Monday, July 31, 2006

Foreign Affairs for Dummies

It strikes me that trying to get to the bottom of any international dispute requires some simple
  1. It would really help all international disputes if a UN resolution was passed to the effect that any party that uses force or threat of force either as an act of aggression or act of defence is by definition 'a terrorist'.
  2. Having a democratically elected government doesn't mean you can't be a terrorist nation.
  3. There is no point in determining which terror is justified and which isn't.
  4. There also isn't much point in measuring proportions of terror (or for that matter, grief or justification). Proportionality of response is a stupid, stupid logic which presumes that a response was justified and that the only thing in question was the appopriateness of said response.
  5. Saying that you won't negotiate with terrorists is a noble but futile position. It is futile because history shows that the only groups that ever get negotiated with are those which threaten violence.
  6. Suggesting that an aggressive nation is guity of crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing or mass genocide is an unnecessary distinction. This only serves to move the argument away from the absolute evil that is being perpetrated to a debate about the scale of that evil.
  7. A people that have suffered genocide in their recent past are no more likely to desist from conducting their own ethnic cleaning than a nation that hasn't so suffered.
  8. Promulgating the view that another nation should be wiped off the face of the earth is likely to encourage that nation to get their retaliation in first.
  9. Saying that you will stop being evil, if they stop being evil first is nothing to be proud about. Only the nation that breaks the cycle has any claim of the moral high ground and even then only a tenuous one.
  10. Wringing your hands and pretending to want a peaceful resolution whilst (a) doing nothing to bring peace about (b) providing more arms to one side to continue the slaughter (c) you don't talk to terrorists (d) or any of the above, means that you aren't really a superpower. You are just as despicable, culpable and evil as any of the warring factions.

Now, for the record, Israel and the Hezbullah are evil terrorists. Any resolution of this dispute will require US & Britain, Iran & Syria to stop supporting terrorists and start talking to terrorists.

The above clarifications generally also work in other international theatres of war, disputes between neighbours and resolving arguments between teenage boys.


For the Love of God

... and his sweet mother Mary, and all the saints in heaven, in the name of all that is holy.... who is it in RTE that has such a death wish on Brian Kennedy's career? What did the cherub son of Belfast do the deserve such a fate?

Those of us who saw Brian at his brilliant best in the early 90's at the Jazz Cafe in London singing Sam Brown numbers, know what a genius he is. He'd the voice of an angel. It was like the most expensive and luxurious chocolate indulgently melting down your throat. He was a master with a microphone taking us to musical heights with his fabulous talent. And a showman too, managing to keep the pathetic girlie groups teased, whilst nodding to those women in the audience who appreciated great soul music and any of their boyfriends who were unsure of their sexuality.

Alas, my boyfriend of the time was all to sure of his sexual needs and his ever insistent requests that we get my best friend involved in a bedroom experiment, forced me to have a very public breakup with him (the boyfriend not Brian) in the foyer of the aforementioned establishment. But he did have the decency to fuck off home leaving Brian's gentle renditions to soothe the badly bruised blankpaige. Was it any wonder that he captured my heart? On the train back to Morden, I realised that Brian was so right, in this town you listen with your eyes.

I have to confess, I was selfishly pleased that Brian never had the commercial success that he so richly deserved. While the rest of the country had Ritchie Kavanagh's 'Aon focail eile', Brian was a secret only a few hundred of us shared. Backing vocals for Van Morrison meant that he was only ever going to be heard by people who prefer poetry to music and clearly didn't value the ability to sing in key.

I worried when I heard about the River Dance gig, but again consoled myself that only Foster & Allen fans would get to hear his fabulous voice. Brian would still be mine. I'd be one of the few people who actually appreciated his talents. I've never liked football that much, but George Best's funeral concerned me more than a little for showed the world what we privileged few knew. East Ulster folk are nice but incredibly dour people and Brian Kennedy can make you cry.

So enter that homophobic, music hating RTE executive who decided it would be really cool to have our Brian sit on a big rock somewhere gazing misty eyed out to the Atlantic and crooning a series of 'come-all-yea's of the worst possible kind. Imagine the cheek of it, putting our angel on a Sunday evening graveyard slot! Then there was the Eurovision debacle, where we heaped more ridicule on the only talented male singer still living in the country. We all know RTE don't want to win the feckin' thing but that's still no excuse for reducing Kennedy to a performing poodle in a talent show held in small rural town with 20 years of aural in-breeding.

