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61
Liverpool FC, football, sport / our worst ever eleven
« on: November 15, 2010, 06:07:10 AM »
                          Itandje

Kvarme  -  Babb  -  Piechnik  -  Dicks

Leonhardsen  -  Stewart  -  Poulsen  -  Gonzalez

                    Dundee  -  Voronin


Honourable mentions for David James, Neil Ruddock, Dean Saunders and Djimi Traore.

Manager: Sir Woy Hodgson, Chief Scout: Graeme Souness

62
The Rest / whatever happened to randy quaid
« on: November 12, 2010, 10:57:03 PM »


The troubled actor and his wife are seeking asylum in Canada, missing court dates in California, and losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in bail money. A quick guide to Quaid's fall from grace

In September, Oscar-nominated actor Randy Quaid (memorable in films like National Lampoon's Vacation and The Last Detail) and his wife Evi were arrested for residential burglary and illegal squatting. Then last month, they fled to Canada and sought asylum status, claiming they were being persecuted in the U.S. and that their lives are in danger. Yesterday, the couple skipped out on a California court date, and lost half a million dollars in bail. It's the latest in an increasingly bizarre series of events for the couple that have reduced the once-respected actor to a Hollywood curiosity. Here's a brief guide:

What is the Quaids' latest woe?
Though scheduled to appear before a Santa Barbara, Calif., court yesterday for their felony vandalism arraignment, the couple didn't show — causing Evi to forfeit her $500,000 in bail, according to a court spokeswoman who spoke with People. Randy's $500,000 in bail was not seized.

Why did Evi lose her bail but Randy didn't?
Randy can't leave Canada until his November 8 immigration hearing in Vancouver, while Evi is free to come and go as she pleases. The couple's justification for her no-show in Santa Barbara: As the Quaids' attorney told the judge, they're "inseparable" — "that's not a legal answer," he added quickly.

What are they doing in Canada?
Fearing for their lives, reportedly. The couple fled to Canada last month after missing an earlier court appearance in California. When arrested in Vancouver for missing court, the Quaids appeared before a Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, claiming that a celebrity-killing cult was threatening their lives, leading the Quaids to seek asylum in Canada. "Hollywood is murdering its movie stars," Evi Quaid said.

What are they talking about?
The Quaids claim a Hollywood group called "Star Whackers" murdered a number of their celebrity friends, including the late Heath Ledger and David Carradine, whose deaths have been widely accepted as a drug overdose and accidental asphyxiation or suicide, respectively. The Quaids believe they're next on the hit list. "On a scale from one-to-ten, this is a ten, this is as crazy as it gets," says Michael Lewittes at GossipCop.

What exactly did they do to get arrested in California?
They Quaids were found living illegally in the guest house of a Montecito, Calif., property they once owned. They had allegedly caused thousands of dollars of damage, at one point breaking an expensive mirror and replacing it with a photograph of themselves. When the police arrived, the Quaids claimed "they had owned the property since the 1990s."

What sort of legal problems has Randy Quaid had previously?
In 2004, the IRS accused Quaid of not paying taxes. In 2006, he sued Focus Features for not paying him more handsomely for his minor role in Brokeback Mountain. In 2008, he was thrown out of the cast of a Seattle play — and eventually the Actors' Equity Association — for abusive and inappropriate behavior. In 2009, Quaid and his wife were arrested for leaving a hotel without paying their $10,000 bill. The couple failed to show up for court appearances related to the hotel incident in October 2009 and April 2010; when they finally did appear in court, they arrived with Quaid's 1987 Golden Globe award (for his role in a miniseries about LBJ) in hand. In August, the couple sued their lawyer, accusing him of stealing their money.

Any theories on this pattern of odd behavior?
Unsurprisingly, some feel drug abuse may be a factor. A private investigator once hired by the Quaids claims that Evi "snorts Demerol to cure migraines and believes a murder plot is afoot" — and that she may even have designs on killing Randy. Most of the couple's friends and family, including Randy's celebrity brother Dennis Quaid, have reportedly given up trying to help them. Mental health professionals speculate that a feeling of celebrity entitlement may also be behind their latest antics. "People who are talented, smart or athletically gifted are often allowed to avoid unpleasant realities," says Paul S. Applebaum, a professor of psychiatry.

