The Tour of Britain has been Live on TV this past week and yesterday there was a magic moment during the Stage to Edinburgh.
You get the odd nutcase in the big Grand Tours of France and Spain who run along side the competitors shouting encouragement they grind up a mountain.
A local lad, Xander Graham, kept pace with the leading group of riders for a fair way along the route by cycling on the pavement. His efforts were rewarded by race rider Pascal Eenkhoorn with a water bottle.
It was a great moment to see.
There have been a few posts on this blog about my bike heroes. Only 6 have been chosen so far:
- Sheldon Brown the bike building oracle was the first on the list of heroes. He was a great inspiration, source of information and point of reference when I did my own build.
- Danny MacAskill has come a long way since he received my second nomination. The things that he can do on a bike still take your breath away.
- The come back kid, Mark Cavendish, has broken records in this year’s Tour de France and has always been a legend in my opinion.
- Mario Cipollini is a blast from the past. Bike Heroes #5 and #6 are more personal additions to the list. These last two inductees have with no links to competitive cycling. Nevertheless the latest bike hero is a true competitor. An olympic champion no less.
Beth Shriever take a bow – you are (BMX) bike hero #7.
Let’s face it. BMX racing is more fun to watch than archery.
BMX racing is more accessible to young people who want to try it out than Equestrian sports.
Despite a funding cut from UkSport and a double leg break in the lead up to the games, Beth Shriever won an Olympic gold in Tokyo after a thrilling final race. Her gold medal represents a better return for team GB than the entire rowing squad can muster.
This girl is a new sensation, yet she humbly points out that it was an achievement just to get to Tokyo in the first place.
Beth has had to self finance her training and travel to events through a crowdfunding website and working as a teaching assistant in a primary school for 2 days a week.
Meanwhile the lottery funding for the Olympic rowing team is £24.6 million
Equestrian team get £12.5 million from UkSport
Even Archery gets £1.1 million to fund the Olympic squad.
From what I can see Beth won her gold medal in spite of and not with the support from UkSport.
There are some other interesting totals in these funding figures
Well now, who would have believed it.
The post race interview says so much. Mark Cavendish is lost for words after his 31st win at the Tour de France.
The legend lives on.
And two days later Tour de France stage win #32 is chalked up. Again the break away is foiled and the sprinters battle out the finish. The man in green wins with apparent ease.
It looks like he is in love with cycling again and his smile says that all is well with the World.
This is a rider who is still winning stages of the World’s greatest 3 week cycle race at the age of 36. This is unprecedented. This simply should not be happening.
The next hurdle to over come is the Alps. Mountain stages just need to be completed within certain time limits, if he gives up or does not get to the finish line his Tour is over. With the help of his team mates he survives.
Back on the flat Cavendish is in his element. Stage 10 is a textbook finish. His team mates work together and go flat out to deliver the man in green almost to the finish line. Cavendish does the rest, making it look so easy. Win #33 is reached – just one away from the all time record.
This is getting tougher – but there is no stopping the Manx Missile. A hot day in the South of France is where he draws level with Eddy Merckx.
Dave Prowse sadly passed away today. A true giant at 6 foot 6 inches tall, the man who famously played Darth Vader in the Star Wars Films.
As a young kid I remember him as the Green Cross Code Man. He taught us how to cross the road at a safe spot, and to stop, look and listen before we stepped off the kerb.
Another claim to fame was recorded at The Fleece and Firkin brew-pub in Bristol in the mid 1980’s.
The brew-pub concept was a novelty in those days. Real ale was a niche product and the majority of drinkers chose lager over anything else. However The Firkin chain had a unique selling point and that was the head splitting brew called “Dog Bolter”.
The Fleece was always a lively place, it had a big open bar and was part of the circuit of boozers you would stop in on a night out with the lads.
Today the pub has evolved into an excellent music venue and the walls are decorated with tour posters of the bands that have played there.
Back in the day the walls were hung with honours boards displaying names of those people who had drunk a gallon of Dog Bolter. It seems crazy now drinking 8 pints of high strength ale in a session, just to get your name written up on a wooden board.
