Dear Barca

18 07 2011

Dear Barca,

I could write a lengthy, witty piece about how your attempts to unsettle and sign our club captain are not only insulting but are reaching a point where you are just starting to look like repetitive fools.

However I am not going to do any of that, there have been tens of thousands of words written about your sneaky underhand behaviour and the coverage is getting almost as tiresome as your attempts. Nothing I am going to write here would change things a jot.

However it has often been said that a picture paints a thousand words; as such I am going to hand things over to some Chinese Arsenal fans who have managed to capture my sentiments perfectly.

Barce pay £40m take Cesc away or go home to wank’

 

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The wait is over :)

11 06 2010

It’s been 4 years but the wait is over.

The World Cup is here again; normally I avoid writing anything about football (soccer for our colonial cousins) as normally the discussions spiral round and round and round about who is signing who or which player/team/coach etc is the best…yawn

But I am genuinely excited about  the World Cup, I always have been since I was a child and watched Italia 90 at home.

I am always more than a little amused at myself as it is also the only time that I have any vaguely patriotic feelings at all about the UK.

It is strange I go through life feeling a generally pleasant ambivalence to the country of my birth but then every 4 years I suddenly feel this unfamiliar pang of pride and anticipation.

Maybe it is nothing more than the fact that England is the birthplace of the modern game (some claim the game full stop) and even though we get humbled at it quite regularly we did succeed in giving the world one of the few genuinely unifying things that it has; 22 men kicking an inflated bladder around.





Hamilton Hall – Liverpool Street Station

29 04 2010

Hamilton Hall is part of the J D Wetherspoons chain of pubs located at the Bishopsgate Street entrance to Liverpool Street Station.

Due to it’s location it gets busy and I mean BUSY, obviously there aren’t locals as such (unless you count the tramps) and the clientele tends to be a mixture of train passengers, local workers and away day football fans – a heady mix! The pub is set out over two levels each with a bar and a seating area, the furniture is typical Wetherspoons; cheap dark wooden chairs, tables and stools with the ubiquitous table numbers for food set into them. The decor however is about as far removed from the usual Wetherspoons as you can get; it used to be part of the old Great Eastern Hotel and depending on who you ask was either part of the banqueting hall or ballroom. Regardless of which the it is stunning, there are a lot of original features and gilding throughout and several massive floor to ceiling mirrors that help add to the overall feeling of light and space.

The staff here are ok, they always seem to be the usual mix of students and backpackers that you find in most pubs in the city. One thing to note is that due to how busy it gets in here it can take a while for staff to notice you as such if you are due to be catching a train make sure you give yourself an extra few minutes, particularly if eating. One nice feature that is a new addition this year is the set of screens on one of the walls showing what trains are next to leave from which platform, it certainly beats having to run up and down from the station. The food is the standard Wetherspoons menu of pub grub, cheap and plentiful, some of the prices are higher than you might pay in other Wetherspoons but they are still cheaper then anything else you would find at the station. So onto the most important thing, the beers. As with most Wetherspoons there are all the usual suspects when it comes to the generic McDrinks, Strongbow, Guinness, Heineken etc there are also what I think of as Wetherspoon’s “standard ales” Greene King IPA and Greene King Abotts Ale, neither of which are a bad pint but they wouldn’t get me overly excited either. So if we put these standard offerings to one side what do we have at the Hamilton Hall, well downstairs at the main bar there are 10, thats right 10 handpumps. These handpumps are set up as two groups of 5, one grouping at either end of the ramp, sometimes there might be one or two particularly popular guests ales that put in an appearance at both ends but even then that is still 6 different beers for you to try. This week I was lucky as it part of was Wetherspoons beer festival and as such there was a very varied selection of ales, milds, porters and more! Now obviously not every week is going to be part of the beer festival but even so the beer selection very rarely dissapoints. So overall the decor is stunning, the location is very handy and easy to get to and the beer is good, on the downside it does get very busy, the football fans of a weekend can be a real nuisance and it isn’t really somewhere you would want to take a family into. Overall I would have to give the Hamilton Hall a very solid 3.8 out of 5, it isn’t perfect and wouldn’t be my first choice of pub however if you want a good selection of beer at excellent prices (particularly by city standards) then you wont go far wrong.








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