“A Far Country” – Robin Levetan album launch 16 June

http://www.webtickets.co.za/event.aspx?itemid=3376152

http://www.robinlevetan.com

My beloved Barcelona; beautiful and ballistic.

My great friend Peter Stemmet will not mind me posting this on my blog

what a wonderful read thank u pete

This week I just want to lavish superlatives upon my favourite Spanish team. My beloved Barcelona; beautiful and ballistic. This current crop of players possessed by the Catalan club are among the greatest ever. This is widely acknowledged by most observers of the beautiful game and boy, do Barcelona emphasise the ‘beautiful’ part.

Their zig-zag, diagonal passing and off-the-ball movement is a sight to behold. As much as I adore watching that flowing, one-touch-two-touch stuff , what I love even more is that you hardly ever see an aerial cross into the box from the Blaugrana. And why would you? After all any aerial cross into the penalty area results in a minimum 50% chance of losing possession. Perhaps what is most striking is that when this team loses the ball they battle like pitbulls to get it back. It is almost as if the attitude is, “Hey, where do you think you’re going with that?” This is akin to a WG Grace mindset. The crowd have paid to watch Barcelona play and complete around 700 passes per match.

It is also about time people woke up and realised just how brilliant this side is. The people I refer to are those who are so fat on a diet of English football that they are blinded to anything spectacular a continental European team accomplishes. The cherry on top of this laughing stock cake are those who foolishly say that Barcelona would struggle if they were in the English Premier League when they come up against teams like Stoke City. It is time to wake up and smell the coffee. Firstly, how do Stoke propose to get the ball from masters such as Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi?

A similar attitude preceded Saturday night’s Champions League final. Quite frankly Manchester United had about as much chance of winning as my Haagen-Dazs ice-cream has of staying frozen in a heated oven. Alex Ferguson is the best manager in the world. Nobody can deny that. This crop of Man United players is hardly the best he has ever had to work with but they work hard for each other and that is why they won the English league. You could even argue that teams that are stronger on paper did not want to win it and so Ferguson and his men said, “Well in that case, we’ll have it, thank you.”

It worked in England but it was never going to work against Barcelona. Man-for-man it was obvious what would happen. Rio Ferdinand vs Lionel Messi? Pedro vs Fabio? Xavi, Busquets and Iniesta vs Carrick, Giggs and Valencia? If Manchester United were to stand any chance, Ferguson was going to be the difference.

They pressed hard early on and it was clear an early goal is what Ferguson wanted. If he had got it would they have pressed on searching for a second or would they have parked the bus? We shall never know. Once Barcelona got going the writing was on the wall and it was ominous for the red devils.

Two years ago they also met in a Champions League final and Paddy commented on the 2-0 score line that “United were lucky to get nil”. On Saturday it was 3-1 and in my view United were lucky it was not 4.

We as a generation are truly blessed to be watching this Barcelona team perform every week. How good is Pep Guardiola? Well one could argue that as a Catalan and former captain he is perfect for Barca. Interestingly he has hinted that he may not continue beyond next season. By that stage Vicente Del Bosque will be ready to move on from the Spain job. What price Pep is the next Spain boss?

One of the pastors at my church commented that God is a Manchester United supporter. I countered by saying if God was a football coach, His team would play the way Barcelona does.

And I shall allow the conquered Alex Ferguson to have the final word. In the aftermath of Saturday’s match, the Scot said that in all his time as a football manager this Barca side was the best he had face and never before has his side received such a hiding.

Stay blessed.

If the Sharks lose to the Waratahs tomorrow their Super Rugby aspirations are done and dusted.

AT the risk of sounding alarmist, if the Sharks lose to the Waratahs tomorrow their Super Rugby aspirations done and dusted.

Technically this might not be the case in that an unlikely clean sweep of (preferably) bonus-point wins in Bloemfontein, Johannesburg and Pretoria over the next three weeks might rescue the situation and slip the Sharks into the quarter-finals through the back door.

