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I've just spent 18 weeks in Val d'Isere and I'm still getting my breath back - and I returned two weeks ago! Its the most incredible place I've ever skied, or been not only for the fact that it is probably the best skiing area in France but also for the lively night life, the general charm of Val d'Isere and the contrast of people you meet out there (le Blizzard hotel is around £2000 a week to stay there, but pikies live in La Daille!). It really is superb, though expensive. I've heard that it is only second to Courchevel 1850 in the most expensive resorts to stay in Europe but trust me, the money is worth it. Val d'Isere is situated about 4 hours away from either Lyon or Geneva, the two main airports that feed the resort. Its not the easiest resort to get to, as there is only one road in and one road out and that road also feeds Tignes (monstrous horror of a resort). This one road will take you to Bourg Saint Maurice which has a train station, which you can get to from Geneva or Lyon. Trains in France/Switzerland are very cheap, I got a train from Geneva to Bourg for about £20. However, you then have to get a bus from Bourg to Val. Buses run to and from Geneva direct from Val d'Isere which makes life that bit easier, though they are a bit more expensive about £50 it worked out as for a return. Bourg Saint Maurice is basically the main base for getting to other resorts if you go by train, with the 3 Valleys, Les Arcs, Le Plagne and La Rosiere all in close proximity. But lets not think about that - lets talk skiing! Theres just too much to tell anyone about in words. Val, or the Espace Killy area, named after the famous French skier Jean-Claude Killy who grew up in Val d'Isere, has about 400km of piste which is a plenty, I tell you, and its the second largest skiing area in France (only the 3 valleys with 620km of piste has more). The runs range from Green to black, and then some off pis
te. However, the Espace Killy area is more of an advanced skiing area. Not meaning to put people off but it appears that the Val d'Isere planning committee decided to put green runs on the map just to attract beginners! I've been to Schladming, Austria and Pas de La Casa, Andorra (read my reviews!) and some of the blue runs in Val were easily red runs in the other resorts. But don't be put off, because this just makes for fast and challenging skiing. And besides, you haven't had a good day skiing unless you've stacked it proper! There are so many gorgeously wide and fast runs that I wouldn't know where to start! The longest run is around 5km but there are many of similar length, particularly from the top of the Olympique bubble lift (the main, 15 man seated bubble which takes you from Val to the top of the Bellevarde mountain) to the bottom of La Daille. There are about 5 different routes to La Daille ranging from green to red, the red runs being used as part of the Alpine Skiing World Cup at the start of December. My personal favourite though was from the top of the Grand Motte. Beautiful up there it is. The Grand Motte is the highest point in the Espace Killy area, only accessible by a Cable Car and standing at about 3600m. It gives you a view for miles which takes your breath away. Mont Blanc is just to the left if you look out from the cable car, and it looks incredible though close. Its actually about 20 miles away, and when you consider how much further you can see around it its awesome, a thousand sugar coated peaks. Brilliant. The run down from there is about 5km (the red run) and its just sheer adrenaline all the way down to the ugly sister of Tignes, Val Claret. Let me tell you, no matter where you live you will never see so many crimes against architecture as you will in Tignes and Val Claret (the product of speeded up French 60's development). You really wonder why they decided to ruin the alps
like that. Val d'Isere isn't much better, but Val has a certain sense of charm about it when viewed from the Face de Bellevarde (the olympic run, black with about a 45degree gradient on it!) or the top of the Solaise mountain. But anyway, the skiing is fantastic and thats that! Theres enough runs to keep all levels of skiers happy, so many blues and reds and then the black runs if you're confident. Theres also two quite big snow parks for the slightly more adventurous and these are filled with hips, kickers, spines and rails, which are also fun to just sit and watch the more experienced rifers show off. The runs over on the Solaise mountain are probably best for starting out with nice, reasonably long blue runs all over. This obviously doesn't include the considerable amount of off piste area there is, which is vast. Some off piste is easily accesible such as the off piste area running from the 'Germain Mattis' to 'L' or the parts off the Grand Motte. Others, and the best less tracked out off piste areas need to be hiked to which is obviously only for the advanced skier, but for that skier who is prepared to make the effort they will find themselves with almost double the skiing ground available already. These areas include the mountain sides viewed from the Grand Huit lift or by the side of the Aigulle Percee, and there are many others. The best powder can be found over at La Fornet, the skiing area furthest away from Tignes on the Val side. This is quite a hassle to get to, well not really its just not as easily accessible as the Bellevarde or Solaise areas. However, this means that few people go there so on a powder day its well worth a visit, and if you do visit take the some what annoying button lift to the top of the signal and ski off the back of it - magic on a mountain side! Val also has other activities available, many which I personally couldn't afford but always looked fun. Val Circu
it particularly, which is a racing circuit on ice where you can race skidoos, quads, go-karts and even rally cars! There's also parapenting which looked brilliant and well worth doing. I can imagine the views would be amazing, and for only 70 euros! Val has the customary après ski type things to do like ice skating, sledging or swimming (very good for the muscles after skiing) though my personal favourite has to be the outdoor Jacuzzi! This was situated down at the Toit du Monde restaurant in La Daille and was absolutely super. For 15 euros you got the steam room and the jacuzzi for 40 minutes, as well as a champagne cocktail. Take some gold medallions and a cigar with you, some sexy women or hunky men and just be a king/queen/whatever for 40 mins. You can see Val just down the road. Come on, imagine it - middle of the alps, snow all around you, brilliant day skiing and now just chillin? in a jacuzzi! Thats how life should be lived! The night life in Val is also good, ranging from crazy scandi bars to the uncomfortable down stairs area of bananas, and then finishing off in Dicks Tea Bar which is highly overrated. The Pacific bar shows all the sport and the Rodeo bar has a bucking bronco and for the more chilled out places there?s the Lounge Bar or the Foret bar. All good, but to really mess your self up have a Attitude Adjuster at Victors, a few 2-for-1 Red Eriks (evil stuff) at Le Petit Danois, a few Freestylers at Bananas and then pass out in Dicks. Vive Val d'Isere! Top tip: Claim to be a seasonnaire, lie and say you work for a company or bar and you'll get cheap drinks! Sorted! Don't feel guilty either because the prices in val are extortionate, a Long Island Ice Tea at Dicks after 10 is about £12 and a beer £5. Rip off or what?! I would recommend to anyone to do a season in Val if only for the views at the top of the Motte and the Bellevarde mountain but even more so for the beautiful scandi women! No really, Val is the best skiing, the best night life, the best everything. Val Rocks!
