Rooney Tunes!

After their disastrous start against France, England have advanced to the quarter-finals of Euro 2004. All thanks to an 18-year-old kid named Wayne Rooney (note to self, must play more football with Charlie). Next up is the host nation, Portugal, on Thursday night.

The miracle of IKEA

One recent soggy Saturday, in a seethingly crowded branch of IKEA at Brent Park, north London, a young couple gaze at a Lack sidetable, and then, with fond exasperation, at each other, and have the following conversation:

“But it’s only £8.”

“But we don’t need it.”

“But it’s only £8!”

“But we don’t … OK. Whatever. Whatever.”

— From a very good, if very long, feature in the Guardian on the phenomenon that is IKEA. We absolutely love IKEA. I’m writing this sitting in a Verksam and working at a Bengt. Charlie loves the children’s play area (and so do we, since we can leave him there for an hour and get some serious shopping done). And then, of course, there are the meatballs.

Euro 2004 Fever

For the next three weeks, football will be all that matters here in England. The entire nation will come to a standstill Sunday evening at 7.45. You can watch the BBC’s brilliant trailer for its Euro 2004 coverage (click on Video from Euro 2004 link at top of page, then go to Video Highlights in the pulldown menu. ). And be sure to bookmark BBC Sports because it will be streaming all of its extensive coverage of the Athens Olympics via its BBC Sports Player.

Derby Day

Charlie and Dad at Epsom Downs yesterday, where we all went to watch the 225th running of The Derby. Behind us is the half-mile-long home stretch. Below, the field comes down the hill, passing the 5 furlong pole, with the eventual winner, North Light, at the front (light blue silks, white cap). They were only a blur when they passed our position on the outside rail. Then they headed down to the steep, sharp Tattenham Corner, probably the most famous stretch of racecourse in the world. There were more than 125,000 people at Epsom on Saturday. There were nowhere near as many people the last time we were there. Oh, and in case you were wondering, our horse finished fourth.

Death to the Pixies

pixiesstub.jpgJust to prove that you’re never too old for rock ‘n’ roll, I saw the Pixies Wednesday night at the Brixton Academy. It was their first London concert in 13 years. I took Alice to their last London concert, also at Brixton Academy, in 1991. I think she still has occasional nightmares about the experience! The Guardian liked the show, as did me and my friend Bootleg Bill, who tried to tape the gig but had technical difficulties (we were a bit too close to the mosh pit for people of our advanced years, and would-be moshers kept bumping into him, in the process turning off the mini-disc he was using to record it). So I had to download and burn a CD of the concert, er, legally.
Update: An even better review in the Daily Telegraph, of all places. And a rather embarrassing one from my old paper. (ie “Ways of Mutilation”!?!)