Dave's Diary
This journal of the comings'n'goings and musings'n'enthusings of Dave Ling will be updated daily
(except after nights of excess)

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Wednesday 31st May
Being a Palace fan ain't ever boring, and there are two ways of looking at the club's dramatic serving of a writ on ex-manager Iain Dowie at a press conference to announce his new job. CPFC chief Simon Jordan claims that Dowie lied about his motives in departing. Having agreed to waive the £1 million compensation payable if he joined another club, Dowie then went and did exactly that - at supposed 'rivals' nine miles down the road. So much for moving up North to be with his family. No wonder when Sky Sports News asked Jordan if his next meeting with Dowie would be in the High Court, Simon replied: "Or through a medium." Part of me - most of me, actually - was standing up and punching the air to see someone brave enough to fight for what he believes is right and fair, but a small voice inside my head also said: What message does this pantomime send out to prospective new managers about our chairman? Only time will tell, I guess...
Still on a footie theme, England warmed up for the World Cup against Hungary without the crocked Wayne Rooney last night. But for Palace's Gabor Kiraly between the opponents' sticks the margin of our victory would've been greater, but the scoreline of 3-1 perhaps massaged some acceptability into a thoroughly tame performance.
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Tuesday 30th May
A sludgecore supergroup featuring ex-Pantera/current Superjoint Ritual frontman Philip Anselmo, Crowbar guitarist Kirk Windstein and drummer Jimmy Bower, Corrosion Of Conformity guitarist Pepper Keenan and former Pantera bassist Rex Brown, Down's debut UK tour rolled into London town last night. Anselmo and Brown hadn't visited Britain in a decade, but the pugnacious frontman hasn't changed much, taking his time at the microphone between songs and making the Astoria as pumped-up as he was. At times Phil's intensity levels bordered upon the comedic, notably after demolishing an umpteenth microphone stand. "Bring me another or I'm gonna punch somebody in the fuckin' mouth," he growled threateningly, the mask momentarily cracking into a smile upon realising a roadie had already done so.
A brief, faithful extract from Led Zeppelin's 'Dazed And Confused' segued into 'Lies, I Don't Know What They Say But...', the rest of the set pulling from the band's two albums. 'Lysergik Funeral Procession', 'Ghosts Along The Mississippi', 'Learn From This Mistake', 'New Orleans Is A Dying Whore' and 'There's Something On My Side' were all culled from 2002's 'Down II: A Bustle In Your Hedgerow', and the rest - 'Lifer' (dedicated to Dimebag Darrell), 'Losing All', 'Rehab', 'Temptation's Wings', 'Underneath Everything', 'Eyes Of The South', 'Jail', 'Stone The Crow' and 'Bury Me In Smoke' - from the 'NOLA' debut in 1995. There were rants about record company foes and the numerous rivals gathered in the sold-out crowd. "Look around you and admit it, you fucked up ten years ago, man," Anselmo seethed at anyone who might've been present from Pantera's label Eastwest. "You can call yourself a doom band or whatever the fuck you want," he then challenged to all the other musos in da house, "but you're looking at the fucking kings right here. Don't you ever forget it." After three encores and almost two hours instage, few would've had the balls to try.
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Sunday 28th May
Slayer are up to their old tricks again. The US quartet guaranteed themselves perpetual imfamy by writing about Nazi death camp exterminator Josef Mengele in their song 'Angel Of Death'. Their oft-used validation has been that 'Angel...', featured on the all-time classic 'Reign In Blood' album, didn't express an opinion about Mengele's war crimes - it just told his story. We now learn that their forthcoming, as-yet untitled CD, contains a song called 'Jihad', which examines 9/11 from the viewpoint of a terrorist. Guitarist Kerry King insists: "It doesn't condemn anyone or say that anyone's right or wrong." Inevitably (and just as the band will have hoped), the news has been greeted by howls of fury. One irate poster at Blabbermouth.net accuses Slayer of sitting on the fence to exploit controversy, making a good point when he fumes: "If Kerry King wants to glorifiy this (bad) kind of objectivity perhaps he should write apply to write for a (bad) encyclopedia. If you've really got nothing to say then shut up." This one will run and run...