What's next for the couple?
The court put out a bench warrant for Evi's arrest for another $500,000. A warrant for Randy's arrest was also issued, but it will be held on condition that he appear in court on November 16. If the couple fails to make that court date, Randy will lose his $500,000 in bail, and Evi will be on the line for another $500,000 — bringing her total to $1 million and the couple's grand total to $1.5 million.

63
Aston Villa's John Carew cuts loose over Gerard Houllier's 'insult'

JOHN CAREW has virtually signed his Aston Villa death warrant with an amazing attack on manager Gerard Houllier.

Striker Carew was left fuming after Houllier publicly told the Norwegian to prove he deserved a new contract.

Yesterday the giant front-man turned both barrels on the Frenchman, who bombed him out of Lyon three years ago, and told him: “You’re the one with something to prove.”

Carew, who is sidelined with a leg injury for the next six weeks, accused Houllier of:

● Deliberately stirring up trouble

● Insulting the Villa fans

● Treating him with disrespect

● Failing to do his homework on the club before he took over

● Breaking his own rules by going public

Hitman Carew, 31, insists the jury is still very much out on Houllier, who replaced Martin O’Neill in September.

Carew snapped: “I don’t know if he has a problem with me but if he does then he should talk to me about it.

“Prove myself? There’s a reason why the fans are singing my name. I have been important and involved and scored goals.

“Houllier has big shoes to fill. He has more to prove than many others in the club.

“The manager said to the players that we should keep things internal and not in the media. He broke his own rule and it annoys me.

“If he thinks I should fight for a new contract with the club he should take it up with me.

“I don’t think the fans or the players think much of it either.

“It requires a mutual respect. I am puzzled and offended. He should have been here a little longer before he started making demands.”

When Houllier arrived at Villa Park, he annoyed supporters by suggesting that the club were used to a mid-table position despite the fact that O’Neill had led the team to three successive top-six places.

His comments riled Carew too. The forward, whose deal runs out next summer, added: “I don’t know if Houllier was poorly prepared for Villa when he took over. Maybe he was.

“A lot has changed in recent years, especially since Ashley Young and I got to the club.

“Since then several more players have come and we are all very involved in the success Villa have had.

“We have finished sixth three seasons in a row and been in a cup final.

“Therefore, I think Houllier insults both me and the fans when he says things like that.”

Carew became a cult figure at Villa Park after arriving in a swap deal that involved Milan Baros.

But he has been dogged by injury and illness and has yet to score a goal this season.

Carew and Houllier fell out at Lyon and the forward confessed: “Our time there was not without problems.”

The writing was on the wall when Houllier turned to former Liverpool favourite Emile Heskey, who is now also injured, ahead of the big Norwegian.

Houllier, who has been under fire from supporters for his negative tactics, is hiring former Newcastle United talent-spotter Jeff Vetere as his new chief scout.

Vetere was part of the controversial ‘Cockney Mafia’ at the Toon when he worked closely with Dennis Wise under Mike Ashley’s control.

Vetere brought in players for the Geordies during Kevin Keegan’s reign and has previously worked for Charlton.

64
Liverpool FC, football, sport / paul is dead
« on: October 26, 2010, 05:33:19 PM »


Tributes have been flooding in for Paul the Psychic Octopus who sadly passed away last night in a fish tank at the Oberhausen Sea Life Centre in Germany.

“Sad news about Paul. I bet he didn’t see that coming.”

“Some consolation for his family was that Paul was well off, meaning meaning they’ll be squids in. A true mark of the Octopus.”

“As a tribute perhaps the fourth round of the Carling Cup could be played over eight legs?”

“Anyone for Paella?”

“So long sucker”

Fitting words for a truly remarkable Octopus. As a further tribute to the Psychic one, rumour has it the dolphins at the Sea Life Centre in Brighton will be wearing black fin bands during this weekend’s acrobatics demonstration. Attempts to confirm this have so far been unsuccessful.

I think we can all agree that this is a sombre time for the football fraternity and it is in no way appropriate to be making jokes at this difficult time.

65

The Sunday Times of Malta has apologised to Gary Neville after the Manchester United captain was misquoted - in his own column.

