Monday, December 19, 2005

Best of Britain Part Two

Here is the second installment of my favourites from my time here in England. This will probably be my last post from the UK as Michelle and my family are set to arrive and I'll spend the next two weeks sightseeing, so enjoy!



By far my favourite musical find since I've been here, Hard-Fi are great fun to listen to. Jangling guitars and occassional harmonicas that one reviewer likened to 'car horns' create the backdrop for lyrics focused on life as a working drone. Songs include the aptly titled "Living for the Weekend" as well as "Hard to Beat", about finding a hook-up at a party and "Cash Machine", which shows that we're all working for the money but it never seems to be enough. This is one I'll be listening to for long after I return.

Goldie Lookin' Chain

Another fun find, these guys from Wales remind me of old school Bloodhound Gang or Beastie Boys (except there's nine of them!). Songs include hilarious tracks such as "Your Missus is a Nutter", "Guns Don't Kill People, Rappers Do" and "Your Mother's Got a Penis". This is just one of those groups you don't take seriously, but are funny and catchy at the same time.


Gorillaz was one band that I was actually aware of before I came over here, due to their success with their debut album that spawned the hits "Clint Eastwood" and "19-2000", but their new album "Demon Days" (pictured above) is excellent from what I've heard. I've downloaded the singles "Feel Good Inc.", "Dirty Harry" and "Dare", and listened to them so many times they're already on the top 25 most played on my iTunes. "Dirty Harry" is actually an anti-war tune, but it's incredibly catchy, as are the other two. Even having heard them so many times, it's hard to click past them when they come on. That infectious.

TV Shows

Space Cadets

I was fortunate to catch this one-off reality show as I think it was truly groundbreaking. Basically the story goes that the producers of the show bought an old American Air Force base in England and converted it into a Russian space base. They then got 10 contestants and pretended to put them through 3 weeks of space training in preparation to send them to "space", when in actuality they would never leave England, or the ground for that matter. A 10-part series, it was hilarious to see the 'cadets' going through all of the training for what they thought was a trip to space, when after they 'landed', it all had turned out to be fake.

Devil's Den

This is a weekly show on BBC2 with another interesting premise. Budding entrepreneurs have only about 5 minutes to enter the 'Den' and pitch their business idea to 5 multi-millionaires (each worth about $250 million), and then ask for money to help get their business going. If any of the 'Dragons' like the idea, then they can begin negotiating, for example "I'll give you the $100,000 you need to get started but I want 40% of the company." Mind you, this is only AFTER the guests have been grilled about financial details and forecasts; but it is a very engrossing show as you want to see the various business ideas and products, how they pitch it to the 'Dragons', and how the 'Dragons' respond. It's always exciting when you get them investing, but also it's fun to watch some of the people who have the nerve to ask for money.

Well, that's about it from my highlights in the media here, but look forward to my overall reflections of my work experience as well as reactions and photos from my time as a tourist and updates on the job search when I return to the States. Ciao for now!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Best of Britain Part One

Ok, so as my time here in England is quickly drawing to a close, I thought I'd cover some of the highlights of my time here from a media perspective. I'll be discussing my favourite reading material, TV shows, movies and music. However, it will probably take two updates, the second of which should come at the weekend, followed by my sum-up of my work experience. Check back often as the updates will be coming fast and furious! This time, it's print media and movies.

Print Media

The Sun

I tried a few newspapers here before settling on the Sun. It's written like a tabloid, but actually contains news (and tabloid stuff too). When I first got here, I bought a copy every day, but haven't picked it up too much lately. The sports coverage is unparalleled and how can you beat a topless model every day on page 3? For the adults reading, go to to see more.

The League Paper

Only began printing about halfway through my time here in England, but provides at least a two page spread on every professional game in England that's NOT the big boys in the Premier League. There's enough coverage of them in the other papers, so I'd prefer two pages of match report and massive photos of my boys here at Southend for my 1.20 every week, thank you.


I read it once before I came over here, and it is massive. Weighing in at about 180 pages every month, it is the most exhaustive coverage of footie on this rock. For as many pages it has and as little ads there are, there is amazingly only about one paragraph worth of coverage on US soccer every month. Pretty staggering, eh?


The Business

This was a film I saw early in my stay here in Southend, basically a glamour film about life in the world of drug importing. Danny Dyer plays the lead role as an innocent English boy who gets mixed with the wrong crowd, but comes to get addicted to the fast cars and the beautiful women. It was alright, but I haven't seen many straight British movies since I've been here.

Football Factory

I was virtually ordered to watch this one as it was a gritty film about the modern hooligan culture that still apparently exists outside the gates of football grounds on a Saturday afternoon. It was a pretty enjoyable film, yet VERY violent, and like "Green Street", makes you realize that the people throwing punches aren't that much different than you or I. As the main character states at the very beginning and end of the movie, "what the fuck else you gonna do on a Saturday?"

Part Two coming soon...

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Photo Journal Entry #5

Hey folks, welcome to my final European installment of the Photo Journal. Next week be sure to stop by and get my reactions and reflections of my work experience in England and my plans for the tourism period. Then you can look forward to my return to the States!

Until then, though, enjoy these...

This is me with Southend's mascot, Sammy the Shrimp, in the player's tunnel during my farewell game Saturday

This was taken last Tuesday at Southend's night game. It's always great being at a stadium at night, no matter where you are

Since there were requests for frontal shots of the Blue Belles, here was a glimpse in their little Santa outfits from Saturday's farewell match

My desk at the club. David Beckham's keeping an eye on things

And from the archives...

This is the Milwaukee Museum of Fine Art that Failor and I saw on our Chicago/Milwaukee trip in the summer of 2004. The museum was designed by renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.