During my season in Val I experienced the Salomon range of products a number of times, ranging from the skis to boots, bags and a jacket (which was stolen!). As an opening statement I'd just like to say that I find everything about salomon to be superb - I didn't find a fault with any of their products, including the more dated stuff. I'll tell you about skis first as that is what I had most experience with: Skis: ----- I love skiing, going fast on them, slaloming on them, jumping on them, everything! The salomon range had skis that, individually, fitted my requirements expertly. Starting with the freestyle skis, the 1080's and the PocketRockets. I have a separate review on the 1080's (just for the record). They are both fantastic skis, both fitted with the new Salomon spaceframe which is a new super light material. The 1080's are apparently park skis whereas the PocketRockets are Backcountry or off piste skis. This means they are super fat (!), giving you more of a surface area to ski on in really deep powder so you don't sink. I tried other backcountry skis, such as the Rossignol Scratch BC's, but I found the PocketRockets easier to manouvre in powder, fantastically springy when flying off lips or kickers and surprisingly easy to turn on piste. The PocketRockets are new this season though are the little brother of the previous AK Rockets which are only available in super large sizes (195cm and (I think) 210cm). Its hard to get skis that big these days, these are only for the pro's! The are also fat in the middle and with the added length, the AK Rockets are probably the best powder skis around, another success for salomon. The 1080's are available in sizes 161, 171 and 181cm, the PocketRockets are only available in 175cm and 185cm. Without bindings, both skis should now cost around £200. I absolutely love the freestyle salomon range but my favourite ski of the season was the
Salomon Equipe 3v 10 ski. The Equipe range has been going for some time now, around about 4-5 years and the Equipe range has always been for racing or slaloming. Over time they have got shorter and shorter and now they are almost the perfect ski. I raced on the latest skis (all though the newer ones came out just as I was leaving Val - the looked superb and will soon be mine!), I tried the 168cm which is pretty damn short though anyone looking to do slalom properly will want shorter skis. I found these to be just as stable as the 190cm Equipe's I had been on the previous day, much faster, nice and springy and just a dream in general! After years of development, salomon have really got something to show for an obvious amount of hard work. Though at the end of the day a ski is a ski, I found it hard to go slow, something about the skis just makes you go fast, the grip they had on the piste and the stability was untrue and I really think these are quite an advanced skiers ski! As far as I know, the Equipes were available from about 152cm to 190cm (I'm really not sure) so plenty of length to suit anyone. This seasons skis should cost rou around £200 now. If you can get them cheaper, buy them. Its a bargain that shouldn't be missed. Some other similar skis were the Crossmax's, which ranged from 06 to 10 (number on the ski). Now, I read about it somewhere but I can't actually remember the difference between the skis (I know one of the numbers means its a womans ski, think it was 06 but not too sure). These were also fantastic skis, also very popular due to the intruiging design on top though also very expensive (around £500!). The flex on these skis was amazing, you could almost bend them into a half circle, and this made them superb for nice long turns as well as jumping. These were just good skis in general, very enjoyable though I'm not totally positive what specific category of skiing they fit into. Who cares though,
they bomb it down the slope and give you a certain sense of invincibility! The Crossmax's, I think, ranged from 164cm to 190cm. All very stable and fast, they should cost around £500 though that is the new range (old range will be around £300). Other members of the salomon range include The X-Scream series and the Verse series and though I never tried them for myself I had friends who said they were good to ski on. I'm also not too sure on prices. Bindings: ---------- I'll be honest, I don't know too much about bindings but what I do know I'll tell ya! The newest bindings, the salomon 'S' range are the best bindings to have I was told. I bought the Salomon S912 bindings The '12' in that number represents the 'Din' setting, which is the level that should be set according to your weight so that in the event of a crash you will pop out your bindings. For instance, I am 70kg's so my normal piste din setting should be 5 or six. The '12' in the S912 number means that the din goes up to level 12. For freestyle skiing however, as the requirements of the bindings holding you in are so much more due to strain and extra impact, it is important to have the din set about 2 levels higher. This means the bindings will keep you with your skis with a semi-heavy landing, though anything of a severe impact such as landing on a flat from a great height will pop you out your binding. I found the S912 bindings to be reliable with doing this. As an example, my girlfriend didn't pop out her binding which was set to her weight perfectly, they just didn't work, and she twisted her leg pretty bad. The S9's are also avaible as S914 and S916 bindings, though these are pretty much reserved for the more extreme freestyle skier. Boots: ------- Salomon boots have always been very good in terms of comfort and stability and I was not to be dissapointe
d with the new range of X-Wave freestyle boots. I bought the X-Wave 8.0's and they remained comfy and in good condition after 5 months of hard use! I'd had them fitted to my feet which helped and evryone should really do that. I wish I knew more to say about boots, but I don't! All I know is that they're reliable and comfort is the most important issue when skiing, so these boots are well worth a look. Some shops in Val actually allowed a test day on these boots so if you're thinking of buying, try them out and make up your own mind. Me for one, and most of my friends, found these to be the best boots available. The X-Waves are also available as 9.0's, and no doubt salomon will have a new and even more impressive range out this year. Buy 'em! Other Stuff: ------------- Salomon also has an extensive range of other stuff such as jackets, snowboards, rucksacks, ski and boot bags as well as gloves, hats and ski poles. My friend had had one salomon bag which he had used for seasons for 4 years and it was still in good nick so I assume their bags are good as well! I had a jacket which was expensive but warm, had loads of pockets and was made of Gortex (a super light, thin material that is wind and water proof like no other)! Unfortunately it was stolen by some pikie in a bar but the time that I had it with it was warm and fuzzy. Sort of. No seriously, the jacket was superbly warm even at the coldest of times and it also looked good which is always a bonus with the more 'stylish' skiers amongst us! A few of my friends were borders and said the Salomon boards are (obviously) good, particularly the 'Dimension' board. I for one, don't have a clue but I'll use this as an example of just how good good salomon are in general. For skiing equipment, I really don't think there are much better. Its for you to decide, but I'll push you in the
ir direction and I'm sure you won't be dissapointed.
