The Great English Football Demise

England world cupSo, the FIFA World Cup is over for another four years and what a fine tournament it was too.

In England, our hopes were not high going into the tournament it has to be said. Even so, the England team surpassed all expectations by being even more rubbish than the whole country thought they would be. There were only two high points for England and they were Daniel Sturridge’s equaliser against Italy and Wayne Rooney’s equaliser against Uruguay. Both were tap-ins and both couldn’t miss. The brief excitement generated by these goals was soon extinguished by certifiable madsters, Mario Balotelli and Luis Suarez. England then “dug-in” for a 0-0 draw against Costa Rica in the last game. As it turned out, Costa Rica were quite good and after finishing top of the group got to the quarter finals where they were eliminated (and unluckily so) by the Dutch.

That’s it then. If you ask me what’s wrong with English football then I will say two things to you:

Firstly, go and watch junior teams playing against each other in leagues up and down the country on Saturdays and Sundays. These junior team ages range from under 7’s and above. Most of the coaches are “dads”. Some are good, the majority are not. Listen to the screaming, snarling, swearing, anger that gets hurled at these poor kids by the coaches in a lot of instances and you will see where I’m coming from. My kids have both been playing since they were 6 years old and I have seen it all. The attitude is “win at all costs” and that is about it. People skills leave a lot to be desired too. My eldest son is 15 and a referee. When he was 14 and was officiating in a junior football tournament during summer 2013, he was shouted at by a coach during one game who screamed in front of everybody that my refereeing son “was an effing cheat”. Charming.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people working at junior league level who are devoted and give incredible amounts of time to the cause. There are plenty of good people. However, there is an awful lot of “bad” too. An awful lot.

Secondly, I will say to you – “just what are the England football team and who exactly do they represent?”. When a team have to be told (for the third tournament running) that they must sing the national anthem then you have to ask yourself, is there much going in the way of national pride here? Compare that to the Germans, the Chileans, the Brazilians etc and the contrast is incredible. Players representing other countries sing the anthem as if they are about to go to war – they would almost die for their countries. Our players do not play with this mindset.

Is the England football team representing England? If so, why do we sing the same anthem that is also the anthem of the United Kingdom? The Welsh, Northern Irish and Scottish sing their own national anthems at sporting events and why shouldn’t they? They have national pride which centres on their own identity and national heritages.

There is no one answer to the English football crisis but there are a number of factors, that’s for sure. In the meantime, we turn nostalgic. Our England football canvas prints turn the clock back to 1966. By my calculation that’s now 48 years of “hurt”. Ouch.


Categories: Sport, Subjects | Tags: , ,

Spam Comments

spamOne thing that you might notice if you run your own blog is that no sooner have you written your first post or two then the “spam” comments come along in a slow trickle which turns into a stream the more popular your blog gets. The webmaster of our blog is in the process of putting in a spam filter and once that kicks in then sadly, no more of these ridiculous comments. In actual fact I think it will be quite a shame.

So until the filter starts doing its thing, I thought I would share with you some of the “comments” we have had here in response to some of our illuminating and enlightening posts. Some of these comments are probably from robots (no, not this kind of loveable robot) but I am sure one or two are from real people, very desperate for a link from our high traffic blog. We have millions of readers so of course it pays to get a link from us.

This first one is from Kenton Mayfield. At first read I was happy that he liked my piece about Bristol’s See No Evil project. This is what Kenton had to say:

“Pretty! This has been an extremely wonderful article. Thanks for supplying this information.”

Hmmm. What do you mean “pretty”?  Kristen Stewart is pretty. “Extremely wonderful”? Don’t overdo it Kenton. I mean, I am extremely wonderful don’t get me wrong and the post is probably the best post out there on the interweb right now but even so. Aha, it all becomes clear when I look at your link, Kenton. It’s a Polish website and I honestly have no idea what it is about. A lot of content though. Good work.


This one’s from Deana. She’s a big fan. She must be, she has lots of nice things to say about this blog:

“My brother suggested I may like this blog. He was totally right. This post actually made my day. You can’t believe simply how a lot time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

Once again, it is a comment in relation to the See No Evil project. All I can say Deana is that your brother is one cool dude. I can just imagine the scene. Let’s call him “Dean”. “Hey, Deana – you must check this site out. I think you will like the blog. It will speak to you”. “Yay thanks Dean, I will take a look at it right away!”

