Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Come and visit but do not get sick...


My dad…an honest man…no funny business but a very funny man…harmed no-one…not mum, nor the four boys, or his brother, just himself…

He did not take a gun to his head, he did not grab the bottle (get real, do you know how much alcohol used to cost in Sweden???) he did what everyone else in the same age did...he smoked…

Today…this funny and energetic man is still funny and energetic but due to a stroke he is dependent on help, and a lot of it…

Starting from the top of the list we are looking at Mum…

Firstly…Unheard of today, mum and dad live together…for you who are new to this concept this is when a mum and dad who met, did some naughty stuff, which produced four boys…and they are still together today. Mum is the cornerstone and the helper that is there for my dad, but then on the other side when they married the vicar said…” in sickness and in health”…so she is fulfilling her part, so is he… he is the sick one…!

Secondly Swedish National Health Service, NHS…we could not copy the Swedish NHS in this country because we would go nuts…we would be so sick and never go to work again…My dad has a wristband, like a watch…which he can press at anytime to speak to the nursing staff which are on 24/7 standby. What do they do? Well they turn up every morning, or after a couple of minutes if alarmed, to get my dad out of bed, washed and dressed. Tuesdays and Fridays are shower days. They make him breakfast walk him and care for him as they were his personal nurses…it makes you feel weird when you are in the house and the “team” arrives in the morning and before you know it you dad is in the wheelchair having walked half a mile by two nurses and been tested for any individualities…pretty darn good if you ask me…

Thirdly…Wheelchair, not just any wheelchair…the other day on a brief visit to Sweden I was confronted in the hallway by a young woman…”Hello my name is Christina and I am your fathers wheelchair technician”. “We are changing the armrest today as we feel that it is not conducive to his recovery and we are looking at some other solutions which might help him”. “Right you get on…so far we have had some 3 “technicians” in the house and 12 nurses and I have only been here for 24 hours…cost? Less taxes than in the UK…!

Now my dad is hitting the UK…with my brother as a chaperone…

He will not enter the country via Ryan Air…they charge for luggage and wheelchairs…SAS…no not that SAS, Scandinavian Airline Systems…that’s who…

I was asked to arrange for some items prior to my dads arrival, my family wanted for me to get an “electronically controlled motorised hospital bed” with side boards…right…even if you check in as Victoria Beckham at Posh Hospital, they will not have electronically controlled motorised hospital beds…my brother rented one from the Swedish NHS for £10 for four days, when he visited them last time…sorry Dad…this is England and if call a hospital asking for beds they will say “You want to do what? Let me tell you sonny, if you find one let us know because we need them desperately”.

They, the Swedish family, also wanted for me to get a handicapped friendly stool which you put over the loo to make it handicapped friendly…

After 12 phone calls I got the closest by calling Travis Perkins getting a 2 x 4 “planed plank of wood” which I can wedge between the walls at the downstairs loo…stopping him from falling off…

So we have got a normal bed, some 2 x 4 “plank from TP, a 1 acre field with a bucket and a huge heart…no nurses, no call out service, not the same service from the NHS as they might expect…but you see, the problem is they look up to me…the country where I live, all the good things we do in Britain and the enormous power we have globally, they see the same Tony and Gordon show on TV like we do…

They know we have spent £94 trillion on the health service and if you turn up from Belize with two heads, they can separate it in London, also being able to reverse transsexual operations in morning with people checking in being called Jane, exiting being called John, they will inseminate Alan at 11 am and by 6 pm he is called Alice and is pregnant with twins…all paid for by the NHS.

But what they don’t know is that we have a higher rate of chickenpox and rubella than any other country in the western world and TB is on the increase…it will take you 18 months to have your damaged spleen removed and 24 months if you complain…so, welcome dad…we will have a ball and we will look after you…perhaps not as pretty and good looking as your current team in Sweden, but with the same care and attention…and guess what…I will only ask you for one thing…whilst here…you might drink my whisky, eat my food, swim in my pool and sleep in my bed…we might even do a mean wheelchair dance again… but by GOD…do not get sick…because then we are doomed…!

Plastic or no plastic that is the question...


