Speed ​​Dating dublin ireland

7. Try speed-dating. Will it be the most cringy night of your life? Most likely. Are you going to meet the love of your life? Probably not. But you'll be laughing about it for years to come. Being single is supposed to be fun, after all. There are a few events on in town over the next few months - check out the deets here. 8. Share Virtual Speed Dating Dublin Dublin Singles Virtual Events Seen on VH1 with your friends. Save Virtual Speed Dating Dublin Dublin Singles Virtual Events Seen on VH1 to your collection. Wed, Sep 23, 19:00 According to Guinness World Records, the largest known speed dating event, which drew 964 people, occurred on February 14, 2019, Valentine’s Day, in Dublin, Ireland. The Meet Group anticipates ... As a something-year-old New Yorker living in Dublin , speed first scenario ireland more like dating in Dublin. The second, New York City. New York City is a frontrunner free one night stands and casual dating; a typical Tinder date is scheduled for 9 or 10 MORE INFO dublin a local bar. Sophisticated Simplicity. Our in-person speed dating events, virtual speed dating events and matchmaking services offer fresh alternatives for Dublin singles. Whether you’re looking for a night out with fellow singles, prefer a night in with our virtual events or find one-on-one matchmaking to be your cup of tea, we bring just the right amount of flirty to suit any need. 2CONNECT is Irelands most popular match making company for single, separated and divorced people in Dublin, Cork and Galway. We also organise speed dating, parties, pub quizzes and outdoor activities. 2CONNECT is Irelands most popular match making company for single, separated and divorced people in Dublin, Cork and Galway. We also organise speed dating, parties, pub quizzes and outdoor activities. This is something that speed dating veterans 2Connect.ie have noticed recently. With over 13 years in the business, they’ve even heard the sound of wedding bells a few times over the years. Online Speed Dating in Ireland Loveawake is a highly innovative online dating portal with a unique concept. Specifically, it offers busy singles the opportunity to engage in live “speed dates” before making the decision to meet in real life. A creative approach, and a great way to weed out undesirable matches before risking real-life ... According to Guinness World Records, the largest known speed dating event, which drew 964 people, occurred on February 14, 2019, Valentine’s Day, in Dublin, Ireland. The Meet Group anticipates twice as many people will participate in the World’s Largest Virtual Speed Dating event.

Aine McCracken- Daughter of Fame

2020.09.20 00:55 JackassBarque Aine McCracken- Daughter of Fame

Basic Info

Name: Áine Caoimhe McCracken
Nickname/Alias: None
Date of Birth: 14 December 2003
Hometown: Cavan, County Cavan, Ireland
Age: 16
Gender: Female
Sexuality: Bisexual
Godly Parent: Fama, Goddess of Fame, Renown, Notability, and Rumors
Mortal Parent: Ciaran McCracken, TD
Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius
Theme: Come Back Paddy Reilly to Ballyjamesduff- Paddy Reilly

Appearance

Eye color: Brown
Hairstyle: When out of armor, she usually wears her hair down, but during Legion business she keeps it tied in a bun under her helmet.
Height: 5’8”
Weight: Ask again never.
Physique: Fairly tall, athletic.
Face Claim: Erin Moriarty

Combat and Godly Information

Claimed: Yes
SPQR Tattoo: Four Lines
Powers:
  • Commanding Presence: As the daughter of the goddess of fame, people tend to listen when Aine speaks. This requires conscious effort on her part and can only effect up to five people at a time, and she must keep speaking in order for the effect to continue. Once she stops speaking, her hold over her audience is lost.
  • Wings: Aine can generate magical, golden wings from her back for up to one hour every day, and can fly up to 20 mph (the speed of a reasonably experienced bicyclist) with a maximum height of 200 feet.
  • Charmspeak: Aine has charmspeak, which is most effective when she uses it to spread rumors. When she does so, people are generally inclined to believe her, though the more outlandish the rumor, the less effective her powers are. Her charmspeak does still function in other situations, but it is weaker and people are more likely to resist its effects.
Weapon of Choice: Standard Legion equipment, as well as an Imperial gold falcata that shrinks into a ring she wears on her left thumb, which she received as a claiming gift

Additional Information

Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Personality: ISTJ
Positive Traits
  • Confident
  • Diligent
  • Reliable
Negative Traits
  • Haughty
  • Slow to Trust
  • Demanding

Backstory:

Aine Caoimhe McCracken was born to an Irish politician named Ciaran McCracken, who met the goddess of fame after a hotly contested and widely publicized Dail by-election in 2003. She was raised in the town of Cavan, with frequent trips into Dublin to see her father, who did his best to balance his responsibilities as a legislator with his responsibility to his daughter. Aine grew into a driven, but emotionally distant girl, demanding as much of herself as she did everyone else around her. When she was thirteen, she was claimed by her mother and sent to the Wolf House, and from there she joined the Legion, where she has been for the past three years.