I have recently finished a season in Val d'Isere and after some stressful months on some, first, 190cm P30 Volkls and then some 4 year old Rossignol 170cm 'cuts', I decided to acquire some Salomon 1080's. Helpfully through a friend who worked for salomon so I got them cheap! These skis are something else. The 1080 range has been out for about 3 years now and I bought the latest ones. The 1080's were the first twin tip skis around and really helped accelerate the popularity of 'freestyle' skiing. I tried the old ones, the yellow ones with the blue salomon logo on, and they were very good, obviously tipped at both ends though also shaped like a carving ski. This meant short turns, long turns, skiing backwards and jumping were all a pleasure. However, it got better with the latest range (I didn't try out last years model). The latest 1080's of the 2002/2003 season come in 3 sizes, with different colours to match. You can get 161cm (green), 171cm (silver/white) and 181cm (orange). They are all made with the new salomon 'spaceframe' which is a super light carbon fibre frame. This makes the skis easier to carry as well as them being a lot lighter on your feet when jumping. I chose the 181cm, and got the salomon S912 'black fizz' bindings to go with them. The design is super, having little computer style graphic shapes on the top and then 'salomon' in big blue letters on the bottom with a light yellow background. The skis I've skied on previously were both carvers, though I still found the 1080's relatively good for carving. Short turning, though not a real hassle, were some what more difficult though long, carved turning was alright. Half way through a nice long turn you can feel the flexible ends really kick in which gives you that buzz you always look for when on a slope. The skis measure at about 8cm in the middle and 11cm at the top which makes them pretty wide. I wide ba
se makes good for skiing powder and this is another superior advantage that these skis have over others. Carving in powder on these skis is like floating down a long white dream! Really, they're superb, a real joy to ski on. Jumping is yet another advantage of these skis. The 1080's are quite sturdy in the middle though quite flexible at each end which, for reasons that I'm not too sure about, make them good for jumping. Landing on the back of your skis will bend the back end which then makes for a smooth landing as it cushions the impact of the landing, though this is true for nearly all the freestyle skis. As I said before, the lightness of the skis also makes it easy to jump and a bonus which I like is the design on the bottom which looks well good when you bring your skis up to your side! If you're looking to impress further, I found the 1080's to be as stable skiing backwards as skiing forwards. Brilliant! These are truly good skis and I await to see what next seasons model are like. There is heavy competition in the twin tip field now, with Rossignol bringout the impressive Scratch FS and Scratch BC's and Dynastar now showing their worth with the new Trouble Makers. I've skied on all of these but its the 1080's that do it for me. Obviously its for you to make your own decisions about but I find Salomon to be very reliable skis, and for anyone looking to get into freestyle skiing then I would recommend the 1080 range, past and present.
Montoya is a star! He is the new driver in Formula One, and he is superb taking every corner how it should be taken and punishing the car down the straights. Micheal Schumacher should be shaken in his drivers seat because Montoya is the new kid on the block, and he knows what real drivings about. Or does he? Relatively inexperienced, it was considered a huge gamble by Williams to bring him in from ChampCar Championship winner to formula one. This was a test to see how good Montoya was though, as Frank Williams sent him to the American based championship after considering signing him in 1999. He proved himself, and along with that he won the Indianopolis 500 at his first attempt, was the International FIA F3000 in 1998 and also the runner up in the same championship in the previous year (1997). In that same year he also became test driver for Williams, so Frank Williams has done his homework on this driver. People wouldn't gamble with multi-million pound cars if they thought that the driver was just going to trash them, though teams seem to have done that before. Many drivers fail to make the transition from smaller cars to the biggest and the best cars, but Pablo Montoya is an exception. In the last 3 races he hasn't finished in the points, but largely not due to his inexperience. In the last race in Brazil he was winning the race by 30 seconds, he had a pit stop to go and so did Schumacher and Coultard. After letting him past, Verstappen smashed into the back of Montoya causing him to cruelly spin out of the race. At least he went away with his head held high, applause off the Brazilian crowd and critics raving about his performance. His attack on Scumacher (Micheal) on the first corner proved his bottle, proved to everybody that he's here and he means business. He is also in a fantastic car, the Williams with a BMW engine. Faster than the Ferrari, and with a bit bett
er drivers and a bit more look they would easily be the constructors championship champions. Montoya pushes the cars to the limits, and whether this is a good thing or not its certainly putting Williams back on the map. Montoya will not win the Championship this year and will probably not even come close. Next year though will be his, I guarantee. Villeneuve won it in only his second season and in my opinion Montoya is a far better driver. Look out for him.