“OMG” says Deana (on reading our fantastic See No Evil blog). “I just can’t believe that anything better is going to happen to me today than reading this. I am so happy right now. And the funny thing was I could not find one single bit of information anywhere else on the whole internet about it”.

I am pleased you like the blog, Deana. And big props to your brother too. What is troubling me is that it made your day. Really? Mind you, if you can get happiness from such small things (hey I am not doing my own blog down but let’s get some perspective here) then you are a happy person all round and that’s a good way to be. I hope you will be just as happy when I say that I am afraid you’re not getting a link to your site. Anyway, what is your site? A Google plus page by Laura Green? Looks interesting, have to say I wasn’t expecting that one. Looks like it might even be by a real person.


Once again, the See No Evil project blog is the talk of the globe. I have made Jaymes Kidmore’s day which makes me so happy. Not as happy as Deana got though. Hey Jaymes, that’s an odd way of spelling “James”, there’s no need at all for that “y” in there. Anyway, Jaymes writes:

“I could truthfully learn about this all day! We hope you’ve got an RSS feed I could possibly sign up for. We have all been checking everywhere over the web just for information related to chicago show tickets london”.

Right, let’s look at this. The third word is “truthfully”. I am not so sure you mean this. Really – truthfully? Then what do you go on to say. “I could learn about this all day”. Wow. Well there isn’t a great deal to take in here and I think if I was to talk to you about the art project all day you might begin to liken it to torture. We could change the subject but you don’t want that do you? Perhaps we can put on Phil Collins in the background on a continuous 24 hour loop. How would you like that Jaymes? Huh?

Now we get to the point I think. You tell me you have been checking everywhere over the web for “chicago show tickets london”. Here’s the thing Jaymes. Try Googling it.

We also got a few comments in cyrillic lettering, presumably Russian. I am sure it all makes perfect sense if you can read it. You guys aren’t getting a link either.

More on here as and when I get them. It will make me so happy to get some more spam. Just wish I could find out some information on it because I have searched the internet all over.





Categories: The Bright Side of Life | Tags:

Ugly Woman Painting – I Feel Sorry for the Woman

"Ugly Woman" PaintingOne of the more amusing news stories over the last few days is the story of an elderly couple in Winchester, Hampshire who received “out of the blue” a framed painting delivered to them by post.  As one of our customers you might expect this if you had ordered one, but Keith and Sue Webb had not ordered a painting so it became a mystery as to why they were sent it.

What makes this an even more interesting story is that the painting in question was an oil painting of what is commonly termed as an “ugly woman”. Don’t quote me here, it’s everywhere already. I am just reporting that bit. Take a look at the picture and judge for yourself. Beauty and ugliness is a subjective thing – we all need to be thankful for that.

If I were to receive this I would be worried. I mean, it is disturbing. Not only are you not expecting to receive anything of this nature, but the subject of the painting turns out to be a beauty like this. Mrs Webb described her as a “horrid old crone” which is a little unkind. Mrs Webb – you don’t even know this woman.

The reports are that the mystery has been solved but actually it hasn’t really. It was something to do with the Webb’s long-distance relations but that’s about it. Nobody knows who sent it or why. It costs a lot to ship art across the world (we should know) so why on earth would somebody undertake to do this and incur the cost. I think the Webbs have got a cheeky relative somewhere.

But aside from all that, spare a thought for the old woman. She did not ask to be pilloried on the internet for being ugly and the only saving grace is that she is unlikely to be alive today to suffer such humiliation. If she commissioned this portrait you have to say she got it wrong. If she commissioned a portrait of her sucking a lemon then she got it right. Poor old woman – you caused a stir but will never know.

On the Modern Canvas Art website we focus on a lot of beautiful women (Kate Moss is one of the favourites) but after long and hard consideration we elected not to put the Ugly Woman painting in our gallery of famous artist paintings to buy. For one reason, we don’t know who painted it and for another, well that’s obvious really!

Categories: Art World, History, The Bright Side of Life | Tags: ,

Turn £3 into £1.25 Million in 7 days

Is this an early Andy Warhol pop art sketch?

Is this an early Andy Warhol pop art sketch?

One of the more interesting stories this week told of the Devon man, Andy Fields, who spent £3 on a sketch at a garage sale in Las Vegas, only to be told when he returned home that it could be a genuine drawing created by the renowned pop artist Andy Warhol when he was a young child – aged 10 or 11.

