Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Keano, Keano, Keano!

Our newest Irish player gives his first interview to the Liverpool FC website....and I'm very excited! I really think he's gonna work well with Torres, and I look forward to seeing him play....WELL DONE, ROBBIE!!!!

And, another quote from the website shows Robbie's what we can expect in terms of commitment to the team - The lifelong Red was just nine years old last time the club won the league back at a time when he slept under Liverpool bedsheets and walked around in his club tracksuit. Keane added: "I was a little bit too young to fully remember the last title. Hopefully I can contribute to changing that as part of this team. Obviously that would be great for the people of Liverpool. "My whole family are Liverpool fans. I remember every Christmas asking for jerseys and tracksuits – it's great now that I get the tracksuits for free!"


Robbie, you're a Liverpool fan – this must be a dream come true?

It is a dream come true. I have been a massive fan all my life and to be sat here today is overwhelming.

Why is now the right time to come to Liverpool?

Because the opportunity came along. You know, Liverpool came in for me and it was something I always dreamed about as a kid. I am at the stage now where I want to kick on a bit and win a lot of trophies. I believe that Liverpool can do that with the squad of players we have.

Is it right you had the opportunity to come here when you were a teenager?

I had the opportunity when I was 14. I could have signed but I just thought that, at the age I was, I might have a better chance of playing first-team football at Wolves – and that's how it worked out. I don't regret it, because I got into the Wolves team when I was just 17. I never regret things in life. By being at Wolves and going to the clubs I've been to – these things have led me to where I am today. There has been talk and speculation about a transfer since then but until now it has always been speculation.

What has Rafa Benitez told you about your role here?

I have spoken to him about the situation. He knows how I play and hopefully I can do a job for him. It is up to me to prove that I can stay in the team every week. You don't just come into a club and expect to walk straight into the team; you have to earn your place and I am looking forward to doing that.

You'll be working day in, day out with Rafa – was he a big factor in you signing?

Yes, he was. He is a fantastic manager and has done a lot for Liverpool Football Club. He has won the Champions League. That is a massive factor. But no one has to sell Liverpool Football Club to me. It sold itself a long, long time ago. When an opportunity like this comes along, you have to grab it with both hands.

You've played with some of the best strikers around in the last few years and I guess you are chomping at the bit to get out there and play with perhaps the best forward in the world, Fernando Torres…

He has been a revelation since he came to the Premier League. He was absolutely outstanding last year and also in the Euros with Spain. It is hard to leave Tottenham with some of the players they had – like Dimitar Berbatov, who I had a great relationship with – but Torres is probably the best striker in the world right now. Hopefully we can play a lot of games together and do well.

Do you see yourself as a second striker, someone who can play a bit deeper behind, say, Torres, or as a striker in your own right?

I see myself as a second striker. I can play off the shoulder, link things up and play in the hole. You are always judged on scoring goals as a striker and I have always scored a lot of goals. Hopefully I can continue that here at Liverpool.

How keen are you to pull on that number seven shirt here at Liverpool?

Yes, as a Liverpool fan the number seven jersey is massive. It is a fantastic opportunity for me that obviously I'm relishing. The people who have worn the number seven here, like Kevin Keegan and Kenny Dalglish – if I do half the job they did at Liverpool I will be happy.

Was the lure of the Champions League a big factor?

I have only played in Champions League qualifiers before but, you know, it's the whole package. I have always wanted to come here but, yes, the Champions League and being able to win things is a major factor.

At 28, would you say you are in your prime?

Yes, I think so. The last four years have been great for me and I believe I am at my peak. I am at a good age and if I didn't come to Liverpool now, maybe the opportunity wouldn't come again. It has worked out perfectly for me and, hopefully, for Liverpool Football Club as well.

You scored two against us last year – was that strange, as a Liverpool fan?

It is difficult. I support Liverpool but you have to blank that out of your mind. It was nice to score at the Kop end but now I am looking forward to scoring at the Kop end in a red shirt.

It's Villarreal on Wednesday, then Rangers at the weekend. Either of these would be great to make your debut, wouldn't they?