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Friday 26th May
This job has definite perks, and yesterday I unchained myself from the computer for a trip to Farnham in leafy Surrey and a rendez-vous with Mountain. The band had agreed to be interviewed for various upcoming Classic Rock items, and drummer Corky Laing and I sat in their hotel's garden nursing glasses of white wine beneath an unusually hot English early summer sky. Poor ol' Leslie West has been in the wars, with a new artery inserted into a leg just prior to departing for these dates. The guitarist was visibly suffering as the trio (completed by bassist Richie Scarlet) took the stage that evening at the Maltings, yet Mountain put aside medical afflictions to deliver a tight, powerful and charismatic performance.
Naturally the band included 'Never In My Life', 'Nantucket Sleighride' and the evergreen 'Mississippi Queen', also previewing the forthcoming 'Mountain Does Dylan' collection with an acoustic rendition of 'Blowing In The Wind' and going wa-a-a-ay back to West's 1969 debut album 'Mountain' for 'Long Red'. At just 75 minutes long (including drum solo and some generous improvisation) you'd have to say the show was a tad too short, but content-wise the magic still remains.
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Thursday 25th May
I'd had reservations about attending last night's Saga concert at the Garage. The Canadian pomp maestros have been one of my fave bands since they opened for Styx at Hammersmith Odeon in June 1980 on the 'Silent Knight' tour and I even had the thrill of witnessing people being thrown into swimming pools and various dodgy toilet cubicle activities at a post-show party after the band had headlined the same London venue. But Saga stayed away too long in the 1990s, and various unspportive record labels exacerbated the problem. They still remain big stars on the continent, but here in Britain their once glorious flame has dwindled to something resembling a bunsen burner. The new album, 'Trust', was also a little bland. So it was with an ominious feeling that I entered the modest confines of the Garage to find my worst suspicions confirmed - only a couple of hundred
people had turned up.
But there was a ray of optimism: Just as the lights were about to dim, none other than Steve Harris and Nicko McBrian walked in, both looking very excited. Steve hadn't seen Saga since the Lyceum back in 1981, and Nicko was a total Saga virgin - though the band's records are still often played on Iron Maiden's tour bus. Must admit, I ended up having a coupla dry white wines and enjoying things far more than expected. Ian Crichton is a stunning guitarist with a style all of his own, and it was thrilling to see the group (now completed by ex-Helix drummer Brian Doerner) in such intimate confines. There was lots of banter with the audience and they treated it a little like a paid rehearsal, with frontman Michael Sadler quipping: "Few people get to see us playing on huge stadium stages like this." Newies like 'It's Your Life' and 'I'm Okay' sounded far better live, and on Phil Ashcroft from Fireworks magazine's recommendation I'll definitely give the album another listen. Ultimately, though, the set was cut short (my fave 'The Perfectionist' had actually been on the list) and it's hard to imagine Saga coming back to Britain again. Steve Harris was as amazed and disappointed as anyone at the size of the audience, certainly when juxtaposed with their enormous talent.
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Wednesday 24th May
Various clubs are willing to match Eagles supremo Simon Jordan's £8.5million valuation of Andrew Johnson - fair play to AJ, he deserves to play in the Premiership again. However, my worst fears appear to have foundation. With Iain 'Judas' Dowie admitting he's been interviewed for the Charlton job, The Mail contacted Graeme Souness during his holiday regarding the rumours he is to fill the Selhurst Park manager's hotseat, and were informed: "I have a lot of time for Simon Jordan and what he's doing at Crystal Palace. We get on. It's something I would be interested in. I'm ready for another challenge, and Palace is something that appeals should it arise."
O-my-God... my waters tell me this appointment would be an unmitigated disaster.
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Tuesday 23rd May
And so the speculation begins. The Mirror reckons Palace's next manager will be... Graeme Souness... no, No, NO, NO-O-O-O!!!!!!!!!
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Monday 22nd May
Yesterday afternoon, I went up to the Mean Fiddler for a pre-show interview with Michael Schenker. It'll appear in Classic Rock soon so I won't go spoiling any surprises, but Michael was pretty candid about the ups and downs of his solo career (commemorated by a new 25th anniversary album 'Tales Of Rock 'N' Roll'), also confirming that he will be involved in the Scorpions' new album. Look out also for a potentially fascinating Schenker Brothers record with his sibling Rudolf.