The disputed line came in Neville's weekly column in a piece about the Wayne Rooney's decision to sign a new contract at Manchester United after previously declaring his intention to leave.

It had been reported that Rooney was considering a move to Manchester City.

The paper printed the line: “After a difficult week the best outcome has been reached for all parties – except perhaps Manchester City."
Quantcast

Neville has now said he never made the comment and the paper has issued an apology.

Editor Steve Mallia said: "With reference to Gary Neville's column in The Sunday Times of Malta of October 24, the newspaper would like to clarify the following: At no point did Gary Neville state the phrase, 'Except perhaps Manchester City'.

"These words were added by the journalist who worked on the column with Mr Neville and were never intended to appear in the printed version of the article. Mr Neville did not utter these words, nor did he allude to Manchester City in any way.

"We apologise unreservedly to Mr Neville for our error and regret the considerable inconvenience it has caused him."

66
Liverpool FC, football, sport / king kenny and a joint stadium
« on: September 30, 2010, 02:30:53 PM »
i am surprised that kenny's support (made in an article this week) for talks about a joint stadium with everton, hasn;t got more airplay.

I love Kenny (as a player), but wow, talk about being totally out of touch with fans.


67
Gerard Houllier has hit out at Rafael Benitez, his successor at Liverpool, claiming it was his work that led to the Champions League victory in 2005.

Houllier left Liverpool by mutual consent in 2004 and was swiftly replaced by Benitez, who took the club to European glory in his first season with a surprise victory over AC Milan in Istanbul.

Benitez followed up that success with the UEFA Super Cup in 2005 and the FA Cup and Community Shield in 2006, but he left the club this summer after a seventh-place finish last season.

Houllier has now claimed it was his work that paved the way for Benitez to succeed and suggested the new Inter Milan boss has made life much harder for his replacement, Roy Hodgson.

Speaking of the changes he brought about during his tenure, Houllier said in the Liverpool Echo: "One, the pattern of getting a foreign coach was already accepted. Two, he had a Champions League-winning team. Three, the team were already in the Champions League. Four, we had built new facilities. And five, it was a different training routine, different attitude and mentality.

"I claim that we - Phil Thompson, Sammy Lee and the staff - definitely turned it round. The chairman, when I left, said 'You put the club into the 21st century'."

He added: "Twelve out of 14 in Istanbul were players I had signed or developed. I left Liverpool with a team and in the Champions League, but when you finish seventh with Torres and Gerrard...

"When I came into the changing room in Istanbul, some of the players said: 'Boss, it's your team'. After Rafa Benitez left this summer, one of the players sent me a message. He said, 'Boss, he hasn't beaten you'."

68
The Rest / the life and times of Gazza
« on: July 10, 2010, 04:57:11 PM »


Former England footballer Paul Gascoigne has arrived in Rothbury to offer his support for Raoul Moat.

Talking to Metro Radio the 43-year-old appeared to suggest he had brought the wanted man a "can of lager, some chicken, a mobile phone and something to keep warm".

He added: "He is willing to give in now. I just want to give him some therapy and say 'come on Moaty, it's Gazza'.

"He is alright - simply as that and I am willing to help him. I have come all the way from Newcastle to Rothbury to find him, have a chat with him.

"I guarantee, Moaty, he won't shoot me. I am good friends with him."

Geordie Gazza, who has battled with drink for much of his adult life, is a frequent visitor to Rothbury as the fishing is good locally.

He famously fell off the wagon in the pretty tourist town in 1999, while still a footballer, when locals reported seeing him drunk in a local pub.

Reacting with shock to the news Gascoigne was in Rothbury, his agent Kenny Shepherd said: "He's doing what? I am sitting having an evening meal in Majorca. I'm speechless."

his live radio interview, from last night, is here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exUeea4FhQE

69
Liverpool FC, football, sport / world cup 2010
« on: June 13, 2010, 07:33:43 PM »
managed to catch the second half of the england game.

I had always fancied the usa to draw or maybe even win the game.

