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And he used to be such a nice, quiet boy

Archive for March 2009

Jenson Button and Brawn F1 off to a flying start

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If, in December last, you had told Jenson Button and Rubens Barrachello that they would take a 1-2 victory in the opening Grand Prix of 2009, they would have laughed in your face.

Jenson Button wins at Albert Park

Jenson Button wins at Albert Park

With a run of highly uncompetitive cars followed by the closing down of the Honda F1 project, their future looked gloomy.

When Brawn F1 emerged like the proverbial phoenix, little was really expected from it. The general consensus of opinion was that they were there to make up the numbers. If Formula 1 started losing teams, like the World Rally Championships, it would spell disaster.

But rather than playing the supporting cast, Ross Brawn, finally free from Honda’s agenda, drew up his war plan. In no more than three months he had developed the car he had wanted to build. Add to that some tricky rear diffusers and some highly tactical thinking with the car’s set up, and the plan was set in motion.

Virgin are Brawn F1's first sponsor

Virgin are Brawn F1's first sponsor

The Brawn train picked up speed when Sir Richard Branson came on board as a sponsor. He had some fancy new clean carbon fuel he needed to sell.

The car itself is, I have to say, not the prettiest. It is Ugly Betty on wheels, garish yellow and pristine white. It looks bare of sponsorship logos with Virgin being the honorable exception. But it can do the business alright.

The Brawn 001

The Brawn 001

Meanwhile where was Lewis Hamilton? Well he gave a first class drive, as always, but the car he was in was simply uncompetitive, which was a terrible shame. He did however, move up from eighteenth place to third place, a feat which reflects his enormous talent. I hope McLaren get the new model set-up sorted out before the third or forth race or they may not retain the title.

Sebastian Vettel finished with a completely new tyre set-up

Sebastian Vettel finished with a completely new tyre set-up

The rest of the pack did their best, but they found the race hard going, with skids and accidents commonplace. The race even ended with the safety car still out.

jenson-rubens1

Well I am sure Jenson certainly deserved his victory, only his second in nine seasons. Enjoy it lad, it doesn’t come around too often.

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Written by Nick Gilmartin

March 29, 2009 at 5:38 pm

Posted in Motorsport

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

Spandau Ballet to reform – True.

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Well the rumours have been around for years but it has finally been confirmed. Tony, Gary, Martin, Steve and John are finally getting back together for the first time since the late 80s.

Spanau Ballet announce their new tour aboard H.M.S Belfast

Spanau Ballet announce their new tour aboard H.M.S Belfast

The announcement came on 25th March at the unlikely venue of H.M.S. Belfast. They will start their tour in the autumn (the fall to those of you reading in color), in Dublin on 13 October 2009.

So who remembers them? Any hands up? Small boy at the back? Well they started out as a small synthpop / new romantic act around 1978. Initially called ‘The Cut’ and later ‘The Makers’, they played small venues around London just as the New Wave movement was beginning.

When one of their friends, a BBC DJ called Robert Elms returned from Berlin he suggested they change their name to Spandau Ballet. The name worked well and their music took off in a big way in the music clubs of the capital.

How many school discos of the eighties belted out this one?

Soon every label in London wanted to sign them and the contract finally went to Chrysallis records. Their first record, produced by Richard Burgess, reached the top 5 in 1980. They had recorded it in just ten days. Journeys to Glory was an overnight success.

spandau-gold

Hot on the heels came their second and third albums. Diamond was certified Gold by the BPI, and True was noted for it’s sophisticated new sound. Their records sold millions worldwide.

Their success grew and they performed prominently on the Band Aid single, and played the close of the Live Aid concert in Wembley stadium.

Spandau Ballet were the final act to perform at Live Aid

Spandau Ballet were the final act to perform at Live Aid

But after a break in the late eighties the Kemp brothers were offered memorable roles as The Krays in the film of the same name. They both went on to become actors of some distinction.

