All posts by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me.
I meditate and wash daily when possible.

The Number 23

England’s footballers head to Brazil this summer for the World Cup, with manager Roy Hodgson tasked with selecting his final 23-man squad at the start of June.

Here, Dom Kureen gives his verdict on who should make the cut and why.

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GOALKEEPERS
Joe Hart (26 years old, Man City, 39 Caps)
Remains his country’s undisputed number one, despite some indifferent club displays resulting in a prolonged spell on the sidelines for Manchester City earlier this season. Recent return to top form is timely, expect him to be a key figure if England are to progress beyond their group.

Fraser Forster (26, Celtic, 1 Cap)
With no serious contender to Hart’s throne, the Scottish Premier League’s elite stopper is the ‘best of the rest’, although his kicking and overall distribution remain worryingly suspect.

Ben Foster (31, West Bromwich Albion, 6 Caps)
The star turn in a poor Baggies team this season, Foster has the experience and confidence to prosper in South America and wouldn’t let the side down (a’ la Robert Green) should he be required to step up at any point.

 

DEFENDERS
Kyle Walker (23, Spurs, 10 Caps)
The former Sheffield United trainee hasn’t been at his dynamic best this term, but is still a fundamental component in his country’s blueprint for future and present success.

Glen Johnson (29, Liverpool, 50 Caps/1 Goal)
Although Johnson can be a liability in the defensive third, his powerful forward raids offer much-needed width to England’s narrow formation. That offensive ability, coupled with half a century of caps, should ensure that he edges ahead of the promising Nathaniel Clyne this time.

Leighton Baines (29, Everton, 22 Caps/1 Goal)
After spending almost a decade as Ashley Cole’s understudy, Baines is now the undisputed first choice left back at international level – one of Hodgson’s easiest selections.

Ashley Cole (33, Chelsea, 107 Caps)
A toss of a coin, with Southampton’s ‘wunderkind’, Luke Shaw, destined to displace Baines and Cole in the near future. The aura and reputation of England’s greatest ever left back should allow him one final tilt at the Jules Rimet trophy, before he gracefully steps aside at the conclusion of the tournament.

Phil Jagielka (31, Everton, 24 Caps/1 Goal)
In the absence of the internationally retired John Terry, the Toffees’ skipper is the Three Lions’ premier available centre half. As such, he will be expected to marshal the back line and should provide consistent, wholehearted displays against all-comers.

Gary Cahill (28, Chelsea, 22 Caps/1 Goal)
Prone to lapses in concentration, Cahill has at times found it difficult to step into the colossal boots of Messrs Ferdinand and Terry. For now he remains the appropriate choice to partner Jagielka in the heart of England’s back four.

Steven Caulker (22, Cardiff City, 1 Cap/1 Goal)
A £7m summer move from Tottenham Hotspur to Cardiff City enabled Caulker to play regular top-flight football, an opportunity that he’s since grabbed with both hands. Deserves to be rewarded for consistent excellence in a struggling Bluebirds team.

Phil Jones (22, Manchester United, 9 Caps)
Yet to fulfill his immense potential courtesy of various injuries, Jones’ value to his club side is nevertheless set to increase following the imminent departures of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic. Based on talent alone, he should have nailed down a starting place in the national side by now.

 

MIDFIELDERS
Steven Gerrard (Captain: 33, Liverpool, 109 Caps/21 Goals)
England’s captain may be past his talismanic best, but he is still a vital cog in the side’s engine room. Has adapted his game to compensate for a loss of pace and verve in recent seasons, ensuring that he remains indispensable for club and country as he approaches his 34th birthday.

Jack Wilshire (22, Arsenal, 15 Caps)
A creative tour de force at his best, Wilshire needs to add goals to his slick technical prowess in order to become the great player he’s capable of developing into. Has been in decent nick for the Gunners this term and should make the starting eleven at the World Cup if fit.

