Tag Archives: John

Believing Is Seeing

Dom Kureen takes a look at the rapidly unravelling reality we’re faced with, as Rolf Harris becomes the latest high profile individual accused of sexual abuse.

Rolf Harris

Rolf Harris CBE is the latest in a protracted chain of distinguished dignitaries to be hauled before judge and jury for alleged acts of sexual abuse, with many victims purportedly shy of legal consenting age when molested.

The 84-year old has long been depicted as an adopted English national treasure, with his art, TV programmes and light-hearted musical compositions providing easily consumable, tongue-in-cheek entertainment for the gratification of the throngs who have adored him for aeons.

For an esteemed icon to be ostensibly duplicitous with a generational circle of high profile deviants is profoundly unsettling – not least with regards to the superficial subject of heroes: sick revelations shift paradigms and shake perceptions. Individuals once veiled in prestige are suddenly exposed as nefarious reprobates.

The essence of Jimmy Saville’s cumulative obituary immediately in the wake of his death cut an epitaph to a selfless, wholehearted entertainer and charitable soul, whose unrelenting generosity raised several millions of pounds and enhanced a host of otherwise negatively afflicted individual existences.

A sympathetic portrait of a kind soul, despite the fact that hundreds of people were aware of deceit.

There was no mention of the free reign Saville’s position afforded him; blind eyes were turned and suspicions purposefully disregarded in order not to jeopardise the late DJ’s awareness spreading affiliation with various organisations.

To have known the horror that Saville was capable of and remain mute makes all of those observers who protected his legacy for their own prosperity complicit in sheltering a paedophile, and guilty of allowing hundreds of naïve, innocent children to suffer trauma.

While Saville was never brought to task during his lifetime, his unmasking did at least prove the catalyst for a multitude of subsequent convictions.

Inevitably this is merely the tip of the iceberg. ‘Operation Ore’ took place from 2002 until 2003, locating over 10,000 people guilty of paying to view images of child pornography online, many of whom were/are household names.

Pete Townshend (with guitar): Came under scrutiny during 'Operation Ore'
Pete Townshend (with guitar): Came under scrutiny during ‘Operation Ore’

For legal reasons, kureen.co.uk cannot name any of the MPs, academics, musicians or other celebrities linked with the case (if you look in the right places you can find the information for yourself), but something serendipitous transpired just as the faeces were threatening to hit the fan.

With the ‘Sunday Times’ newspaper preparing to print a list of names connected to the investigation, an eleventh-hour D-Notice was passed in the House of Commons, prohibiting the article from making first editions. Speculation suggested that then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, felt the timing of the piece was inappropriate, with British troops set to be sent to war in Iraq.

There were a couple of high profile individuals who did become exposed during the case: ‘The Who’ guitarist Pete Townshend, who cracked wise with police under interrogation, and comedian John Thompson, most notable for his jazz club skits on ‘The Fast Show’ just over a decade ago.

Both admitted to having paid to access child pornography websites – Townshend claiming he was doing research for a book and Thompson asserting that he had suffered abuse as a teenager and felt that this would aid his rehabilitation. Both remain in the public eye today and there is very little mention of their links with Operation Ore anywhere online.

The point of referencing this case is not to expose any specific individual; it is simply to highlight the fact that as a species we too often readily accept information that is filtered into our psyche subliminally by deliberate design.

Tragically as a society we have become conditioned to put more stock in social networks and emulating celebrity than querying the stream of data discharged from biased barrels.

Believing is seeing
Believing is seeing

The truth is out there for the inquisitive mind, it’s just buried deep beneath the superficial, and while it would be comforting to assume that the unravelling Illusion of a clutch of disturbed creatures, brought to justice in their twilight years, provides a glimpse of a shiny, progressive brand of informative media, it’s a notion fraught with nativity.

Politicians do not represent the masses; they spout half-truths and hyperbolic claims in different coloured ties. Their goal is not to unite a nation, it is to placate a restless society who are seeking revolution and ominously threatening to rebel against a shallow, stagnant order.

This is a tempestuous generation, albeit one currently under stoic hex. Around 35% of eligible voters didn’t enter the polling stations for the 2010 General Elections as a result of growing apathy or in some cases protest. Those who did place a cross in a box couldn’t decide upon a conclusive candidate, necessitating the farcical coalition that saddled the country with the most mis-matched double act since Pete Doherty and Elton John traumatised the ‘Live 8’ audience in the summer of 2005.

