Arcticterntalk.org

The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the tag “art”

Art 4 Grenfell. A charity art auction conducted by Bonhams.


On Wednesday 21st Feb hosted by NatWest at The Atrium 250 Bishopsgate. All the proceeds going to the survivors.

Tickets can be obtained from

Www. Art4grenfell.org/tickets

Were Aston Villa that bad? Or were we that good? Thoughts after the night before


A very wet evening heralded an excellent game of football that even torrential rain could not dampen nor actually have much effect. A sell out crowd of 12,000 including 1,600 Villa fans saw an end to end game that at times could have gone in any direction. IMG_6569

The scoresheet will confirm that Brentford won 2-1 but that hides a lot of the game. The few minuscule words that The Times chose to post about the game really were both clueless and gave their readers no feeling of anything about the game. So lets go back to the start. Brentford have a whole series of injuries that have disrupted their starting eleven for around 2 months now, yet even with players out of position and squad players coming in, the results have been quite superb. So looking at some of  the players who were absent from last night: Egan, Henry, Dalsgaard, it is clear that the Bees defence was not first, nor second choice but maybe third choice. Nico Yennaris at right back and Joann Barbet at left back, two players not always first choice this season, playing out of their regular positions. On paper this was a team that Villa managed by the ever increasing frame of Steve Bruce should have been looking to beat comfortably. Certainly thats the view from their hordes of fans on social media. In fact Brentford looked the most comfortable they have all season in defence, with the exception of the Villa goal scored too easily. 00000513

Brentford have turned into a hard working and maybe fitter side than earlier in the season, and are playing as a team. They are also some of the best football I have seen at Griffin Park over the years. The players have a game plan and it works. The return from injury of Sergi Canos has been crucial as has the return to form of Florian.

The pitch is now in excellent condition considering the recent weather and rainfall, and yet this is Brentford, were before the game smiling stewards were trying to sweep away the rain behind the New Road stand but at a slower pace than the rain that was falling!

The return of Alan Judge to the bench was warmly applauded and we might expect to see him starting a game soon.

My impression of Villa was actually positive. They were a hard working team in the first half and probably shaded the game on points. Always a threat when coming forward but as the game went on they failed to have a plan B and arguably gave up after Lasse Vibe’s 52nd minute winner. The last 10 minutes were the usual panic stations and especially as both Brentford central defenders were off the pitch with bloody head injuries, with goal line saves keeping Villa out. 00000487

Despite negative comments on social media my impression was they are a side that will be in the playoffs. The fans are shouting to maybe have Bruce out but they might look at their alternatives and instead stick with him. Do they really want a Pulis, Warnock or Pardew? Their football was not as good as Brentford and on the night it showed, but on other nights they will beat similar teams because of their speed in attack and physical size. What however surprised Brentford fans was the odd role given to Hogan. We know he is a good player, but we also know he is a confidence player, and a player that needs service in the box. He could slot back in at Brentford in the correct role and start scoring goals again. But a real lesson for not only Villa but also Birmingham and Norwich, do not just buy the best player, but look at the system they have been operating in and why they have been the best player. The simple reason why Canos, Jota and Hogan have not flourished after leaving Brentford. IMG_6583

The football played by Brentford was superb last night, there were no defensive errors ( bar one that we got away with) and we made good substitutions at the right time. The other thing we learned last night was that we do need to give Lasse Vibe a new contract. For me he has vastly improved this last 2 years and has at least another 2 years left of Championship football. He also is a stable influence on the side and is likely to feature in the World Cup in 2018. Nico Yennaris for me had his best game in a Brentford shirt, not only his positional sense but his cajoling and encouraging his team colleagues. Could this be his best position? I would not be alone in thinking that Henrik Dalsgaard would be better in midfield . Chris Mepham was superb and a casual observer would be surprised to learn he has only started a handful of games. Sergi Canos had a superb game despite his Malfoy like hairstyle, and is getting better by the game. Romaine Sawyers also had one of his best games and also looking better each game. Even Keith Stroud had an average game, when our expectations are that he will ruin any spectacle. A question to ask him is his interpretation of the advantage rule though.

