This week’s 6 of the Best comes from FSB’s Business Development Director Richard Thorp.
Continue reading to discover which Premier League team recovered from a nightmare start to a more than pleasing finish in 2017/18, why the delights on India are highly recommended and why you should never be left thinking “what good has John Cusack done for me.”
Best Sporting Experience
The Cheltenham Festival. I don’t know why that’s even a question. Every year it delivers – invariably, in my case, when fuelled by alcohol to grease the wheels of conviction when it comes to punting. Its inimitable atmosphere is driven by that rare combination of fantastic sport allied to a collective unanimity. As opposed to the more tribal set-ups of most sporting events, no matter which horse you’ve backed or whether you’re British or Irish, we all cheer the pulsating finishes and want to them to come home safely. Cheltenham is as unique as the natural amphitheatre in which its staged.
Grosse Point Blank – If you’re ever left thinking what good has John Cusack done for me recently, wind the clock back to 1997 when he was perfectly cast in Grosse Point Blank as an assassin whose latest assignment unexpectedly converges with his 10-year high school reunion. High jinks and hilarity swiftly ensure, ably abetted by a cracking, nostalgic soundtrack.
Depends on which side of the bed I wake up. But The Queen Is Dead by The Smiths still stands as the definitive album for encapsulating England in the Eighties – and Morrissey’s at the
peak of his powers, too, which always helps. Sadly, that’s less evident in his recent tours. Here, however, he never hits a bum note across the 36-minute running time. And just to show my range with soulful jazz, Nina Simone’s eclectic High Priestess of Soul must get a mention for sheer entertainment value. But alongside the 2000 other albums I could mention, it’s a choice hugely dictated by my mood!
Author Robert McLiam Wilson still stalls and struggles to rival his debut outing, Ripley Bogle. Yet that’s with very good reason, it’s bloody brilliant! A long, downbeat weekend in London may not sound like a real page-turner but the Wilson’s wry, wise-cracking humour and astute social observations elevate Bogle on his downward spiral to becoming the capital’s most precocious tramp. It’s a great read and a timely reminder, as one bad break follows another, that it doesn’t take a lot for things to go spectacularly wrong in this life. We rent from both luck and sanity. We never own them.
It has to be the three-week trip we took all across the south of India two years ago. From the stunning scenery to the fantastic cuisine, it took our breath away most days. The unique Dravidian architecture (nothing to do with Rahul Dravid apparently, which surprised me) constantly turns your head too, with the towering temples at Mamallapuram, Tirupati, and Madurai (a city so old that it’s been continuously inhabited for two millennia) particular highlights. Kerala, though, really stood out with its spectrum of landscapes running from dense ancient woodland to tropical coastlines, best navigated by boat. I couldn’t recommend it enough.
It would have to be my ante-post bet on Crystal Palace on the BetVictor Premier League handicap last year at 15/1. Admittedly, after they lost their opening seven games of the campaign without so much as sniffing a goal, I probably should’ve gone in again at triple-digit prices! That said, as soon as reliable Roy Hodgson got his steadying hand on the tiller, things quickly went from rock bottom to the mid-table sanctuary of 11 th place at the end of the season. In my extensive experience, the best winners are often those you’ve already given up on!