Summer heat…outside café’s and pubs, villages and cities are competing against each other in order to be the prettiest village or the prettiest city street…Well village in bloom is dead in the UK, no water, the krauts have nicked it…it is now make a Cotswolds Village look like a bloody African Village competition…No worries for me...I have no hosepipe ban, no water meter, a swimming pool and a pond in the garden which is the size of a swimming pool 40,000 litres give and take…and my lawns are lush and green, take that Mr Schnabelwasser…! Plus my English water company is rebating me cause they fiddled the books so my water is dirt cheap….

However something caught my eye lately and it is from Sweden, but I think it should be carried over here to the UK. This is a story about Ediths Cakeshop in Simrishamn, Southern Sweden. Their licence to serve outdoor on the side of the street has been withdrawn because?
They are using plastic garden furniture and the council does not think it is not pretty enough and has asked them to replace all plastic white garden chairs and tables with wooden furniture…

Great! Finally someone apart from me have discovered the decay we have in taste and I wish for Tony and Gordon to take note and a central law which outlaws plastic garden furniture…why? You might ask…Save the environment? No way Jose…

Let me tell you;

People who only have plastic garden furniture are to insensitive to their neighbours and will have an unkempt garden.
They are more than likely to be extremely white with a dash of red, and no sun tan, overweight and should not be seen in public.
Their BBQ, which will be cheap, will be filled with Lidl or ASDA sausages and burgers and make a foul fatty smell when they try to burn them.
They will not know about marinades and wines.
You are more likely to hear, “Wayne pass me a carling will you, matey?” rather than “John, another glass of Pimms?”
When you sit at those plastic chairs in shorts they pinch your arse so it looks like you have had a game with Miss Wiplash when going to bed…


So there we are, plastic furniture is ugly, cheap and downmarket and anyone with any sense would not have them in their house. My brother who sells hardwood and my friend Keith who supplies this country with Scandinavian imported timber agrees…and so do my local Teakwood supplier…

Do I have any plastic furniture…cause I do, stacked up in the garage for when Wayne comes to visit, don’t want the boy not to feel at home do we…!

Monday, July 24, 2006

WAS made in Great Britain...


Holiday is upon us, the roads are covered, littered with cars and a nation of car loving Brits are heading to their holiday destinations. This journey will be completed from start to finish in a car or it will take you to your exit point from the country in a car, might it be a ferry port, airport or train station. Why is this? Well two reason, the most expensive thing you can by in Great Britain is a roof over your head, aka “a house” and the second most expensive thing is a ticket on public transport…therefore the Brits love their cars. I believe there are now more cars in the whole of Great Britain than there are sheep in Wales

I watched the new season of Top Gear today on my 7th TVDrive PVR, and I must say that I do enjoy Top Gear. I like Jeremy because like me he is politically correct, health and safety consious, cares a lot about the impact of fossil fuel on the environment…NOT…

Lets just stop there for a second and settle an argument…

Imagine that all of Great Britain buys Toyota Prius or hydro converted submarine cars, which run on electricity and tealeaves…at the same time China and the United States of America spews out more crap in the atmosphere from their factories and petrol 4x4 guzzlers than you could shake a stick at. Together with increased air travel and planned journeys to space via a tourism space shuttle, am I then supposed to feel guilty about my old Renault 5, 1.4L Automatic…Get serious...I do not do hippy crap…

So watching Top Gear, I was getting concerned about Jeremy, Richard and James. They have nothing British left to talk about which make them proud. You see I was brought up in the 1960’s and early 1970’s a time when we looked at things differently than we do today. We had national pride and aspirations.

Coming from a country where every person with a driving licence, would like to own a car which was Swedish built, designed and produced it taught me a sense of nationalistic pride (I know it is a very dirty word, but true). Sweden built cars, successful cars, Saab and Volvo not bad for a country which only had 8 million citizens (9 now with the integration of Europe and all of that) less that London in total. So we all had Amazon’s, V4’s or the 96. If you had money and a good job you’d be looking forward to the release of the new Saab 99. Turbo was beyond our means but you had people believing in your country’s ability and lets be clear at this point about road safety, not sexy not cool but there are more Swedes that lost their virginity at a back of a safe Swedish car than some foreign muck… Of course there was always a wayward boy who would turn up in an Opel or God forbid in a Nissan Bluebird…

When you went to bed at night your dreams started and they inevitably involved dreaming about British craftsmanship…Jaguar, Rolls Royce, Austin Healey, Quirky Morris Minor (only very lonely Swedish men dreamt about Morris Minor) and the Mini (in Swedish called the Hundkoja=Dog cabin)

So times go by and as fate had it that I would end up in the land of the dreams, Great Britain, in 1988. So on my arrival I bought a Jaguar XJ6 the best car I ever owned. No Volvo or Saab with our without a blonde in the backseat would come close, I had arrived.

