AF Diary #6
US ELECTION FEVER
American politics is downright depressing. Donald Trump’s election to the highest office in the free world set in sequence a chain of events that has left society in the gutter. Every broken part of International relations can be traced back to Trump’s election victory and before that the bullshit that led to Brexit. Manipulation of social media by right-wingers and a slow erosion of trust in mainstream media by the same right-wingers. They’ve attempted to dismantle a progressive world to reshape it in their own image and it’s been a mess. The world has gone to shit.
With the upcoming election the USA has a chance to try and put it right. Maybe not as good as we had it before Trump but at least better than the current circumstances. It’s true that Joe Biden isn’t the best candidate for the job and somehow the Dems have dropped the ball twice on Bernie Sanders despite him having the popular vote locked down. Biden is the alternative, for what that’s worth, and right now anything but Trump is a win. It’ll take many years to recover from the damage caused by Trump but it’ll take longer if he wins another term. Just fucking get him gone America.
Football is taking up and increasingly large chunk of my time as the Premier League tries to a) finish its season before Autumn and b) tries to recoup that sweet, sweet TV green. I watched Man Utd’s comfortable win over Brighton on Tuesday (June 30). Bruno Fernandes is now the focal point of Utd’s team and they play through him. His quick thinking and goal threat remind me of the vintage team that Eric Cantona transformed overnight. They look a completely different side with him in there. Bruno scores two. Utd win 3-0.
I also watched the second half of Everton vs. Leicester. As an Evertonian I consider myself a bit of a jinx. So I joined the game with Everton winning 2-0. In a space of 15 minutes; Leicester scored, Richarlison got injured and Michael Keane almost scored an own goal when Jordan Pickford failed to collect a routine cross. Luckily Carlo Ancelotti slammed the door shut on Leicester with a shrewd tactical change and Everton eeked it 2-1.
Also on July 1 I watched an exciting battle between relegation threatened West Ham and Champion’s League chasing Chelsea. The Irons had a goal controversially disallowed for an offside decision, with Michael Antonio prone on the pitch before Chelsea led through a penalty. West Ham managed to get back level before half time when Soucek once again lost his tiny man-marker Cesar Azpiliqueta. Terrible error in judgement from the Chelsea coaches pairing though two. A thrilling end to end second half concluded with a dramatic last minute goal from sub Andrei Yarmolenko and West Ham secured a vital three points taking West Ham three clear of the drop zone. 3-2 West Ham and the best game since the restart.
July 2 was a lovely day for football. First Mourinho’s Spurs get undone by Sheff Utd 3-1 and then Klopp’s Liverpool get absolutely mullered by Man City. 4-0 with a goal chalked off for an accidental handball at the end that would have made it five. Massacre. You love to see it.
I’ve seen a few games since but as per usual I wasn’t really paying attention. It’s just background noise now. I don’t know if it’s the lack of fans that makes it feel so unimportant or the sheer volume of fixtures in quick succession. I’m only really excited about the last few games of the season and the impending Champion’s League wrap up. I will say I quite enjoyed Newcastle vs. West Ham. Why are West Ham so much fun to watch?
Anderlecht have started the new season strongly. In the past few games, to make it more interesting, they’ve been useless in the first half and come firing back from behind to win. The culminated in a match where they went behind early in the second half and didn’t start to play at all until the 80th minute and promptly won 2-1 with the winner in the 94th minute.
As for Brian Hates-Liverpool’s Juventus. They’ve started pretty good too. The left winger Rodrygo broke his ankle so I had to draft in this kid Franco Babboni. He took Napoli apart on his own so we’re set for the next three months. Plus look at that league table!
In Europe Anderlecht are making a genuine push for the knock out stages. In the first two campaigns they came in 3rd and 3rd. Getting hammered by anyone good and scraping past whoever the whipping boys were. The success has mainly come in Europa League where they got to the semi-finals against Torino in year one. However…
So, Anderlecht beat Marseille 1-0 at home, then trounced Celtic 4-0 in Scotland. And now this! 3-1 in Italy. It may be the best result I’ve ever gotten in Football Manager. The only real concern I currently have is aiming to fill in the ‘win all the trophies’ spreadsheet but not wanting to leave either club I’m currently employed by. I’ve become so attached to Anderlecht I bought one of their shirts!
F IS FOR FAMILY
Netflix kept recommending this to me, algorithms baby, and I thought I’d give it a shot. Bill Burr is the creative force behind it, also voicing Murphy family patriarch Frank. If I had to describe it to people it’s the Simpsons but in the 1970s and with adult themes. Unlike the Simpsons the family changes and circumstances alter.
It starts out as an early Simpsons style as Frank wants to buy a new TV to watch a boxing match on and the rest of the family are introduced in supporting roles. The pacing switches after this with a focus on ongoing storylines and subplots. Frank gets promoted after his boss is decapitated and Kevin (Frank’s oldest son) is shown to be failing at school. There’s also an underlying theme of worker unrest and the 1% vs the unions plus racism and it’s all done through the 70s setting but remains relevant today.
F is for Family contains a lot of smoking and profanity but isn’t a gross-out attempt at adult humour. Sure, there is vomiting but it’s a more mature, rounded TV show and one I’ve found myself watching pretty much constantly since I put on episode one last weekend. I’ve seen all of Season 1 and a couple of episodes of season 2. Which puts me approximately three years behind anyone that’s currently watching it.
Next up is S2E4 “Night Shift” where Frank gets a new job. His wife Sue has also entered full time employment while trying to make ends meet and Kevin has started a band. Younger son Bill has a paper round. Everyone is trying to help with the families dire finances in their own way. As with earlier Simpsons episodes financial concerns are the backbone of the show and the family characters all feel real. There are some wacky side characters like neighbour Vic (a mostly shirtless cocaine fueled record exec/party animal) and Frank’s initial boss Bob (a chain smoking, chain eating, desk jockey who weighs about 500lbs).