There were not many names up there. A list of people where one name stood out, as it was the only one with the successful completion time written next to it.
I cannot remember the time written up there, but it must have been a record breaker. The person who drank the quickest gallon of Dog Bolter was, you guessed it, Dave Prowse.
I read today that Elvis Costello has had to cancel his latest tour due to ill health. Hope you get well soon. Keep on Rockin’!
Jim Bowen’s death was announced today. He was an absolute legend and loved by millions.
I wrote about the TV show Bullseye in a previous post a few years ago as it was something that I had rediscovered.
Cheers Jim I salute you!
I love the Challenge Channel on Freeview Channel 46. It broadcasts repeats of Bullseye on a regular basis, often back to back. There are plenty of shows to choose from as 15 series were produced. It is great!
The host, Jim Bowen (voted the Most Popular Game Show host last month in an online poll) is a proper legend. Bullseye was his show and it is great to look back and re-live those memories of Sunday tea time viewing thirty years ago. After all as Jim says “You can’t beat a bit of Bully.”
A classic episode was witnessed the other day. In the final round the first couple were a bloke, who had a delicious Bobby Charlton hair cut (circa 1972); we are talking proper comb-over job. The other contestant was in fact his daughter. In total contrast she had a mass of blonde hair, styled in a tightly permed mullet. Not a great style combo, but both were pretty handy dart throwers.
Fair play, they did well and won the best part of £600 in the quiz rounds. They then went on to scoop a shed load of stuff on Bully’s Prize Board, namely a washing machine, a toasted sandwich maker, a hostess trolley and an telephone answer machine. This last high-tech device was the size of a shoe box.
Happy with their winnings the leading pair declined the offer from Jim to gamble their prize haul and go for the Star Prize. They had a great result in terms of cash and prizes won, so it seemed a prudent move not to blow the lot in a dash at the Star Prize.
In these situations whenever the first pair of contestants decline the chance of trying for the Star Prize, the second pair of players are invited back to have a go at the big win. So up step Kevin and Jack from Barrow in Furness. They previously managed to win £550, which probably could pay the price for a terraced house in their home town back then. Consequently they were not tempted to wager their cash, that they could hit 101 or more with 6 darts.
So here was a rare event, up steps the the third couple with a chance of something big after being knocked out in Round 1. Steve and Trish had not had a great day so far and had only managed to win to £80 earlier in the show. That was all they had to hand back to Jim and gamble with in order to have a pop at the Star Prize.
The Star Prize was always not to be sniffed at. It could be a decent long haul family holiday, or a brand new car hidden behind a big, red velvet curtain in the TV studio.
This prize would not be revealed till the end of the show, but it was a “no brainer” decision to make for this last couple. They had to go for it. Throw 6 darts and get a combined score of 101 or more. Job done.
Trish looked like she could hold her own in a bar fight, truth be told. She gritted her teeth and bowled up to the oche and proceeded to chuck 22 with her 3 arrows. Not a great start, but she was the “non-dart player”, so all was not lost.
Up steps hubby Steve, the so called dart player, who hits treble 19 with his first dart and lands on single 16 with the next. This means that with Trish’s score of 22 added to his two darts things are looking great.
With a total of 95, the man of the moment only has to get 6 or more with his last dart! Happy Days!
Now if you look at the board what would you do? Aim left, surely? As anything will do 12 through to 19. Virtually half the board to aim at – it is not a tricky throw at all. It is 6 or more remember, with the last dart.
Yet what does Steve hit? THREE!!!! Are you sure? A collective gasp is heard from the studio audience off camera. Single 3! Steve loses the £80 won previously and the Star Prize also slips from his grasp. Blood drains from his face. In close up you can see it has dawned on him. Yes Steve, your other half could have done better than that with one dart.
Trish slowly hands back the cash to Jim, our ever diplomatic host. It hurts, you can see it in her eyes. Mind you, it is water off a duck’s back to Jim, who puts his arms around the losing couple and bellows “Let’s see what you would have won!”