Michael Carrick (32, Manchester United, 31 Caps)
The veteran Geordie has had a subdued domestic season, missing almost half of Manchester United’s matches through injury. He remains a valuable squad player for England and a useful alternative to the inexperienced prospects vying with him for selection.

Ross Barkley (20, Everton, 3 Caps)
One of a host of talented English midfield players to emerge in the past few years, Barkley has more than a hint of Paul Gascoigne about his play, hopefully sans the off-field exertions. Has flourished at Goodison Park since Marouane Fellaini departed last summer.

Adam Lallana (25, Southampton, 3 Caps)
After working his way through the lower leagues with the Saints, Lallana has become a bona fide Premier League star, with the capacity to be moulded into Steven Gerrard’s long-term successor.

James Milner (28, Manchester City, 45 Caps/1 Goal)
A willing workhorse with the versatility to play anywhere across the middle of the park, or even as a full back, former Leeds United starlet Milner is a reliable if unspectacular footballer, as well as a model professional.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (20, Arsenal 14 Caps/3 Goals)
In his third Premier League campaign, ‘Ox’ has yet to fully convince that he’s ready for a World Cup, although there have been flashes of the artistry associated with him throughout his youth team days at Southampton. In the absence of club teammate Theo Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain could find himself fast-tracked into England’s starting lineup.

Raheem Sterling (19, Liverpool, 2 Caps)
Flourishing alongside the visionary elegance of club colleagues Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge and Phillipe Coutinho, the Jamaican born winger-cum-striker has made monumental strides in the past nine months, notching more than half a dozen goals in all competitions and wreaking havoc upon opposition backlines with his searing acceleration.

 

STRIKERS
Wayne Rooney (28, Manchester United, 89 Caps/38 Goals)
The key man for England, Rooney’s record at major international tourneys has left much to be desired since he lit up Euro 2004 as a belligerent teenager. This summer will surely define whether he goes down as one of the finest players of his generation, or merely a very good one who floundered on the big stage.

Daniel Sturridge (24, Liverpool, 10 Caps/3 Goals)
After years of treading water at Man City and Chelsea, Sturridge’s £12m move to Anfield 15 months ago has seen him mature into one of the most clinical, potent front men in Europe. If his partnership with Rooney can develop into something akin to the one he enjoys with Suarez for the Reds, England will have something special on their hands.

Andy Carroll (25, West Ham United, 9 Caps/2 Goals)
A massive flop over the past three and a half seasons, Carroll has commanded over £52m in transfer fees, despite netting a meagre 14 league goals during that period. His inclusion would at least provide an interesting alternative from the bench and his presence can assist the talented midfield runners in the side.

Danny Welbeck (23, Manchester United, 21 Caps/8 Goals)
Has discreetly prospered at club level this season, netting nine league goals at a rate of almost one every two matches. Like a select few before him (notably Darius Vassell), Welbeck appears to be a player who performs better for country than club and is a valuable member of the Three Lions’ squad.

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 Who do the fans want?

Five fans also chose their 23 to represent England at the World Cup, their selections made for some interesting reading!


Harry Groves (Portsmouth/England fan)

Goalkeepers
Hart, Forster, Ruddy.

Defence
G.Johnson, Walker, A.Cole, Baines, Jagielka, Cahill, Smalling, Jones.

Midfield
Gerrard (capt), Wilshire, Carrick, Milner, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana, Sterling.

Attack
Rooney, Sturridge, Carroll, Welbeck.

Did you know: Harry’s squad effectively ends Frank Lampard’s England career, with the 35 year old’s omission surely putting the legend out to pasture.

 

Jonathan O’Shea (Aston Villa/Ireland fan)

Goalkeepers
Hart, Foster, Forster.

Defence
G.Johnson, Shaw, Baines, Jagielka, Smalling, Lescott, Cahill.

Midfield
Gerrard (capt), Wilshire, Lampard, Milner, Lallana, Barkley, Oxlade-Chamberlain, A.Johnson, Sterling.