Gary and Martin gave chilling performances of the famous gangsters.

Gary and Martin gave chilling performances of the famous gangsters.

The other members of the band milled around, trying to find a new sound but the band officially broke up at the end of the eighties. Arguments and court cases over sing rights followed.

But all this seems to be in the past as the boys regroup, rearm and reform to take on the world once again.

Ladies and Gentlemen may I present to you:

All the way from 1982…..

Spandau Ballet!!!

Glad it wasn't just me that had this look

Glad it wasn't just me that had this look

Tickets are now on sale. Check out http://www.ticketmaster.ie or http://www.spandauballet.com/

Written by Nick Gilmartin

March 28, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Posted in in the news, music

Lewis and McLaren off to a slow start

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Early indications of a win for McLaren at Albert Park are far from encouraging. In practice yesterday morning Lewis Hamilton, the world champion posted 16th and later 18th place.

lewis-and-car

Lewis was quoted as ‘listening to’ an offer from a rival team but he chose to stick with McLaren, in spite of the retirement of his mentor Ron Dennis. This is not unusual, he has been getting offers from other teams all winter, all of which he has politely declined. He still wants to stay with a winning McLaren team, but can they provide a car that will speed him to victory?

The new McLaren car, the MP4-24, is a world away from it’s predecessors. It has a new wider front wing and a much narrower rear wing. The front wing has driver-operated flaps. just like aircraft wings.

For those unfamiliar with the application of down-force, allow me to explain. We all know an aircraft takes off because it allows air currents to get under it’s wings and tail. These have flaps to allow more or less air under the aircraft as it wishes to go higher or lower.

To use down-force with a car the opposite applies. The air pushes over the wings forcing the car closer to the ground and giving it more grip.

mclaren-f1

In it’s arsenal the MP4-24 also has the new KERS system. The idea of the Kinetic Energy Recovery System, is to store power as you brake (don’t ask me exactly how). Then this energy is released at the touch of a button on the driver’s wheel. Warp speed Scotty! Sounds like fun, can I get one?

I will allow Mr Sebastian Vettel to explain further..

And what of the other teams?

Well Williams, Toyota and the new Brawn teams are in a row over their rear diffusers, which may be illegal, and this may lead to any podium victories being provisional until the matter is cleared up. The three teams (already being dubbed the diffuser gang) have posted remarkable times. Some drivers feel this is no coincidence. If however the diffusers prove legal the other teams will have no option but to follow their set-up.

Stuff the KERS, get me a Sat-Nav

Stuff the KERS, get me a Sat-Nav

In Melbourne itself the party atmosphere is tangible in spite of poor ticket sales. Lewis has been seen playing Cricket with Shane Ward. Barbeques on the sidewalk are the order of the day and sunshine is predicted.

albert-park

aussie-babe

Nick promises to try and cover every race of the season.

Gentlemen start your engines!!!!

Written by Nick Gilmartin

March 27, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Introducing Sara Benincasa (Strap in, gentlemen)

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One of New York’s rising stars on the comedy circuit is Jersey Girl, Sara Benincasa.  Recently awarded MTV Choose or Lose citizen report for New York, Sara continues to make waves in the state and national media of the states.

sarabenincasa1

She hosts her own show called the ‘family hour’ at comedy venue Comix.  The topic is naturally families, but we don’t recommend bringing the kids or your own mom and dad.  Good heavens, no.

During the run up to the 2008 elections she perfected her parody of Sarah Palin down to a freaky likeness.  Some people could not tell the difference, which tells you more about credibility of Palin than Benincasa.

Not only that she has also written story ideas for the Onion.com, sex blogs for Nerve.com, and best of all, she interviews people in her bathtub.  Maybe she was pushed for time or something?

Evidently behind the flame red hair and big puppy eyes she is ferociously intelligent.  But life has not been all plain sailing for Sara, she spent years suffering agrophobia and panic attacks.  But, hey, it gave her more material to write about.  I sat through her bowls of pee routine cringing behind my fingers.

