Missing the End of the Season

I had planned to be watching football right now. The elder child and I went to the football ground about 30 minutes before the match. Normally this is plenty of time to get a ticket at the turnstile and get seated during the player warm-up.

Today’s match does even have anything riding on it. However, last week our club went and got itself promoted to the next league. Now everyone has ex post facto promotion fever. There should normally be between 3,000 and 4,000 spectators. Today the 8,000-odd capacity has been reached. The seats were all taken and the standing areas full.

I considered – and even stood in the queue for – the last of the standing ends. However, I realised that two hours of standing on one leg while pressed on all sides and the swearing in the football chants right next to the child were not worth the price of admission.

Instead the child and I sat across the street on the pavement and waited for the Unnamed Woman to come pick us up. At six years old and not from a football mad family, he’s still working out the distinction between teams that play for countries and those that play for clubs. I also tried to explain the whole promotion thing, but he’s still getting his head around it.

The elder child was disappointed to miss the last game of the season, but I assured him that we will go again next season, which begins in just a few weeks.

Many Years

It was just about six years ago right now that I was dressing A1 for the first time. He had just been cut out of Mummy’s belly after 56 hours of labour. He didn’t want to breathe at first so the paediatric consultant was called up to the operating theatre to encourage him. Finally he was one his way downstairs to the nursery, where I got him dressed and then took photos to send around the world to grandparents and others as soon as I was sent home by the nursing staff.

Now he dresses himself. Sometimes it is as Spiderman, other times it is Superman. It can be Mr Incredible, or a policeman, or a doctor. I’ve lost track of all the costumes. He also grown up enough that he dresses up in his uniform every morning and he’s nearly halfway through his second year of school.

May God grant His servant many years!

This morning he’ll wake up to the presents and cards that Mummy has put on the kitchen table, with banner and streamers and confetti. Tomorrow night we are going to a pantomime. The kids love panto. This one is staged by students at the National College for the Blind. That ought to be interesting.

Then there’s the birthday party on Sunday at the venue that every child must use for a party. The scary bit is that it is very near the football ground where the hooligans from Elizabeth’s Big City (who have a reputation for being some of the nastiest in football) will be travelling up to meet our hooligans (who have never backed down from a good dust up). This is somewhat related to the fourth round of the FA Cup. It is an early kick-off, so hopefully all the bloodshed will be over and all necessary arrests made before the children arrive.

No Tears for Media Giants

The Government here is under a lot of pressure from media companies to put a lot of pressure on ISPs to stop file sharing downloads. At the same time, the High Court ruled against a pub landlady who used a foreign service to show Premier League football, rather than BSkyB, which has the exclusive right to show the matches in the UK.

I think there is a difference between using a camcorder in a cinema to get the scoop on the release of a film and downloading a telelvision programme that has already been shown. It’s a bit like the pub landlady, only with no cost implications for the viewer. The programme has already gone to air. It doesn’t cost the end user anything wherever they watch it. If companies want to maximise profits from advertisers, they need to broadcast simultaeously worldwide, rather than go from country to country in a piecemeal fashion.

When it comes to music downloads, I think there is a question as to whether it is mass larceny or mass revolt against the fleecing of the record companies. The record companies are complaining that they face ever-declining profits.

However, back in January 2006, “Sony BMG reported net income of $178 million on sales of $1.49 billion for the three months ended December 31 [2005].” Then this month Bloomberg reported on the BMG half of that partnership:

Bertelsmann AG, Europe’s largest media company, plans to boost revenue by about 50 percent over the next eight years as it expands the Arvato services unit and in countries including China and India.

Sales will exceed 30 billion euros ($44 billion) by 2015, Chief Executive Officer Designate Hartmut Ostrowski said in Berlin today. That’s similar to the revenue Time Warner Inc., the world’s largest media company, posted last year. Bertelsmann will have as much as 7 billion euros to invest in the next four to five years, he said.

Doesn’t your heart just weep for them when somebody shares music? Read the rest of this entry »