One summer my Swedish friend Lars and I drove back to Sweden, to show off, arriving in our village in convoy, if two cars can be classified as a convoy, a British built Jaguar XJ6 and a British built Lotus Esprit, both blue and did we cause a stir…two great British cars, both right hand drive, with white number plates at the front and yellow at the back…we were the talk of the village and new shiny Volvos and Saabs were designated to their garages, well out of sight…

How different it is now…I could not travel to Sweden anymore to show off my pride of Britain…cause I dont know what to bring...Steps, Celebrity Love Island, My local Pub the Dog and Bollocks...I just do not have a clue anymore...

My Jaguar is American, My Rolls Royce is German and so is my Bentley. TVR is Russian and whilst the "20 year old owner slosky something" cheers on his local Russian club football team, playing spot the Brit in the team, Chelsea, I am having a barbecue cooking minted lamb from New Zealand, Mrs E is spreading Anchor butter on the Sandwiches, whilst I have a few chilled Carling beers, brewed by Coors in America, I look across my TV set and see that both Sky and Telewest are now based in the US and on Nasdaq…Next to me is a small airfield and it reminds me of the time we lived in London and saw all those Airbus arriving for Heathrow, which BAe now looking to sell and BAA is selling the airports to the Spanish (when have the Spanish ever been known to be able to run an airport???) who has already bought the mobile phone operator O2. My bank is in Shanghai, with a call centre in Bombay, Body Shop is French and Pilkington which my Swedish neighbour Bergdahl was so proud of that it was British is now Japanese. If I support Manchester United I support an American Corporation, which has debts greater than Zimbabwe , My Typhoo Tea is Indian.

If I live under the rule of Ken Livingstone in London my electricity is French and my bloody water, if I can get any, is German…This is exhausting, so I head off to buy a toy for my nephew, at Hamleys which is Icelandic, OK so off to Harrods…epitome of British…wrong Egyptian even my bloody Sunday breakfast of sausages and bacon with HP sauce is now American infected, and it looks like my next PM is going to be Scottish...(Well it could be worse, Two Jags could be put in charge...)

So what to do…

Keep quiet integrate and look at the BIG SALEGreat Britain for sale!!!…with it each time a bit of pride goes…and I have a feeling that we are paying for the privilege...what is that all about?


Picture credit

© Richard Baker, www.bakerpictures.com

'Red Arrows'
ISBN 1-85443-217-6
Priced £19

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Home(ing) Alone...


We have got a new visitor to the Barn...a racing also known as a homing pigeon, obviously not a good one since it set up home here. Do you recognise it? Let me know by sending me an email...or if not, do you have a tasty recipe for pigeon pie...


Update; Thank you to Mrs Morley from

Wisconsin, USA...the recipe was tasty and you were right, homing pigeon is meatier...

Saturday, July 22, 2006

High Definition Multimedia Interface failure...


Scientific Atlanta, Cisco and NTL, this is the Trio which have decided to gang up on me lately… I have chosen, by free will, to utilise the services of Telewest (now NTL, soon to be Virgin TV or Cable). I did this because they were a “triple play company” offering telephony, cable TV and broadband at high speed, 10MB at a time when most suppliers struggled with a 256kb connection. I was laughing loudly and being proud at the services I had, happily playing along and should the truth be told paying along the way for being there at the front of technology and having the latest bits and bobs...

Their broadband service is superb…no fault at all, the odd downtime, but then that is what you expect…we pay and then now and then we have some downtime, nothing to complain about apart from now it is being expensive.

Prior to the World Cup my Sony Trinitron packed up…after only 18 years of service…bloody Sony, no life expectancy anymore…So off I went and bought the latest on the market of television sets, a Samsung with HDMI, Scart, S Video, 1.5 trillion billion mega pixels and more colours that Picasso could throw at his canvas. Fabulous, we can sit in the living room and look at the television in such a way that we now feel that we are in the action, great if you are watching Emmanuelle’s sexy repeats in channel 5, but bad if you are watching the news about the middle east on CNN, BBC News or Sky News (between the adverts…why do they need adverts in the news channel???)…well enough about that.

