Friday, January 06, 2006


Perhaps I am deluded but I look forward to Sunday’s Gloucester match at Saracens with a hint of confidence. The Leeds match was not the bleak disaster that some folk are considering it and I anticipate that a fired-up fifteen will cause problems for a star-studded Watford-based outfit. A recall for Pendlebury is deserved, a return for the noble Collazo is welcomed warmly while the only caveat about the pack is the seven that the old warhorse Boer wears on his broad back. Does the South African possess enough pace for openside flank forward? He has never particularly impressed there and I suspect the remarkable talent of James Merrimen may impact on proceedings at some point. Behind the scrum, continuity is the key and the same backs that started against Leeds are again selected. I appreciate this. Chopping and changing teams rarely works and the youngsters that Ryan is placing such faith in can only benefit from a decent run in the team and the confidence it provides them.

I am overdosing on serious and worthy North American songsmiths right now. I am playing lots of Ryan Adams (including his new and admirable ‘29’ album which I like immensely), Calexico, Iron and Wire, Sufjan Stevens and The Cowboy Junkies. I loathe the expression ‘background music’ and the whole concept grates. These musicians provide the antithesis of such an idea; each song commends the greatest of attention and repeated studied listening does pay dividends. Part of me is crying out for something a tad sunnier though, particularly as I spent some of the recent festive period reinvestigating the gloomy Cure trio of albums, ‘Seventeen Seconds’, ‘Faith’ and ‘Pornography’ – three belters, it has to be said.