Regardless of who it's against it will be fantastic. It's something I am really looking to. I'm not too bothered who it is against, I'm just looking forward to pulling on that red shirt and playing for Liverpool. It's something I've always dreamed about and sometimes dreams do come true.

You are famous for your cartwheel celebration – might we see that at Anfield any time soon?

I will probably bring it out once for the Liverpool fans as I've done it down the years, but after that it will probably go back in the box.

And this must be a nice way to end a brilliant summer for you, what with you getting married as well?

Yes, it's been a fantastic year for me all in all, with Tottenham doing well and winning the League Cup, then getting married and now coming to the club I love. I will never, ever forget this year.

Was it a difficult decision to leave Tottenham?

It was, because of the relationship I had with everyone there, and being vice-captain. Ledley King has been injured quite a lot, so I've had to take on the role of captain quite a bit. The relationship I had with the fans and the chairman meant it was difficult to leave. I am leaving good friends behind, but if there is one club that could take me away from Tottenham it is Liverpool.

Do you have a message for the Tottenham supporters?

Sometimes in life you don't get many opportunities to go somewhere you have dreamed of going. The Tottenham fans have been absolutely brilliant with me and I want to thank them for their support over the years. I look forward to seeing them again and I will never forget the way they treated me.

And what would you say to Liverpool fans who are obviously very excited about seeing you here?

I can't wait to put the jersey on and hopefully they are looking forward to it too. I will always give 100 per cent for this club and hopefully score and create goals.


Monday, July 28, 2008

The Dark Knight

The law of diminishing returns does not apply when it comes to comic adaptations – in fact, the opposite is usually true. A first movie in a series is, by necessity, the story of the beginning – how our hero came to be, and what demons he faces. This frees up the second movie to be purely action-driven, with little focus on story.

‘The Dark Knight’ not only satisfies these assumptions, but goes beyond the requisite staple for comic sequels. Bale’s Batman is dark, complex, and totally at odds with what Bruce Wayne would wish him to be – he is not the hero of Gotham, he is simply a man forced to do what is right in difficult circumstances. Even if what is right results in the vilification and hatred of what should be a symbol of good…

Gotham is less dark than in ‘Batman Begins’, with criminals actually fearing the Batman and his brand of justice. But it is still a city of rules – held in place by the tenuous line Batman walks between vigilantism and integrity. Enter, stage right, The Joker. Pre-release hype had placed Heath Ledger in the ranks of acting gods before anybody had seen a smirk or snicker – talk was, could he return on this build-up? Ledger’s Joker can, and does. Jack Nicholson has long been the epitome of the criminal – dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight all over Keaton’s Batman, but Ledger’s Joker goes one step further. He combines the manic craziness of previous Jokers’ with the smooth, terrifying anarchy of a man possessed by no other driving force than cold, murderous energy. Though it is not important to the story, it is relevant to know that Ledger lived alone in a hotel room for a month preparing for the role, devising the character’s bearing, voice and psychology. His work and dedication paid off, and he has given us a Joker to remember – a sad loss, indeed, to the acting world.

Over-complicating things slightly, as far as story goes, is the romance element – Rachel is still working in the DA’s office, but has rather shockingly morphed from Katie Holmes into Maggie Gyllenhaal. Something audiences are bound to notice, despite best attempts to the contrary! Rachel Dawes is, however, a fairly minor character – working chiefly as a foil to Bruce’s playboy pretensions, her sanctimonious lecturing can wear a little thin. It is with great gusto, therefore, that Aaron Eckhart takes the mantle of social conscience as Harvey Dent – shooting his lines like bullets, and injecting Two-Face with a back story worthy of the character.

The film is carried, all in all, between Bale, Ledger and Eckhart, but supporting characters give their tuppance. Gary Oldman’s Gordan is upright and forceful, Michael Caine is British and brash, and Morgan Freeman is wise and forgiving – everything in its place!

All in all, ‘The Dark Knight’ capitalises on an adult demographic drawn to the tale of a hero torn between what is good, what is right and what will make him hunted. Despite the Joker’s constant questioning, ‘Why so serious’, this is not a movie to be taken lightly. A darker vein in the comic adaptation, ‘The Dark Knight’ carries a sinister Batman further from the light-hearted goon, and more into the shadows he deserves.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A couple of repressed memories from S. America!