Now:

Aine sat on the porch of the Second Cohort barracks, sharpening her falcata and humming softly to herself as she worked. Her eyes were focused on her sword, but she was listening to what was going on around her, so if anyone approached her, she’d likely hear them.
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2020.06.05 05:57 siegeopconcepts Operation Icy Paths

Defender: Operator Name: Hardhat Nationality: Irish Affiliation: IMTF (Irish Military Task Force) Place of Birth: Dublin, Ireland Date of Birth: July 23rd (Age 37) Real Name: Jack McCarthy Guns: Primary’s: M1014 / MP5k Secondary’s: M45 Meusoc / LFP586 Secondary Gadget: Barbed Wire / Deployable Shield
2 speed 2 armor
Gadget name: Bulletproof Helmet
Gadget: The gadget will work like rooks armor plates where he can drop a pack of helmets on the floor for his team to pick up. When hardhats teamates pick up this helmet they will put it on their head and have an animation for that. After that, the gadget will start to work like blackbeards shield in a sense so if you are shot in the head and it does more than 55hp the helmet will break off and now you are a one shot again to the head. So the helmet will stay on after 2-3 shot of a hand gun and 1-2 shot of an ar or marksman rifle. I think this help in a way that some people get lucky headshots like when they cant control the recoil of a weapon but it hits ur head and ur dead I think this is a way of getting rid of that without it being to op with how much health the helmet has but also not useless so no one will use him
Attacker: Operator Name: Swarm Nationality: Danish Affiliation: DSF (Danish Special Forces) Place of Birth: Aarhus, Denmark Date of Birth: January 12th (Age 30) Real Name: Sofia Larsen Guns: Primary: Aug A3 / M4 Secondary: M45 Meusoc / P9 Secondary Gadget: Claymore / Breaching Charge
3 speed 1 armor
Gadget name: The Hive
This gadget will contain many nano bots in a capsule (think like a pipe bomb shape) and when thrown the nano bots will come out of the capsule. After you throw it it takes 2 seconds for the nano bots to come out. The gadget can do one of 2 thing either attack defender gadgets and cameras that are nearby but only will go after the gadgets or cameras closets to them. The nano bots can only destroy three things before dying off. or they can attack a defender so if an enemy defender is closer to the capsule when thrown then the nano bot will go after the defender dealing 5hp every 2 seconds so you can do a swat animation to get rid of the nano bot or let them attack you. The nano bots will cap out at doing 20hp to you. These capsules can be countered though by jager ,wamai ,mute ,bandit ,kaid, maestro if you shoot it before that 2 second timer
submitted by siegeopconcepts to R6OperatorCreator [link] [comments]


2020.05.31 14:22 matteowray Operation pressure point

Irish ops
Attacker: Cyclops
Gadget: has two small cameras that he can drill into walls and floors these cameras are very small but emit bright red light while being used and a distinct sound when being drilled in and they will not be able to move similar to bullet proof cameras they can also be drilled through unbreakable floors but not walls.
Primaries: 416-c carbine with access to acog (Jagers assault rifle) and the 417 marksmen rifle (twitch and lions dmr)
Secondaries: p12 (gsg9 pistol) and the p229 (hibanas and echos pistol)
Secondary gadgets: flash bang grenades and claymores
Stats: one speed speed three armour
Name: jack O’Connor
Place of birth: Dublin, Ireland
Date of birth: may 31 1985 (35 years old)
Quote: you can’t always hide from what’s coming it’s better to face it head on.
Defender: fraud
Gadget: hacks into the attackers comms and for a 5 second period of time any noise fraud makes will be heard by the attackers to sound like it’s near them including his footsteps his gunshots explosions etc. Which will confuse the attackers.
Primaries: p10 roni (mozzies smg) and the fo-12 (ela’s shotgun)
Secondaries ita12s (miras and jackals secondary shotgun) and the bearing 9 (echos and hibanas secondary smg)
Secondary gadgets: impact grenades and proximity alarm
Stats: three speed one armour
Name: Sean Walsh
Place of birth: limerick, Ireland
Date of birth: may 9 1991 (29 years old)
Quote: you can run but I can hide.
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2020.05.13 19:39 Nachokiwi Please Help - Home / Gaming PC (First Build) Budget €1050 - €1150