“Democracy must be built through open societies that share information. When there is information, there is enlightenment. When there is debate, there are solutions. When there is no sharing of power, no rule of law, no accountability, there is abuse, corruption, subjugation and indignation.” Atifete Jahjaga.

Do heroes still exist, or will observers continually be left nauseated by those they once revered?

The truth is… Maybe we can’t handle the truth after so many years of watered down reality. What we don’t know is unquestionably far scarier than the titbits that we do.

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. No.15: John Armstrong

Deep thinking renaissance man or perpetually perturbed poetry practitioner? John Armstrong, founder of Isle of Wight based spoken word collective Chorderize, is the 15th member of the exclusive Creative Minds club.


The links

John’s (neglected) blog
Arduity website
John on Twitter
John of Flange-face

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.

50 greatest British sports stars of all-time: 50-41

All this week Kureen will be counting down the 50 greatest British sports stars of all-time.

Andrew Flintoff: Narrowly missed the cut
Andrew Flintoff: Narrowly missed the cut

The 50 explained

There are some notable absentees from the list who just missed the cut. The likes of World Cup winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks, Ashes hero Andrew Flintoff, sailing superstar Ellen MacArthur, and former French Open tennis champion Sue Barker among them.

The top 50 is based upon the quality of the performer, not their star status. Hence the lack of a David Beckham or perennial underdogs Tim Henman, Frank Bruno and Sir Henry Cooper, who when push comes to shove were very good, but not great.

50: Sally Gunnell

Sally Gunnell remains the only woman to have won the European, World, Commonwealth and Olympic 400 metre hurdles titles. She is additionally the only British woman to have won those four titles in any individual event.

Her gold run in the major championships began in 1992 when she took the Olympic title in Barcelona, followed by a world record obliterating run at the World Championships the following year.

49. John Charles

Rated by many as the greatest ever all-round footballer to come from the British isles, Charles became a Leeds United icon in the 1950’s, before departing Elland Road to join Juventus in 1957 for a British record transfer fee of £65,000.

The Welshman flourished in Turin, leading the Serie A scoring charts with 28 goals in his inaugural season, as his new side won the league title. He placed third in the Ballon d’Or (Golden Ball) in 1959, and was voted Juve’s best ever foreign player during the club’s centenary celebrations in 1997, having netted 108 times in just 155 league matches, despite playing a third of those as a defender.

48: Lewis Hamilton

Few British sporting icons have polarised opinion like two-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton; be it his on-off relationship with Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, a snarky arrogance or a perceived lack of patriotism, Hamilton is not held in the esteem usually associated with elite drivers from these shores.

After a staggering rise through karting, Formula Renault, Formula Three and GP2, Hamilton was snapped up by McLaren to partner double World Champion Fernando Alonso. The two couldn’t stand each other, but it was the Brit who outlasted his erstwhile colleague, collecting the world title in 2008, before a move to Mercedes brought another six years later.

47: Steve Ovett

Building his reputation as an athlete who could achieve remarkable times in disparate distances during the 1970’s, it was during the 1980 Moscow Olympics that Ovett’s rivalry with fellow Brit Sebastian Coe reached its peak.

Steve Ovett

Both men contested the 800m and 1500m distances, with Ovett surprising 800m favourite Coe by taking the title, and then experiencing a reversal of roles, with his three-year unbeaten streak over 1500m ending – Ovett settling for bronze as Coe kicked late to triumph.

46: Paula Radcliffe

The current women’s marathon world record holder would sit(or squat) far higher in the list if it wasn’t for her penchant to freeze on the biggest stage.

An incredible, dedicated long distance runner, Radcliffe has won enough gold to make even King Midas envious. Five Olympic finals failed to yield a medal, happily she fared better in the World Championships; securing marathon victory in 2005, and 10,000m silver in 1999.

45: Rory McIlroy

Rory Macilroy

The Northern Irish golfer appears to have the world at his feet at just 26 years of age. Indeed, in five years time he will probably make the top 10 of this list, such is the upside of a player who has been swinging a club since the age of three.

With four majors already in the bag, and inevitable comparisons to a young, pre-scandal Tiger Woods, golf’s current world number one won both the PGA and Open Championships in 2014, and has already snaffled three titles on the tour this year. There’s no ceiling to his potential, as long as he doesn’t become distracted by extra curricular enterprises.