In order for this to happen you will need to UPGRADE your system, you will need an HDTV receiver, box, decoder call it what you want, cause the World is going HDTV…720p or 1080i (plus a lots of fakes, being converted to look like HDTV cause a camera cost some $80,000 each and it will take some time to replace to existing ones) and all of the BBC is coming at you in HD TV…This I find interesting as I was one of the first to create an HD Live broadcast together with my colleagues in the US from PolyGram Diversified Entertainment as we filmed and broadcast Woodstock the 25th anniversary in HDTV all 56 hours of them, so you could say that I am a bit of Know-It-All when it comes to HDTV, I did negotiate the broadcast deal with Philips and NHK HD…NHK HD won…

So here we are some years later and we have HDTV, boxes and broadcast systems which broadcasters are now confident enough in to be charging customers for their services…

Well I bet you did not count on the group of three….NTL, Scientific Atlantic and Cisco a combined annual revenue of $30.1B (source finance.google.com) getting together and create a box which is now entitled TVDrive in the UK sending out an untested device, now known as TVCRAPDRIVE…

I did not know this and signed up with a big smile on my little face two months ago…I was told I could record two channels, watch a third plus pause a rewind live TV, store 80 hours of television, down load to my re-writable DVD and then upgrade my VHS collection...

Well that was the idea…since my connection to the world of Telewest/NTL TVDrive, I have lost hours of waiting at home and have had 7 boxes replaced…yes 7, seven, sieben, sju, bloody TVDrives in 2 months, hours of non television resulting in me having to run a coax cable from the bedroom window down to the living room, making the Barn looking like a Pikey Camp just so that Mrs E can watch the gardening on BBC2. In addition to this all of the recorded programmes Mrs E had on the TVdrive is now enjoyed by some Mexican engineer in Juarez, where I assume they are returned...

We have had sound failure, repeated recordings (when the box takes over and records what it wants...only crap of course), no picture and no connection, smart card failures…I cannot tell you what has been wrong…Oh yes HDMI failure, that is High Definition Multimedia Interface failure…this is not a big problem for me because I understand the technology but I am worried about the pure and mortal human beings out there which do not understand that the Big Three are ripping us off…providing a marketing campaign free of charge for Sky+…

Here is what happens when you call to report a fault on the box…

Press, 1 for this, 2 for that, 3 if you wish to assassinate a technician or 4, if you to sit in a queue, you know the drill…each time an “engineer” arrives and at The Barn, you anticipate what he will do and I can hear you ask yourself, take out a laptop, check diagnostics, log on to Telewest Super Computer, call Lawrenceville Georgia???…you gotta be kidding…he goes to his National Rental van (I told you earlier that they are in a bit of upheaval so there is an identity crisis and new vans are in a shortage, they are also in some $9B debt, give or take) pick up a new box, clearly labelled, Scientific Atlanta, Made in Mexico and replace the crappy box with a new defunked box…

I know that Microsoft for years have worked on a “Customer Improvement Program” which is where they ship dodgy products and let the customers tell them what is wrong.

Now this is the norm for software but for hardware??? For me to pay for a Beta Version of a shitty TVDrive spending time waiting for the “Swop-man” to arrive in a National Rental Van isn’t that sort of taking the Mickey…What Is that all about?


Update: As we suspected the man arrested for the black out before the England game see http://www.ericsons.co.uk/2006/06/panic-and-chaos-in-cotwolds.html turned out to be...a disgruntled ex employee...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

It is great to be British…or is it?


It might have escaped you as you are enjoying the heat wave, which currently basks Europe in glorious sunshine, but at the other end of Europe just outside there is some hot stuff going on as well. Some idiots calling themselves Hezbollah, sneaked across the border to Israel and kidnapped three soldiers. Clever move, dipstick!!!
It would be like enticing away a juicy bone from a rabies infested Rottweiler and then expect that the dog just lay down…not in a million years, you do not need to be very well educated to work out what happens next…Bombs, missiles, tanks you mention it and it will come at you. The sad thing is that Hezbollah “hangs out” within the ordinary Lebanese population so civilian casualties will be high.