Attack
Rooney, Sturridge, Welbeck

Did you know: Jonathan’s squad selection is the only one of the six with Joleon Lescott and Adam Johnson’s names among the 23.

 

Sarah Kingston (Southampton/England fan)

Goalkeepers
Hart, Foster, Ruddy

Defence
Baines, A.Cole, G.Johnson, Jones, Cahill, Jagielka, Shaw, Smalling.

Midfield
Barry, Lallana, Lampard, Lennon, Milner, Rodwell, Shelvey, Wilshire.

Attack
Rooney (capt), Sturridge, Lambert, Welbeck.

Did you know: Sarah opts to leave Steven Gerrard at home and makes Wayne Rooney the captain instead.

 

Just Mike (England fan)

Goalkeepers
Hart, Ruddy, Foster.

Defence
Baines, Cahill, Jagielka, Jones, Smalling, Shaw, Gibbs, Walker.

Midfield
Gerrard (capt), Lampard, Carrick, Lallana, Townsend, Sterling, Wilshire, Barkley.

Attack
Rooney, Sturridge, Welbeck, Lambert.

Did you know: Mike is able to name three specialist left backs by utilising Chris Smalling and Phil Jones as backup to first choice right back Glen Johnson.


DJ Rees (Tottenham/England fan)

Goalkeepers
Hart, Forster, Butland.

Defence
Baines, Shaw, C.Davies. Cahill, Jagielka, Clyne, Caulker, G.Johnson.

Midfield
Gerrard (capt), Lallana, Barkley, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Huddlestone, Carrick, Wilshire, Henderson, Sterling.

Attack
Rooney, Sturridge, Lambert.

Did you know: DJ decides to reward form rather than reputation, nominating Curtis Davies, Jack Butland, Nathaniel Clyne and Tom Huddlestone after the quartet enjoyed productive domestic campaigns.

Tom Huddlestone has impressed DJ Rees since joining Hull City.
Tom Huddlestone has impressed DJ Rees since joining Hull City.

So, that’s what we think, how about you? Comment below to let us know which players you’d give the nod and why!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me.
I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Live Review: Kyle Eastwood Band

Dom Kureen spent the weekend at Ventnor Arts Festival taking in the sights, smells and sounds. On Friday night it was all about jazz, as Kyle Eastwood rode into town!

3992525821_14a1dfd86a_oA fresh bouquet of Merlot and atmospheric, sooty glaze in the air ensured that Ventnor Arts Festival’s marquee stage momentarily drew parallels with Ronnie Scott’s jazz club in London during it’s mid-1970’s, Ella Fitzgerald fuelled pomp.

Friday night’s headliner was Kyle Eastwood, replete with his four-strong band of brothers, who brought a host of invigorating covers and original compositions to the Isle of Wight’s increasingly creative seaside resort.

The eldest son of legendary film actor/director/producer Clint Eastwood, the frontman has happily sidestepped lazy, convenient and misguided aspersions of a nepotistic bunk up since his emergence on the jazz scene in 1990, with his brand of blues, bebop and boogie ensuring escalating acclaim over the course of 24 years and six studio albums.

The evening’s melodies fluctuated between ostensibly ad-libbed bursts and flawlessly executed eulogy, the latter of which was evident in a delicate rendition of Herbie Hancock’s ‘Dolphin Dance’ and galvanising, trumpet-laced adaptation of Horace Silver’s ‘Blowing The Blues Away.’

An addictive riff and high-tempo instantly guaranteed that one of the band’s newer tracks, ‘A Night In Senegal’ was well received – Martyn Kaine’s cartilage-juddering percussion rattled the awning, as Eastwood traded his double-bass for a lesser-seen lime green electric guitar.

Intoxicating jazz: Kyle Eastwood and his band were worthy Friday night headliners
Intoxicating jazz: Kyle Eastwood and his band were worthy Friday night headliners

There was still time for the saccharine dusted ‘Letters From Iwo Jima,’ soundtrack to Eastwood senior’s movie of the same name, which commenced unobtrusively via the gentle chimes of Andrew McCormack on the piano and gripping strains of bass guitar courtesy of Eastwood, now on his third different instrument.

