Oscar Wilde, Twitter and racism in football

In his essay the Decaying of Life, Oscar Wilde coined the now famous phrase “life imitates art far more than art imitates life”.

While Wilde’s work is now well over 100 years old, the words still have resonance today. Especially in the context of football.

While the rest of the world has to comply with rules, norms and all manner of social conventions, football has become stuck in pre 1970s era where foreigners are treated with suspicion and racial slurs are still considered banter.

Football operates on a plane where banana throwing and monkey chants do not carry the stigma they would off the pitch. It would be considered, and rightly so, absurd if some of the things said at football matches were done in everyday life.

And while the Suarez/Evra affair left a bad taste in the mouth, perhaps more worrying is the rise of incident, and alleged incidents both on the pitch, and off the pitch, since the Uruguayan was slapped with an eight match ban.

A few weeks a, footballer Mark McCammon vowed to bring a race discrimination claim against his former club Gillingham, alleging that the teams black players and white players were treated differently.

He told the Sunday Telegraph: “I’m hopeful that truth will prevail.”

Today, Russian football club Anzhi Makhachkala claimed that opposition supporters threw a banana at defender Christopher Samba, urging Lokomotiv Moscow to identify to fan responsible.

Samba said: “I try not to think about racism. I just want to believe that such problems do not exist on a global basis. Maybe I am mistaken but I do want to believe in it.”

However, more in line with the words of Wilde, is how actions on the pitch are affecting behaviour of the wider general public.

It would be crazy to insist that perfectly sane and rational people are turning into bigots because they idolise footballers . However, it may have legitimised inappropriate behaviour.

I myself, watching the recent Everton v Spurs games in a pub, heard a fan standing next to me refer to Fellaini as wog (he even turned and spotted me at the bar and there wasn’t even a hint of guilt in his eyes).

Also worrying is the treatment of footballers on Twitter, with Stan Collymore and the stricken Fabrice Muamba perhaps two of the more shocking examples.

Liam Stacey was arrested this morning after offensive and racial comments about Fabrice Muamba were posted on Twitter.

Stacey told police: “I was at the bar when I heard what had happened to Muamba.

I don’t know why I posted it. I’m not racist and some of my friends are from different cultural backgrounds.

Funnliy enough, his words are strikingly similar to those of Liverpool in their defence of Suarez

A statement from the club said: “He has played with black players and mixed with their families whilst with the Uruguay national side and was captain at Ajax Amsterdam of a team with a proud multi-cultural profile, many of whom became good friends.”

Five rudest songs of all time



The annals of music history are bursting with songs that have offended the milder ears down the years. Notable tunes which caused controversy and moral panic, include 1980s hit Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Since I Had You by Marvin Gaye and Donna Summers’ classic marathon Love to Love You Baby.

However, mild references to ejaculation and the sounds of a sexual climax, are nothing compared to lengths the artists have gone too on these filthy efforts.

Akinyele – Put in your mouth

As the unsubtle title of this number suggests, this song is an essay on oral sex. No subtlety required here, as the outro reveals.

Filthiest bit

You wanna go down why not

I be like Herbie and han you a cock

R Kelly – 12 Play

RnB fans will be well versed on the sexual tendencies of Chicago freak R Kelly. At one point in 12 Play, a tune from the 1993 album by the same name, he lists a multi-point sexual action plan he is hoping to deliver on an unsuspecting lady – like a really dity political manifesto.

Filthiest bit

Spread your legs apart

Feel me, I’m so hard

Big Pun – I’m not a Player

Big Pun, perhaps one of the dirtiest rappers of all time, earns his place in the forum of filth by dropping the C-bomb in the second verse (the entire verse is jaw-droppingly obscene) of this 1998 O’Jays-sampling smash.

Filthiest bit

Excuse me for being blunt

But I been eating c***s, since pimps is pushing

Pink Caddies with the fish tank pumps

Ying Yang Twins – Wait (Whisper Song)

It’s no wonder the Ying Yang Twins whisper all the lyrics to their 2005 song Wait, it is so obscene, and sexually threatening, that rapping out loud would have made them blush.

Filthiest bit

Ay bitch! wait til you see my dick

Imma beat dat p***y up

My Dick

The now deceased Puerto Rican rap star was so much in love with his appendage he penned an ode to his manhood in 2000. So moving it is almost like Shakespeare.