My last live encounter with MSG was at the Electric Ballroom in March 2004. Fortunately since then Michael's replaced his woeful lead singer Chris Logan with newcomer Jari Tiura. The young Finn is a big improvement but his voice was too shrill for the tunes originally sung by Phil Mogg. Former frontman Gary Barden stepped up for a new song called 'Life Vacation', but mostly the set comprised MSG and UFO standards including 'Assault Attack', 'Ready To Rock', 'Let It Roll', 'Lights Out', 'Into The Arena' (including drum and bass solos), 'Too Hot To Handle', 'On And On', 'Only You Can Rock Me', 'Attack Of The Mad Axeman', 'Armed & Ready' and a red-hot 'Rock Bottom'. During the encore, Barden re-joined the band along with both support acts (including Michael's son Tyson) and Taro, another younger male member of the Schenker clan - all three sporting Flying V's - quite a sight.
As I type, it's just been confirmed that Iain Dowie is leaving Selhurst Park - possibly to join neighbours Charlton. I'm not too upset about Iain's departure, but after so much talk of being unwilling to uproot his family by moving them Down South, it'll rankle if he ends up there. However, I wouldn't be surprised if Dowie relegates 'em next year... ha-ha-ha.
Now this is sad: the future of King's X looks shaky. Doug Pinnick has posted a lengthy response to rumours of the band's 25 year career coming to a close. He admits the group are "frustrated, out of money and ideas that will work", thwarted by the music business at every turn. Concludes the bassist/vocalist sadly: "It's not over until the fat lady sings, [but] she's at the microphone."
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Sunday 21st May
Congratulations to Lordi, who last night won the Eurovision Song Contest by a gazillion light years. Enhanced by host Terry Wogan's biting scarcasm, the show was fabulous (some would say 'amazing!') entertainment as usual. Lordi might not be anywhere near as good as the mighty GWAR, but if my kids' reaction was anything to go by, they were odds-on winners from the first minute they flashed onto the screen with their song 'Hard Rock Hallelujah'. We voted for 'em four times, but Mrs L won back a few extra quid after betting they'd come top. The UK's entry was piss-poor as usual, and for reasons only they'll ever know, the Germans offered a shockingly bad country-rock ditty. There's a rather surreal discussion going on over at www.melodicrock.com in which a poor deluded fool dares to suggest that the Finns' triumph "could change the face of music", somebody else hoping it'll "spark a worldwide rock revival". Barman, I'll take a pint of whatever they've been supping.
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Saturday 20th May
Today's Daily Mail claims that Iain Dowie is departing Palace "by mutual agreement", with Bolton offering eight million smackeroonies for Andrew Johnson. If the Dowie announcement will be confirmed at a press conference on Monday afternoon, I'll have mixed feelings. By all accounts the same thing happened when he was in charge of Oldham; a barnstorming first season in charge, then results fell alway. After he'd got us there, Palace were extraordinarily unlucky to be relegated from the Premiership two seasons ago, but Iain's transfer record and tactics were questionable ever since. AJ is an oustanding striker, but hoofing the ball to a dwarf - albeit a fleet-footed dwarf - was hardly the champagne football that we were promised at the start of the season. Dowie's family still live Ooop North, which has always been a stumbling block. I'm grateful for the amazing run of results that took us to Cardiff, and for almost achieving a miracle the following year, but he ran out of ideas (and, judging by that unacceptable play-off display, quite possibly also of passion) ages ago. It's time for a new face. And no jokes about it being a prettier one, please.
P.S. One name being mooted as Dowie's replacement is Martin Ling of Leyton Orient. "Ling's Red & Blue Army"... kinda like the sound of that one!