It was only through judicious avoidance of certain television stations and newspapers that Blankpaige escaped the whole ordeal relatively unscathed. But flopping in front of the tv tonight with a basket load of ironing, I wasn't prepared for the cruel Kennedy karaoke that I witnessed. Car crash television of the worst possible kind. Didn't Brian Cullen not promise to end this sort of senseless waste? A girl is suppose to be wearing her sexiest undies and have her hair perfectly coiffured before any spontaneous meeting with Brian. She's not suppose to be sitting in a paint-splattered track suit, with no makeup on and stuffing a golden grain biscuit down her hole.

Tonight I witnessed the saddest sight on television and Brian made me cry again for all the wrong reasons.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Blog Roll Call

blankpaige? Anseo!
Omani? Anseo!
Sigla? Anseo!
Thatgirl? Nil si anseo!

As many of them tend to be, this post has been inspired by two bloggers -
John of Dublin and Curly K.

Curly K has gone and done something cool with her blog roll by adding a short note on each link. I think it is a really smart thing to do. (I'm not just saying that because of the nice things she wrote about the blankpaige. Okay, so I am!).

John of Dublin has kindly added me to his blog roll. I fully intend to reciprocate. Interestingly he mentioned that his blog roll was very short. I've been aware of John for several months from his excellent comments but for some reason I'd not yet checked out his blog. I assume(d) that John's point was that his blog roll was deliberately concise (i.e. selective) as opposed to a work in progress (i.e. incomplete).

This set me thinking that I must revise my blog roll. I think I'll be a good deal more selective and informative in my roll call. In the meantime check out both
Curly K and John of Dublin's excellent blogs.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Alice in Wonderland

Alice Prendergast is not a household name – yet. But you heard it here first, this is probably the best Irish actor of her generation. I was fortunate enough to catch her one woman show last night in a small, intimate setting. It was truly remarkable and I feel privileged to have stumbled across this major talent by complete chance.

Alice began the hour long performance with a stunning portrait of a young woman embarking on a journey of self-discovery. Initially shy and lacking confidence, this character had just arrived in ‘the big smoke’ for the first time, having been abandoned by her feckless older sister. The girls’ parents weren’t mentioned in the 20 minute monologue and it was clear that the protagonist idolised her also unnamed sibling. It was also apparent, although never explicitly stated, that the abandonment by her sister, though temporary, was sudden and related in no small part to the attentions of an attractive young man. Informed by her own lack of interest in men and by her low self esteem, Alice’s character dissected and ridiculed the courtship charade. “I can’t see what that one sees in men, but her head is always turned by some young buck who’ll only go on to break her heart’, Alice observed with wisdom beyond her years. Although you clearly got the sense that these were someone else’s words.

The mood changed dramatically after a brief pause for breath. We were now in the Spar shop on Merrion Row, a busy and bustling enterprise that showcased all Dublin’s rich and colourful tapestry. Alice assumed first the role of a non-national worker with very poor English whose only function seemed to be to mop a precious 3 square foot of floor just inside the shop door and re-arrange the Ballygown water bottles into neat and even rows. An absent minded civil servant from the Dept of Finance arrived every day for his Guardian newspaper and a packet of polo mints. An earnest young business woman busily blackberried as she waited to be served. Every day Charlo Hughes delivered Cuisine de France produce to the store, piping hot from a Gallic patisserie somewhere west of Cherrywood.

We learned about these, and countless other characters though Alice’s accurate portrayal of Nina, the cashier who bantered with the customers and repeatedly made informative asides to the audience. Nina had the air of a vibrant young woman of Eastern European origin who was being woren down by the passive aggressive time-poor Celtic Tiger cubs. In one abrupt word, “Next!”, accompanied by a weary sigh, Alice caught the essence of what passes for customer service in our latte-fuelled, SSIA-financed world. Her accent momentarily drop from the distinctive clipped Baltic delivery to the throaty, careladened intonations of an older woman, born and raised in the Liberties. “Are you all roight der, luv?”