Lebanon has seen an upturn in business since the ceasefire and the ongoing negotiations with Israel has created an influx of much needed tourism into the area as a popular sun destination only a stones throw away from Cyprus it gives you a mixture of western and Middle Eastern culture, with sand and sea…pretty cool.

Well it aint that cool this week if you happen to be British and over there. You wake up at your hotel only to find that the French, Swedes and everyone else are gone apart from you…the stag party from Newcastle and the Smith family from Cheshire and at breakfast a familiar pattern starts to develop, every person left at hotel Babylon are British…how come, you ask yourself?

I will tell you…they all got out, with the help of their governments…that is way mate you are having kosher hot dogs with tea on your own…

All the Swedes went by a rented Norwegian ferry. Some Swedish bloke called the Israelis and told them that “The BIG RED BOAT with the letters HANSEN LINE is now going to sail in and pick up the Scandis”. Then we are off to Cyprus, let you naval commanders now because we are going in…piece of cake…The Israelis understood and Hansen Line sailed in, picked up a mixture of people and set sail for Limassol…No squabbling over who is paying, what will the Israelis do…how do we get them from Cyprus…main concern, get the nationals out now…

What are the British up to in the middle of this? Well first of all they had to have a meeting to see what ships they had in the region. Then they had to get someone to call the Israelis to ask them if it was OK that they sailed in to pick up the British. But before I am sure that there was a meeting with health and safety officials to ensure that the Royal Navy could not be sued, by a disgruntled evacuee who got sunstroke on HMS Gloucester whilst being ferried to Cyprus…

It is incredible to think that this is the same nation which had an empire, Nelson, built Jaguars and Rolls Royce, can with a flick of switch scare the SH1T out of any tin pot country. Here we are together with the Philippines, not the best organised in the world when it comes to supporting its citizens abroad we dither, and have meetings, check with health and safety…enough!
I strongly suggest that with the clean up announced in the home office today by John Reid, we should look at the Foreign Office as well and we will soon have enough incompetent dipstick civil servants, to create a completely new vastly expensive dipstick department, which can go on and screw something else up…what is that all about?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Time to Kill the Weatherman...???


The weather report, not science but prediction, not clever, but someone who worked out that it is what we want from the news…pretty straight forward if you ask me…but ask the media people behind the weather report and it goes into Spin City…”well people want to know what the weather is going to be like so we need to advise them and in the news it is the highest watched item in the bulletin”…we all know that at the end of the news bulletin, some person, male or female comes shining onto our new Samsung 32”+, 1.500,000 pixels in 16 x 9 instead of 4 x 3 (widescreen to you and me), with more Avon Lady make-up that you could sell on your round in the neighbourhood. What are they called??? Well we got Flip Spiceland (weatherman on CNN) and Francis, who would name a boy Francis (Sky News) just to mention two of them.

Here is what gets my wick on fire…

The weather report starts by telling me that it is sponsored by a hay fever tablet or some cheap and nasty airline…great, I sufferer from hay fever and Mrs E is miffed that we have only had “another” trip to see my family in Sweden, not going to Goa, India as I promised…great start Mr AD-Man…before your piece of information starts I am ready to sneeze the batteries out of the remote and I am getting an earful from Mrs E, because she does not know that Fly Be, Me, Bmi Baby, Ryan Air, Piriton or Becanese does not fly to Goa and she does not care, she just wanna travel.

Then Mr or Ms Permatan, like if they just arrived from a trip to Kenya, which makes Mrs E even angrier, comes on television and tells me…WHAT???

The bloody weather I had today??? What is that all about…I was here you were not you were in bloody Kenya, you dipstick…

Who apart from some blind, incontinent, old person, bedridden in a old peoples home with blinds covering their grotty unpainted windows wants to know about the weather they could have enjoyed today…Answer that Mister Advertising Man!!! She or he is hardly going to be asking for Antihistamine and a trip to bloody Tenerife is she????

Then the prediction start…Sorry but these people, the bloody weather people, who are now celebrities…you work that one out…have studied and have laptops, with internet access, so they know what they are talking about, I have been told so…cause I have a laptop...

They tell me that tomorrow it is going to rain…a lot…not just some petty little drizzle, no…proper man rain, more than 1mm, meaning that we cannot go outside and do gardening…OK...so we plan to have a day of DVD’s, perhaps a cleanup in the study and some serious upgrade to our entertainment system, together with a bottle of nice, red, South African, with a juicy…really juicy…behave….steak!!!

