Monday, December 29, 2008


None of the items in this post are related aside from two mentions of Steel Pulse. Hence the title mishmash, though I also thought of smorgasbord, hotchpotch or farrago. However, enough of the dictionary stuff, what's the post about I hear you cry. Well...

Incredible though it may seem, one of the Southeast Asian underdogs pulled off the surprise of the year in the final of the AFF Suzuki Cup with Vietnam taking the honours after defeating the high-rollers of Thailand, coached by the British bulldog himself Peter Reid, in the two-legged final. They won 2-1 in Bangkok and yesterday they clinched the cup with a last minute goal in a 1-1 draw. I reckon the Vietnamese will be celebrating for weeks after their success in the competition gripped the nation by the balls. You'll recall that Cambodia were knocked out in the group stages after defeats against Singapore, Indonesia and Myanmar. On that front, it's all gone very quiet after the Cambodian football authorities said they were going to review the team's performance during the Suzuki Cup and make a decision about the future of coach Prak Sovannara. I for one hope that they see that knee-jerk reactions aren't going to help Cambodia's football team improve, it needs stability and Sovannara is the best man for the job. They've tried foreign coaches before and it hasn't worked. Now they need to give a Cambodian coach the chance to make his mark. He's already taken them to the AFF finals with a squad of very young players and he needs time to work with them, improve their fitness, team work and skill-set and who knows, Cambodia could follow Vietnam's lead in 2010.
Sewlyn Brown (left) and Amlak Tafari act out their pirate fantasies
I'm a mite worried that too much sun has gone to the head of my pals in Steel Pulse, Selwyn Brown and Amlak Tafari. I know Amlak will do anything for a laugh but for Selwyn to dress up as a pirate is a little disconcerting! This photo was taken at the end of October when the band were playing at the SPI Music festival in Texas, and the guys joined VIP ticket holders aboard the 17th century replica Black Dragon pirate ship. Photo by Christy McDonald.
Tim Page on a previous visit to Phnom Penh a year ago
Renowned Vietnam War era photographer Tim Page is back in Phnom Penh, from his home in Brisbane, and will hold an exhibition of his photography at Meta House from 4-7 January which will feature some of his photographs taken in the past 40 years. British-born, his reputation during the Vietnam conflict was an influence on Dennis Hopper's portrayal in the 1979 film Apocalypse Now, and his work can be seen in a slew of coffee table photographic books since. He's also written a book about his search for the answer to whatever happened to fellow photographers Dana Stone and Sean Flynn, who both disappeared in Cambodia in 1971. Page will open the exhibition on Sunday 4th with the screening of the documentary 'Danger On The Edge of Town' and it will continue until Wednesday 7th with more documentary screenings, Q&A's, etc.
Steel Pulse's Michael Riley (right) and The Clash stand united
Another photo from the archives has turned up and reminded me that it's over 30 years since the wave of punk rock meets reggae was sweeping through the UK and engulfing bands like The Clash and Steel Pulse and uniting them against the National Front and others who were spouting their racist views. Here members of The Clash are with Pulse's Michael Riley (far right) outside the home of the National Front leader Martin Webster in one of many photo opportunities that showed the collaboration of black and white during 1977 and 1978 when the Rock Against Racism movement was in full flow. To find out more about Steel Pulse's activism in those couple of years, click here and read the plethora of articles I have accumulated over the years.

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