Cloughie and the Damned Utd (2006)


I have read some very good books this year (Ubik, Blood Meridian, The Road) but the stand out so far has been ‘The Damned Utd’ by David Peace.

An account of Brian Cloughs short tenure as manager of English First Division high fliers Leeds Utd in the mid seventies, it tells the story through the eyes of Brian Clough, through his words, though the words are a fiction of the author. From what I remember about the man through his television and radio appearances, the Clough imagined here is accurate, but also more complex than I would have thought. Driven to succeed by perceived ‘failures’ and bad luck, this man is vulnerable yet has an unassailable belief in his own powers. Highly emotional, a family man with a strict moral code on winning and losing, his failings at Leeds give the story a poignant, even tragic, edge. The book presents him as an isolated figure, adrift in Yorkshire, seperated from his family and his managerial partner, Peter Taylor.

At Leeds, the team of players he inherits from his bitter rival Don Revie is resistant to Cloughs unique charms and they present an almost united sullen blank face in spite of the managers cajoling. As the season gets underway the cracks begin to show very quickly, and with the team not winning, most of the fans, many of the players, the Directors and Chairman want Brian Clough out.

There are 44 chapters, one for each day of his stewardship of Leeds, and contained within those chapters are flashbacks to his days as manager of Hartlepools(sic), his triumphs at Derby County and then the fall from grace, as he languishes at Third Division Brighton.

As a character study of a great manager, as an historical study of the minutiae of football in the seventies, and as a novel, it succeeds. The book is evocative and sparks interest in clough so much that I want to read more about him – and there is a book called ‘Provided you don’t kiss me’ by Duncan Hamilton that looks like it will fulfil that need. I really cannot recommend this book enough.

Watchmen movie trailer (2008)

I live literally 5 minutes away from Alan Moore. I see him walking down the street from time to time. I think he is one of the most inventive writers, and probably one of the greatest comic book writers ever. Anyway, Zack Snyder (who directed 300) is making a film of (arguably) Moore’s most brilliant work – Watchmen. Next June cannot come quick enough;

Links!!

http://watchmenmovie.warnerbros.com/ – Official site for the movie

http://www.denofgeek.com/comics/59800/interview_dave_gibbons_talks_watchmen_and_more.html – the ever-marvellous denofgeek site interview Dave Gibbons about Watchmen etc…

Delia Derbyshires lost recordings (1960s)

A horde of tapes belonging to the BBC Radiophonic Workshops Delia Derbyshire have been uncovered;

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7512072.stm

The experimental dance track has to be heard to be believed – it is literally 30 years ahead of its time.

Also;

http://www.delia-derbyshire.org/recordings.php – for more Delia Derbyshire recordings

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC_Radiophonic_Workshop

Jif Dessert Toppings Press Advert (1979)

Remember these things? Fruity syrup to splash all over your dessert (where Ice Cream would have been the most obvious choice) that came in a range of flavours – I am sure you can still get the Strawberry one. Anyway – 3 paper labels from these things plus £1 got you a space calender that would tell you what day a date fell on right through until ‘2001 ad’! Good job too – advertising a 1979 calender in the midst of the summer holidays isn’t the brightest promotion idea ever.

Taken from 2000ad & Starlord prog 126, 18th of August 1979.