All is set and what happens…

I miss my bloody F1 from Magny-Cours because the Telewest TV Drive is gefunked, I am mowing lawns, because there is more sunshine than number 1000 sunblock can handle, Mrs E is flying like an elf along the borders and my Stihl petrol Strimmer (I told you before no electrical gardening in this family) is starting to fight back from exhaustion and for WHAT???

Because some bloody Weatherman predicted rain and I betted on it…What is that all about???

Picture © Sam Baker 2006

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Wanna find your relative…Good luck!!!


You grow up, you study, work…boy meet girl and before you know it you start to talk about the M-Word…Marriage…and it is, on this as I have just returned from my cousin Camilla’s wedding to Dana that I wish to make my next point.

I have no idea what is going on…I thought, that when you get married the wife would take the husbands surname. Is this sexist or is it a custom we have kept as we go along???…Well I think it is proper and not sexist in any way…In the old days it was confusing in Scandinavian Viking customs, as the son would take the name of the fathers first name added by son or daugher...

Let me explain before you grab the bottle of Scottish Highland Water known to man as Famous Grouse and start an argument with your wife…My father, the son of Erik got the surname Eriksson (Erik’s son) makes a lot of sense, but he decided to stick with the newfangled 1930's way of keeping the surname from his father rather than giving us sons, four of us, the name Bertilsson, the sons of Bertil, so with this we went on in life four sons, named Eriksson, and we were part of something, a family which has traced its roots back to 1756…

Enough of family tree business and background, here is what is getting my rag up… Having been to my cousins wedding, in Sweden, I was really pleased to hear that Cousin Camilla was taking the surname of her husband, now being the new Mrs Månsson. This is a tradition carried on by not just lovesick Swedes but also by any moderate sane person who decides to get married. However years ago we started to knock this system because women wanted to keep their identity, so names like Williams-Jones, Sorenson-Eriksson and Pratt-Blair was invented. I have no problem with this because if you want to work in media especially at the BBC you need more than a degree; you also need a surname like Street-Porter…

Now the world has gone mad…

I have two brothers which no longer cannot be introduced as Eriksson…One is married, took her surname the other one changed it by deed pole, this was after his girlfriend changed it by deed pole…follow that and still being sober, put the Grouse down...

What is society coming to…are we embarrassed about the name we were given, is it too common…are we embarrassed about our fathers or heritage, would it be easier of our names were more like Picasso, Ferrari or Pavarotti????

I do not think so…

I am proud of beeing an Eriksson even though my father might not be the known millionaire or be the Eriksson who got England kicked out of the World Cup, nor am I the guy who gets free mobile phones sent every month from SonyEricsson, but I stand tall and believe that tradition is stronger that having an “unusual” surname.

The funny thing is that coming from a family of just boys out of eight grandchildren only two of them are boys, so if my calculation is correct, may the girls carry the name or in time Eriksson will die out, but perhaps I am lucky it might be so unusual that it will be fashion again and they would want to change it back….

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Swengland...A State of Affairs


Having just visited my native Sweden I am starting to get mixed feelings about my old and my new country…So much have changed in the 20 years I have been living in the UK, some of it for the better and of course some of it for the worse. Looking at the current state of affairs here in the UK, there are some things which cannot be left unsaid…

Did you know that most items are half price in Sweden compared to the UK? Food stuff, cars and even alcohol, which was always so expensive over there is now much cheaper there.

When you sit at a bright and sparkling Swedish seaside café, air is fresh, sky is blue, where people look happy, suntanned, pretty, blond smiling with perfect teeth and blue eyes…well I must admit she was pretty… and with no rubbish anywhere. You order a beer and fall off the chair when you find out that a pint costs you £2.00…but, but back home I will have to pay almost £3.00 and I will have to sit next to an anaemic looking bulldog with tattoo’s who’s vocabulary consists of F**K, S**T W****R, T****R and my feet would be covered in cigarette butts, yesterdays Sun Newspaper and other rubbish…

Another thing is that Sweden produce 0% of their annual fossil fuel usage, but still owners of new shiny Volvo’s, Saab’s and Chelsea Tractors (should that be Gothenburg Tractors) pay less for petrol than we do…how is that possible…
Their National Health Service is spot on, almost like if not better than our private healthcare, their taxes are now lower than ours, they have more immigration per capita than us...two licence fee paid TV channels without advertising…less unemployment and a huge amount of people that work for government and local government….Why are things cheaper in Sweden?????