Heck, I always reckoned england would struggle to get out of this group - despite the arrogant media and football industry who said it was an 'easy' group.

anyways, what a typical display.

all the usual england suspects.
  • dodgy keeper
  • carragher (despite me always being a big fan) as slow as a donkey running in treacle (lucky not to be sent off).
  • johnson close to useless (couldn't cross a decent ball to save his life)
  • wright phillips and lennon (unable to shoot, beat a man or cross a decent ball)
  • gerrard anonymous second half; and again him and lampard are no good together
  • heskey, as per usual, unable to hit the side of a barn
ray wilkins would have loved this vintage English display - more square passes and back passing, than I care to recall.  Why the hell doesn't the boss tell them to take one touch, instead of ten......whip the friggen ball in when you get it out wide....don't take loads of touches and allow the opposition to regroup.

technically england are rubbish - and against decent opposition, they will get hammered.  The only top player they have is rooney.  He is a diamond. 

the yanks were there to be beaten......easy points squandered.  Now england are standing on the trap door......they can't afford a defeat, if they are to be sure of getting out of the group.

70
Liverpool FC, football, sport / the life & times of Anthony Adams
« on: May 13, 2010, 06:59:10 PM »
Tony Adams, the former England and Arsenal defender, has accepted an offer to manage a little known football club in Azerbaijan, the BBC can reveal.

Tony Adams is not a name you would readily associate with the town of Gabala. It is not exactly world famous for its football. Gabala FC is sixth - out of 12 - in the Azeri national league in a country better known for oilfields than football pitches.

Club bosses have been trying to keep Adams' appointment a closely-guarded secret. But now the towering 6ft 3in (190cm) ex-England defender has put the town on the map.
   
"They've given me a clean plate here to build a football club and you don't get that opportunity in the UK" says Adams......"I was looking for a project. I am too young to retire," he tells the BBC during an exclusive tour of the Gabala training ground - the first by journalists since his appointment.

Young players in fluorescent bibs dart left and right during warm-ups, their occasional shouts reverberating around the ground.

"This one was very rare. I just thought it was a magnificent project to get my teeth into. They've given me a clean plate here to build a football club and you don't get that opportunity in the UK," he says.

Adams, 43, has just signed a three-year contract, taking the managerial reins of its club, nurturing a squad from the grass roots and overseeing a football academy.  Supported by assistant coach, Gary Stevens, the former Spurs player who recently coached at Charlton Athletic, the two men aim to turn the ailing club into a national icon.

The club's infrastructure is basic, consisting of one all-weather synthetic pitch and two grass pitches. But Adams is realistic.  "First things first," he says. "Realistically to win the league in three years is achievable. It's evolution not revolution. I'm not going to throw the baby out with the bath-water here. I'm building a club," he said.

There is a mix of Azeri and foreign players at the club at the moment. According to law, at least three Azeri nationals must be on the pitch during any official match.

With a wink, he tells me of his idea to help a Georgian player change his nationality to get him into the squad. There is no doubt that he is relishing the challenge. Adams seems confident and comfortable in his new role, standing on the sidelines during a training session on a warm, humid afternoon, joking with some of the players.

"I want this to be the 'Tony Adams club'.

"I've been to Europe. I've coached in Holland. This is different. This club doesn't have history. We hopefully will be able to build the history here."

Adams is not the first big name to be lured to a footballing backwater by a club aiming for great things in an oil-rich state.

Last year the World Cup-winning coach Luiz Felipe Scolari took charge of Uzbekistan's top team.

Adams is currently staying in a luxury five-star hotel, but has been provided with a modern holiday home in the resort and an apartment in Baku. He says he will soon be joined by his wife and youngest children.  Other contract specifics are sketchy.

In a country criticised by the West for high-level corruption, financial details are often kept behind tightly-sealed doors.  Adams' salary has not been disclosed (though we are told it is around the level of a "normal premiership manager"), and the club is owned by a large holding company called Gilan, about which few details are known.

The club president is Tale Heydarov, the son of the influential emergencies minister, Kamaladdin Heydarov.  The family is rumoured to have close ties to the Azeri President, Ilham Aliyev.

And it has been claimed that Gilan is owned by Mr Heydarov senior - though this is denied by those close to him.  It is unclear how much Tale Heydarov has personally invested in the club. At the last minute, he declines to give an interview.

