Welcome to Spiel, the JC’s blog.

  • The morning after the noon before!

    The Spurs Blog
    Nov 8, 2016

    Lunchtime kick-offs - horrible things, especially on a Sunday, especially on North London Derby day.

    Of course we all understand the reasons for the scheduling and there's no doubt there was less venom in the air than at some previous encounters at the former council rubbish dump at Ashburton Grove. Indeed for the first time in four visits I wasn't personally subjected to antisemitic abuse. Nonetheless midday on a Sunday is a pain for those of a white or red persuasion who go to games and who also happen to be involved in MGBSFL football. Perhaps more on that topic another time.

    On the plus side, the early start meant that the knots in stomach, loss of appetite and all-round tetchiness had less time to take root than normal, although all three were very much in evidence. I go through periods of a season when I think I dislike Chelsea more, but despite the banter and digs (and there are some scattered in this blog, for traditions sake you understand!) I have a genuine respect for Arsenal and (myopics aside) for Wenger.
    Despite the nefarious means by which they arrived in the top flight all those years ago, they have in the Dein era and since been a proper football club, funding their own growth and new stadium, genuine traditions and under Wenger they have even played football out of the Spurs playbook of beauty. However, when push comes to shove, when I see those red shirts on the pitch I know which rivalry matters the most.

  • Has the EFL Cup become obsolete?

    The Arsenal Blog
    Nov 4, 2016

    The League Cup has long been the subject of mockery. Nicknamed the ‘Mickey Mouse’ Cup, it has become an opportunity for clubs to rest their big players and give their often unused options a chance to play football.

    When it was first founded in 1960, it was intended to be a more exclusive version of the FA Cup, now open to 92 clubs (top four tiers) rather than the 736 hosted by the older FA competition. However, this plan seems to have disintegrated.

    Instead of more competitive football, the League Cup has become a setting for poor quality, often not even worth switching on the television for. On Tuesday evening, Liverpool made 11 changes against a much weakened Spurs side, symbolising the dismissive attitude of top tier clubs to the competition.

  • Home from Home

    The Spurs Blog
    Nov 4, 2016

    Each new trip to the Lane this season is that little more special, more poignant - there are an increasing number of 'this is the last time' moments. The last time we played Liverpool at the Lane has been and gone; the last time we'll have a night time cup game might already have happened, the last time.... well you get the idea.

    Those heavy emotions are as one both heightened and offset by the ever more imposing skeleton of the new stadium which is no longer emerging from the ground but rather it is now towering over most of its surroundings. It won't be long before the concrete and steel of the new world dwarfs what increasingly feels like the cosy, warm, familiar home of hundreds and thousands of precious memories. The excitement at the future is tangible - every trip to the Lane now reveals staggering progress on the new ground, but it's tinged with very real sadness.

    And so it was that before the Leicester game I had the task of articulating those emotions to a camera crew for Chinese TV. The globalisation of the Premier League, AIA as shirt sponsors and a plethora of other Asian facing brands with various corporate partnerships with the Club (some specifically associating themselves because we are the current residence of Son) means that Spurs are worthy of non match day air time in the most populous country on earth. I did chuckle at the task facing the translators as they sought the right mandarin characters to accurately nuance my north west London parlance!

  • Christmas? We have it every week

    Student Views
    Nov 1, 2016

    Ellie Hyman writes...

    Living in a house in which I am the only Jewish person, and in fact, the only Jewish person that any of my housemates has ever met, has provided for several interesting conversations.

    The one that took the biscuit however, happened last night. In discussing Christmas plans, one of my friends told me that it makes her really sad that I have never experienced a traditional Christmas before.

  • Strictly recap: Daisy Lowe’s dilemma

    Strictly Watch
    Oct 31, 2016

    Poor Daisy Lowe; she can’t seem to catch a break, can she?

    Having been up for elimination last week, she came back on Saturday with fury in her feet and fire in her eyes.

    But then Sunday rolled around and, once again, she found herself in the bottom two; up to dance once more to sway the judges in her favour against US singer Anastacia.

  • Why Lily Allen is wrong to compare the UK to Nazi Germany

    The JC Blog
    Oct 27, 2016

    Rosa Doherty writes:

    A few weeks ago, pop star, Lily Allen, visited “The Jungle” refugee camp in Calais.

    While she was there she spoke to a 13-year-old boy who told her he had left Afghanistan, escaping the threat of Daesh and the Taliban, and had travelled alone for six months to try and get to his father, who was living in Birmingham.

  • I used to sneer at twice-a-year Jews - now I'm one of them

    Noa Gendler
    Oct 25, 2016

    Surprisingly, I actually enjoyed the high holy days this year.

    I was dreading them, because I often feel so disingenuous, going to shul and reciting the words, when I’ve actively avoided religion for the rest of the year.

    I used to sneer at twice-a-year Jews, and wonder what the point was, what they hoped to get out of it – and now I’ve become one of them. And, what’s more, my current lack of association feels even more painful on the days which used to be the most important to me.

  • Strictly Recap: Lesley Joseph bows out in style

    Strictly Watch
    Oct 25, 2016

    Well, that was dramatic, wasn’t it? There is nothing like seeing two of your favourites plummeting into the Strictly dance-off to remind you of the fragility of human existence.

    In the end, poor Lesley Joseph bit the dust, after putting up a valiant effort against Daisy Lowe. But then, the writing really was on the wall for her on Saturday night.

    She started her tango well enough, summoning the anger-driven intensity that the dance demands as only a seasoned actress knows how. But unfortunately, her steps couldn’t keep up. They seemed delayed and sloppy.

  • Shocked by antisemitism at university

    Student Views
    Oct 20, 2016

    This blog is a guest post from Lara Glantz

    Last night for the first time in my life I felt the genuine threat of antisemitism. The event was a discussion titled “Is criticising Israel antisemitic?” led by Tony Greenstein, the political activist, who was recently suspended from the Labour party. While addressing his suspension he ensured us that there was “absolutely no anti-Semitism in the Labour party”, while also promptly ensuring that we all knew that “Ken Livingstone is a long term friend and I know he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body” - really akin to saying that one can’t be racist if they have a black friend. But unfortunately the problematic nature of the discussion, and the affirmation of antisemitism in Bristol and further through the UK and Europe, was achieved not only through the views of Greenstein himself, but worsened by the booming, loud, obnoxious voices of drunken white men, with no affiliation to Israel personally but whose speech and actions made countering any point impossible.

    Ultimately this is not a feminist issue. I went in to the meeting with criticism of the image used on the Facebook group (inserted above), and the antisemitic (NOT anti-Zionist but specifically antisemitic) connotations of equating Israel/Judaism with the power and wealth of America as well as the use of age old rhetoric of the corrupt, capitalist Jew.