This is my opinion on Allerdale Borough and also the council. You may find it useful if you are considering to move to this area and want to know more about it. Situation/Introduction ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Allerdale Borough is situated in the North-West of England, inside the County of Cumbria. Parts of Allerdale are inside the national park, but the only big town in the national park is Keswick, which is a huge tourist destination. The borough runs mainly up the coast, starting up the top at Silloth and running down the coast line to Workington. This coast line provides beautiful scenery onto the mountains of Scotland on clear days, and the sand/rocky beach is clean with horse-riding available on it. The sea is also clean to swim in, but the Council had worked for this for a while and the permission for it to be certified as clean was only given a few years ago. Still, no-one swims in it, basically because it is near Sellafield Nuclear Plant so you don?t want to come out green! Towns in the Borough ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ There are a few reasonable sized towns in Allerdale: Silloth -------- Population about 20 ?30,000. Quite an old town, and quite run down. It is situated right on the coast, has a putting green and few other facilities. Best for tourists really, though my knowledge isn?t extensive on this place! Maryport ----------- Or ?Scaryport? as it is known to the locals! Population about 7,000. Very run down, many boarded up shops, but Allerdale Council and the town council are looking to change its notorious reputation of being a ?hard? town. The port at Maryport has recently been renovated and looks quite good. There is also an aquarium, a sports hall and a Woolworths! Cockermouth --------------- My home town! Population about 7-8 thousand. The Allerdale Council doesn?t seem to care much about Cockermouth and not many developments happen here. It?s a
very peaceful town, situated just outside the Lake District national park so we get our fare share of tourists. The town is very geared up for tourists, with plenty of museums and galleries, and also for its alcoholics with its numerous pubs and takeaways! Not much to do for locals, though plenty of Greenland which is good for footy! Workington -------------- Population about 25,000. Has quite a few clubs, quite a few shops and quite a few things to do! Easily accessible from all the other towns and probably is the best town in the Allerdale District for things to do. Sorry I can?t give more information on the towns but I?ve given you a basic idea. Onto the council then. How do they look after these towns and what do they develop in them? Planning and Development ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ West Cumbria, mainly Allerdale, is very much perceived as a tourist destination, so many of the things that are developed are geared towards the tourists. Not very good for the locals ? it is years since the last development in Allerdale that wasn?t for tourists. There is however an up and coming Cinema near Workington and an Astro-turf pitch in Cockermouth. This isn?t enough for the young locals, many of which are calling for a skate-park or something similar to do. The council rejects these plans though, and that is why there is an exceedingly high number of under age drinkers. This is a disgrace to all the towns in Allerdale ? kids feel that they have nothing to do but drink in the parks, and this often leads to vandalism. Its fine being a kid up to the age of about 12 because you have imagination and you are satisfied by the littlest things. However, you hit 13 and before you know it your sitting on a park bench drinking cider, causing trouble. This is where the council seriously fails with looking after the borough ? there is nothing to do for the youths, and its looking like there neve
r will be. Until they do build a similar facility like a skatepark then I wouldn?t consider bring your children who are in their teens up here. The council would rather concentrate on building houses and putting speed restriction bumps put in, rather than develop something for the much needy kids. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Allerdale Borough is a lovely place to live though. Great scenery of mountain, beautiful parks and enough museums to keep any tourist happy. If it wasn?t so geared up towards tourism and concentrated more on the residents then it would probably be a great place to live. As it is though, the lack of activities to do leads to boredom, boredom leads to min-wandering, mind-wandering leads to psychopaths! Ok, so maybe its not that bad, but don?t come here if you don?t want your kids to drink and you want your kids something to do, because there is little, and the council doesn?t do anything to help.
Whiskas pouches - the cats favourite. Why? Because they're the most expensive cat food, apart from the gourmet ones. Your cats will gobble them up. Perfect for kittens, perfect for cats, they come in tiny chunks, soaked in gravy for your cats pleasure. They are also good for you. Not to eat though, but with convinience of use. Simply open the pouch, wack it in the bowl, throw pouch away. Simple. Saves stacking up the tins to take to the recycle mart as well. I wouldn't know about taste cos, it might just be a personal preference, but I don't tend to eat cat food. You might, and if you do, write an opinion on it because I'd like to know what they taste like. They must put a secret ingredient in that makes the cats love them, and you know that when your cat looks you in the eye you have to buy it the best. And they are the best. A recent whiskas advert showed a cat looking into an empty shopping basket. The slogan was '90% of cats wish they did the shopping'. Maybe true, but you'd be skint before you know it if they did!
