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By Phil Thornton



The return of big-fuck off logos on sports kits. Have you seen the size of the Kappa badge on the Italian rugby team’s shirt? It’s fucking massive! Forget subtlety and being unobtrusive, we want to see the return of giant chickens and naval insignias on footy kits next season…or else!!


The Art Of Spain - Andrew Graham-Dixon may well be yet another public school art ponce but compared to the likes of Brian Sewell and Matthew Collings, he comes across as refreshingly free of ego. AGD (as the media will no doubt Christen him) never gets carried away with himself and his own intellectual or aesthetic prejudices, he just EXPLAINS. The Art Of Spain follows his Renaissance series as a brilliantly researched, written and produced series that enlightens as much as it entertains. With subject matter ranging from El Greco, Velasquez, Goya. Picasso and Dali, it’d be hard NOT to produce a great programme yet Dicko (as Swine has Christened him) tells the story with passion, precision and most importantly provides context and a genuine warmth for his subjects without resorting to hyperbole or gimmicks. Marvellous!


Rip It Up & Start Again - Simon Reynolds. Typical wool - waited for this to come out on paperback and can’t put it down. Reynolds was always one of the finest, most perceptive music writers of his generation at Melody Maker and this is his masterpiece. Correctly identifying the period from 1978-84 as one of the most important and adventurous eras of modern popular music, Reynolds’s depth of detail and superb powers of description transform what could’ve been a dry academic discourse into a joyous celebration of post-punk’s many and varied scenes; linking bands either by city (Sheffield, New York, Akron, Glasgow, Leeds, San Francisco, Manchester etc) or by similarity (Talking Heads and Wire for example) this is about as definitive a book as your ever likely to get on a much overlooked musical era. For more info see www.simonreynolds.net.


Red Bull Music Academy - normally as armchair Bolsheviks, we’d be dead against the corporatisation of musical culture and heritage (see NME’s Dairylea Lunchable Awards) but we make an exception for www.redbullmusicacademy.com - where some of the most interesting (Harvey, Baldelli, Krivit, Simonetti etc) players in ’dance’ music’s evolution share their music and experiences in easy to download ‘tutorials.’ There’s only the slightest hint of product placement - a handily placed crushed can of Red Bull by the laptop etc and the ‘two bulls twatting each other’ backdrop logo, but this apart, RBMA is a fantastic site for up-their-own-arse turntable obsessed twats the world over.


Savile Row - A televisual programme dedicated to the chaps who design and fit bespoke tailoring for the landed gentry and men with more money than sense? Suits us sir! For all its self-mythology and air of insufferable snobbery, most of the people featured in this programme are down-to-earth and charmingly anachronistic. Some of their ilk may have made the transition from the Row to the mall and branched out into new markets such as China (as featured on this programme) but essentially, Savile Row remains true to its original concept; celebrating style over mere fashion.  


The Italian Job : Gian Luca Vialli - I can’t stick player autobiographies, even the Maradona one bored me after a few chapters but this isn’t another ghost written account of a famous player’s ups n’ downs but is a fantastic, almost academic dissertation on the differences between Italian and British football. It goes much deeper than that however, exploring aspects of culture, tradition and class as well as race and economics. With interviews from the likes of Capello, Mourinho, Wenger and Ferguson and Vialli’s own perceptive, well-argued opinions, this is a timely look at why British football fails to live up to its own ludicrously high expectations. 








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