But when you consider that the Sharks dropped a home game last week and played a long way off their potential, a win tomorrow against the Australians with a quality performance is as important for the log points as it is for the confidence going forward.

The Sharks have been hot and cold for too long and suddenly the Super Rugby marathon has entered the end straight and the Sharks simply have to get their act together and put in an 80-minute performance. They can’t afford to pace themselves any longer. They need to not only win but establish momentum at the same time.

At the best of times the Sharks struggle in Bloemfontein, and if they travel there next week having lost two consecutive home games, the in-form Cheetahs could give them a hiding. The revitalised Lions will fancy their chances at Ellis Parks while the Bulls, having cruised home in Durban last week, will not fear the Sharks at Loftus.

In short, the Sharks not only need a home victory but they need a convincing performance now that the competition is at the business end.

The Sharks have been much-maligned after losing to the Bulls – as much from within their camp as from their supporters – and this farewell home match will show what they are ultimately made of.

Coach Plumtree has not been shy to give his starting line-up a good shake-up after the indifferent performance against the Bulls, although some of the six changes are down to injury or recovery after injury.

Springbok captain John Smit is back from a calf problem to lead the side from loosehead prop, with The Beast benched. Hooker Bismarck du Plessis is the only survivor from the front-row that started against the Bulls because his brother, tighthead Jannie, is sidelined with a knee injury and is replaced by Eugene van Staden, who has enjoyed a series of impressive cameos off the bench.

Perhaps the most significant change is at scrumhalf. Former Western Province man Conrad Hoffman will get his first start in a Sharks jersey at the expense of Charl McLeod, who has perhaps been trying too hard of late to get things going for the Sharks, and his form has suffered.

Another big eye-brow raiser is the benching of big Willem Alberts for the first time this season.

This is less about form and more about resting a big-hearted player that has taken an inordinate number of knocks in the name of the Sharks this season. He is included on the bench as insurance and it is likely that he will only be used should there be an injury to the starting loose trio, which sees Keegan Daniel back from suspension and picked at No 8 in place of Alberts and Jacques Botes retraining his spot at openside flank.

That means two usually openside flanks in a loose trio where Jean Deysel provides the grunt.

In other changes to the backline apart from Hoffman for McLeod, Lwazi Mvovo continues at right wing after replacing injured Odwa Ndungane in the Bulls match. The former was in good form before breaking a bone in his hand against the Bulls but Mvovo is a top class replacement.

Meyer Bosman is back at inside centre for Adi Jacobs, who failed a fitness test yesterday.

On the bench, Jacques-Louis Potgieter makes a return in Jacob’s absence while centre Riaan Swanepoel, the forgotten man in the greater Sharks picture, is also recalled to the 22.

Sharks: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Stefan Terblanche, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Conrad Hoffmann, 8 Keegan Daniel, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Eugene van Staden, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 John Smit (capt).

Substitutes: Beast Mtawarira, Wiehahn Herbst, Gerhard Mostert, Willem Alberts, Charl McLeod, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Riaan Swanepoel.

Waratahs: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Ryan Cross, 12 Tom Carter, 11 Sosene Anesi, 10 Berrick Barnes, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Ben Mowen, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Sitaleki Timani, 4 Dean Mumm (capt), 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.

Substitutes: John Ulugia, Al Baxter, Pat O’Connor, Hugh Perrett, Brendan McKibbin, Daniel Halangahu, Atieli Pakalani.

by Mike Greenaway www.iol.co.za

DHL STORMERS SIDE TO TAKE ON THE BRUMBIES ANNOUNCED

DHL STORMERS SIDE TO TAKE ON THE BRUMBIES ANNOUNCED

Allister Coetzee, head coach of the DHL Stormers, today named a team with a number of changes to the side that beat the Blues 28-26 in Auckland last Friday.

In an injury enforced change, Brok Harris replaces the injured CJ van der Linde at tight head, whilst Steven Kitshoff provides front row cover off the bench.