Football Hooligans are the scum of the earth, or nasty people anyway! They purposefully go out of their way to cause trouble with rival fans, and then they probably wonder why they get banned from grounds or get targeted by other rival fans. Introduction ~~~~~~~~ The problems experienced with hooliganism at the European Championships in June of 2000 highlighted the ever growing problem of English thugs disrupting Championship events. Why is it that English fans are always causing the problems? Why can't they enjoy themselves and watch their nation play the beautiful game? The answer is that they aren't actually football fans, rather more thugs wearing England shirts to tarnish the reputation of the English game. It was found in Euro 2000 that German, Danish and French thugs caused trouble as well, but in England shirts! Not a bad idea, but I find it a disgrace that it was still all blamed on English fans. Hooliganism has been around for ages, since about the 1940's. This has lead to a decline in football ground attendance's, which means that the minority of (so called) football fans are pushing fans away from watching their favourite team. It isn't just at a national level that there is hooliganism going on. Derby matches in England and Scotland are always highlighted as 'trouble games', most notably Celtic-Rangers, Liverpool-Everton, Man Utd-Man City and Arsenal-Tottenham. There is also rivalries in the lower divisions such as Burnley-Blackburn, Wigan-Stoke and Millwall-anyone! It is disappointing to see that people deem football a suitable place to release their anger and take it out on other people, just because they support a different team. I can't even begin to imagine why they think it is a suitable place. Some psychologists conducted a survey on hooliganism and the outcome was that the hooliganism we see is a small percentage of hooliganism. T
his basically means that shouting abuse, throwing coins onto a pitch and waving offensive flags is hooliganism, which happens at nearly every match. It was also found that hooliganism is a stupid way of males satisfying their masculinity, which I think is pathetic. Who cares about their masculinity when no-one actually likes them? I love football and many of my mates do as well and we all agree that hooliganism is pathetic, and I can?t see too many woman being impressed by some blokes beating up some other blokes. Proving their masculinity is nothing, behaving like immature idiots is everything! If the England fans don't get controlled soon it will escalate to the extent in which the English game is tarnished forever and English clubs and the England team get banned from European competition again. In 1985 English fans were banned from European club competitions because of the behaviour of Liverpool fans before the European Cup Final at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels. A 'charge' by Liverpool fans caused panic among rival Juventus fans leading to a wall collapse and the death of 39 fans In 1990, English club sides were re-admitted to European Competitions with no major crowd disorder problems resulting. However, there were problems at the 1990 World Cup in Italy but this was blamed on over aggressive policing. However, problems involving the English at the European Championships in Sweden in 1992 - which were definitely not caused by overly-aggressive policing - made it clear that hooliganism was not going to go away and the English fans didn't care about getting banned again. The trouble in Marseille highlighted concerns about the security of other football fans, and Euro 2000 was just the icing on the cake. The yobs are becoming more powerful in the time now when little is being done to stop them. Solutions (?) ~~~~~~~~~ It is becoming an ever increasing proble
m and I am not satisfied that the authorities are doing everything they possibly can to get rid of hooliganism from football all together. Its nearly impossible to ban people from grounds as there is too many people that could look similar, and taking a passport away stops nothing because there is always methods of getting abroad. What they need is a large police force that is gentle with fans, instead of the policing that was witnessed at World Cup 1990. The police should be given permission to arrest or beat anyone who is causing trouble, and hopefully that will rid the link between football and hooliganism. There could be many solutions, one of them being pepper spray but this is very dangerous in the wrong hands so is probably best to steer clear of that. Something radical and effective must be done and can be done. The fools causing the trouble obviously have no passion for the game and are just out for a fight. Idiots! My Opinion ~~~~~~~~~ Do anything to stop them! I don?t believe for one minute that hooliganism is the real sport behind football ? I believe it is a minority of football supporters who are immature adults and should never be allowed anywhere near a football stadium. I know this is impossible though, so heavier policing at all away England matches so that the rest of us true England fans can go and watch the games. The scenes witnessed during Euro 2000 and also when the violence started when Arsenal played someone in Copenhagen was very distressing for myself, as I have been in situations like that when its nothing to do with me (Marseille ?98 anyone?). It is very distressing being so close to such violence and the mindless idiots probably can?t even spare half a second to think about the effect it is having on other people like myself. I haven?t travelled to an away England match away in 3 years now and to be honest I don?t want to unless proper measures ar
e brought in to control the fools. Conclusion ~~~~~~~~ Why can?t they control themselves? Why do mindless idiotic fools prevent decent fans from enjoying matches? I know its only the minority who commit these offences, but I do believe tougher measures at football grounds need to be imposed so that the real fans can watch the beautiful game in peace. I hope none of you ever have to come in contact, or been in contact with football yobs because it is truly terrifying. Hope the violence stops, hope the football continues!
The F.A cup is the best domestic trophy that can be won by a team anywhere. This isn't because the cup is worth a lot, which it is, but thats not the point. Its because there is an element of magic produced by the F.A. cup each season, the magical ability for footballing minnows to topple the footballing giants. At grounds there are different atmospheres, a buzz because it is a cup game. People turn out for the match when they may not go to the league games. It truly is a wonderful cup. But why? This is what I didn't understand when I was younger, why everybody makes a big deal out of the fact that its a cup game. The fact of the matter is, it requires a lot of talent for the big teams to come and play on poor quality pitches and against battlers rather than quality players. Wycombe Wanderers are a fantastic example of what low clubs can achieve, and they are battlers. Their football isn't attractive to watch, but they scrape and they battle until the match is won. That is what has got them in the semi-finals, and that is the beauty of the cup. If we think about it, it is only 8 games away the final when the competition is begun (for league clubs anyway), yet it will take 40 games to win a league and yet no-one gets the same buzz about watching a league match as they do the cup. The fact of the matter is, the FA cup is the trophy that every team wants in their trophy cabinet and its the trophy that all the fans want to see there. Wicked!!