This link contains one potty-mouthed lady talking about peeing into bowls.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you,you candy assed Mary Whitehouse suck-up.

So we Myspace’d her and we put a few questions to her.

Did you see the big riot outside the studio for America’s Top Model? Were you there foraging for the strappy sandal to match the one you just found containing a dismembered foot?

I actually started the big riot at the ANTM tryouts. I’m into starting riots. And humanitarian movements. Sometimes these motivations come into conflict with one another. I’m a complicated person. And I actually have several dismembered feet.

Did you pull out the toe nails and keep them as a false pair?

I prefer to eat them, for the protein. And the laughs!

Yummy.  You interview people in the bath. Do you ever see any farty bubbles going on down there?

I have never encountered fart bubbles whilst interviewing anyone in the bath. People have thus far been great about holding that in.

We all want to know, when are you going to do a few UK dates? Because if you think America is a fucked-up country…

I would love to come to the UK and do some comedy. But this might be an expensive endeavor, unless someone were providing me with a bed and possibly food. You see, your country is currently more financially successful than mine, and the exchange rate is in your favor. Therefore, I am but a poor cousin from the colonies, who will resort to telling jokes for scraps of bread.

Is the current recession providing a wealth of new material?

Yes. See bit above about being a poor cousin from the colonies. Granted, it’s not great comedy. It’s not even particularly funny. It’s just true. Sigh.

You say you crave the approval of Lesbians. As a guy I can totally associate with that. What is the best way to get the girlfriend to approve a threesome?

Hmm. Not having been in any threesomes myself, I am going to base this on what I’ve heard while doing my radio show (it’s a sex chat show on satellite radio in America and Canada; if you people had only held onto your most fabulous colonies like you were supposed to, you might have the satellite radio as well.)

I suppose the best way to get her to approve a threesome would be to ask her if she genuinely has any interest in doing it. If not, you really shouldn’t press the matter, as it’ll turn into a fucking shitstorm and she’ll end up leaving you for a more enlightened fellow, and also she’ll tell her dad that you are a perv and then he will hate you. Let her know that you’re okay with just watching, not participating (making it a bit less of a threesome, I suppose, but at least you get to watch!) And let her pick the girl, at a bar or pub or whatever you people call it.

And be open to the fact that she might want another guy in the mix. And she might want to ask you and the guy to make out. Things could get really gay up in there, is all I’m saying.

Spoken like a true agony aunt.

To see more of Sara Benincasa follow this link:

http://www.sarabenincasa.com

http://www.sarabenincasa.wordpress.com

sarab2

Photos by Anya Garrett. http://www.anyagarrett.com

Written by Nick Gilmartin

March 22, 2009 at 9:05 am

Posted in The one to watch

Tagged with

Susan Tsvangirai: An African Diana?

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Susan Tsvangirai

Susan Tsvangirai

As many of you will know I have been monitoring the Zimbabwe situation for more than a year.  The story there has had more twists and turns than any African tragedy.

Only this week the ongoing disaster took another twist.

Susan Tsvangirai, wife of the new Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, has been killed in a road traffic accident 50 miles south of the capital Harare.  The Prime Minister, also in the vehicle, received only cuts and bruises.

land-rover-accident

The Movement for Democratic Change has launched an independent investigation into the cause of the crash.  However the British foreign Ministry has issued a statement, backed up by Morgan Tsvangirai, insisting that the crash was an “accident”.  The driver of the truck that hit the car said in his statement that he had fallen asleep at the wheel.

Morgan and Susan Tsvangairai were travelling in part of an aid convoy of three vehicles when they were sideswiped by an on-coming vehicle.  However assassinations by car crash are not uncommon in Zimbabwe.  In recent years the employment minister, the defense minister and a regional governor have all had fatal accidents.