Villa do not need to panic and although automatic promotion is beyond them, the playoffs certainly are not. Their hope might be that they do not meet Brentford there. This was one of the great nights under the lights at Griffin Park and when we move to Lionel road this is what we will miss.

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Brentford v Barnsley. What did we learn from this festival of football? Talking points


  1. Never knowingly watch Barnsley ever again. Another club in the lower reaches of the championship  who seem to think that mathematically drawing each game 0-0 will preserve their league status. The time wasting tactics we saw yesterday ranging from their goalkeeper wasting time two minutes into the game, and  added to by curious injury delays towards the end, were very much old league four behaviours. Simply dire.  As a footballing side they were adequate when trying to come forward but little better than that. In 2017 this kind of gamesmanship has no place and one wonders of the mentality of manager Paul Heckingbottom or his assistant Jamie Clapham.
  2. Never undertake the role of Barnsley performance analyst (Alex Bailey, what exactly do you analyse? Minutes of time wasted when score 0-0?)
  3. Brentford are not improving at knowing how to unlock defensive minded teams. We are a far better side in terms of skin levels yet seemingly not any better than teams like Sunderland, Burton and Barnsley, with disappointing home draws in recent weeks. The team seems not set up to do this and importantly no sign of a Plan B either.
  4. Josh McCeahran had a poor game and is not suited to playing in front of the defensive unit. He did not tackle and gave the ball away in highly dangerous situations. This was a curious decision by Dean Smith. It is difficult to argue that he should be starting games as he also offered little in attacking options either.
  5. Team selection and tactics. To put Kamo and Nico on the bench was perhaps an odd selection. Players need to be played who are in form and both are in the best performing 11 players at present. Ryan Woods is out of form and this worries me as is reminiscent of the form of players like Tarkowski and Toumani shortly before their departures. Why is Florian not playing? A player in good form and a set ball expert. There is plenty of room for both Sergio and Florian in the same team. 00000198
  6. Route one football at Brentford? We have never been known for this style of football. Our current squad are also not suited not frankly capable of playing this way, yet against Barnsley and Burton, for periods of the game this was our style. Justin Shaibu is the only squad member capable potentially of playing in this style ( and why has he not been on the bench recently?).
  7. Neal Maupay. Enigma or unlucky? The season has not gone well for him and some fans are starting to turn on him. He should have scored more goals but yesterday his level of service was zero. He is not a midfielder yet was having to win the ball to be able to do anything with it. For me he has the potential but needs the team set up to provide far more crosses into the box. He also I suspect is a confidence player.
  8. Is Dean Smith getting the best from his squad? Putting aside the few folks with persistent negative views, others are questioning his team selection, tactics and ability to out manoeuvre the opposition, especially when changes need to be made during the game. His choice of central defenders have come under scrutiny  and I am a critic here too. Our central defence is the weakest for many seasons regardless of international players we have playing there. As an ex-central defender he must see that too and I would like to see changes in the transfer window.
  9. Are we going anywhere this season? My opinion is not. We are a mid-table side. We will not make the top six, and unlikely to be in the bottom six either. We should take this opportunity to blood the youngsters or move them on. Chris Mepham should be starting and Ilias should be given a run of 4-6 games to assess potential.
  10. Why do the half-time draw sellers stand both outside the gents toilet ( for their sake, the smells are not lovely) and blocking the entrance to the steps up into the stand in New Road?  I do not much like this way of making a minuscule amount of money and £2 a ticket is a lot of money frankly for a small prize. The simplest way to make a sensible amount of money would be to make catering available to supporters in their seats in the stands. Trays of hot drinks and burgers etc. All priced sensibly maybe with pre-paid vouchers. To sell 300 extra hot drinks and 300 extra burgers would make a decent amount of money and provide a service.
Neal Maupay

Neal Maupay

Fakery is now endemic. One person has had enough


Reading the papers, watching TV or simply sitting in one place for long enough, will get you assailed by fakery.