Duane Vermeulen, who has played all the games this season, is rotated to the bench, whilst Nick Koster is given a start in jersey 8.

In a horses for courses selection, Dewaldt Duvenage returns at scrumhalf, with Ricky Januarie providing cover from the bench.

Peter Grant is bracketed with Kurt Coleman at 10, for the injured Lionel Cronje. Peter Grant, who has been managed at practice this week, is given until Captains Run to recover fully from his ankle strain. Should Grant not pass his fitness test Coleman will start. If Grant is fit to play, Coleman falls out of the 22.

Juan de Jongh retains jersey 12, whilst Jean de Villiers, who returns from injury, wears jersey 21, playing off a strong bench. Jaque Fourie returns at outside centre with Johann Sadie moving to the bench.

“We have never beaten the Brumbies in Canberra and this week will be a tough challenge” said coach Allister Coetzee. “ The Australian sides are not just a physical threat, they are also tactically astute. Preparations have gone well this week and the team will be up for this game” added the coach.

The team is as follows:

15. Conrad Jantjes

14. Gio Aplon

13. Jaque Fourie

12. Juan de Jongh

11. Bryan Habana

10. Peter Grant (Kurt Coleman)

9. Dewaldt Duvenage

8. Nick Koster

7. Francois Louw

6. Schalk Burger (C)

5. Andries Bekker

4. Rynhardt Elstadt

3. Brok Harris

2. Deon Fourie

1. Wicus Blaauw

Reserves:

16. Tiaan Liebenberg

17. Steven Kitshoff

18. Anton Van Zyl

19. Duane Vermeulen

20. Ricky Januarie

21. Jean de Villiers

22. Johann Sadie

Referee: Marius Jonker

11h40 Saturday (SA Time): Brumbies VS DHL Stormers

Spitbraai at the Quarterdeck

Spitbraai

Potjiekos

2009 Idols winner Jason Hartman will be performing on the Monaco Grand Prix Racetrack this Friday, 27 May 2011

JASON HARTMAN TO PERFORM AT MONACO GRAND PRIX

Johannesburg, 20 May 2011: 2009 Idols winner Jason Hartman will be performing on the Monaco Grand Prix Racetrack this Friday, 27 May 2011. Hartman, who soared to success with chart-topping hits such including Break The Silence and On The Run, will be performing two shows with his 5-piece band to thousands of people after Friday’s race.

“I am very excited to be performing to an international audience. Radio Monaco has already play listed On The Run and it is receiving great reviews and I have a 2 hour guest appearance on the station on the Thursday before my shows,” said Hartman, whose debut album On The Run has been a resounding success becoming a top selling album in 2010. Jason will be doing a number of performances in Monaco during the course of the month.

Winter has arrived, but there’s 6 big reasons to stay indoors or visit your nearest cinema t his June and July,

JUNE RELEASES:

PROM

Theatrical Release from Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Available in cinemas nationwide from 3 June 2011

At PROM, every couple has a story and no two are exactly alike. Several intersecting stories unfold at one high school as the big dance approaches; “Prom” portrays the precarious passage from high school to independence as some relationships unravel and others ignite. For Nova Prescott (Aimee Teegarden), it’s a battle of wills as she finds herself drawn to the guy (Thomas McDonell) who gets in the way of her perfect prom. Fellow seniors Mei (Yin Chang) and Tyler (De’Vaughn Nixon) harbour secrets, while others face all the insecurity and anticipation that surrounds one of high school’s most seminal events. There are hundreds of nights in high school, but there’s only one “Prom.” Featuring an emerging ensemble cast and a powerful soundtrack, PROM hits South African theatres June 3, 2011.