Those of us enthralled by the performance were indeed alright. And I travelled home convinced that I’d seen a sharp observer of society at her brilliant best. I fully expect to read an article in tomorrow’s Irish Times telling me that Alice has been recruited to play opposite Cillian Murphy in the latest Neil Jordan movie. If Alice Prendergast is the new face of L’Oreal within 4 months, I won’t be a bit surprised. Or if she appears in the Abbey’s next major Synge performance, it will be very good casting. Although, I am reliably informed that the State, Alice’s mother and child protection legislation take a dim view of a four year old being lumbered with such expectations so early in her career.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Major Apologies

My sincere apologies for the silence of the past week. A combination of technical difficulties and technical incompetence rendered the blankpaige muzzled. Probably the most infuriating aspects of this enforced blog silence was that I'd hit a rich vein of blog ideas. I know that it doesn't happen too often but I was really cooking. I'd a whole entertaining (I thought) story about a Dundrum shopping experience, I wrote a rigorous dissertation on the current Middle East situation, I reviewed 3 books and 2 movies, I composed a passionate defence of the Gardai in the wake of Abbeylara report and I shared my Granny's receipe for Tiramisu. I made a confession about a growing interest in soccer that has some connection with Andri Shevkenko's tight haircut.

Of course when I say I wrote and composed, in some cases it was only in my head. But in a surprising number of situations there was hard copy to show for my musings. But the technical difficulties forced me to review and reflect on my "virtual work" as well as do a lot more blog reading. I know that I'm not a finisher. I get an idea, I toss it around, conceive a solution and then thats it. I loose all interest once I know what I want to say or once I see a solution to my problem. Saying it out loud or implementing the solution hold no joy for me. So I tend to tick the box mentally and move on.

So depending on how you look at things, you can
  • Rejoice that blankpaige is back online
  • Bemoan another pointless blog explaining why there isn't a blog
  • Rejoice/bemoan at the loss of blogs about Andrei, my Granny, the Gardai, Dundrum, etc


(P.S. Here is hoping that I was one of the missing routines in Omani's day of late. And I trust he got the in-joke in the title. Sweet Afton)

Monday, July 17, 2006

With supreme thanks to Super Shane

The now permanently iPod-ed Paige has rediscovered her love of music. Like a romance of old, it has rekindled thoughts and memories long since buried by years of working in Cubicleville. However no amount of performance appraisals or competence-base models can hide the fact that I once indulged myself in poetry of a very special kind.

Last weekend, I discovered a box of my old cassettes that once accompanied me and my VW Golf all over Europe. I hope Victor who shared that magical journey to the South of France, still listens to the Pogues and thanks Paige for the introduction as much as She does him for learning about Elvis Costello. And I so wish I had this stuff on my iPod.

There is no need to forget Bell X1, Cooks or the Frames but no-one can call themselves an Irish music fan if they haven't come to love the poetry of our own Dylan.

White City
Here a tower shinning bright
Once stood gleaming in the night
Where now theres just the rubble in the hole
Here the paddies and the frogs
Came to gamble on the dogs
Came to gamble on the dogs not long ago

Oh the torn up ticket stubs
From a hundred thousand mugs
Now washed away with dead dreams in the rain
And the car-parks going up
And theyre pulling down the pubs
And its just another bloody rainy day

Oh sweet city of my dreams
Of speed and skill and schemes
Like atlantis you just disappeared from view
And the hare upon the wire
Has been burnt upon your pyre
Like the black dog that once raced
Out from trap two

(c) Copyright Shane McGowan 1989

Friday, July 14, 2006

Generation XXL

Sometimes I think of a great title and then I blog. Other times I get the blog but can never pin down a good title. Well today, I've thought of a good title and I know I probably want to talk around obesity etc but can't think of an angle.

So consider this post as an attempt to claim the phrase 'Generation XXL' before anyone else does!


New Mantra - same as the old mantra

Before I begin, I have to say that (yet again) RTE Radio One appears to have scored an own goal in the recent radio transfers. (trust me on this football theme, it’s going somewhere). Having decided to dispense with the services of the excellent John Kelly (Mystery Train) and the always interesting Myles Dungan (Rattlebag), the station has proven what we suspected/feared. RTE Radio One obviously sees its future in personality-driven tabloid talk radio. I’m going to switch over to Lyric FM so that I can continue to be musically educated by Mr Kelly. I’ll probably start looking for podcasts from the BBC to get my arts and culture fix.

The signing of Eamon Dunphy to host a chat show that isn’t focused on sport or current affairs seems to be the height of RTE ambition. Now anyone who has checked out the Blankpaige knows that she’s come to have a sneaking regard for the former Millwall hoofer. Dunphy is a good broadcaster, not a great broadcaster. He is of limited technical ability and gets by on the strength of personality and his willingness to graft. Pretty much like his playing career. But there is, on the face of it, little to differentiate him from Joe Duffy, Gerry Ryan, Pat Kenny and all those late night jocks on 98FM who work taxi drivers up into a frenzy of rage.