44: Charlotte Edwards

England’s current women’s cricket captain is one of the greatest players the sport has ever seen.

The only woman to score more than 2000 runs in T20 matches, Edwards made her international bow at just 16 years of age, remaining at the top of her craft for the next two decades. In 2014 she was part of the group of England players to be awarded central contracts by the ECB, another major milestone for the women’s game.

43: Nigel Mansell

Mansell often cut a grey, monotone mannequin among the glitz and glamour of motor racing, but it was from inside the cockpit that he came to life.

Having seen world titles snatched away on the final day of more than one season, 1992 finally brought the moustachioed Brummie the F1 championship he craved, with a little help from the unparalleled early 90’s Williams team. Within six months he’d become the first man to simultaneously hold that title and the CART Indy world series when he triumphed in his début season in America.

42: Sir Roger Bannister

With the 1952 Helsinki Olympics failing to provide the tonic of a 1500m medal that Bannister had long expected, the athlete became obsessed with another goal; becoming the first person to break the 4 minute mile.

6 May 1954:  Roger Bannister breaks the 4 Minute Mile in 3 Minutes 59.4 Seconds. Mandatory Credit: Allsport UK/Getty Images
6 May 1954: Roger Bannister breaks the 4 Minute Mile in 3 Minutes 59.4 Seconds. Mandatory Credit: Allsport UK/Getty Images

The feat was achieved in Oxford in 1954, with the stadium announcer drowned out by a fanatical support in the stands after uttering the number three (the final time was actually 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds.) Bannister managed this with only sporadic training while he studied to become a junior doctor.

41: Bunny Austin

Henry Wilfred “Bunny” Austin played during an era of high quality tennis players, thus missing out on Grand Slam glory despite reaching five major finals in all, .

He and Fred Perry ensured that Britain had a tight grip on the Davis Cup from 1933-36, with the tandem beating all-comers for four years before both wound down their careers. Austin is widely considered the greatest male player not to win a Grand Slam.

Bunny Austin only at number 41??? Come back tomorrow to find out who kept the legend of SW19 out of the top 40, as we focus on positions 40th down to 31st.

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.

John Carver and 10 other terrible EPL managers

John Carver’s reign as full-time Newcastle United boss has thus far proven little short of an unmitigated disaster, achieving the worst sequence for the club in 28 years by losing seven league matches in a row.

John Carver

Carver has previous failures on his CV; his track record was equally inept during his stint in the hot-seat, with just three points yielded from five matches as Leeds United’s interim boss, a similarly short and unsuccessful term at Sheffield United, and a woeful spell at Toronto FC, which ended with the club in the MLS relegation zone and Carver given his marching orders.

Mentioning that he’s a Geordie who worked under the great Sir Bobby Robson in virtually every interview may have been a ploy to garner sympathy from the Tyneside natives, but has in fact had the opposite effect, with the Toon Army soon tiring of JC reminiscing about getting the rub to justify his appointment.

Carver isn’t alone though, here’s a rundown of ten other terrible Premier League managers.

Iain DowieIain Dowie

Dowie has successfully led two teams to the Championship, as well as directly causing the relegation of a third. His top-flight career peaked in the mid-2000’s, as he tried admirably to save Crystal Palace from going straight back down, while at his next job, Dowie hopelessly kept Charlton in the relegation places, despite being given extensive funds, before getting sacked halfway through the 2005/06 season.

At Hull City, Dowie was brought in to keep the Tigers in the top tier, but once again, the former striker could not inspire any sort of survival. These facts speak for themselves and Dowie has to be considered one of the least inspiring Premier League managers ever.

Terry Connor

One in, one out: Terry Connor was out of his depth as a manager.
One in, one out: Terry Connor was out of his depth as a manager.

 

Terry Connor was Wolverhampton Wanderers’ assistant manager when Mick McCarthy was given the boot in February 2012. Despite having zero experience as a senior manager, Wolves entrusted Connor with keeping the club in the Premier League.

The 50 year old, who is back as McCarthy’s assistant at Ipswich Town, took over with the club in 18th position, yet by the end of the season, Wolves were at the bottom of the table. Connor failed to win a single game in his 13 games in charge, leading Wolves to seven consecutive defeats and life in the Championship.