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Friday 19th May
Cheap Trick's newie, 'Rockford', has landed on the doormat. Released via SPV on June 23, it's named after the Illinois town from which they hail, and first spin suggests that it's a bit of a corker. The opening track's a little odd, but otherwise it offers loads of hummable choruses on songs like 'Come On Come On Come On' and some scorching Rick Neilsen geetar licks. Three more cheers for Glenn Hughes' new album, 'Music For The Divine' (out on June 9). If you excuse the pun, the Voice Of Rock has been in a bit of a purple patch with his last few albums, and this one - which has guest appearances from John Frusciante and Chad Smith of the Chili Peppers - might just turn out to be the best. Hughes also features on another album that's stuck in the Ling Towers death deck; Moonstone Project's 'Time To Take A Stand'. Available via Majestic Rock, its other featured alumni include James Christian from House Of Lords, Purple's Ian Paice, Graham Bonnet, Steve Walsh from Kansas, Blue Öyster Cult's Eric Bloom and another of my all-time fave singers, Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt/Quiet Riot). Check 'em out at: www.Moonstone.it
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Thursday 18th May
Yesterday morning was taken up by a Zakk Wylde interview. I do enjoy my encounters with Mr Wylde; have spoken to him on a number of occasions and always admire his unflinching habit of calling a spade a spade. Even after all these years in the business, there's still a certain wide-eyed wonder in whatever he does. Zakk is in town for a Princes Trust charity gig with Ozzy Osbourne at the Tower Of London on Saturday. Going out live on national TV, in the company of royalty, and co-starring Annie Lennox, Pink and what's left of the Bee Gees, it's quite a big deal. But Wylde has the humility to treat such a media circus as just another gig, even to chuckle, shrug his shoulders and send the whole thing up with a fur-ruffling comment like: "Does the Princes Trust actually need money? Is Buckingham Palace's beer fund running out? We might as well start a trust fund for Donald Trump."
Afterwards, I dropped by the Classic Rock/Metal Hammer office to pick up a copy of the new Monsters Of Rock special. What can I say except that Geoff Barton did a great job of pulling it all together; there are backstage stories from every year, loads of vintage pix, memories from bands that played the original Donington festival, an explanation of why Monsters Of Rock ground to a halt in 1996, how it's due to return at Milton Keynes Bowl on June 3 - also a preview of this year's acts (I believe, although it's not yet been formally announced, that Roadstar will be the openers). Perhaps my favourite part was my old pal Malcolm Dome - a man who needs a cat-nap once a decade - reminiscing about a sleep-deprived, vodka-charged trip to Iceland in 1991, with Thunder, the Quireboys, Slaughter and the BulletBoys. The Classic Rock crew even picked their dream Monsters Of Rock line-ups, though curiously I was the only one to crave seeing FM and their pink suits up on
that fabled stage.
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Tuesday 16th May
World Cup hysteria continues with the news that yet another high-profile artist (cough!) has joined the race for Number One spot in early June. Those infamous filth-fiends The Macc Lads have put down their pints to enter the fray with a patriotic little dittie entitled 'St George' that can be downloaded via their website. This piece of trivia was brought to my attention by my steamed (er... that should probably be 'esteemed') Classic Rock colleague Rich Wilson, whose post is delivered these days by none other than former Macc Lads guitarist 'The Beater'. Crazy Frog, eat your heart out!
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Monday 15th May
After the Hensley interview (which went extremely well), family Ling attended a collector's fair at Croydon Airport yesterday. It had records and CDs, film and TV memorabilia, autographs etc. There were also real daleks which impressed the boys no end, though Arnie nearly pooped his pants when it moved towards him. Best of all, as we drove into the car park two Star Wars stormtroopers flagged us down, pointed to Arnie and barked: "You! What's your name". He told them and they said, "We're searching for someone called Luke Skywalker. Move along."
I'd been anticipating seeing my new favourite band, and that evening I finally checked out The Sword, whose debut album I've been playing to death. The quartet from Austin, Texas, were opening for Nebula at Dingwalls in Camden. They performed most of 'Age Of Winters' and largely lived up to my expectations, shaking the venue with some powerful Sabbath-esque riffs and crucial intricate interludes, though I had slight reservations concerning guitarist JD Cronise's abilities both as a singer and frontman. The crowd had thinned out by the time Nebula started. They still sound like an unholy mixture of Hendrix, Hawkwind, Kyuss and Motörhead, but having to rely upon Sunday night transport I didn't last anywhere near the end of their set.
P.S. Postie just delivered Blackjack 'The Anthology', a compilation of both albums from the band that featured Michael Bolton and Bruce Kulick... splendid!
P.P.S. More fantastic AOR news: Shark Island's reunion CD, 'Gathering Of The Faithful', is now due on July 7.