Last night, I caught the husky tones of Brenda Power on Newstalk. I think she might have been filling in for gorgeous George Hook. Now I'm of the view that women are naturally disadvantaged compared with men, when it comes to radio presenting. There seems to be two particular reasons for this. The majority of day time listeners are women and women generally prefer to listen to a male voice. Also, radio stations seem either deliberately or as an artefact of the broadcasting process, accentuate the bass tones. There is probably some technical name for this but the consequences are that only deep throated women sound good on radio.

At the risk of being called a raving lesbian feminist again (you know who you are and you won't rise me this time!), I have to say I was very very impressive with her. She was interesting, engaging, articulate and self-deprecating. She struck up a brilliant conversation with the sports guy (Ger Gilroy) on the question “Is Zinedine Zidane a new man?”

We’ve had the new sensitive man and the return of the lad (not to mention the emergence of the ladette). We’ve had the metrosexual a la David Beckham. Now we’ve Bloke Coke and the Menaissance. Faced with the prospect of equality of the sexes and the increasing marginalisation of the Father figure, men are going back to caveman basics and are asserting their rights to burp, belch and be lecherous.

Apparently, Mr Zidane’s explanation for his violent conduct in the World Cup Final was that he was defending his women folk. This wasn’t mindless thuggery, he was provoked by Materratsi. The Italian, not to be outdone, proffered his own understanding of the importance of women having lost his own mum at an early age. Give me a break lads! Time was when a sneaky Italian was a sneaky Italian and a violent Frenchman was a violent Frenchman.

But back to the excellent Brenda Power. "Is the essence of football not about discipline and controlled aggression", she enquired. "It's about a magical moment of great beauty," the sports guy countered. But her piece de resistance was when she confessed to being secretly flattered when a bloke chivalrously walks on the outside of the footpath. Of course this was just a subtle and successful ploy to get Gilroy to point out that Zidane was no renaissance man simply a Gallic hooligan!

If you are listening Newstalk Director of Programming, you could do a lot worse than signing Brenda up for a full time gig. Any one who can turn a routine football foul into a studied sociological analysis would, I’m sure, do wonders with payments to politicians, the M50, bedblockers, SSIA's and Northern politics. Of course. it struck me that RTE Radio One fill in their pompous talk jock (Ryan, Kenny) holiday absences with more of the same (McGurk). I know that one show is no basis for selection but I did wonder why no-one in Montrose thinks it worth considering Ms Power.

You see picking a radio DJ’s is just like picking a football team. You have to have a game plan, stick to it and not be distracted by the cries from the terraces. Supporters follow you not because you are successful but because you entertain (and because you entertain, you become successful). RTE Radio seems to be permanently managed by people who don’t seem to understand public service broadcasting. Like a manager whose own playing career was prematurely ended, they seem unable to spot and manage obvious talent.

As I write this post, I want to go off on so many tangents. Time for a discussion on feminism and the new man, the real answer to public service broadcasting, what makes a good broadcasting voice and where does the thinking person go now for radio entertainment.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Who & Where's That Girl?

Okay, starter question for 10.

Q: Who is multiple award winning, independent, sassy, not afraid to call it as she sees it, and able to stand up to the Humphrey Bogarts of Blogosphere?

A: The answer is obvious isn't it!

Some time back, I had the distinct pleasure of "interviewing" That Girl, blogger extraordinaire and two times Irish Blog Award winner.

If you haven’t had the good fortune to follow/admire/covet her blog over the past three year, then I’ve some sad news for you. It seems that need to focus on other things will see That Girl stop thinking out loud.

It’s a great shame.

Blogosphere will be a poorer place without her brilliant and insightful writing. Articulate, elegant and informative, she has set the standard in writing and is an inspiration to many.

Maybe it’s time that we started a discussion around “Blog Burn Out”. We’ve had a number of high profile casualties over the past six months. People who have had to stop or reduce their blog output. Is this a sign of things to come? Or is it simply part of the natural order? Should we fret or simply be thankful to have had the benefit of their musings?

(Stop, Paige before you go all Carrie Bradshaw on us – Ed.)


Friday, July 07, 2006


You can debate the pros- and cons- to allowing US military flights to refuel in Shannon all you want. But is it just me or does anyone else think that blowing up a copy of the Quoran in a public building may not be the smartest move we ever made?!

