Thunderbirds Are Go

I’ve seen each episode of the original Thunderbirds series and recently picked up Thunderbirds Are Go for £1 in a secondhand media exchange store.

The original Thunderbirds always frustrated me because of how under developed the characters were. Basically, it was lost between being a kids show or an adult show… well, not an ADULT show! Obviously it wouldn’t have been perceived to be cool for adults to be watching a puppet show drama about Virgil’s art or John’s loneliness. That would’ve been too much for kids too, so it just got lost in between. Aside from drama, there was action, because that’s what kids wanted!

I’ve been watching Thunderbirds Are Go with my two-year-old daughter. She loves it and I’m… enjoying it!

There’ve been some ridiculous physics defying stunts, including the opening scene of the first episode. SPOILER ALERT! Guy and kid in what I think was a deflated hot air balloon way way up in a stormy sky, somehow able to contact international rescue, man clinging on to side of basket, kid getting rescued, casual conversation had between Thunderbird and dad despite height, cold and extreme wind, man plummeting to ground but Thunderbirds having time to talk about it then grab guy who was absolutely fine! There was another one where a woman fell from below the Thunderbird but he somehow reached out and caught her and as for Parker’s climbing in a massive archive facility! Oh, and later there’d be a very large bouncing rock (That actually blocked a river but Thunderbirds did nothing about!).

I say Thunderbird rather than the individual names because I’m struggling to tell Scott and Virgil apart. I think that their hair colour is the wrong way around and Virgil seems like Scott 2 (Too!) rather than having the slower suaveness of the original character. John features far more prominently than in the original series though dad Jeff seems to be dead but not confirmed dead… so expect to see him pop up in time (?)!

Another interesting character observation is that The Hood’s ethnicity is ambiguous. His skin colour seems to be white and his accent doesn’t cry out Egyptian, Iranian or whatever he originally was. He’s also related to the very Caucasian looking basically female sixth member of Thunderbirds/International Rescue. I think that she’s called Kayo (Not Tintin for obvious reasons!) but The Hood did refer to her by a possibly Japanese sounding name and advise that he’s her uncle. There’s no sign of the Japanese chef (The Hood’s brother I think?) or whoever he was in the original series though.

I’m not quite sure how to describe the animation. Some of it does seem to be models but it’s mostly CGI… and the characters have big eyes, extremely big eyes!

All in all, I’m enjoying it and by daughter has been really into it. Her days of watching Postman Pat are gone but Octonauts and Casper’s Scare School currently compete for airtime!

FIFA 21: Town Crowned!

Despite earning promotion to the football league for the first time in their history, Harrogate Town sought a new manager. They found… me!

We would go onto achieve a record-breaking season, one that would capture the heart of footballing purists throughout the land and include a trip to Wembley!

After a shaky start to the season that included throwing away a three goal lead against Mansfield Town, we cakewalked to the League Two title with a whopping 109 points. We finished a whole 27 points ahead of second placed Cheltenham Town! We scored a mammoth 138 goals in 46 league matches. Scotsman Mark Beck topped the charts with thirty (He also contributed 16 assists) meanwhile strike partner Aaron Martin netted 23 times. Sadly, our relationship would break down and he looks set to leave the club. Youth Academy graduates Marijus Simkis (17 goals) and Euan Wright (6) came to the fore in the latter stages of the campaign and their progress bodes well for our long-term ambitions. On the final day of the 2020-21 campaign, veteran striker Jon Stead signed off with a goal in his final professional game. At the other end, there weren’t as many clean sheets as I would’ve liked (We conceded 53 goals) but centre-back Will Smith excelled. Hopefully he’s not going to Miami… well, for a holiday maybe!

Our League Cup campaign included the giant-killings of Premier League sides Burnley (5-0!), Manchester United, Leeds United and Chelsea. Goalkeeper Marvin Minter was the hero at Old Trafford, saving the decisive penalty from Marcus Rashford.

In the final against Liverpool, we actually went a goal up but missed a penalty before losing 2-1 in extra-time. Young Norwegian Knut-Inge Jensen was the young man who will have to bounce back from penalty heartache. Jack Muldoon also missed an almost open goal in the dying embers of one of the great finals! Still, I think that we’ve qualified for Europe courtesy of our cup run combined with Liverpool’s league position. (Sadly this turned out to not be the case. It must be done on league placings!)

Our best result of the season was a 9-0 thrashing of hapless Grimsby Town in the FA Cup. We also beat fourth place Bolton Wanderers 8-1 to seal the League Two title!

Now it’s onto League One with an eye already on the Premier League. If we want to keep hold of players like Lithuanian Simkus and Scotsman Wright then we can’t afford any slip ups in our quest for a third consecutive promotion!

Disclaimer: Apologies for the glare on the images… new screen! Also, the ability to change a player’s position is a fantastic addition, particularly because when recruiting youth players, it’s not always clear what their position is.

Who Will Win the Ashes? The Results

If you didn’t get your vote in then I’m sorry. It’s a pretty quick turn around for the results!

The people have spoken and Australia are your favourites for this year’s Ashes series.

The hosts claimed an emphatic 100% of the votes! Come on England!

Hopefully the series can play out without a hitch and be one to remember.

Disclaimer: Apologies but the poll facility has changed and being able to see let alone display the results isn’t as easy as it should be!

Football Friday #004

That’s right, after bunking off last week, Football Friday returns!

Managerial Upheaval!