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Sunday 14th May
Onslaught played the Underworld last night. After an impressive support slot with Venom in March, I was hoping they'd hang around for longer this time. They did indeed add a couple of extra numbers; 'Flame Of The Antichrist' (from 1986's 'The Force') and the title track of a comeback album called 'Killing Peace' that's due in October. Alongside 'Destroyer Of Worlds', the latter gives hope that the Bristol quintet will deliver a killer album. The headliners were Akercocke, a band I'm also quite partial to, but with with some research to do ahead of this morning's 10am interview with Ken Hensley (sleeve notes for a double-anthology that's due later this year), I decided to give 'em a miss on this occasion.
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Saturday 13th May
The World Cup is now just 27 days away, and Barabra Schenker has posted a song called 'Come On England Make Us Proud' at her MySpace site. A German woman cheering on England... that's only slightly less less surreal than the Crazy Frog attempting Queen's 'We Are The Champions', ain't it?
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Friday 12th May
Happy birthday to my eldest son, Eddie - nine today! Besides the Little Man's cards, the postie just delivered a bumper crop of CDs for me... hurrah! Pleased to report that after a couple of albums that were huge-selling but slightly too bland for my taste, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have got the riddim again with 'Stadium Arcadium'. A massive 28 tunes long, it's an endurance test to plough through both discs back to back, but how wonderful to hear Flea and company slamming the joint again.
George Thorogood & The Destroyers have never stopped rocking, and are unlikely to do so till the day their coffins are nailed down. 'The Hard Stuff' is the band's booze-soaked live essence distilled into one joyously anthemic, foot-tappin' CD. And seeing as I'll be checking them out again for the first time in a while this coming Sunday, I also blagged a copy of Nebula's latest album, 'Apollo'. It's enjoyable in a dependably spliffed-out space-rock way, but vocalist/guitarist Eddie Glass and chums have got themselves stuck in a bit of a musical black hole - I suspect that red-hot openers The Sword are gonna kick their asses!
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Thursday 11th May
Just received the news I've awaited for more than a decade - Winger are back together again and working on a new (and fourth) studio album to be released in October via Frontiers Records. There's even a world tour to follow! The band reunited half a decade ago to record a new song for 'The Very Best Of Winger', a collection I was honoured to write the sleeve notes for (almost dropped the phone when Kip called to ask if I wanted the job!), and then toured North America in 2002. According to the Kip-meister: "The new album will start where 'Pull' [from 1993] left off and move forward to new directions, mixing some classic hard rock like Van Halen and early Winger style, [plus] progressive and acoustic elements that may resemble Genesis, Mott The Hoople or King Crimson". Err... excuse me, nurse! Think I've just soiled myself!
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Wednesday 10th May
I'd been trying to put on a positive mental spin to Palace shipping three goals at home to Watford. At Vicarage Road for the second leg last night, I was just hoping for a miracle; score early and anything might happen. Yeah, right. In what will surely be Andrew Johnson's last appearance in red and blue (Aki Riihilahti's off too, apparently), we were guileless and passionless; Iain Dowie's tactics simply awful. Bringing on the hapless Jon Macken was my cue to head for the exit, just as all the players and both benches began beating seven bells out of each other. Pitiful Palace deserved their fate, but Watford's constant time-wasting played its part in a pressure cooker scenario. I lost count of the times Dougie Freedman retrieved the ball while a supposed 'ball-boy' sat idly, or the crowd refused to return it. Dowie decked somebody and Watford manager Aidy Boothroyd deserved the lamping he took from Fitz Hall for preventing yet another CPFC throw-in. For that reason alone I hope that Leeds win the Final. I couldn't have gone to Cardiff on the 21st anyway, as Michael Schenker has a gig at the Mean Fiddler that evening. [I joke, of course]. But seriously, I'm really looking forward to Southend and Colchester United away.
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Sunday 7th May
Leslie West was right.

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Saturday 6th May
With the kick-off of today's big game fast approaching, sleep has been off the menu. Attempting to mask my anxiety I dosed myself up with vodka and diet cokes before and after last night's excellent Robin Trower gig. For 90 minutes the Mean Fiddler was treated to a stunning display of guitar virtuosity from the man sometimes affectionately referred to as Fish Face. Trower gurns a little less these days but his fiery blues licks still scorch like napalm, and I swear the earth almost moved during a languid 'Bridge Of Sighs'. Maybe in honour of CPFC's showdown with Watford he also included mid-set rendition of 'Day Of The Eagle'.