Diminutive Steve stands still, ashen faced, anticipating a beating from the wife when he gets home to Rochdale. The curtain is drawn back to reveal the Star Prize. It is a blinking speed boat as well – loving it !! Trish does not look a happy bunny!
I read Slaughter House 5 a long time ago when I was working out in Germany. In the days before ipod/phones I used to read on the tram and bus journeys to work. The book is semi-autobiographical and easy to read in terms of style, but harder to inwardly digest. The author, Kurt Vonnegut goes up in my estimation the more I find out about him. I posted a blog entry on him previously after seeing a clip of a lecture he gave on “Story Styles”.
Since then I have discovered and read two letters written at different stages of his life. One letter he typed to his family at the end of WWII and the other was sent to some high school students almost 40 years later in 2006.
Vonnegut enlisted in the US Army in 1943 and by the following year he was fighting in the Ardennes. It was here that he became a POW during the Battle of the Bulge. By 1945 he was in Germany, in Dresden to be precise.
This is the city where his book Slaughter House 5 is set. Dresden. is a place that I have been to; it is a very beautiful city with an Old Town that has half timbered houses. It has some wonderful architecture with palaces, churches and a very famous opera house. Visit Dresden today and you will see very little evidence that it was a scene of mass death and destruction towards the end of the War in Europe.
The city was the target of heavy bombing by the RAF which resulted in a huge firestorm. Vonnegut was there to see the city burn on Valentine’s Day 1945 that many of its victims simply suffocated to death. The reason for this was that the fire was so intense that its flames consumed all the available oxygen in the combustion process.
Nobody knows how many people died but it is estimated to be hundreds of thousands as the city was full of people fleeing the oncoming Red Army. When you hear about the journey that took him to Dresden it is amazing that he even got to see it all take place. Just see what he wrote here:
The things that he must have experienced, one cannot begin to imagine. It was a shocking and disturbing thing to see first hand but he dealt with it and enjoyed successful writing career.
Towards the end of his life Vonnegut was invited to come and visit their class by some New York high school students. He politely declined the invitation by sending this letter to the school. It just illustrates what an absolute diamond the man was.
The video made about this story can be seen by clicking the picture below
Some people just do things right. Kurt Vonnegut is one such man.
It is like the good old days. A musician plays his heart out at a gig and after had your socks knocked off by the live performance you wait in anticipation for the next album to come out. Then when you find out this record is to made in collaboration with another favourite combo then it is time to get really excited!
Time to buzz down to Raynors/Rival/Revolver and get your hands on a copy of the LP.
Well Elvis Costello has teamed up with The Roots to make his latest album.
He did his best to shake up the dullards who were stood waiting in their chosen spots to see The Stones be wheeled out later. It was said that Freddie Flintoff used to bowl a lot of ‘effort’ balls in his Test career. Well Glastonbury 2013 was one of Elvis Costello’s ‘effort’ gigs.
So he has now gone onto work with Philadelphia’s finest. It just is a download away to see how they got on.
was a post written 2 years ago when Buster Bloodvessel was laid up in hospital in Italy. At the time it did not look good. It was even reported in the NME that the front man from Bad Manners was in a bad way and obituary writers were being summoned in readiness.
However all is well with the big man, which puts a smile on my face. As in my recent trawl of various ticket agency web sites to see which forthcoming The Hives gig was nearest to me I saw the list of bands due to play at the Reading festival next month. There they were, Bad Manners, and with a future Christmas count down tour lined up too. I might even go to the Fleece on December 15th and see them for myself! It has been a while.
Anyway Buster looks the picture of health to me – here he is playing Mighty Sounds festival in the Czech Republic in June. Good news I say.
Happy Birthday Alan Border! The former Australian cricket captain, who is 58 today was quoted in the week as saying about the current team’s batting in the Ashes series so far :
“Our major concern right now is the performance of the top six. I could honestly say the nine, ten and jack [No 11 batsman] looked more competent than our one, two and three. If that was me in the top three, I’d be embarrassed.”
Chin up mate and enjoy your special day!