The English F.A. recently appointed the first non-English England Manager, sparking outrage among football managers nationwide such as George Graham and David O?Leary. Has he really go the worst job in England, or would he rather be a mushroom picker? Doubt that very much! Introduction ~~~~~~~~ The man is Sven Goran Eriksson, a funny looking Swede with the new job of taking England to world cup glory. From the land of Ikea, Abba and Henrik Larsson, it is a country with proven quality and this will hopefully be conveyed with how he manages England. The idea of taking England to world cup glory seems a bit of a task, particularly as the combines cr*pness of Kevin Keegan and Howard Wilkinson left us bottom of a relatively easy group containing footballing minnows such as Albania, Greece and Finland (who were convincingly beaten on Saturday in Sven?s first competitive game). It does seem a bit hard to understand that once footballing giants such as England should lie bottom of this group. The team consists of nearly all Premiership players, which is supposed to be the greatest league in the world. World class players such as Owen, Beckham, Campbell, Gerrard and Scholes just haven?t been able to do it so far, but I believe England will come alive under this super Swede and we will become an unstoppable force. England are a joke, it has to be said. The last successful manager, to an extent, was Terry Venables who took England to the nose-bleedingly-far-stage-of-a-competition-for-England in Euro 96, only to be cruelly beaten by the Germans on penalties in the semi?s. The last one before that was Bobby Robson who took England to the semi?s of the World cup in 1990, only to again be beaten by the Germans. I?m beginning to think that the sole purpose for the German?s existence is to destroy every decent England manager. It has to be said that the only really successful England manager was Alf Ramsey, who famously won u
s the world cup in 1966. He?d be turning in his grave if he knew the current state of English football. So England are lacking a good England manager, and have been for some time. Up step super Sven Goran to save us from this rut and get England back as one of the top teams in world football. Pro?s ~~~~ A foreign manager, managing the English National team. Doesn?t sound right does it? Well, I think it could be good for the English game. People were opposed to Arsene Wenger managing Arsenal but he is proving to be successful for Arsenal. Wenger bought fresh ideas, fresh dietary plans and fresh tactics to the ?boring-boring? Arsenal team, and have turned them into ?Exciting? Arsenal. Fresh ideas and fresh tactics may do the England team good, as England have been boring to watch for so long. There has never been flair and creative players since Beardsley, Gascoigne and Waddle, but with Eriksson prepared to experiment now with the future England player, we can look forward to talent such as Joe Cole, Alan Smith and Micheal Carrick bucking up the England team. Gambling on players like Powell, Andy Cole and Rio Ferdinand will also be good for the team, as these players will get to prove themselves at international level, which means they may rise to the international occasion and play well. I think that this can only be a good thing for England, and it won?t be long before we are a feared force again. Having a Swedish manager who managed an Italian team is also a bonus, because he will have better knowledge of more players from across the globe. This will be another good thing and the good players from the other teams shouldn?t be able to play their game properly. I think Sven will be the England manager that will uncover the best of English football, and not focus on the conservative methods of previous English managers. Cons ~~~~ An obvious ?con? is the fact that Sven is not English
. The Sky Sports cameramen cruelly focused in on Sven trying to sing the national anthem which, though hilarious, proves that he?s not exactly ever going to get the Three Lions tattooed on his arm. Sven may also not realise just how important the English game is to England supporters, and he may not understand the pain and heartache felt over the past few years from defeat after defeat, mainly by those Germans!! He now has to turn the England team around with this in mind, but changing known tactics and players could prove costly for England. Using totally inexperienced players such as Carrick, Cole and Lampard (nothing against West Ham!) could be another mistake, but I doubt it as they are all class players. Using relatively inexperienced players as well, such as Powell, Cole and Ferdinand, could also prove costly on the international scene, as Powell is 33, Ferdinand is still young and Cole has never actually scored a goal for England. His glaring miss against Finland at Anfield last Saturday must have really tested Sven?s strike force decisions, but he has decided to stick with him for tonight?s game at Albania. Now I know I?m in the con?s section, but in a way that is a good thing because Cole will not lose his confidence. My Opinion ~~~~~~~~~ Bringing in a foreign coach can only be a good thing in my opinion. As he is new and has little knowledge of previous England sides, he will be able to start a new team from scratch. This will step England away from the standard format used by Robson, Taylor, Hoddle, Venables and Keegan. This ?format? means the basic structure of the team over the past few years (Seaman ? Adams-Shearer, you know what I mean (hopefully!!)). They are all old players, though good, and though Shearer is finished, I don?t think it?ll be long before fresh new faces are coming through. Bringing in these fresh new players, who will have an eagerness to play for thei
r country. This eagerness, and the mountains of talent involved, could be what takes England to Korea in 2002. Another positive thing to myself is that Sven is a proven manager. He has had many a success at many clubs, including Lazio who are one of the biggest clubs in the world. Hopefully this success with domestic clubs will be able to be transferred to the English national team. I think that its sad that professional managers like Graham and O?Leary aren?t giving Sven the proper support he needs. They were criticising before he even started, and even if he is foreign there interests should lie with the success of the English national team. Sven needs everyone?s support. Two convincing wins out of two has convinced me he?s the man, and hopefully that will convince the other supporters, the doubters and the media. Conclusion ~~~~~~~~ Sven will be a success. Fresh ideas, fresh team, supporters backing and two wins out of two is always a good thing. If the current performance of the England team continues, I?ll see you in Korea! We just need a win tonight at Albania and then beat the Germans away and we?re sorted. Beating the Germans (hopefully on penalties!!!) would be fantastic and would sway everybody?s opinion the right way, which would be a great achievement. England, Svengland, whatever you want to call the national team now, Sven is going to the business for us, and to be honest, its about time someone did.
Next Friday, the sequel to the awesome Friday (1995), is another good film. Using the same lead man, Craig (Ice Cube) this follows the story of who he had to move to Rancho Cucamonga form the 'hood, because there was rumours that Debo was going to break out from jail and have a re-match. Ok, the story from Friday is this, or the end of it anyway. Craig kicks Debo in, Debo is the 'hood bully. Debo gets arrested. Thats about it. Craig moves away to live with his cousin, Day Day and his Uncle Elroy. Across the street there is some Spanish drug dealers, called the Ese's. Uncle Elroy won the lottery, but for some reason his house is going to up for auction the next day, so there need to raise about $3000 by the next day. They have to rob the ese's, which they do, but not before landing themself in a big pile of $%^&. That is the basic story line, but I won't ruin the ending which I will tell you is the same as Friday's ending. My Opinion ~~~~~~~~~~ Dissapointing. Friday wasn't exactly the best film ever, but I did enjoy it, because I enjoy films about life in the hood. If the story line wasn't so similar to the first film this would probably be a much more enjoyable film, but as it is, it isn't. They have basically used exactly the same story line, swapped the location and swapped the characters about a bit. Its still worth a watch just to see what you think, but after I had anticipated it for a while it was dissapointing.