Leslie West, on the other hand, seems destined to jinx our play-off dreams. I've just been transcribing an interview that the ever-sarcastic Mountain guitarist gave me a few days ago. All was proceeding smoothly until the last question, when I asked: You played at Woodstock and have influenced Eddie Van Halen, Michael Schenker and Richie Sambora. Rick Rubin sampled your guitar work for rapper Jay-Z and you guested on Ozzy Osbourne's covers album. Do you have any goals left? "Yeah," replied Leslie, "I want to see Crystal Palace actually win something for once! You have that soccer team in your blood, but it never wins! Why is that?" And on that very note I'm off to drown myself in a vat of alcohol adjacent to Selhurst Park.
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Friday 5th May
Here's one thing for sure: it'll take something very special indeed get get me back through the doors of the Koko club in Camden again. Last night I returned there for the first time after the absymal sound that ruined Helloween's gig back in February. Much to my eternal shame, I'd never seen Killing Joke before so hopefully it was the same old bass-swamped sonics that served to completely ruin the experience... surely Jaz Coleman can't be that inept a vocalist... can he? Can he?! I lasted a little more than an hour. From now on Koko is a No-Go. Simple as.
Cheer at least comes with the news that Messiah Marcolin probably hasn't left Candlemass after all. In a comedic move worthy of UFO themselves, the Swedish doomsters are now blaming their singer's resignation announcement on "severe pre-recording psychosis" - whatever that means.
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Thursday 4th May
Anyone else see England Vs Germany: The Legends on Channel 5 last night? Basically, a team of overweight English ex-footballers (Chris Waddle, Paul Merson, Matt Le Tissier, John Barnes), other sportsmen, celebs and even a politician (Boris 'No Relation To Andy' Johnson) took on a similar though far fitter line-up from the Fatherland. Once again it ended 4-2 and there was even another controversial did-the-ball-really-cross-the-line moment that went in England's favour, but unlike back in 1966 this time the Germans ran out deserved winners. You see, I can type that when it doesn't mean anything.
Afterwards I attempted to watch BBC1's When Lineker Met Maradonna, another programme I recorded days ago. Various football and entertainment stars, including ex-Palace and England hero Kenny Sansom, queued up to debate Maradonna's now legendary disgraceful punching of the ball into England's net during a World Cup Quarter Final in 1986. When the odious, cheating, cocksucking, ex-drug addict (so many adjectives for a common dwarf) tried to fob off Big-Ears Lineker by saying what he'd done "wasn't cheating, just craftiness", so much bile built up in my throat that I had to switch the bloody thing off and go in search of several cats to kick.
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Wednesday 3rd May
Phew! Obtained a ticket for the away leg of Palace's play-off game with Watford. Thought I'd got the wrong day when arriving at Selhurst's box office just after 6am to find it deserted save for an elderly cleaner. People gradually began turning up, but not before she took pity on me with a nice warming cuppa - you wouldn't get that at ManUre! I'd brought along some good reading material anyway, namely 'Living On The Brink', a well researched, no-punches-pulled book on David Bowie by author George Tremlett. Arriving home, the postie had left a package of re-issues from America's Sidewinder Records; Jani Lane ('Back Down To One'), Great White ('Once Bitten Twice Live' - allegedly their last ever show... some poor folk will wish it had been), Jack Russell ('For You') and The Outfield ('Any Time Now'). A cool way to start the day!
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Monday 1st May
So Palace are up against Watford in the play-offs. I'm happy with that, though if only the home leg were taking place on Friday night instead of this Saturday lunchtime - crucial games tend to be so much more passionate under the floodlights. We were crap against Sheff Utd yesterday (a 1-0 defeat), but I certainly agreed with Dowie's decision to rest Andrew Johnson. The pint-o-meter is gonna go right off the scale in the next week. Whatever happens, there won't be much time for sleep - especially as my alarm goes off tomorrow at 5am to join the queues for tickets for the away leg.