One expert is convinced, but not everyone is. Crucially, the Warhol Authentification Board (yes, there is such a thing) have been unable to authenticate the sketch as there is doubt as to whether it might be genuine. The pencil and graphite drawing was created in the 1930’s and experts believe that (if it is genuine) it could be worth a minimum of £1.25 million, but if a bidding war erupts it could fetch over ten times that amount.

So, exciting times for Mr Fields. And how does he sell this drawing? Unbelievably, he has chosen eBay. Perhaps he has done this because he cannot prove it is genuine and hence none of the auction houses will take it. I am willing to bet he was left more than a little disappointed when the Warhol Authentification Board refused to authenticate the drawing. Had they done so, he would have been sitting on a gold mine. One of the reasons the Board were not that taken by the drawing was the fact that it had been signed “Andy Warhol”. However, Warhol changed to his name to “Andy Warhol” from “Andrew Warhola” in 1949, so you might wonder why he signed it “Andy Warhol” in the 1930s. A simple explanation, claims Fields. He states that Warhol never signed the work at the time, but did so many years later when he gave it away and was asked (as you would) to sign it.

At the time of writing, the piece is up for sale on eBay with a starting bid of £1.25 million. I don’y know about you, but no matter what I am selling on eBay I can get a little excited, even if I am trying to get rid of a chest of drawers or something. If I had this piece up for auction I doubt I’d sleep for a week. Of course, you can’t rule out the crazy bidders and if Fields does sell this to a genuine person paying a genuine sum of money then I would be surprised. I am sure eBay are rubbing their hands with glee and hope that someone out there with more money than he knows what to do with takes a big chance and buys the sketch, knowing that it may not be genuine at all. I wonder how much the eBay fees would be?

Pity the Las Vegas garage seller, whoever he is, and whether he knows anything about the drawing he sold that could turn Fields into a millionaire.

Categories: Art World, Pop Art | Tags:

Ian Dury Retrospective Exhibition – Royal College of Art

Pop Art Painting (1) by Ian Dury

Pop Art Painting (1) by Ian Dury

If you thought that the late Ian Dury was famous for his music, including such celebrated hits such as “Sex and Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll”, “What a Waste”, “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick”, “Billericay Dickie” and many more, you might be surprised to learn that Dury was in fact a very talented artist. He painted a large collection of paintings in the 1960s before giving up art to dedicate his career to his other passion, music, whereupon he formed his first band called “Kilburn & The High Roads” in 1971 prior to forming Ian Dury and the Blockheads a few years later.

Now, for the first time ever, Dury’s collection of art is being put on show at the Royal College Art. The new show has been curated by Dury’s daughter, Jemima, who has brought together 30 artworks painted by Dury in the 1960s.

Pop Art Painting (2) by Ian Dury

Pop Art Painting (2) by Ian Dury

Ian Dury studied painting at the Royal College of Art between 1963-1966 and he was particularly interested in the pop art scene. Many of his works were in the pop art style and these have been hidden away for the last 50 years in an old plan chest – until now. Ian was heavily influenced by his close friend, the  artist Sir Peter Blake. It was Blake who encouraged Dury to paint with expression and to use anything he loved as the subject of his artworks. Dury immersed himself in the popular culture of the time and took images from music, film and fashion and fused them with stencils and other media techniques creating bright colourful patterns and imagery. This was a style that was evocative of the 1960s and lives on to this day.

Pop Art Painting (3) by Ian Dury

Pop Art Painting (3) by Ian Dury

Once he graduated from the College, Dury found some success working as a freelance illustrator for The Sunday Times and London Life magazines, shortly before he embarked on his musical career which proved ultimately to be very successful. Dury’s life was turbulent and he endured many ups and downs along the way. He was also partially disabled following the contraction of polio as a young child but it did not hold him back. He was a colourful and controversial character in many ways and this is is reflected in his art that the public is now able to view at the new show.

The show at the College has been funded by Robbie Williams, the record label “Demon Records, the College itself  and also through a fundraising campaign (called “Kickstarter”) which raised over £10,000. It runs from 23rd July to 1st September and admission is free.

You can buy from a large selection of pop art prints at Modern Canvas Art. Take a look now.


Categories: Art World, Music, Pop Art, Subjects | Tags:

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