Front is the best magazine around, according to yours truly. Classifying it as a men's mag would be cruel to FHM, as it is really a lads mag. Grown men though may still get a kick out of the 'Mate in a State' section, though I'm sure they would prefer the health products section in FHM. This is no disrespect to grown men, I'm sure they can get jiggy with it anytime, but this magazine is deeply suited for lads. Front has done well to establish itself in the last 2-3 years since its launch, and is now one of the big players in the fiercly competitive mens magazine market. Along side the popular magazines such as 'FHM', 'Sky' and 'Loaded', it still maintains originality with its style of writing articles and its dry and incredibly funny sense of humour. The feeling is though that it has copied these magazines and their features which I find a bit harsh because you can't be completly original, can you? Front is pleasing on the eye, and though only having been established for a couple of years, it has changed the layout of the mag once and is thinking about doing it again. This is a lot better than FHM's approach, who change the format once every five years and it really does get boring to read. They seem to have lost their sense of humour with being the biggest player in the market. Front is fresh though. Regular stories from around the globe, stroies about people in dodgy situations, articles on war, film, CD and book reviews as well and then obviously the jokes section. People look beyond this huge selection of reading material, and look directly at one thing - the woman. Yes, I will admit that there is plenty of scantily clad woman in the mag, some not even 'clad' at all! But this is a small section of a fantastic magazine, and people should look beyond the woman and realise that Front is one of the best mags around.
Sixth Form, in my opinion, is better than college and I will explain why. Sixth forms are usually the further part of education at a school, so you remain in school after you finish the GCSE's. Entry to most sixth form places I have found is 5 GCSE's, grades A to C. For GNVQ's, the entry requirement is 4 GCSE's. This is a lot more higher requirement than college, as on some courses you don't even need any grades to get in. I go to Cockermouth Sixth Form in North West Cumbria. This is a good place to go. It doesn't actually offer too many subjects, basically all the GCSE's but to an advanced level. The common room is large, and there is a tea and coffee making area which includes a toastie maker and a microwave. Superb for all of us student bums! The huge difference I have noticed since graduating from GCSE level is the respect you get off teachers. You do actually get treated like an adult, but you do have to earn that respect by working hard, which you will have to do. The courses are not easy, and I have done an A-level and a GNVQ. The GNVQ is the harder option, beleive me, though I think the syllabus is changing or has changed to make it easier. I GNVQ is definitely worth doing as you will get plenty of experience in work, customer service and researching information which could prove vital depending on what kind of job you want. Though an A-level is not easy, it is the easier option and would be best done if you had a specific job in mind that you wanted to do, or if you simply are good at the subjects and want to get through to university. The main thing I like about sixth form though is the kick up the backside you get, which you don't get at college, and I think that is what makes sixth form better than college. I can't actually remember what I was told, but school's receive more money than colleges I think so they push you harder to get the good g
rades. I have friends at college and they say that its the total opposite - they get 1 day a week to bum about, and only have to go to their classes on 1 of the other 4 days. This is an opinion though, and it is best for you decide what to do. I would choose sixth form if you have slacked a bit in your GCSE's, because a good kick in the butt might do you good. You could choose: 1)Sixth form 2)College 3)Bumming about Like they say on Blind Date (though that is completely irrelevent), the decision is YOURS.
Hotmail.com, in my opinion, is the best e-mail service around, far better than some of the others that I have used such as Yahoo. Those of you who haven't used hotmail should definitely consider signing up simply for its ease of use and user friendly menus: Starting Up ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Simple enough - it will take you about a minute to fill in the required registration form. There are the basic, name, address, birthday and sex things to fill in, and then you select a password. You can choose any name, and if it is already taken then it will put a number at the end of the name so to keep you happy. You will also have to choose a password which you should really write down. No worries if you don't write it down though, because if you forget your password, simply answer the secret question and get into your account. Don't choose a question like 'What’s my middle name?' or 'What’s my cats name' because that would mean any friends or ex-partners of yours would be able to log in, and you really don't want and angry ex-partner messing up your mail! Security ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Hotmail is excellent for security. You can select an option which means that if you are using the hotmail service on a network, like at a school or college, then you can block your screen, which means no-one else, such as the system administrator, can check your mail while you look at it. You can also block junk mail, which is a super help. Hotmail calls it ‘Inbox Protector’ and it is well worth activating this because it means that you won’t receive any un-wanted porn or ‘Lower Mortgage Costs’ mail. It doesn’t actually delete it, it just sends it to a ‘Bulk-Mail Folder’ which will delete messages in their which have been there for more than two weeks. Viruses are not a prob
lem coming through Hotmail. There is an automatic virus detector, which will tell you when you have clicked on the mail. This means that all viruses on the attachments are instantly recognisable so will not cause any harm to your desk top. Basic Services ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ There is the obvious 'Compose' option, which is where you can compose your e-mails in. This is very simple to use, as you would expect. It has the basic address bars, Cc. bar and subject bar. Below this are the Dictionary, Check Spelling and Thesaurus, which I think are absolutely superb because this means Dyslexics can use this e-mail service as they will be able to spell every word correctly. An excellent addition in my opinion. There is also the 'Attachment' option which will allow you to attach any file you have on your hard drive to the e-mail. 'Insert Address' is basically where you can insert an address into the address bar from your address book. Very useful if you don't have a good memory. There is also the Add stationary option which basically means you can choose a background. I tend to not use this though, because at the end of the day, you are only sending a few words to another person so there isn't really much point in this being included. What I do approve of though is the options below these, the ones that you receive in Microsoft Word. This basically means you can align your e-mail to the left, right or centre, bullet your statements, change the font, change the font colour, change background colour and change the font size. (I know I disapproved of the background thing earlier, but this is right on the front page and doesn't require clicking into another section of the site). The best thing, by far, in the hotmail compose option is the 'Insert Emotion', which is basically a range of faces or symbols which you can attach to your mail t