As folk filtered away from the venue, one thing remained crystal clear amongst the gabble – a collective spike in energy, created by the joyful chalk pit of lustrous offbeat melody played out before fans old and new.

Kyle Eastwood and his band continue to evolve apace, providing a rush of adrenalin to those fortunate enough to witness their live act. It seems implausible to feel burdened after being graced by their captivating brand of calypso-jazz.

 An exhilarating jazz tour-de-force.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me.
I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Interviews with Creative Minds, #2: Mark Dickson

The second in Kureen’s series of ‘Interviews with Creative Minds.’ This time Dom Kureen speaks to artist/musician Mark Dickson, aka Grickonel.

This one includes the singles ‘Rabbit’ and ‘Lofty and Blue,’ which are both available for download right here on kureen.co.uk!

To hear more check out Mark’s SoundCloud page.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me.
I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Festival season: Who’s playing where this summer?

With the UK music festival season rapidly approaching, there are now more choices than ever before for the weekend raver. Dom Kureen takes a look at some of the most notable events and how they’re shaping up so far.

June

RHCP: Will bring unpredictable attire and tons of energy to the Isle of Wight Festival.
RHCP: Will bring unpredictable attire and tons of energy to the Isle of Wight Festival.


Isle of Wight Festival

Venue: Seaclose Park, Isle of Wight.
Dates: 12-15 June
Weekend camping price: £190

Headline acts
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kings of Leon, Biffy Clyro, Calvin Harris, The Specials, Suede.

Isle of Wight Festival website

Download Festival

Venue: Donnington Park, Leicestershire.
Dates: 13-15 June
Weekend camping price: £215

Headline acts
Aerosmith, Linkin Park, Avenged Sevenfold, Fall Out Boy, Rob Zombie.

Download Festival website

Glastonbury Festival

Venue: Worthy Farm, Pilton.
Dates: 25-29 June.
Weekend camping price: £215.

Headline acts
Metallica, Arcade Fire, Kasabian, Elbow, The Black Keys, Lana Del Rey.

Glastonbury website

 July

He might be a bit of a douche sometimes, but Kanye West is an A+ headliner for Wireless.
He might be a bit of a douche sometimes, but Kanye West is a marquee headliner for Wireless.

Wireless Festival

Venue(s): Finsbury Park, London & Perry Park, Birmingham.
Dates: 4-6 July.
Weekend camping price: £170-£220

Headline acts
Kanye West, Pharell Williams, Drake, Bruno Mars, Ellie Goulding, Robin Thicke.

Wireless Festival website 

T In The Park

Venue: Balado, Kinross-shire, Scotland.
Dates: 11-13 July.
Weekend camping price: £194

Headline acts
Biffy Clyro, Ed Sheeran, Calvin Harris, Paolo Nutini, Arctic Monkeys, Pharrell Williams.

T in The Park website

Latitude

Venue: Henham Park, Suffolk.
Dates: 17-20 July.
Weekend camping price: £195.50

Headline acts
Music: Two Door Cinema Club, Damon Albarn, The Black Keys, Lykke Li.
Comedy: Dara O’Briain, Simon Amstell, Milton Jones, Al Murray.

Latitude website

Love Box

Venue: Victoria Park, London.
Dates: 18-19 July
Weekend camping price: TBA

Headline acts
Chase and Status, M.I.A, Nas, Bonobo, Woodkid, Soul II Soul.

Love Box Website

Global Gathering

Venue: Long Marston Airfield, Stratford Upon Avon.
Dates: 25-26 July
Weekend camping price: £120 +booking fee.

Headline acts
David Guetta, Prodigy, Chase and Status, Tinie Tempah, Alesso.

Global Gathering website

August

The vest of V-Fest: Justin Timberlake headlines a stellar lineup at V Festival.
The vest of V-Fest: Justin Timberlake headlines a stellar lineup at V Festival.

