I know that you are all going to be very disappointed but I am not able to send out my 2008 Calendar with 12 cheescake poses of myself. Well, I had trouble with the air brushing and have given up. If you have a hole in the wall you want to cover then go to www.manutd.com and order the 2008 Cristiano Ronaldo calendar.
I have been thinking of some of my favourite sounds from around the world. I enjoy walking in deep, crisp pristine snow in a forest by myself and listening to the silence apart from my foot steps. What about travelling in a diesel taxi over cobblestones in a German village? Driving past a packed school yard of an elemenrtary school with the kids running, screaming and skipping rope; Waking up in the bush to the excited sounds of songbirds; The very sexy voice of the departure announcer at the airport in Rio de Janeiro; The opening music of 'Match of the Day', BBC Sports Report, or the fanfare as teams enter the field at Champions League matches; The choir at King's College Cambridge in their 15th century chapel on Christmas Eve; The sound of waves as you sit on the beach by the ocean;The distinguished and educated voice of Craig Brown, former educator and Scottish National team coach as he eloquently talks about the game on the radio;(how many other Scots can you actually understand?).
I have just finished reading 'A Season in Verona' by Tim Parks. Tim, a writer who was teaching and living in Verona around 2000 decided to write a book about HELLAS VERONA and go to all the home matches in the Stadio Bentogoti, and travel by fans bus, train, car or plane to EVERY away match in Serie A that the 'gialloblu' (yellow/blue) played. It's a fascinating journey as the team lingers around the relegation zone all season, and finally survives-on the away goal rule, in the home and away relegation play-off with Regio Calabria. All the Italian stadiums are owned by the municipalies and not the clubs, so little is spent on them. We have all read and seen on TV the battles between the rival fans and the police and the stadiums lack decent toilets, and other amenities. To add to the gloom of the local brigados, CHIEVA VERONA, a minor local club that share the stadium, win promotion from Serie B at the same time. This season Hellas Verona find themselves in Serie C for the first time. I went to look at the stadium and drive around it for the first time last summer, and it does need a lot of money spending on it. It surely won't last as long as the splendid Roman Arena in the centre of town.
Lots of angry comments about the recent behaviour of the milionaire players of the English Premier League. It was amazing that a couple of dozen Manchester United senior players each put £4,000 each into a fund and rented out an entire 'boutique' hotel in Manchester for the night as part of their Christmas Party. They got friends to 'harvest' cute looking girls, about 100 of them, from model agencies, up market clothes stores and teaching hospitals to join in the fun. Five days before the 'event' the itinerary with the restaurant, pub and hotel was published for all to see in The Manchester Evening News'. The local media was out in force. Photos of Ferdinand, Ballack, C Ronaldo, Neville etc.,were plastered over the papers looking like the Resevoir Dogs or The Magnificent Seven as the stode in line across the street. At 4.30 am the party was over when one of the younger players was accused of rape and Sir Alex Ferguson was not amused. I won't describe 'roasting', because I have some female readers who are ladies and a number of conservatives from South Carolina. The players argue with referees, fall down in the penalty area and wonder whey the opposing fans abuse them verbally. Hopefully Fabio Capello will instil some disipline and set an example when he takes over the national team shortly.