Of course traffic accidents can and do frequently happen all over Africa.  Roads in Zimbabwe are in atrocious condition and cars can go years without maintainance checks.

Tom McDonald, the United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe from 1997 to 2001, said, “I’m skeptical about any motor vehicle accident in Zimbabwe involving an opposition figure… President Mugabe has a history of strange car accidents when someone lo and behold dies – it’s sort of his M.O. of how they get rid of people they don’t like… So, when I hear that Tsvangirai was in an accident, it gives me pause.”  (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

“This not a genuine accident,” MDC spokesman Sibanengi Dube Dube said of the crash.

“This is a perfect organised hit which was designed to eliminate the president of the MDC.”

The Tsvangirais were heading to their rural home for a Saturday rally when the crash happened on Friday afternoon.

From his hospital bed in Harare afterwards, he told one of his aides that a large truck driving on the other side of the road had come towards his Land Cruiser, the middle vehicle in a three-car convoy.

“What he told me was that the truck went for his car,” said Dennis Murira, director of public affairs in the Prime Minister’s office. “That’s how he put it.”

Mrs Tsvangairai was pronounced dead in Beatrice Hospital and funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.

No doubt speculation as to the cause of the accident will cause controversy for years to come.

For more information on the Movement for Democratic Change please follow this link:

http://www.zimbabweprimeminister.org/

Written by Nick Gilmartin

March 10, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Posted in in the news, Politics

Pork Cassidy

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Pork Cassidy serves with oven baked potatoes and veg.

Pork Cassidy serves with oven baked potatoes and veg.

This one is pretty easy but also very tasty.

You need the following:

Two pork fillets

Piri-piri seasoning (two tablespoon)

Paprika (two tablespoon)

Barbeque sauce (Newman’s own in my current favourite)

Take one small teaspoon of olive oil and pour it on to a foil baking tray.

Place the pork fillets on to the tray and sprinkle a table spoon of piri piri seasoning all over the pork, making sure you cover the edges.  Then do the same with the paprika.  Take a blunt knife and spread it thinly over the pork then turn the fillets over and repeat the process.

Next pour barbeque sauce over the pork and use the knife to spread it evenly.  Carefully turn the pork over and repeat the process.

Finally heat an oven at 180 degrees celcius and cook the pork for arroximately 25 minutes, checking regularly.

You can serve it with potatoes or rice and vegetables.

I named it after Newman’s most famous character, Butch Cassidy.  And why not?  Enjoy!

Written by Nick Gilmartin

March 6, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Posted in Food and Drink

Tagged with , , ,

Comic Relief Climb: Will they do it?

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_45525892_mountain_heights_inf466

Well it seems Cheryl Cole wants to be the first person up Mt.  Kilmanjaro in high heels.  From what we have been hearing she may well do it.

Along with Cheryl, we have Ronan Keating, Denis Van Outen, and that well known athlete, Chris Moyles, among others.  They are making steady progress up the western side of the mountain.  As you see in the diagram the western side is the shallowest.  It is deceptively known as the Coca-cola route, because it is compatitively easy.  It has huts and even stalls for food and drink dotted along it’s path.

But is it as easy as we think?  Yes and no.  All you have to do is walk up it, it requires no rope or crampons or helmets.  But you have to take it very very slowly to avoid atmosphere sickness, such as hypoxia.  If you try running up the path you will soon endure headaches, vomiting and digestive problems.

climbers

I have been following their Twitter feed and it is proving to be hard going, though they are shaping up admirably.  A few mishaps have occured, one girl took a tumble while relieving herself, another has smacked her head on a rock.

By studying their prose on Twitter you can judge their fatigue.  Their sentences have become clipped and short, but they are making steady progress.  Their final assault on the summit takes place at midnight, their time.

To follow our intrepid bunch of celebs follow this link:

http://www.rednoseday.com/climb/kili_live_archive

Written by Nick Gilmartin

March 6, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Posted in in the news