Everything is not that rosy though…Saab was sold to GM, so every Saab now looks like a Vauxhall/Opel. Volvo collaborates with French Renault, Ericsson mobiles are now SonyEricsson, a Swede in the final of Wimbledon is no longer a foregone conclusion, Mamma Mia the ABBA musical at Prince Charles Theatre was devised by an English woman, The Swedish Krona will at one point become a Euro and IKEA the worlds largest furnishing store, produce most of their products in The People Republic of China rather than by Mr. Olsson and his crew in Smaland…and now Mr Persson, Prime Minister of The Kingdom of Sweden and his cronies have scored an own goal…

They came up with a clever idea in how to get money without upsetting the fragile taxed Swede (I know that I said that taxes are lower in Sweden than here but the average Swede does not know that) so they decided to introduce an air passenger tax. £6.50 for each person that arrived and each that left the country making it £13.00 on every return flight…Who could argue with that…anyone who is poor and does not fly anywhere could not give a monkeys, and if you only headed off to Tenerife once a year £13 would hardly break the bank.
Well it turns out that Mr Persson and his greasy little sidekicks did not count on the might of Ryan Air, the low cost budget airline, which flies you, on time, cattle class, to almost every country in Europe for a few pounds (or Kronas). They have 4 destinations in Sweden, Malmo, Gothenburg, and two near Stockholm (this is a Ryan Air definition of Stockholm, to you and me it is a couple of hours in a car or by bus). On Tuesday Ryan Air announced that it will stop most services to Sweden running only a few from Malmo and one airport will be shut down completely…excellent move by Ryan Air, take the bull by the horn and let them know what you think…

Sweden were stunned by the announcement as they have now been used to paying less to get to London, for a long weekend, browsing our shops and pay £3.50 for a beer in central London…It looks like the move by the Swedish government might be illegal by European standards and those greasy little Brussels politicians who pay winemakers £335 million annually (see http://www.ericsons.co.uk/2006/06/mr-muscle-grand-cru-2006.html ) will have to sort it out and if Sweden comes begging for forgiveness Ryan Air might just start flying again, unless of course it is all a ploy by Stelios, to get a new Easyjet route. How does it impact us…To most of you very little, my trips back to Sweden will be more expensive, less tourist kronas will be spent in London (Gordon will seize this and find a reason to introduce an Ikea Tax) and sitting at a café in Central London will be a bit duller as there will be less "Swedish Totty" to look at…

SAAB Picture © Richard Baker, www.bakerpictures.com

Time to boot FIFA...


So, the World Cup is over and as always with a huge amount of controversy. Having been involved at the heart of English football and listened to the debate some 10 years ago, which incidentally is still ongoing, I personally cannot understand why FIFA won’t get off their “Fat Incredible Flatulent Arse” and do something about it.
The public, which follows the sport of football in the capacity of tickets, television subscription, and replica shirts a business estimated to be in the region of $250,000,000,000 ($250 billion) should start asking to get value for money. What is it that irritates me so much, you might ask? Well I’ll tell you…

Italy – I don’t know what it is…perhaps boys spend more time with their mothers at home playing with dolls than with their fathers learning to build things, climb trees, falling over, bleeding and do things men do…They must be thought from a very early stage to dive and cry, get sympathy from mum and later from women... Is that why Italy is known for fashion, handbags, leather goods and not for engineering and big manly things. Is that also why they have had some 60 governments since the end of WWII? Each time things don’t go their way, like babies they throw themselves down and cry…They should be forced to play football in girlie bikinis so they could dive as much as they want.

Referees – Here’s the big debate. You have four blokes, on one the pitch, one on each side line and one bloke sitting somewhere looking at the game, to cover 22 players, 1 ball on 13,000 square yards of grass…It is therefore inevitable that they, being human beings, partial, unfit, and sometimes just slow, will miss something out there every now and then…Why will not Sepp and Lennart plus the other groups decide that from now on we will introduce a video referee for all those important decisions, like penalties and free kicks????
Ice Hockey known in sport terms as the fastest game around did just that a 15 years ago. Important decision was looked in slow motion and the ref was informed via an earpiece what the outcome was and subsequent decision was retracted and or stayed…simple effective and fair…
FIFA says that introducing video referee will slow down the game????

