suggest owners, John W Henry and Tom Werner are ecstatic at making a profit on the transfer market leaving the other big club’s  (who actually win trophies) at the top end of the table with “utterly embarrassing spending habits” despite Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United collecting no less than 18 trophies between them since FSG bought Liverpool in late 2010.  A hearty profit of 34 MIILION quid was made this season by LFC.  Henry, whose wife is the kind only a filthy rich billionare could afford, is said to be “over the moon” at the profits gained from once more, selling the clubs best player and buying an above average defender for double the price he’s actually worth.

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The red men have gone on to claim the league cup in 2012 after holding off an utterly shite Cardiff City on penalties.  It has been reported that the other “big 6” club to not win a trophy since FSG’s ownership came to fruition, Spurs (just ahead of LFC in spending) are content to win the “We beat Arsenal to fourth place” title every now and then as chairman, Daniel Levy appears confident he can bring a fucking shit load of NFL teams from America to play at his new pad in north London when it opens for the start of the 2018/19 season.  Levy is said to be quite excited at the prospect of showing off his new project to his mega fucking rich buddies.

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Liverpool will, no doubt look to strengthen the defensive issues that have plagued the club for some time now with a raid on Southampton in the summer to assist Alberto Moreno, Dejan Lovren and Simon Mignolet in the chase for genuine silverware.  No, we’re serious here.  Moreno (who still dines out on his Spurs goal at the Lane from a long, long, long, long, long time ago) insists that the future is bright for the red half of Merseyside. In fact, a source close to the club recently advised us that, “Big clubs like Manchester United and Chelsea have been sniffing around to put the feelers out for our big stars like Lovren and Moreno.  Money just can’t buy defensive quality like that so the chances of selling our most important assets are slim to none.”

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The source added, “When it comes to player sales, we only look to offload players that won’t help us move forward.  You know?  The likes of Coutinho, Suarez and Torres.  Those kids of players just don’t have what it takes to move the club forward.”  

Exciting times lay ahead for Liverpool as they look to emulate Arsenal’s ability to win the “4th Place Cup” every season and win pretty much fuck all in the process.

 

 

When West Ham Went To The Olympics….

Cast your minds back some six years now.  Yep, you’re now in 2012 and London is hosting the games of the XXX Olympiad.  Those delicious sunny London days and England’s gold rush seem a life time away now don’t they?  Great Britain finished third on the medal tally with 29 gold.  That’s about how many goals West Ham has scored at the London Stadium since moving there in August 2016.  Ask vice-chair, Karen Brady about the move and she will point you towards the clubs rise to 18th in the Deloitte money league table after turning over 144 million quid in 2016.  Money first, football second.

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I tried to get into the stadium back in May 2017 to watch Liverpool’s final away match for the season but tickets were impossible to get hold of and I was left outside the ground with people trying to palm off tickets in the away end for nothing short of 150 quid.  Some people try and put this down to touts but on this day, there were plenty of regular away match goers who I have seen around the traps for years palming off their tickets.  A sad trend of modern football that continues to grow.  Money first, football second.

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Moving forward to October 2017 and I’ve finally managed to get tickets organised to watch West Ham V Brighton on a balmy Friday night.  Well, balmy for London in October anyway.  Vitaliy and Baz joined me for the match and we got ourselves inside the ground with minimal fuss despite the over the top bag searches.  You see, everyone is paranoid in London these days so rigorous bag searches are par for the course.  The only other absurdity of the night when, inside the ground, I found the price of a warm cup of beer came to a fiver.  What the actual?  Money first, football second.

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Things didn’t get much better for the home side as they were battered 3-0 by Brighton Hove & Albion.  Actually, they weren’t just battered, West Ham were humiliated by a newly promoted football side who hadn’t seen top flight action since the 1980’s.  From my view point, around 10 rows from the front in the home end still left me a considerable distance from the pitch due to the running track which makes it all too vast and spacious for football.  Thankfully, I had been to Upton Park back in September 2009 to watch Liverpool win a thriller 3-2 and the atmosphere that day was nothing short of spectacular.  In the London Stadium, the atmosphere is non-existent.  Once more, vice-chair, Karen Brady will point to the profits made from moving away from Upton Park.  Money first, football second.

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Now, don’t get me wrong, I am sure watching athletics in the London Stadium would be a fantastic opportunity.  As for watching the round ball game?  Well, I wouldn’t want to be heading back there any time soon for a match.  You see, this is modern football at its finest.  The supporters are last on the list of priorities as greedy executives and place profit at the top of their priorities, leaving the regular match going supporters out in the dark.  The only redeeming feature of the London Stadium when it comes to football is having a chuckle at the giant penis shaped sculpture outside as you wait to go into the ground.  Money first, football second.