Xisco Munoz, Steve Bruce, Nuno Espirito, Daniel Farke and (After originally scheduling this post)… Dean Smith, are the Premier League managers to have bitten the dust already this season. That’s twenty-five percent of top flight teams that have ditched their manager by the first week of November! Further down the football ladder, the familiar names of Mick McCarthy and Neil Warnock have, amongst others, also been shown the door. All the while, little boy lost Ole Gunnar Solskjaer plods on, tarnishing a celebrated playing legacy and adding to an abject managerial record. The likes of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp continue to demonstrate how far away from their level Solskjaer is.

Claudio Ranieri has experienced both extremes as a Premier League manager meanwhile Eddie Howe has experienced relegation. He’ll surely do so again if he takes he reigns at winless Newcastle United! What evidence is there to suggest that he’s the man to avoid them dropping into the Championship regardless of finances?

As for Farke, leaving Norwich City is probably a good career move for him, even if it seemed an odd time for the Canary hierarchy to action it. He couldn’t keep leading Norwich on the up and down ride only to fall extremely flat at the highest level. Farke still has qualities as a coach even if establishing The Canaries in the Premier League was constantly beyond him.

Rowe Rowe Rowe Your Boat

Recently, I suggested that Conor Gallagher merited an England call-up. If England weren’t already spoilt for choice in the middle of the park then Arsenal’s Emile Smith-Rowe is yet another option.

After a few loan spells, he’s finally getting regular game-time and like Gallagher, he’s contributing on the goal front. The twenty-one-year-old has five goals and two assists in thirteen appearances across all competitions this season. He’s been a major part of Arsenal’s resurgence under Mikel Arteta.

Disclaimer: I scheduled this post prior to… Smith Rowe being called into the England squad!

Wednesday Wickets #004

Sorry, there was no Wednesday Wickets last week but this week… it’s back!

Associate Acquisitions?

It’s a shame that Benny Howell hasn’t played for England. The likes of Tom Curran and Chris Jordan (Slower balls included) have probably prevented his path. His career record speaks for itself though…

https://www.espncricinfo.com/player/benny-howell-211748

England rejection doesn’t have to mean the end of Howell’s international ambitions though… he was born in France!

I recently posted about Jade Dernbach representing Italy alongside Gareth Berg and Grant Stewart. Michael Richardson and Craig Meschede are other former county cricketers to have appeared on the European scene having turned out for Germany. Northamptonshire’s Ricardo Vasconcelos could play for Portugal and the likes of Ian Holland and Australian bred Cameron Gannon have represented USA. To be clear, some of those players may well have been born in the country that they’ve played international cricket for. It’s just that their cricketing education was elsewhere and their national allegiance may not have been obvious.

Norway recently appeared in a T10 tournament and I don’t think that any of their players were born in, or had any association with Norway prior to arriving there, in most cases as adults. I’m digressing slightly. Nationality can be fluid and isn’t as simple as been born in a country. I’m not sure about Benny Howell’s parentage and whether they’re French. I think that they were just working there. He’s an example though of somebody who could seize the opportunity to play international cricket and help develop it across Europe and the world. There’s a balance to be found though between expats, players born in a particular country and other quirks of nationality. Integration not segregation is the way and that seems particularly pertinent at this moment in time.

Ireland Go Stateside!

Whether or not the aforementioned Holland and Gannon (Sounds like a firm of solicitors!) are part of the USA team to take on Ireland later this year remains to be seen. USA will host the Emerald Isle for two T20Is and three ODIs around Christmas. That’s great but USA have not been ashamed to carry out an extremely clear international recruitment process. As touched upon in the first part of this post, nationality can be fluid but it’s to be hoped that in time, more Americans can force their way into USA’s cricket team. There are currently very few and will the nation support a team consisting of Xavier Marshall, Rusty Theron and Sami Aslam amongst others?

On that note, unlike Holland and Gannon for example, Marshall, Theron and Aslam have all represented another country at international level. I do believe that when it comes to international sport, once you’ve made your bed… you should lie in it!

Disclaimer: This post wasn’t quite meant to go down this route. The Ireland v USA announcement caught my attention and given my passion for Associate Cricket, made sense as the second article. To be clear, race, religion and nationality can transcend sport, though I do think that we should avoid international sport having what are effectively transfers akin to those you see at domestic level.

Song of the Week #042

Welcome to a new week. Today’s song is not the first example of one that exists because I heard it on the new music set-up at work. Unlike George Ezra’s effort though, I’d heard this Badly Drawn Boy tune some years ago. I can’t claim to have made any attempt to listen to his other work but this is a particularly good song…

See you in seven days for another Song of the Week. Don’t worry, there’ll be other posts in the meantime!

Young Guns III

Young Guns III is in the pipeline and it’s to be hoped that such a belated addition to a film series that had seemingly reached its conclusion, doesn’t tarnish its legacy!

Some of the actors confirmed to return include ones that appeared to have died in the original films, namely Lou Diamond Phillips in Young Guns II. Of course the only reason that Kiefer Sutherland was killed off was because of… scheduling conflicts!

Whilst the film could go back and expand on what we already know, I guess that would mean either repeating things or skipping them. It seems as though the film will pick up where it left off, though historically I don’t think that leaves much to be played with.

I wonder how the tragic recent events on the set of Rust might have affected the filming of Young Guns III. Their standards may have already been high but presumably like many in the industry, those involved will have revised their protocol and risks.

As a kid, I was obsessed with cowboys and watched the Young Guns films (And re-enacted them) over and over again, despite the 15 rating! It’d be great to go and see Young Guns III at an actual cinema. It’s still some way off but fingers crossed that it doesn’t disappoint!