I just hope that Martyn Turner doesn't do a cartoon on it, otherwise we might rapidly come
on an Al-Qaeda radar screen.


(Of course, hats off to the professional safety first manner in which this and yesterday's incident was handled by staff and passengers at Dublin Airport.)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

For Pippa

Going to an Aslan concert is like gatecrashing a Finglas wedding. You have no doubt that God will bless that happy couple in his own sweet way. This is just as well because you suspect that the woman in the white dress is actually 4 months pregnant and the main man is fighting a losing battle with drug addiction.

Despite not having the de rigeur spandex boob-tube and fake tan, you are enveloped by a sense of collective love, pride and hard won respect that the audience has for the band on stage. The room is charged with anticipation long before the band makes their entrance. Old friends and acquaintances catch up, compare hard luck stories and 'fuck' the management from a high over the price of a Bicardi Breezer and a bottle of Heineken.

An undernourished man in an ill-fitting Celtic FC track suit walks up to the microphone. You expect him to say something original like "Testing. One, Two, Three. Testing, Testing". Instead, he exhales long and emotionally, and in a Dublin-esque Jay Kay moment says "Howzitgoan?". He opens with the timeless classic that is "This is" and follows with "Feel No Shame". The band are clearly more than a little tight. What follows is one of the best rock concerts you'll ever witness. Each song eclipses the previous, the singer enthralls you with his experience-laden vocals and the band remind you that its supposed to be fun.

By the time the tracksuit top is discarded, you've stopped trying to work out Christy's obscure sign language. This isn't Marceau on E. The band are pumping, the hall is thumping and you are the only one who doesn't know the lyrics. Nevertheless you join in on the chorus when Christy momentarily splits the audience into chorus and counter-chorus like some latter day Herbert Von Karajan. You become part of the performance.

The hairs on the back of your arms stand to attention as they 'do' Angie better than Jagger ever could. Aslan probably view themselves as the Irish 'Stones but they're much better than that. They are the Irish Beetles. Christy Dignam is the Lennon whose McCartney OD-ed in a dingy Ballymun flat and so they never made it to their Abbey Road. Imagine how good U2 would be if more than two could play their instruments. This is Aslan. They've nothing to do with CS Lewis. Aslan are the band that Thin Lizzy never could be, and U2 never will be. Honest, stylish and intimate. They are for real. Of course, according to Wikipedia, this is what
Aslan are. Only they are so much more.

If you've not got a copy of "This is" or "Crazy World" then you have been criminally negligent.
Only attend a concert if you wish all other performances to seem bland by comparison.

Jules is meant to be bent not broken

When I first started blogging, I made myself make several promises. (1) Never even under pain of death or prospect of marriage arrange to meet with a fellow blogger (2)Don't blog about work (3) Don't blog about Tony (4)Don't blog about music, art or literature.

There seemed very good reasons for these 'rules'. (Sorry Kaz, I know I said that there should be no rules in Blogosphere!) Firstly, I've encountered some very strange people in my life and several of them have told me that I let out a lot of myself in email. I have had several good reasons to be very worried and mightily relieved. Secondly, I might end up breaching some obscure work policy document, leak some "price-sensitive" information, get severely reprimanded and lose my job. Thirdly, when it comes to (the then) domestic bliss, one shouldn't tempt fate. Fourthly, while you know what you like, Paige, when it comes to music, literature or art, you'll never be asked to guest on 'The View'. (Recognising the limits to ones intellectual capacity is an important and life-affirming realisation!).

Now that I've lost the job and acquired an Ex-, I find myself compelled to enter the realm of the music critic. Now I don't want to end up like one of those smug Irish Times critics who feted The Thrills until people started to notice them and then began to be very critical. BTW, this seems to be a common problem with the otherwise excellent newspaper coverage. (Note to 'The Ticket' crew : Sometimes you can try too hard to be cool.)

It has come to my attention that there is someone in this God-created planet who has not heard about Aslan. The Blankpaige will endeavour to rectify this forth with.

But in the meantime, would any of you Bloggers like to go for a drink?