However, in March this year, he told me from his mansion in Baku that "the wealth of Azerbaijan has helped football, because it means there are sufficient funds to at least financially support it in Azerbaijan".

"The federation in Azerbaijan is supported by [the state oil company] Socar. In that sense it has helped to build the necessary infrastructure and to create more incentives for young [Azeris]," he adds.

Poorer Azeris complain that the state is frittering oil money away, and using it to line the pockets of a closely guarded elite.  This has done little to dissuade the club's chief executive, Alastair Saverimutto, also an Englishman.

"Those sorts of words do appear from time to time. But… you choose to do what you choose to do. I'm running a football club based on reality. Often that reality does overlap with corruption, but nothing to do with Gabala FC."

Mr Saverimutto says a $75m (£50m) stadium complex will be built by the end of August 2011, though again, final details of the costs are under wraps. "All I can do is make guarantees that money is not a problem," he says, smiling.

The local town centre contains a few basic shops, fruit stalls and traditional tea rooms - mainly full of middle-aged men.  "I know Tony Adams. He's English," says one local bus driver. "It's good for our town that he's here. Soon everyone will know. It will bring tourists here."

It is unclear how much the revamped, multi-million dollar club will change their lives.

Either way, no-one here disputes that the club has a long way to go to achieve success. And Adams must overcome his critics. He has limited managerial experience.

"I've not yet got going. I was with [Inter Milan manager Jose] Mourinho in Milan before Christmas. He said you've got to forget all your playing stuff and concentrate on your coaching. He said 'It's a completely different job'."

But Adams says he is in for the long haul.  "I think I'm going to do five, 10 [years] here," he says.

But the remote location of Gabala is a reminder of how much Adams has distanced himself from the English Premiership, where he used to manage Portsmouth FC.

He has not only done so in football terms. He is also a long way from home.

71
Liverpool FC, football, sport / Lille put to the sword
« on: March 18, 2010, 10:02:02 PM »
With a fit Torres we'd be competing for the league EVERY season (an would have won it last season).

The Spanish striker was magnificent.

Lille have a very good record.  They are hard to beat.  We didn't just knock out some micky mouse team tonight.  We beat a good team.  And beat them well.

Tactically, we were excellent.  Admittedly the goals came at just the right times.

Well done lads.  Well done, Rafa.

72
Liverpool FC, football, sport / allardyce´s still mouthing off
« on: March 12, 2010, 12:22:10 AM »
Benítez refused to rise to the bait offered by Allardyce, who attempted to reignite their feud by claiming that he would “always get under his skin” and asserting that Liverpool will fail to finish in the top four.
 
The pair clashed a fortnight ago after Liverpool beat them 2-1 at Anfield, Benítez sarcastically claiming that Barcelona would mimic Blackburn’s style after Allardyce’s claims that Liverpool have become a physical side.
 
“It was a good cover-up by Rafa because he knows how bad his side were and that was repeated against Wigan on Monday night,” Allardyce said. “He’s got personal with it for many years now. That’s why I don’t like him and the feeling is probably mutual.
 
“I don’t get personal with him, I get into him and under his skin, but that’s all part of the game. The tit-for-tat between me and Rafa will probably go on until one of us is no longer a Premier League manager.
 
“The last time one of the big four didn’t finish in the top four it was Liverpool — Everton got that spot — and I think this time it looks pretty difficult having lost against Wigan. They are having to rely on other teams slipping up now.”
 

73
Liverpool FC, football, sport / man city
« on: February 21, 2010, 05:35:23 PM »
  • I thought beforehand that we had a great chance with City missing Tevez.
  • overall, a scrappy game....very difficult to watch.
  • a zillion unforced errors....a miracle that we didn't concede from at least one of them.  You had to wonder if some of our players had ever played together before.  Some bizarre wayward passing, hospital passes in some cases......far too easily gifting possession to city.  Was the grass too green, too long, not the right variety of seed?
  • the ref booked a fair few reds, but city's lads seemed to get off with similar offences.
  • I thought Benny could easily have gone down for a penalty, when their defender fouled him in the box, near the end. Ref would have had to have given it.
  • city now have to play chelsea.  So who knows, maybe this was a point gained for us today.
  • based on what I saw today, neither of these two teams are gonna trouble the top teams in next season's CL.  Unimpressive fare today.