Filthiest Bit

Now you gon’ get what you deserve

That’s my dick in your mouth

Five films that should never have been made



Poetic Justice

John Singleton must have been sitting at his desk in 1992 wondering how to follow up his Oscar nominated Boyz’ n the Hood. He needn’t have bothered. Janet Jackson, who plays Justice, is a street poet from the ghetto who “discovers herself”. Some soundtracks are better than their movies but rarely by such wide a margin.



PS I Love You

The burgeoning prince of rom coms Gerard Butler plays a young lover who dies “suddenly” of a brain tumour but has the foresight to leave his wife, Hilary Swank, a series of creepy sugary hallmark messages from beyond the grave. As terrible as it sounds.



Thirteen Ghosts

Some rappers; Tupac, Method Man, Mos Def, make plausible actors. But whoever cast Rah Digga in this movie needs shooting. Digga, real name Rashia Fisher, plays the stereotype of a sterotype of a feisty African American woman, who snaps her fingers at all manner of ghouls. Oh know she didn’t!



Synecdoche, New York

Never has a film promised so much and delivered so little. The premise, a theatre director who decides to make a play about his life, is a good one. But it doesn’t take long for the pretentious movie to disappear up its on arse. It only began to make sense after it finished and I was able to look on Google. Probably got five stars in Empire.



Friday after Next

Friday = good. Next Friday = pants. Friday after next = diabolical. One joke was never going to last for three movies. Most people probably don’t even know Friday is a trilogy.

Didn’t they do well: Unlikely rises to stardom


Looking back at the careers of many of the most loved celebrities, it is a wonder how some – considering their uninspiring beginnings – made it to the top.

Ant and Dec

Now the UK’s favourite presenting pair, it is easy to forget that the Geordie duo began their careers in naff BBC kid’s programmes Why Don’t You? and Byker Grove. They even had time to make a number of cringeworthy hip-hop inspired records before finally landing their breakthrough gig as the hosts of Saturday morning programme SMTV Live. A far cry indeed from the X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent.

Guy Pearce

The English-born star of The King’s Speech, LA Confidential and Memento took the scenic route to stardom. Moving to Australia when he was still a toddler the young Mr Pearce was Mike Young in Neighbours and a bit-part player in Home and Away before Hollywood came calling.

Ian Wright

He might be a second-rate pundit and presenter today but it easy to forget that the former Arsenal and Crystal Palace star was once one of England’s most exciting footballers. The former record goalscorer for the Gunners, who also has 33 caps to his name, was a 22-year-old amateur before exploding into the big time after being spotted for the Eagles while playing for Dulwich Hamlet.

Happy Gilmore

Adam Sandler’s 1996 character Happy Gilmore was a wannabe hockey player and all-round loser before taking up golf in a bid to save his grandmother’s home. Spotted by one-handed coach Chubbs Peterson, Gilmore’s long drive took pro golf by storm helping the hot-head to victory in the Tour Championship against Shooter McGavin.

Colonel Sanders

The King of fried chicken was a steamboat pilot, farmer and insurance salesman before first serving his trademark to the dishes. He didn’t even develop his secret recipe until he was 49 – leaving him just 41 years to enjoy his finger licking creations until his death in 1980 aged 90.

Bunch of fives: 90s Nostalgia

For people 25 and above the 1990s represents the very pinnacle of popular culture. Too young to own fond memories of the neon glitz and glamour of the 80s, in the 90s today’s twentysomethings did their growing up alongside Bart Simpson and spent the formative years on the Sony Playstation and listening to Brit Pop.

It no particular order, and with no claims to greatness, here are five of the things that made the 90s memorable.

Pogs

The PlayStation was the must have games system of the decade but the console couldn’t match the sheer collectability of pogs. The game, which consisted on stacking up and knocking over discs of card, became popular enough to become the scourge of teachers up and down the country. It was banned at least twice at my school for causing fights. Walker’s crisps Tazos are often considered their poor relation but were equally as good.

See also: Merlin football stickers

Sister Sister

For kids In the 90s Nickelodeon was the home of good TV and there were dozens of shows that were amazing. Sister Sister sticks out because, even for a programme aimed at young folk, the plot was crazy. Twin sisters separated at birth meet up again at a department store and then move into one big house with their foster parents. And it had a young Marquez Houston in it. Go home Roger!