(P.S. The post title has just come to me. I think that this might be the first inspirational line in my new novella about a young Spanish student and would-be poet who comes to Dublin to learn English. Away from the bosom of his loving family, Jules falls in with a mean-spirited cabal who are an unruly and disruptive influence. In addition to stealing all his life savings, this gang forces Jules to embark on a journey of self discovery in which our hero confronts his sexuality. After a series of painful although at times hilarious (in the Fiona Looney sense of the word) misunderstandings, Jules flees back to the small farm on the outskirts of Santiago de Compostella (as you can see the scenario has been extensively researched). As he surveys what remains of his savings, he realises that he is gay and that Dublin is awash with thieving charlatans. While completely at ease with his newly discovered sexuality, Jules hasn't enough funds to publish his poetry collection. Grimly he concludes that Jules is meant to be bent not broken.

(Note to would-be publishers. I have stopped opening letters of offer that contain advances of less than $20,000.)

(Note to RTE. I will not sell the story rights to a production company that has any association with Miriam O'Callaghan and unless Cillian Murphy is cast as Jules.)

I wonder did Joyce or Beckett have the same problem as me - i.e. that they couldn't really type and instead of correcting Jules as Rules concocted a whole novella to explain away what a backspace would have avoided?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Oh Captain, My Captain!

The blankpaige is indebted to Tommy and Andy who supplied invaluable technical information for this post.

The recent exit by the English football team from the World Cup has come with its customary pantomime. Wayward lads going a bit wayward, reliable heads becoming reckless, master strategists losing the plot, strange tactical decisions, star player gets injured … oh, and a few missed penalties. I have spent long enough in England to know that they have a God-given right to win the World Cup and it is only the evil forces of Beelzebub, the ‘Argies’ and those satanic men in black that thwart their natural progress. So this competition was, it seems true to form.

However what has caught my attention though is the pernicious and vitriolic attacks on their erstwhile Captain, David Beckham. It seems to me (who knows little enough about soccer)(but has been confirmed by Tommo & Andy) that David Beckham has consistently delivered for his country. He has more or less single-handedly been responsible for England’s qualification to the last three major competitions. He has never been considered to be technically gifted but is recognised as a hard-working honest grafter. (Although this lack of technique didn’t prevent widespread adoration during qualifying matches where he has consistently played a pivotal role.) His particular technical skill has been his curling free-kick shots on goal during set-pieces which I am advised takes a lot of skill to execute. He is recognised as no longer having the stamina to run back and forth and in recent years he has been played on the wing to exploit his normally pin-point precision with crosses.

Beckham has had a rollercoaster career with England that has seen him go from mass adulation to naked hostility and back in a very short space of time. It is recognised that he takes his role as Captain incredibly seriously and has elevated this position through the respect he commands among his fellow professionals. Like other players he has gone through periods of loss of form but came into these Championships having completed his most successful season with Real Madrid. Although a midfield player, that he went through 15 games without scoring it seems is a particular issue. (Anybody know what short of fallow period did our best strikers endured?)

It seems that the English media take particular issue with him for his lack of a degree in English Literature, from his East End London accent and his marriage to a less than talented pop star. He certainly has enjoyed and cultivated the celebrity lifestyle but I don’t see the same vilification of his team mates, many of whom also enjoy the lifestyle. I wonder if the vicious attacks have more to do with a sort of ‘metrophobia’ than with a rigorous analysis of his contribution to English football fortunes.

Beckham certainly doesn’t fit the “man’s man” model of football Captain in the Bryan Robson mould. Beckham gets his hair, nails and skin regularly styled, shaped and stained. He has been seen wearing skirts. (Although, Tommy suggests that no-one accused Graeme Souness of being a bit effeminate when he got his perm and wore a kilt?) And what’s wrong with your team captain being sensitive?

It is said that David is something of a Gay icon. Of course, I’ve never heard any of my gay friends say so. So this might just be another one of those homophobic verbal attacks that says more about the accusers lack of comfort with their own sexuality.

This week, Beckham has seen his own personal dream crash and burn. He has seen his countries dreams of World Cup destiny fall asunder. He has suffered a significant injury at a time in his career when he could well afford not to be injured.

Yet he has recognised that one of the youngest members of the squad is likely to face the same treatment that he faced after his infamous and petulant kick out at an Argentinean opponent. So what does he do? He comes out bravely and honestly and faces the media. He resigns as captain describing his disappointment and expressing his hope to continue playing for England. This provides the incoming manager with the ability to drop him if he deems fit. He takes the spotlight of Rooney, Eriksson and his fellow team mates.

I’ve only a passing awareness of the subtleties of football and I hope that my fears of homophobia in football are unfounded. But I have been very impressed with the honest endeavour and dignity that Beckham has brought to a team that aren’t know for either. And I do know that I would be extremely proud to have someone of David’s calibre as captain of my country.