74
Liverpool FC, football, sport / Brian Reade: Fans must take a stand
« on: February 13, 2010, 07:14:51 PM »
The next time this column appears there may only be 19 teams left in the Premier League.

If it happens it will lead to grief in Portsmouth and shock among the wider football fraternity. Meanwhile, from a head-shaking distance, outsiders will demand to know how patrons of a multi-billion pound industry which was blatantly living beyond its means, could not see it coming.

The wider world has become sick of football pleading to be viewed as a special case because clubs are supposedly at the heart of our communities. So was Woolworths.

None of the other companies who sat alongside Portsmouth's lawyers in the High Court on Wednesday, facing winding-up orders, believed themselves to be above the taxation system. But Portsmouth, like every other football club which has hit the skids, did.

And in the past the heart-tugging has worked. Which is why the Inland Revenue has lost £30million from clubs going into administration and failing to pay their taxes. But now the taxman has had enough. He's skint too. And he wants his cash.

So that's why football is no longer a special case, and playing the "vital to the well-being of a community" card has become redundant Once football's rulers allowed any shyster to take over clubs and "leverage" the loyalty of their fans to make a quick buck, the game lost all credibility.

The Premier League was set up by wealthy businessmen to make themselves even richer. Its first priority is flogging its product to the highest bidders, its lowest one is regulating who runs the clubs. Its laughably-entitled Fit and Proper Persons Test is so lax it would allow Gary Glitter to run a home for vulnerable teenage girls so long as he agreed not to rock their boat.

Football once had values but they've been tossed to the whims of the free market and Portsmouth are merely the first big club to find out where the free market takes you when you're an insolvent business which owes the taxpayer £12million.

I'm reaching the conclusion that if fans want special treatment they have to show why they're special. If they want their club back they're going to have to grab it themselves.

Take Liverpool and Manchester United who are being brazenly bled dry by foreign sharks. Their fans have it within their grasp to send out a message which would resonate across the world and shake football to its core, when they meet on March 21st at Old Trafford.

That day just happens to be 30th anniversary of Jimmy Carter announcing an American boycott of the Moscow Olympics because of Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.

If the feeling of disgust among the fans is as strong as it appears why not boycott Americans over their unwanted intervention in two of the world's most famous clubs?  Imagine if the bulk of the fans didn't turn up and instead went on separate marches from their grounds into Liverpool and Manchester city centres?

Imagine the power of the image of a near-empty Old Trafford to the billions watching worldwide. Imagine the shame of America and the panic among Premier League bosses at the damage to their brand.

Imagine the fear among the Glazer, Hicks and Gillett families, when it dawned on them that these suckers who they believed were as easy to mug as frail pensioners had the power to bankrupt them.

Maybe that Pompey fan with the big bell and tattoos can lead one of the marches as a warning of what can happen if you don't take a stand.

Let's face it, by then he might not have a team of his own to support.

75
The Rest / Jeff Bridges opens up his Crazy Heart
« on: February 10, 2010, 01:59:32 PM »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-AyD661tUE

The sixth floor of the Casa del Mar hotel, in Santa Monica, is crammed with movie stars. Tall, willowy Maggie Gyllenhaal strides down the corridor in slingbacks and blue eye shadow, discussing schedules with her publicist. Halfway down the corridor, seated in a chair, is Robert Duvall, barrel-chested, wizened, hearty, the Ancient Mariner of the American screen, telling his assistant about the best hamburger he ever ate. “It was 100% beef, just beautiful,” he says. “Have you been there?” The assistant shakes his head as the door to one of the hotel suites swings open and out walks Jeff Bridges, finished with his interview. He sees Duvall and his face lights up.

“Here he is,” Bridges says. “Hey, you coming to my birthday party tomorrow night?” Duvall frowns, smiles, spreads his hands.

“You didn’t get the invite?” Bridges asks.

Duvall shakes his head.