Some random memories keep popping into my head from my time away in South America, and I guess I'd better write them down, because I might never remember them again! So here's today's batch of shockers.....

1. The roof incident in Medallin. I won't mention names, but I will just mention some of my flashbacks on the subject....like sleeping through the whole noisy debauchal; the apparent 'Mrs. Doyle-ness' of the whole fall; the urge to laugh, but also scream about the whole thing; the worry all the next day that it might rain through the hole in the roof!!

2. In Taganga, Colombia, when I bought a snickers, and ate half of it, then didn't want to eat it in front of the others in case they asked me for a bite (selfish cow!!), so I wrapped it in it's wrapper, and left it on the shelf in my (very warm) room while we went out for a few drinks, then returned home later on and thought to myself how lovely a snickers would taste right about now! So, I dashed into the room, and grabbed the snickers, peeling off it's wrapper from sticky chocolate and taking a HUGE bite of it! And just when I started chomping it around my mouth, savouring the delicious taste, I glanced down at the rest of the bar and realised that it was completely crawling with creeping ants. And that my mouth was completely FULL of crawling creeping ants. I think I spat for about an hour after that!! The deserving end to me being a bit of a selfish cow....

3. Hiking up the hills of Medallin in Colombia, to meet a Shaman who was giving us some ayahuasca, and hopefully bringing us a spiritual epiphany, but who only succeeding in making me very ill. I'll write about it in more detail at a later date, but suffice to say that when you drink it, you become immediately and violently ill. For some people it's vomiting, for some people it's the other end. And for some unlucky people it's both. Let's just say I'm not a very lucky person.....

Camping out in nothing but a sleeping bag, with darkness all around, in the lashing rain, dashing into the trees for relief only to fall up to your knees in a sludge hole, while simultaneously experiencing some mild hallucinations might have it's moments, but they escaped me........

So, just three for today......and number three definitely bears some fleshing out, so I might hit that tomorrow!! Toodles.....

Friday, July 18, 2008

Happy Birthday to my first niece and nephew

A little early, but I was thinking of you both yesterday, and some words just popped into my head for you....missed you so much while I was away, and now I feel like I'm missing you again, because you're getting so grown up - I still get the hugs and kisses, though, so I guess I shouldn't complain......anyway, here it is......

For Sorcha and Cammy

Sometimes I can't breathe for thinking of you both,
young, pudgy - so innocently sweet.
But you grew up - you both grew up -
from curly red hair, and reddy blonde crown,
to both of you ten - big and strong.
And sometimes I think of those little moments
those times we shared when you were too young to know it

...but I knew it....

and I still think of that time, now, while your freckled noses
and your equally brilliant smiles
tell me about school,
about stolen moments with friends, running through fields,
jumping in rivers,
fishing for frogs,
and I feel tears clawing my eyes,
because you'll never be babies again.

You'll never come looking for me
showing me something small,
wishing it big.

(Though, this is you, now - small,
wishing to be big,
and getting there so fast
that sometimes I worry that time has sped up,
and I am being pulled along against my will)

Did I appreciate those times?
Did I gabble back to you in baby talk -
listen to your tales of woe,
when parents thwarted your plans -
an auntly duty, best performed when punishment
is not your game, as it was sometimes mine.
Or did I pass those times as if you would be there
young and fresh
mine and wholesome
for longer than these short years?

I hope not.

I hope that every second of your growing up
has been my growing up too.
And, after all, you're not so old yet,
my first niece and nephew,
and there is still time to listen to more stories,
to tell you things you did not know,
to hear your happy laughs,
and see those too-big teeth fighting for dominance
in your still-a-baby mouth.
Ten years.
Ten years of knowing you.
Ten years of loving you.

17 July 2008

P.S. I'll update on actual life soon.....just a wee thought that kept me going while I was travelling and missing home so much - that my gorgeous, hilarious, and always amazing nieces and nephews were waiting for me here!!