BAMBI, BAMBI 2, BAMBI BOXSET

DVD/Blu-Ray Release from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Available in stores nationwide from 20 June 2011

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment proudly announces the addition of BAMBI to its coveted, cutting-edge Blu-ray™ Diamond Collection line-up of Disney’s greatest animated-classics. Released

from the Disney vault for a limited time only, BAMBI Diamond Edition features the loveable and adorable wide-eyed fawn and his forest friendsin Blu-ray high-definition. The Diamond Edition debut of BAMBI, Walt’s fifth full-length animated classic, is an endearing tale about a young prince of the forest who learns valuable life-lessons about friendship, love, and the miracle of life. The movie is a must-own coming-of-age story that Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has especially packaged with families in mind – providing the ultimate, interactive hi-def home entertainment experience with a newly enhanced digital restoration, enhanced picture and sound, games, activities and more. Available with BAMBI is the popular sequel BAMBI 2, as well as in a collector’s item must-have DVD Boxset edition.

PIXAR PROMOTION

DVD/Blu-Ray release from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Available in stores nationwide from 20 June 2011

On November 22, 1995, Pixar Animation Studios forever impacted the future of filmmaking, storytelling and the medium of animation with the release of its first feature film, Disney/Pixar’s “Toy Story.” Released nine years after the founding of Pixar, “Toy Story” exhibited years of creative and technical achievements from a small group of passionate computer scientists and animators, led by present day President Ed Catmull and Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter. Fast forward 16 years and the films that have come from the company have forever made their mark on the collective conscious of the young and old alike. To celebrate the upcoming theatrical release ofCARS 2, in theatres on 8 July 2011, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment will be releasing a number of exciting titles including INCREDIBLES, CARS and BUG’S LIFE (to name but a few) at a special retail price from 20 June 2011.

JULY RELEASES:

DISNEY CHANNEL FAVOURITES

DVD/Blu-Ray Catalogue Campaign from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Available in stores nationwide from 4 July 2011

With nearly 5 years on South African Screens, Disney Channel (Channel 303 on DStv) has created firm favourites amongst youngsters. This July, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment celebrates the biggest stars and the coolest shows to have been aired on the channel. The Fourth and final season of the firm favourite HANNA MONTANA will be available for the first time. The recent Disney Channel Original Movie, LEMONADE MOUTH, will also be available for the first time! The film is a spirited, music-driven story of how the powerhouse band Lemonade Mouth came to be after five uncelebrated students with a passion for music find each other, form a band and ultimately become the voice of their generation!

CARS 2

Theatrical Release from Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Available in cinemas nationwide from 8 July 2011

Star racecar Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) and the incomparable tow truck Mater (voice of Larry the Cable Guy) take their friendship to exciting new places inCARS 2 when they head overseas to compete in the first-ever World Grand Prix to determine the world’s fastest car. But the road to the championship is filled with plenty of potholes, detours and hilarious surprises when Mater gets caught up in an intriguing adventure of his own: international espionage. Mater finds himself torn between assisting Lightning McQueen in the high-profile race and towing the line in a top-secret mission orchestrated by master British super spy Finn McMissile (voice of Michael Caine) and the stunning spy-in-training Holley Shiftwell (voice of Emily Mortimer). Mater’s action-packed journey leads him on an explosive chase through the streets of Japan and Europe, trailed by his friends and watched by the whole world. The fast-paced fun includes a colorful new all-car cast, complete with menacing villains and international racing competitors.

I AM NUMBER FOUR

DVD/Blu-Ray Release from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Available in stores nationwide from 25 July 2011

Three are dead. Who is Number Four? From director D.J. Caruso (Disturbia), producer Michael Bay (Transformers) and the Emmy®-winning* writers of TV’s Smallville, comes this gripping, action-packed thriller. John Smith (Alex Pettyfer) is an extraordinary teen masking his true identity to elude a deadly enemy sent to destroy him. Living with his guardian (Timothy Olyphant) in the small town he now calls home, John encounters unexpected, life-changing events — his first love (Dianna Agron, TV’s Glee), powerful new abilities and a secret connection to the others who share his incredible destiny. Complete with deleted scenes and more, I AM NUMBER FOUR is an explosive, suspense-filled ride that will take you to the edge of your seat and beyond.

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