V Festival

Venue: Hylands Park, Chelmsford & Weston Park, Staffordshire.
Dates: 16-17 August.
Weekend camping price: £199.95.

Headline acts
Justin Timberlake, Elbow, Killers, Example, Lily Allen, Paolo Nutini.

V Festival Website

 –

Reading Festival

Venue: Richfield Avenue, Reading.
Dates: 22-24 August.
Weekend camping price: £213.

Headline acts
Queens of Stone Age, Paramore, Disclosure, Arctic Monkeys, Blink 182.

Reading Festival website

Leeds Festival

Venue: Bramham Park, Leeds.
Dates: 22-24 August.
Weekend camping price: £213.

Headline acts
Queens of Stone Age, Paramore, Disclosure, Arctic Monkeys, Blink 182.

Leeds Festival website

Creamfields

Venue: Daresbury, Cheshire.
Dates: 22-24 August.
Weekend camping price: £155 +booking fee.

Headline acts
Sub Focus, Deadmau5, Armin Van Buuren, Annie Mac, Eric Prydz, Pete Tong.

Creamfields website

September

Busta Rhymes: Bestival bound.
Busta Rhymes: Bestival bound.

Bestival

Venue: Robin Hill, Isle of Wight.
Dates: 4-7 September.
Weekend camping price: £195.

Headline acts
Busta Rhymes, Outkast, Chic feat. Nile Rodgers, Beck, Paloma Faith, Foals.

Bestival website

So there you have it, a baker’s dozen of this summer’s biggest UK music extravaganzas! Let us know in the comments if you’re planning to head to any of the gigs and who you’re looking forward to seeing.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me.
I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Philosoracle: An original poem

The accusations of apathy linger and the pleasant blaze of the sun only serves as a temporary diversion from the confused actuality of our being. Pathways guilty of seducing the inner optical, all webbed in uncertainty, lie in wait as challenges which attempt to divert us from paramount ambitions.

Any coward can turn blind eyed from the obstacles and conjure another cookie cutter existence based on fear. As tempting as may seem the ease at which mediocrity can be attained, it is also ultimately fraught with unfulfillment.

In reality, it is those brief flashes of idiosyncrasy we all experience sporadically which allow us a glimpse into our uncorked potential and as a bi-product show the futility of residing within the safety of the flock.

Magic 8-ball
So many fear death and crave immortality, blissfully unaware that to live for eternity would merely serve as an excuse to delay our own progression, another reason to exist in the mundane rather than live in the extraordinary.

The select few are the ones who snub normality, aspiring not to merely bestow an imprint upon this Universe, instead electing to tattoo their initials in stardust and carve their philosophy from oak all over its axis.

DxK

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me.
I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Interviews with Creative Minds #1 : Mike Keen

The first in the series of ‘Interviews of Creative Minds’ features Michael Keen, an aspiring musician and comedian.

The piece includes two of Mike’s original tracks, both downloadable from from Kureen.co.uk.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me.
I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Featured Charity

May charity spotlight: Foyle Search and Rescue


Foyle Search and Rescue
 was established as a charity in July 1993 and has adopted the role of protecting human life in and around the River Foyle in Derry / Londonderry, one of the most dangerous and fastest flowing rivers in Europe, infamous for its high level of mortality.

The charity and its volunteers are keenly aware of the huge responsibility that goes with this role. Their dedication in patrolling the river and its banks in all seasons and in all weathers is the single greatest asset of the charity.

Damon Albarn's Gorillaz band mates looked different in real life.
Damon Albarn’s Gorillaz band mates looked different in real life.

Around 3000 lives have been saved since the group was founded. As a small, independent charity, Foyle Search and Rescue are dependent on the kindness of the public to continue their amazing work, that’s where you can help.

If you’d like to donate to the cause or find out more information, simply follow this link

Thanks!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me.
I meditate and wash daily when possible.