Watching TV. The first question in any documentary or reality programme, is what are your underlying thoughts? Let’s take Strictly. For those outside UK this is an annual fest that runs the three months till Xmas and so called celebrities are paired with professional dancers. The fakery in their smiles, actions and intent are frighteningly transparent. Just one example. This is a competitive game. Yet one might be excused for thinking your competitor is your cheerleader. All nonsense and fake smiles. Mostly designed to move on a career in an unbalanced and unfair contest where a vicar might be paired against an ex ballet dancer. You get the picture. Fakery at its worst. Often terrible Dad dancing applauded in the same manner as an invasion of Pluto might be.

Change the venue. The airport lounge. Folks walking and talking loudly about matters they deem important . Deals worth a million or colleagues whom should be dismembered. Faking the importance . The desire to go and stand next to them and sing Barry Manillow songs or simply assault them is very strong.

Newspapers. Goodness. When was the last time you read a paper and believed the content was accurate with no political slant? In fact many papers hardly are worthy of that title. Dominated by sickly adverts. Columnists clearly have a political slant when what is needed is exactly what it says on the tin. The news.

Fake phone calls. In the last week I have won a holiday in Orlando . Yet oddly no one will send me anything . I must be transferred to their marketing department. The most honest aspect of all these rants really. Manic sounding young callers asking me how my day was. One wants to reply that it got off to a bad start with the colostomy bag exploding at a board meeting. That the bank called regarding bankruptcy proceedings and that my wife was in court on a murder charge . Probably relating to previous telephone callers. In short they want to sell something . It might be good but when fronted by this fakery . No thanks.

Street beggars. In the last weeks I have walked past many who are sitting more comfortably than I might in my office, with better shoes [ I own a single pair right now] and asking , sometimes demanding , for money. Whereas there are some people who sadly do need to beg. Mostly with improperly treated forms of mental illness. These guys need help in the short term. Some good and better still a place to stay. Society is negative towards them mostly because of the fakers.

Football. Where do I start. Feigning injury. Hairstyles. The question to ask is are they not ashamed? Pretending a serious injury usually a head injury . That frankly was little more than a disturbance of their curious hairstyle.

There will be more examples for sure. But for now. That’s enough

Early morning drinking at airports and the waste of alcohol


Airport lounges are never dull places. In general if you seek rudeness you can expect to find it. Folks pushing in to grab the food and generally taking up seven chairs. Some of the fashion sense is also dubious . Anything free is pounced upon in a hawk like manner.

If you have followed my blog you will recall articles on early morning drinking at Scottish airports. So I will not repeat my thoughts here. Today however a totally new rant. Waste. Anyone travelling to USA will be highly familiar with the waste of food there purely by being served gigantic portions. What is less common is waste of alcohol, after all it is relatively expensive there . Today however it is the waste of alcohol here in Uk. Terminal 5 lounge where for fortunate passengers food and alcohol is free. I had no intention of writing a blog at 9 am but was struck by two men essentially having poured and wasted numerous drinks. Five to seven glasses at various times. At a guess mostly different types of champagnes. Why? Society is not in a good place if this is a behaviour that is common. End of rant . Except to comment on the lady next to me who either has an unfortunate ring tone on her phone announcing texts or emails, the sound of a steam train[ I think] or alternatively an unpleasant gastric situation . Needless to say the ring tone is set to extra loud. Good morning

Vienna is a Black and White place. The power of BW photography


Sometimes black and white photography conveys far more a meaningful resemblance of a city than colour. Sometimes not.

In winter Vienna is cold and often a wet place. A few photographs that attempt to convey what Vienna in November is.

FA cup First Round. The grounds are hardly crowded. Why ?