See also: Clarissa Explains it all, Are you Afraid of the Dark?, Moesha, Saved by the Bell and Galaxy High, Keenan and Kel.

Wham Bars

Apart from pricing, the world of sweets has rarely changed radically in the last twenty years but chew bars in the 10p bracket were king in the 1990s. Who knows what a Wham bar was made of, it was pink and green and pulled teeth out, but my God was it tasty.

See also: Quarterback crisps, Tangy Toms, Refresher bars, Mr Freeze Ice pops.

UK Garage

Every decade has at its music scene and in the late 90s it was garage. Just a few years before Blur, Pulp and Oasis ruled the charts and the best acts are still remembered today. Garage, an interesting hybrid of rap, dance and RnB, was diverse with some God awful songs but also some brilliant music. Sorry by Monsta Boy sticks out as one of the best. Buddha Finger by Reservoir Dogs was probably the worst.

See also: So Solid Crew, Wookie, Sia, DJ Luck and MC Neat.

Spliffy Jeans

Just one of many odd clothing trends in the 90s were Spliffy Jeans. Anyone who was anyone wore them and they were the unofficial uniform of the school disco (at might school anyway!). They were baggy, they were black and they had a blonde rasta throwing up a gang sign on the pocket. Classy!

See also: backward baseball caps, round sunglasses, Global Hypercolour and Ton Sur Ton.

Champoholics Anonymous

Tidying my room last week and flicking through various CDs and games I came over all nostalgic when I realised that I had at least three 2D soccer simulation gems.
It pains me to admit that I still occasionally play Football Manager 2008 but nothing could beat the heady days of gambling away your future by starting up a game of Champ at the most inopportune moment.
My GCSE revision was interrupted on by my love for CM9798, playing the diamond with Barcelona and Juventus and buying in gems like Ibrahima Bakayoko, Richard Wright and Tom Youngs.
While doing my A Levels it was Championship Manager 3 and the new interface that was probably a contributing factor to my failure to make it to Nottingham Law School.
And even my degree suffered as I managed to take lowly Stevenage Borough through the league system from the Conference to the Uefa Cup on Football Manager 2005.
There were times when I would play for days at time – barely moving for the computer and only stopping to eat.

At times the love of the game can reduce the most civilized man into an unwashed, gibbering fool who is more interested in gaining promotion with York City than doing something more useful.
But who wouldn’t prefer comparing the merits of Luis Figo (20 for passing) and Zinedine Zidane (18 for shooting) than memorise a detailed history of equity and trust case law.
The worst thing about Champ addiction is that it blurs the lines of reality and fiction – at times I have had to remind my self that Arsenal didn’t sign Fernando Torres in 2006 and then go on to win back to back quadruples.
I’m going to have to write to the manufacturers and ask them to slip a sticker on the front cover. Warning: Champ ruins lives.
Better still we could all get together (and I know there is a lot of us) and start up a support group – Champoholics Anonymous.
“My name’s Leigh…. And I’m a Champoholic.”

Conversations I wish I had been a part of

Some people love London for the nightlife, others enjoy the food and some get a thrill out of being part of the world’s most diverse city.

Personally, being a nosy bastard, I love the human drama.

Anyone who lives in the capital will know that it is difficult to exist without seeing mankind both at its best and its worst.

As people watching is my pasttime (I’m not a stalker by the way) I often overhear snippets of other people’s phone conversations.

There have been a couple of incidents in the last month which made me wish I was the guy on the other end of the line.

Coming out of Tesco a couple of weeks I almost bumped into a posh woman talking on her mobile to who, due to the harsh tone, must have been her boyfriend.

“Darren!,” she yelled. “I’ve told you a million fucking times that I can’t come. I’m in Namibia for a month.”

Poor Darren – he must keep forgetting about that. I didn’t hear his response but I wouldn’t have been suprised if he was grovelling.

The other was clearly between a couple of guys. It had to be – it was embellishment about a fight that had taken place the night before.

I was coming back from the Arsenal – Man City game at the Emirates and heard a burly Gooner say into his handset.

“You should have been there man. He got sparked out by a 15 year-old.”

For good measure he added: “Cold!”

I almost pissed myself.

Sounded like a good fight though.

Apparently the teen is talks to fight Ricky Hatton!