Bridges’s people stare at Duvall’s people. Duvall’s people stare at Bridges’s people. We are at a celebrity-etiquette Mexican standoff. Nobody moves except for Bridges, who is already down on his knees, his arms laid atop Duvall’s thighs. “Man, I need you there,” he says, proceeding to explain exactly why he needs Duvall to be there. Bridges is a big man — 6ft 2in, or 6ft 3in in cowboy boots — but his body language is intimate, direct, respectful, warm, a cub talking to papa lion.

It’s the first thing I learn about Bridges: he’s extremely tactile. He loves hugs and high-fives, and makes fleeting contact with you during conversation — your elbow, your knee — to bring you closer in. For the press junket of The Big Lebowski, he arranged for all the journalists to have massages, to get them in the same chill zone as the Dude, the Venice Beach slacker he immortalised in the movie. It did so-so at the American box office, got a second wind in Europe and is now at the heart of a large, thriving cult, with scores of Lebowski festivals taking place every year. Bridges visited one recently, performing music in front of an audience of bathrobe-attired Dudes sipping white russians. “I had my Beatles moment,” he recalls. “‘Ladies and gentlemen, I can’t believe I get to say this, but here is... the DUUUDE!’ ROOOOARR. It was surreal. Like performing to a sea of bowling pins and booze. Weird. Oh, God. The fact that there are these people keeping that movie alive.”

A day away from 60 when we meet, his hair swept back in a sandy leonine mane, and with a salt-and-pepper goatee, Bridges looks like a stonewashed version of a movie actor. He projects an air of imperturbable ease — the critic Pauline Kael once wrote that he “may be the most natural and least self-conscious screen actor who ever lived” — but in interview, he revs things up a little, with exuberant improvs to act out his stories, like a kid doing every part in the school play. He’s at the start of a marathon campaign to promote Crazy Heart, a small ($7m) movie in which he plays a once great country singer called Bad Blake, now reduced to gigging in bowling alleys, shrugging off his hangovers to knock back more bourbon and suck on more cigarettes, but pulling it all together the moment he steps onto a stage. It is a terrific piece of acting, a portrait of a man at the lowest ebb of his powers from an actor at the height of his. Before the film was released, it was generating Oscar heat, and Bridges was nominated for the best actor prize on Tuesday. He has already won a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

“We shot this in 24 days,” he says. “There was very little rehearsal. We didn’t have much time to go deep. ‘You up for it?’ ‘Yeah, let’s go.’ Voom!” — he claps his hands and shoots one off into the ether — “We just acknowledged that and did it. Got into it.”

Bridges’s philosophy of work is simple: try to do as little of it as possible. He turns down most of the roles that come to him. The ones he does take, he plays and plays hard, but when he leaves the house in the morning, his wife, Susan, always tells him: “Remember to have fun.” Turning up for work on the set of Iron Man, he found that, while the movie had a release date, a cast, a crew and cameras that were starting to roll, there was no script to speak of. They had to write one in the trailer. “The crew would be in the studio, tapping their feet for us to get out of the trailer,” he recalls. “We were in there for two or three hours, writing the scene for the day, man. I mean, come on. You’d think for a $200m movie, they’d have their shed together. If I don’t have any lines, then who am I? It was very, very frustrating.”

He reaches over and touches my knee; his powder-blue eyes, deeply creased, light up. “Then I made this little inner adjustment that said, ‘Hey, man. You’re making a $200m student film. Just relax. We’re fine. We’re playing. We’re messing around.’ Nothing changed. But all of a sudden, I started laughing and going, ‘Okay, I play your part, you play my part.’ The crew would knock on the door — ‘Are you ready?’ ‘We’ll be out in a little bit.’”

“But it turned out so good,” I say.

“It turned out great. That’s just it. You have to dance the dance that’s in play.” And that, pretty much, is Jeff Bridges, a man so laid-back that if he chilled out any more, you’d be using him as a drinks table. Outside the hotel room, the publicists chatter about the Academy Awards — will Colin Firth be the man to beat, or will it be George Clooney? — but Bridges, who has been nominated four times before, for The Last Picture Show in 1971, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot in 1974, Starman in 1984 and The Contender in 2000, knows how these things work. “It’s part of their strategy to win awards,” he says matter-of-factly. “That’s how the studio gets people to see a small movie like this. I’m like the barker at the carousel — ‘Come on, see the thing that we did.’ Which I’m happy to do, loving the movie and loving the story we told.