o let people know how you are feeling. Wonderful, absolutely wonderful. Address Book ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Simple enough. You can either put your friends in as individuals or groups. This is good because if you are in regular contact with a group of friends, you can put the addresses into the group section of the address book, and then a few clicks will get all the addresses up. Particularly useful if you are contacting a group of over 10 people. I recommend putting the people you speak to least, or went to send personal e-mails to, in the individuals section, so that it doesn't get sent to your group of friends. In the 'Address Book' bit there are also options like 'Send Mail' (to the address, duh!), View/Edit (you have to form a mini-profile for the address), Delete, and create new. An excellent addition to a fantastic site, as it saves memorising every address you know. Folders ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Folders are basically spaces in which you can put mail which is off a special person, and keep it in a file so that you don't have to delete the messages from your inbox to save space, you can put the mail in a folder. Very useful, and you can have as many folders as you like. Options ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Plenty of features in the 'Options' section, which means that you can create an e-mail that suits you fine: Personal -------- Basically change your user profile, good if you had a sex change or changed your name by depol. Language -------- Change your language, or the language that you read your e-mails in anyway. *TIP*- If you are revising, say, for a French exam, change your e-mails to French. I don't know how or why I thought of this, but it helps! Password -------- Basically, change your password. If that
revengeful ex of yours has found out your password, fear not, as you can change it. Wonderful Secret Question --------------- You can also change this if you know that someone has found out the embarrassing fact that you used as your previous 'secret' question. Block Sender ------------ Excellent if you haven't activated 'Inbox Protector' as you can Block the senders of all the junk mail yourself. You can also block senders of previous 'friends' or people you were with on holiday but don't ever want to speak to again! Filters ------- Filters all your mail to folders that you may of created. Makes life easier for yourself, as you don't have to take mail from your main inbox to your folder. Signature --------- You can even create your own signature on this site! Its that good! Create a signature and attach it to any mail. Fantastic. MSN Messenger ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A quick hotmail service basically. You can activate this, and then speak to your friends like you are in a chat room. Good stuff, excellent addition to hotmail. You have to download it though, and I have found that it can screw up your hard drive. A good service, but bad because of the hard-drive thing. There!! That should help you get started on Hotmail. I seriously do recommend it for everyone. Its numerous options means you can create an account that suits just you, which is excellent. The Emotions option and Signature thing make the site fun, which e-mailing really shouldn't be! Go and get an account now, because, really, it is Simply the Best!
Human Traffic is the most bizarre film I have ever seen. Truly is weird, and it will confuse your mind like buggery. The film focuses on the drug-taking rave scene in Cardiff, following, Jip, Koop, Lou Lou and some other girl on a night out. This is an E-induced night out, and it is quite amazing how they manage to capyur the rave/clubbing scene so well. There isn't really much else to the film - they get ready to go out, go out, come down, carry on. That is about it. The film keeps on going to different thoughts though, which confused me. For instance, Jip can't 'get it up' and a girl who he tried to shag the week before comes into the shop. It then goes to a different scene where the two are having a conversation in the shop, but Jip is out of his uniform and in a t-shirt that says Mr Floppy. The girl is dancing with some lads who are singing 'He couldn't get it up for the lads'. It really is totally weird, but there is something strangely compelling about this film that makes it so enjoyable. I don't want to give too much of the story line away, so I'll leave it at that. Just take my advice and go and rent it now.
Menace 2 Society is an awesome film. Set in Watts, L.A. it follows a lad called Caine through his summer holiday. He narrates the whole film himself. It starts off with him and his friend, O-Dogg, going into a shop to go into buy some beers, but Caine comes out with 'accessorry to murder and theft of money'. His friend O-Dogg shot the shop owner for talkin about his mama. Caines mum and dad are both dead - his dad was shot and his mum od'd on heroin - so he now lives with his grandparents. Having just graduated, he goes to a party with his cousin and then they move onto another one. On the way there though they become the victims of a drive-by in which his cousin dies, the car is stolen and he gets shot in his shoulder. After getting better, him and O-Dogg go and 'smoke' the 'fools' who killed his cousin. Caine had never killed before, but now he knows he can. Caine was brought up by Prenel, who showed him how to survive on the streets. Prenel is in prison, so Caine looks after Prenels wife (forgot name!) and her son, Anthony. He late gets it on with her. Caine meets a girl later in the film, who he makes pregnant. Caine denies this so the girls cousin comes to sort Caine out. Caine sorts him out though. Before moving to Atlanta to get out of the hood with Prenels wife, Caine is the victim of a drive by by the couisn of the girl he made preganant. He dies, but is found cradling Anthony for protection. Like Caine said earlier, you never know whats gonna happen in the hood. Menace 2 Society is an awesome film, with excellent directing, plenty of violence and a good insight into life in the hood. It is slightly confusing to interpret what message the film is trying to convey, as there isn't that stronger storyline. The soundtrack is also bangin', with NWA kickin most of the beats, plus other rap stars feature. It is definitely wor
th a watch and is guarenteed enjoyment.