Luiz ScolariLuiz Scolari

Scolari makes the list as he had a talented squad and excessive funds at his disposal; and this is without even mentioning his previous achievements, including a World Cup! His stint with Chelsea was in fact Scolari’s first (and only) job as manager of a European club and this may explain the reason why he didn’t even last until the end of the season.

The Brazilian boss endured a horrid run of form with the Blues and was replaced with interim manager Guus Hiddink in February 2009, who arrived to adjust the error of Scolari’s ways and win the FA Cup.

Les ReedLou Reed

Les Reed holds the record of having the shortest managerial reign in Premier League history, when he left Charlton Athletic by mutual consent, after just 41 days. He is regularly voted as the Addicks’ worst manager of all time and it’s to no surprise.

Reed’s stint of seven games produced one victory, one draw and five defeats, one of which was an embarrassing loss to League Two’s Wycombe Wanderers in the League Cup. He was swiftly replaced by Alan Pardew in December 2006.

Juande Ramos

The first of two former Spurs managers in this list did initially win the hearts of his supporters by clinching the League Cup over Chelsea in 2008. Yet, in his second season in charge, the former Sevilla head coach lost his way in spectacular fashion, amassing 2 points from the opening 8 league games.

That mark remains Tottenham Hotspur’s worst ever start to a Premier League season and an inability to speak English did not help matters for the increasingly forlorn gaffer. Surprisingly Ramos’ next coaching position was at the helm of Real Madrid.

Steve WigleySteve Wigley

Steve Wigley replaced the equally inept Paul Sturrock as full time Southampton manager in August 2004. Many were surprised with Wigley’s appointment as his only previous experience was that of a three year spell of non-league Aldershot Town.

Wigley lasted a total of 14 games, with the Saints’ board realising their mistake and the 51 year old quickly returned to his duties with the club’s youth teams. he managed only one win during his time as manager  but that was against bitter rivals Portsmouth.

Steve KeanSteve Kean

Blackburn Rovers fans reading this will surely be satisfied that bumbling Kean’s torrid Ewood Park tenure has been acknowledged. The Scottish coach miserably led Blackburn to relegation during the 2011-12 season, and somehow managed to evade “Kean out” demands for many months before finally getting the boot in early 2013.

The 45 year old, currently without a job, splashed £8.25m on the exceptional Jordan Rhodes, but still couldn’t inspire the Blue and Whites towards a play-off place, suffering 30 defeats in just 60 games all told. His ignorance to the fans’ calls to resign just beats Paul Ince to a spot in the list.

Jacques SantiniJacques Santini

Who? I hear you ask. Santini is the first of two Spurs managers in this list (and Christian Gross could also have been included). The French manager had worked wonders at Lyon and tried his luck in the Premier League with Tottenham.

However, he only lasted five months in the job and was soon replaced by his assistant, Martin Jol, who went on to do very well. The French boss had a decent record as Spurs manager but announced his resignation after just 13 games.

Alan ShearerAlan Shearer

A harsh choice perhaps, considering that the Geordie legend was afforded only eight matches in charge of his beloved Newcastle United, and inherited a squad choc-full of has-beens, ne’er weres and rotten to the core characters.

It was little wonder then that his final stats in charge read 1 win, 2 draws and 5 defeats, albeit three of those reverses were at the hands of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United respectively. Still, it was 1-0 losses to Fulham and Aston Villa that truly put paid to the club’s survival hopes, as Hull City escaped by a single point.

Brian KiddManchester United

After stints as manager at Barrow and Preston North End, Kidd became an assistant at Manchester United from 1988-98. While there, he learned from one of the all-time greats: United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Did Kidd take what he learned from Ferguson into the head job at Blackburn? Of course not. Instead he got Rovers relegated in 1999 — just four years after they were champions.

The most painful part for Kidd is the knowledge that the stinging words of Sir Alex were swiftly proved accurate. Fergie never forgave Kidd for walking out of United and in his autobiography, he described his erstwhile right-hand man as a worrier who could not evaluate a player and talked behind his back –something which was difficult to deny after Kidd oversaw a host of terrible signings, such as £9m dud-duo Ashley Ward and Jason McAteer.

Agree with our list? Feel that we missed out some truly horrible bosses? Let us know in the comment section below.

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.