Overall I’m loving the show and it’s been a gentle distraction during testing times. I’m glad I found it and Burr is a nicely balanced central character that I can both relate to and understand why bad things happen to him. ****.
DDT DE AIMASHOU 2020
I don’t care about wrestling at the moment but if there’s a promotion I feel deserves my attention it’s DDT. They have crowds in Japan now and there’s 156 in Shinjuku FACE for this show.
- Opening Four-Way Tag. I haven’t bothered listing the participants because the match is only four seconds long. It does feature Yukio Naya though, the 6’ 7” stud from DDT’s wrestler factory. Kazuki Hirata does his full dance entrance and gets rolled up by Toru Owashi.
- Unsatisfied with the outcome Hirata sets up an eight man tag. This merely presents extra opportunities for fucking around and exposing Danshoku Dino’s butthole. Hirata’s sanitizing spray is a nice touch. Lots of shenanigans and Hirata gets the pin after two low blows. *3/4
- Eruption (Kazusada Higuchi & Yukio Sakaguchi) vs. Mizuki Watase & Hideki Okatani. While I don’t want wrestling merch in my wardrobe anymore (in case one of them turns out to be a nonce) I would love to get that Eruption coat that Sakaguchi has. Okatani is also making fashion statements with his dirty brown trunks. Who does he think he is; KENTA? Eruption are a great tag team. I’d love to see them live. If live ever becomes a thing again. Yukio can be great but seems to alternate between being great and being lazy as shit. Sometimes in the same match. He mostly dogs this before turning up for a few memorable sequences. It symbolizes this whole match, which is good in fits and starts. Higuchi murders Okatani with a backbreaker for the win. **1/2. Eruption, given decent opponents, could be world beating. Higuchi is a motherfucker, I love him.
- Daisuke Sasaki & Soma Takao vs. HARASHIMA & Antonio Honda. This is a Honda comedy match so it’s mostly worthless. I can’t tell if he’s shit in this match because he’s just shit at wrestling or whether he’s doing the ‘deliberate bad match’ Owen Hart business. He definitely has a ‘trip over the body block’ spot that’s supposed to look bad. The idea is that if he trips over he blows his knee out and has to retire. It’s a good bit. He does Gon the Little Fox but fucks up and gets rolled up and pinned by Sasaki. **. Honda has gone massively down in my estimation since he posted something about the cop that killed George Floyd being a crisis actor or some shit.
- Chris Brookes vs. Maku Donarauto. Maku is Ronald McDonald for reasons. Chris seems unimpressed with having to wrestle some weird fucking clown with issues. To the point where he tries to murder him on a rope crotching spot. Clowns shouldn’t reproduce so this is fair, I think. The clown mask must be hard to see out of because a clown-based quebrada, very high at speed, leads to near death. Brookes opts to kiss the clown rather than take a move and finishes with the Praying Mantis Bomb. This was mad. The rope crotching spot and moonsault to the floor were both scary as fuck and the weird pervert clown spots seemed to work for me. ***1/4. More pervert clown matches in 2020, please.
- ALL OUT (Konosuke Takeshita & Akito) vs. Jun Akiyama & Makoto Oishi. Takeshita having to prove himself against Akiyama is an interesting wrinkle in the storyline of DDT’s ace. There’s some really near wrestling with Akito and Oishi too, who are both really underrated. Takeshita makes short work of Oishi but Akito develops a bad wheel and Oishi taps him out. This was really good. I got lost in it. It had good logical basis for stuff happening and nice little individual match ups and stories. ***1/2. I love Takeshita being so absolutely fixated on Akiyama that he doesn’t even notice the post-match fight happening behind him. MOTN.
- Nautilus (Naomi Yoshimura & Yuki Ueno) vs. DAMNATION (Mad Paulie & Tetsuya Endo). Yoshimura is a tank. Like a baby Morishima. Paulie isn’t much of a wrestler but he does provide a large bulk for Yoshimura to smash through. Endo gets a little too cute for my liking, a little too frequently. Some of his stuff requires too much cooperation and that takes me out of the match. Ueno puts Paulie away with a moonsault. This was very hit and miss. Endo especially. **3/4
- Meiko Satomura vs. Saki Akai. This is the main event and DDT have been really serious about turning Akai into a legitimate star. They’ve had her for years and it feels closer than ever that she can be their focal point. Her in-ring has always been the main issue and putting her in with Meiko shows how far she’s improved but also how much she has still to do. She’s got 6-7 years under her belt at this point. I personally don’t think she’s ever going to hit ‘great’ but we’ll see. She’s still lacking in grace and her foot work needs improvement. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone with poor foot work become a great worker. She’s gangly and uncoordinated at times. Which is a shame because the match is well put together, she just can’t hang with Meiko. Scorpio Rising finishes and this felt overlong for what it was. Meiko was the far superior wrestler and it didn’t do Saki any favours to be in there for so long, getting continually exposed. **3/4
- You’d think from my comments and star ratings that I didn’t enjoy this and while that’s partially true it doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy DDT. It’s a lot easier to drop in and sit through 2h20m, with an intermission, than it is to sit through a 3h+ WWE show that reaches a higher standard in the ring. Plus I got to see Chris Brookes murder a pervert clown.
So that’s it for this week. I’m off work next week so you may see more content or you may not. I may just sit around playing Football Manager for a week. Who knows? Sitting through DDT shows that I can still watch wrestling without hating it and myself though so there’s a silver lining for anyone hoping to see me return to more regular wrestling reviews.