Spurs Turmoil

Authors Thoughts, Finance, Football 3 Comments »

Seeing as these are thoughts from The Shelf, it would seem inappropriate not to post about the actions of UEFA this week in kicking Feyenoord out of the UEFA cup for crowd violence. After numerous warnings, and already playing behind closed doors at home, more crowd trouble occurred resulting in the last 16 match up with Tottenham being thrust into turmoil.

After recently purchasing tickets for the home leg, I was understandably disappointed to find out that Feyenoord had in fact been kicked out of the competition. Now we are either left with a rematch against the unglamorous Wisla Krakov who finished FORTH in the UEFA cup qualifying group, or a bye to the next round.

It has been widely rumoured that the board want Wisla Krakov to be reinstated to make up for the loss in gate receipts, although as Spurs remain in all four competitions in January, the manager Martin Jol would understandably take the bye and a much needed free fixture.

We will just have to wait until Thursday 25th to see how UEFA decide to deal with Spurs, and consequently my dream tickets.

Second Chances

Music, Technology No Comments »

After recently getting a new phone I thought I would comment on how good the new Sony Ericsson W850i actually is.

To prove I am not bias I should mention my previous experience with Sony Ericsson phones. A few years ago I purchased a brand new Sony Ericsson model on a ‘Pay as you Go’ plan for around £150. This phone, (the model escapes me), was indeed an excellent phone for the time, however within a month there were problems.

After continually returning the hand set to the local dealer I was told that it had to be sent away to Sony Ericsson HQ located in France (at the time). Initially this left me without a phone for 4 weeks and then a less than adequate replacement for a further 6 weeks, where by other manufacturer warranty claims were generally investigated within 6 weeks. Justifiably disgruntled, I boycotted Sony Ericsson hand sets until now.

Already pessimistic I ordered the handset on the recommendation of several online reviews and was more than pleased with its performance. The latest in the generation of walkman phones with a 1GB memory makes my previous MP3 player redundant, and the 2 megapixal camera although not the best available, is still a good piece of kit.

Calling the Bluff!

Finance, Technology No Comments »

As is the case with many contracts offered by phone companies these days, you are rewarded heavily for taking an 18 instead of 12 month contract option, both covering the increased retail cost of the latest hand sets, and keeping you cemented to a specific provider even longer. I have been a long term customer with 02, nearly 5 years and on the whole was happy with the service provided; (now they have ditched the premium rate helpline number).

The reception from 02 is good, even in the most remote of places, and as a provider they are competitive in terms of the plans offered. I have also experienced acceptable customer service when a problem has been identified and the online account management system employed is exceptionally easy to use.

I did however find myself reluctant to enter into an 18 month contract, and thus as upgrade time approached I simply didn’t, I kept my old phone and calling plan. However 6 months later my phone did indeed need replacing, and as a result I went hunting for different deals.

After a little investigating I identified the deals that best suited my phone usage, and required more minutes than the 200 previously provided. I discovered a contract that near enough suited my calling pattern, from three for £17.50 a month providing 300 calling minutes and 1000 text. I then got in contact with 02 to see if they could in fact match this deal as I was at present ‘a happy customer’.

What happen is pretty usual behaviour I hear, but demonstrates how playing a bit of cat and mouse can get you a far better contract. An initial phone conversation went along the lines of 02 being unable to match the contract offered by the 3 network and that was it – even after 5 years of custom.

I did not want to switch to the 3 network particularly, as I have heard mixed reviews regarding calling reception in the southwest. I bit the bullet and was willing to switch for the financial benefits. As I was put through to disconnections I was put through to a much more helpful customer service assistant. After 30 minutes of convincing me not to switch I was assigned a contract where by I get 500 minutes and 1150 texts for £2.50 extra a month, the end result meaning I don’t have to worry about over use.

So next time you renew a contract why not call the bluff and see how much more you can get out of your plan?

Great Year of Music

Music 3 Comments »

Last year was notable for the remarkable variety of good music released, and it seems that the guitar band trend continues to be popular with plenty of new and exciting bands continuing to emerge.

The Kooks – Inside In/Inside Out
Probably the best album of the year for me and remained in the music charts for much of the year. The strength of the album was demonstrated by the release of four separate singles all of which charted solid positions, with Naive the first to hit back in early 2006.

Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars
Chasing Cars is the best selling album of 2006, and is as good if not better than the Kooks contribution to the list, albeit for different reasons. Chasing cars, the aptly named single re-entering the charts on download only sales, proving how much the band has developed since ‘Chocolate’. The strength of the album and the guys growing popularity was demonstrated with the release of their latest single ‘Set Fire to the Third Bar’ featuring Martha Wainwright, which entered the charts at No.1.

Hot Chip – The Warning
These electro-knob twiddlers burst onto the big stage on the back of indie dance-floor filler ‘Over and Over’, and if there was any justice would have picked up the Mercury Music Award ahead of the Artic monkeys in my eyes. The Warning is a rarity, an album which grows on you, moves you and has the ability to genuinely surprise you. Excellent stuff and after the lads debut album, no-one really saw this coming. Also a class act live.

Sufjan Stevens – Illinois
Granted, this was 2005 but I didn’t get my hands on it until February (my blog, I’m allowed to bend the rules!). Sufjan is one of the most talented and prolific songwriters around today. Described as a folk storyteller (I know, just stick with me here) Sufjan’s latest grand project was to write an album for each American state. Illinois is a mixture of lush strings, ballads and uplifting songs that have incredible grace, beauty and detail.
All of the songs are in-fact historical stories that give way to even more grand titles such as ‘Decatur, Or Round Of Applause For Your Stepmother!’ or ‘John Wayne Gacy Jr’ a song about the infamous 70’s ‘Clown Killer’, but as soon as your ears catch the opening to tracks such as ‘Chicago’ and ‘They are night Zombies..’ you will be in no-doubt that this man is a wonderful talent. A truly special and unique album and talent.

Artic Monkeys- Whatever People say I am, that’s what I’m not
What a year it has been for the Artic Monkeys, coming from nowhere to not only dominate the music scene in 2006 but also launching a whole bunch of clones on the back of their sound (Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery). ‘Whatever People Say..” is an album full of lyrical flair, painting a bleak but ballsy picture of modern life, youth and drinking with tracks such as “Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ becoming instant classics, and ‘Fake Tales of San Francisco’ dominating my iPod.

The New Blog in Town

Authors Thoughts 2 Comments »

This is a new blog that was put in place to Lay down the Law. Topics of interest will be discussed without a prior agenda in place!

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