The media are full of the glamour of the FA cup. Sadly for many if not most teams that glamour is somewhat tarnished.

Not everyone is aware that the FA cup starts in August and ends in May. The early qualifying rounds are a god given chance for nonleague teams to make a small amount of money from the moderately attractive prize money on offer. By the time the first round rolls round in November the media suddenly awake with their stories of candlestick makers and funeral directors somehow managing to combine a job and a nonleague football career. Curiously they manage that on each of the other 364 days. As overheard at the recent Met Police FA trophy game a player when asked if he was playing on Tuesday simply answered negatively as was working. As Moriarty famously said in Sherlock “ that’s what people do”.

The glamour of the first round however comes with sadness too. The crowds at many grounds , sometimes famous grounds in FA cup parlor, were poor if not pathetic. The reasons may be varied. Clubs that decide not to offer deals and retain normal charges . Clubs that poorly advertise. Clubs that simply do not care as the league club imagines that the prize money more than compensates.

Let’s take a look at the winners and the rogues gallery. Starting with the rogues;

  • Colchester. We all recall Layer Road and the Leeds cup tie. The crowd v Oxford City a pitiful 1775. Oxford won 1-0.
  • Coventry. A crowd of 3370 saw a 2-0 victory over Maidenhead.
  • Charlton. Another ex-premier league side . A crowd of 4494 saw a 3-1 victory over Truro. Around 1000 were Truro fans
  • Blackburn. Premiership winners . A crowd of 3710 saw a 3-1 victory over Barnet
  • Wimbledon. There has been enough miserable moaning from the club over the last few years about MK Dons and Franchise FC. The famous FA cup winners persuaded only 3394 paying spectators to attend their game against Lincoln City who had an incredible run last year. Terrible in my opinion. Need I continue.

So where were the decent crowds? The nonleague sides playing at home. Hereford who are a reincarnated club but with great cup history had 4712 watch them defeat another nonleague side AFC Telford. Almost matching the highest crowd of the round at Luton v Portsmouth. 5333.

What realistically can be done? There are three options

  1. Do nothing and watch the history and glamour of this great competition die
  2. Allow the FA to subsidise prices for the first two rounds such that the maximum ticket price is £10 or less and children are free
  3. In the first round seed all nonleague teams to have home advantage

To do nothing is not an option.

An hour in Newcastle on Tyne


As with many trips there is never enough time to see a city properly . But if you have an hour just walk down to the quayside area . The choice is walk along the Tyne. Walk over a bridge. There are plenty to choose from.

The lower level bridge is my favourite for no good reason. One is undercover and the smell of urine is not far away. But a few curious aspects. The padlocks are interesting. To read the inscriptions . Compare the different types. Wonder how many of the couples who placed them here are still together?

The views are also good of all the other bridges. When you reach the far side you are in Gateshead. And it does seem as though you have left Newcastle.

This is a great city and a friendly one too. Well worth an hour wandering around

Berlin in Autumn. Is it worth a visit?


Berlin is a fascinating city with history and architecture to rival any city in the world. The question is given the high prices is it worth a visit in the autumn?

Unfortunately the greatness of the place and the short days with darkness coming from 4.30 pm meant I would not be positive in spending money to come here.

The city was wet and muddy meaning that walking through Tiergarten was not a pleasure . Queues everywhere to get into any historical building and few smiles to be seen. Prices were also expensive. In a small cafe not in a popular area a cheeseburger cost 10€ and a large Americano coffee 5.90€.

In a lesson for other cities though there were few cars to be seen in the city centre.

On the positive side a good transportation system and decent if wet and muddy pedestrian walkways.

Would I return again in autumn? Definitely not. Cities like Riga and Prague offer far more for far less at this time of year .

The street art is not too shabby though tucked away in small side streets.

Gothenburg Harbour . Sunrise and Sunset


The area around the harbour on the south side is essentially a Science park and a Radisson hotel. But at sunrise and sunset it comes to life . A few photographs .

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