How is that possible… when players, mostly Italian, who were not touched throw themselves on the ground holding their leg rubbing a fictional injury and then takes 2 minutes to get up, by which time I have seen the replay in High Definition in my living room, have had time to get a cold beer from my fridge, call the stadium in Berlin who could have sent a runner down to the pitch informed the ref who would then send the offending Azzurri player packing…

The rules will have to be changed in order for the game to progress. We need to get rid of the cheats, the divers, the racists and unsportsmanlike conduct from football…these players are being paid obscene amounts and for that I expect to see top football players play football nothing else….
And if you don’t make it as an Italian footballer you can always get into ballet or synchronised swimming, more suitable for Italians...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Cable TV Blackout update…


Just a quickie as they say…Police and Telewest announced today that they have arrested a person for the suspicion of hacking through three mainframe fibre optics, which shut down the England Ecuador game…No news yet about who or whom was representing, lets start guessing;

• Disgruntled employer?
• Sky TV employee?
• Sky TV hired cable saboteur?
• Disgruntled football fan (with an insider knowledge where the mainframe fibre optics are???)
• Cricket fan?
• Wimbledon fan?
• Nutcase?

Let me know what you think?

Pizza, Pasta, Pisa and Piero…


Isn’t it ironic, the team which has the guy that dived in the last minute against the Aussies, scored a goal against the Germans in the 118th minute? What are the odds on that? Having watched the game I have worked out what is wrong with Italian football…
Firstly; We need to ensure that the Italians play by themselves, for 90 minutes on the pitch, during which time they can throw themselves down, roll around like children and look bewildered.

Secondly; After 90 minutes we send the opposition out and what a game we would have. The Italians would understand the importance of scoring goals and not playing synchronised swimming on the field.

Anyone who witnessed the semi final tonight will agree with me, the game was totally rubbish until the extra time started, it was like Lippi and Klinsmann decided individually, no match fixing here my little friend…we can win this if we score a goal… and what a show we got…

So now, we have the possibility of seeing it all again in the final…can’t wait…let’s hope the French win this otherwise we will have to start the PVR for fast forward...

Monday, July 03, 2006

Svennis...What now?


Well we could not leave it out, it had to be said…England out of the World Cup 2006. Eriksson leaves without even getting past the quarter finals in any tournament he was in charge. Now for me to sit here and criticize a fellow namesake Swede is not easy, but I will…

Firstly I don’t care who Svennis had a fling with. Faria, Ulrika or the whole bloody team of Wags and secondly I don’t give a toss about him speaking to fake sheiks, it was and is part of the job, which McLaren will find out soon, now that he is charge.

Sven-Göran Eriksson or ”Svennis” as he is know to us Swedes, is a great club manager and I feel that whilst he failed to bring home the “Holy Grail” he did a pretty good job in getting England together as a Team. The major problem was not his selection of players, but his tinkering with well known formats. The English looked like a bunch of amateurs out on that pitch for most of the World Cup. The players did not seem to fit into the system Svennis wanted and for that he should take the blame.

He should also take the blame for not informing his squad about the new rules like “You will be sent of if you stamp on someone’s tomatoes” and also if you push a player in front of the referee. You also will be sent off if you turn up in a swimsuit and start diving in the penalty area, like the Italians, Portuguese and now The French…They are just too ridiculous to watch.

Svennis should also take the blame for not telling his players, “go flat out and score a bloody goal as quickly as possible hopefully within 90 minutes of play, because we are crap at penalties”.

We need some passion from the English…this is great nation which conquered half of the world for heavens sake….

Let’s just hope that Svennis does not turn up as the new Swedish Team manager….

Mr Ericson Honoured...


Finally, after years of hard work, my achievements in the media industry have been recognised. I have finally received the accolade, which so many other hard working media people have already received, Jeremy Clarkson, presenter of BBC’s Top Gear, for instance received his from Brunel University. So who has recognised me for an Honorary Doctorate…London School of Economics? Bournemouth University? Or even Ängelholm College in Sweden???

I’ll tell you…Nectar Points Card that’s who. To them I am now Dr. Ericson a title I shall cherish…