“When I got nominated for Picture Show, I can remember sleeping in my bed, getting the call at about 6.30 in the morning.

‘Hey, man, you’ve been nominated for an Academy Award.’ ‘What are you talking about?’ I thought it was a dream. There was no campaign. None of that. It was out of the total blue. There was a wonderful feeling to it. One of my resistances to becoming an actor in the first place was not wanting to be the product of nepotism, which I surely am. I didn’t want to just get a job because of who my dad was. I don’t want to get nominated because there’s a big campaign, and more money was spent on my campaign than the other guy’s campaign. That’s not very satisfying.”

Bridges’s fame has probably long since eclipsed that of his father, the television actor Lloyd Bridges, who died in 1998. Lloyd’s wife, Dorothy, to whom he was married for 60 years, died last year aged 93. At Thanksgiving, their three children — Jeff, Beau and Lucinda — scattered their mother’s ashes into the sea by the family beach house, the same place they put their father.

“She was a remarkable, remarkable woman,” Bridges recalls. “She used to do this thing called ‘time’, where each day she would give each kid an hour. She wouldn’t answer the phone, wouldn’t spend time with her friends, she would do whatever we wanted. So, if you were my mother and it was our time, I would go, ‘Okay, let’s get under here’” — he lifts the cloth on the table next to us and makes to climb inside — “‘This is going to be our spaceship. You be the alien.’ Or, ‘Let’s go into your make-up and I’ll make up like a clown.’ Later on, as a teenager, it would be, ‘Rub me, would you? Give me a massage.’ Still, right up to her death, we’d be doing ‘time’. Unconditional love. Hard love, man. For each kid. You never got the feeling it was a duty. She was getting off.”

Bridges’s family background presents an unusual picture of constancy in a town known for its crack-ups and meltdowns, its train wrecks and flame-outs. His parents’ marriage had its ups and downs, he says. So has his, but when he says he doesn’t like to take too many jobs because “I don’t like to be away from my wife”, he means it. He seems unafflicted by the hunger for approval that drives many actors. He’s not famous to scratch some inner itch. When he acts, he gives the impression of a man whose battles have been fought and won internally, far away from the public gaze. There’s an unfathomability to some of his best performances — Jack Baker in The Fabulous Baker Boys, stubbornly hanging on to his integrity; the beatific plane-crash survivor of Fearless; his president in The Contender — which means the public has never got to feel it owns a piece of him. That gives him a freer hand when it comes to choosing roles.

“We’re all complicated cats, you know,” he says. “There’s a lot of facets to all of us. You magnify some sides and kick some to the curb. The ones I used to play the president, those sides of me, you don’t see those in Bad [Blake]. I’m not an alcoholic, but I’ve certainly been drunk. And hungover. Done a lot of that. Been drunk a lot and been hung­over a lot.” He may have ducked some of the more obvious self-destructive behaviours, he adds, but he is as neurotic as the best of them. He finds it impossible to make up his mind, and he still feels fear when he walks onto a movie set.

“Oh, I can really work myself up. I’m an actor. I can take those little seeds of paranoia and blow those f***ers up. Big time. Freeze myself so I won’t be able to come out of this room, for fear of what someone might say. Do you remember the way Tyson used to come out of the corner? My God, the way his first punches flew out like that. He was frightened he was going to have an asthma attack. That’s why he wanted to get the fight over with as quickly as he could. ‘Fear is like fire,’ he said. ‘You can warm your hands on it, cook your food with it, and it can burn down your house.’ That’s the constant challenge as an actor. I find the Dude side of me says, ‘I don’t want to be f***ing challenged, man, I don’t want to cry harder, or laugh harder, or be more real than the last one.’ The other side of me says, ‘Yeah, but that’s where the groove is. There’s wonderful gold in them there hills.’ That’s where all the good stuff is.”

He smiles a big grin — the one he smiled all those years ago in The Last Picture Show, and that runs through his work like lettering through rock. Come Oscar night, win or lose, one thing is clear: the Dude will abide.

Crazy Heart opens in London on February 19 and nationwide on March 5

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article7013566.ece

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