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 “travel”

Fall Out Boy At O2. Beyond Brilliant


It’s more difficult than one can imagine to entertain 17,000 folks with the right mix of songs.

Even when these folks are avid fans. Fall Out Boy contrived to do this brilliantly . A few reasons why

  1. Only one excellent quality support band . Against the Current. No need for multiple poor bands to fill time, these guys played maybe 35 minutes and were great
  2. The stage set was unique in that the background to the band was an ever changing colourful visual .
  3. The band played 2 songs effectively on a raised stage in the middle of the auditorium. Meaning that even those souls in the Sky got some close ups . A walkway also allowed the band to dance through the crowd in a kind of sensible non contact crowd surfing.
  4. The set list was a mixture of old and new with even the odd almost acoustic number
  5. They sounded great. Vocals were superb and the sound very complete.
  6. They played 90 minutes so not overdoing their welcome including an excellent encore.

All in all a great evening in what is now London’s best large music venue

A Day In Eilat-thoughts and photos


Eilat is the southernmost city in Israel sitting at the northern tip of the Red Sea with a population of around 50,000. Eilat is a popular tourist resort with regular flights from Tel Aviv as almost a shuttle service from Israel amongst other airlines. The diving options there are plentiful with unspoiled coral reefs and Eilat is regarded as  one of the world’s top diving centres. 0000189200001895

With only a few hours to see any of the city here are a few photographs that try to give a feel to the place. The temperatures are high being 30c even in early March and the beaches are a mixture of pebble stones with some sand. The only aspect that did not engage me though was the widespread usage of wire fences, sometimes with barbed wire to separate the promenade from the beach. 00001885

The food was amazing with fresh fruits and vegetables in abundance but with the odd curious aspect. At breakfast despite there being tomatoes on the buffets, the omelette chef did not allow tomatoes in his omelettes!00001903

 

The hotels seemed almost carved out of the hillside and the views from my room were quite unique.

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The beaches were fairly traditional with beach beds but also some more curious areas to sit. Some of the Eilat industry was also not too far away.

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A Restaurant Called Alice. Alice Ristorante Milan. Simply Beyond Brilliant


I am as far from being a restaurant critic as it is possible to be. Having been summoned to a Milan restaurant as part of a group of people one has little idea of what the food will be like and often the style of the food.

Alice Ristorante is situated in a complex with the cute sounding Eataly Milano Smeraldo name. Arriving at the door it seems one has arrived at the Milan equivalent of Waitrose. A large food store selling on three levels various Italian foods. Tucked away on the top floor was Alice Ristorante. A medium size restaurant overlooking the main street where the only obvious landmark was the taxi rank.

The food and the service was beyond brilliant. The group had been pre ordered a menu with accompanying wines.

Depending upon how one counts courses we seemed to have seven. Some of the dishes are best described by looking at the menu here. The only obvious dishes were the excellent sea bass and the risotto.

I cannot recall a better meal. The service was attentive without being overpowering. The white wines were perfectly chilled. The food looked and tasted superb. Cost? I have no idea.

New Malden In The Snow


New Malden is not really famous for anything although due to the fact that around 75% of the UK Korean population live there, the Korean restaurants are highly rated.

Waking up to a blanket of snow this morning there was more than a modicum of surprise that South Western Railway had a far better service than normal. Maybe it was the right kind of snow on the line. Fewer commuters than normal braved the station . But as per usual some of the driving was horrific especially on the ungritted roads. The major roads like A3 were fine but many of the smaller residential roads had seen less salt than a hypertension clinic.

The blue sky though made the world look a happy place and the dogs were loving the snow.

Oaks Park in Banstead


As the snow and ice descends, dogs were having a great time running in the snow. A husky seemed to be teaching some other dogs how to eat snow.

An icy car park that had not seen the benefits of salting .

In weather like this walking dogs is not easy and there is no certainty that the weather will allow access to Oaks Park in forthcoming days.

All looking picturesque but certainly needing care with walking and driving .

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.

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