What will you be doing with this PC? Be as specific as possible, and include specific games or programs you will be using.
What is your maximum budget before rebates/shipping/taxes?
When do you plan on building/buying the PC? Note: beyond a week or two from today means any build you receive will be out of date when you want to buy.
What, exactly, do you need included in the budget? (ToweOS/monitokeyboard/mouse/etc)
Which country (and state/province) will you be purchasing the parts in? If you're in US, do you have access to a Microcenter location?
If reusing any parts (including monitor(s)/keyboard/mouse/etc), what parts will you be reusing? Brands and models are appreciated.
Will you be overclocking? If yes, are you interested in overclocking right away, or down the line? CPU and/or GPU?
Are there any specific features or items you want/need in the build? (ex: SSD, large amount of storage or a RAID setup, CUDA or OpenCL support, etc)
What type of network connectivity do you need? (Wired and/or WiFi) If WiFi is needed and you would like to find the fastest match for your wireless router, please list any specifics.
Do you have any specific case preferences (Size like ITX/microATX/mid-towefull-tower, styles, colors, window or not, LED lighting, etc), or a particular color theme preference for the components?
Do you need a copy of Windows included in the budget? If you do need one included, do you have a preference?
Extra info or particulars:
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2020.05.11 22:40 Nachokiwi Gaming Home PC €1050 ~ €1150 Ireland (First Build)

What will you be doing with this PC? Be as specific as possible, and include specific games or programs you will be using.
What is your maximum budget before rebates/shipping/taxes?
When do you plan on building/buying the PC? Note: beyond a week or two from today means any build you receive will be out of date when you want to buy.
What, exactly, do you need included in the budget? (ToweOS/monitokeyboard/mouse/etc)
Which country (and state/province) will you be purchasing the parts in? If you're in US, do you have access to a Microcenter location?
If reusing any parts (including monitor(s)/keyboard/mouse/etc), what parts will you be reusing? Brands and models are appreciated.
Will you be overclocking? If yes, are you interested in overclocking right away, or down the line? CPU and/or GPU?
Are there any specific features or items you want/need in the build? (ex: SSD, large amount of storage or a RAID setup, CUDA or OpenCL support, etc)
Do you have any specific case preferences (Size like ITX/microATX/mid-towefull-tower, styles, colors, window or not, LED lighting, etc), or a particular color theme preference for the components?
Do you need a copy of Windows included in the budget? If you do need one included, do you have a preference?
Extra info or particulars:
submitted by Nachokiwi to buildapcforme [link] [comments]


2020.04.06 01:06 DartzIRL Blatherings on a trip to Japan

Trip Report.
This'll be long and rambling and utterly pointless. I mean, I think it skirts around the kernel of some ideas, but it never hits them. Still, it's something that's not Covid related.
TL;DR Went to Japan. Saw a Museum. Climbed a Mountain Got fat and Drunk Visited a castle. Visited a Shrine Stayed in an Inn Bathed in a Hot Spring Went over a Volcano Took a boat ride Visited another Castle Wandered around Tokyo Bought some shit Realised I'm getting older Took a stroll in a garden Got drunk Went home Will go again.

But there's more to it than that. Multiple posts worth.

The holiday in truth began over fifteen months before departure date, with a promise to go to Japan 'at some stage' during the Rugby World Cup. It seemed like a good idea at the time. The oulfella was turning sixty and might not be able to travel for much longer, and two weeks in Japan seemed an easy ask from work.
For months I watched the prices of the flights, trying to work out what the budget might be.
The RWC had an obvious affect. Prices were twice as high as they should've been - to the point of near unnafordability. The Irish team was still looking good to go all the way to the finals, and half of Dublin 4 was merrily booking out flights .
Not to mention the English, the Welsh, the Scottish and the French.
Nobody yet knew what a mess the Six Nations would be. People were still optimistic.
I checked prices religiously every morning for nearly three weeks in the office. Remarkably, for the final few days before the RWC final - prices dropped back to their sane levels. Demand was still high enough to jump the price of a flight by fifty euro from the time I checked in the morning, to the time I got home. With 350 days to departure, we were booked and confirmed with KLM.
They give me four seats on an airplane, for in exchange for 800 hard-earned Euros per seat.
Accomodation was booked soon after. Three nights in the centre of Hiroshima. Three Nights in Shinsaibashi, Osaka. Three Nights in hot-spring Ryokan in Sengokuhara, Hakone. Four Nights in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Then Home. Leave Ireland on the 30th of October, arrive on the 13th of November.
After that, there was only time. And the incessant googling of 'Days until October 30th'. Whenever work got tough and I got into the misereable place, at least I could remind myself that I had plans to look forward to. I just had to make it.
The year ground slow. The Clusterfuck of Brexit made things steadily more and more expensive. All the Hotels were booked in Yen. I had time to worry about what I'd forgotten, what I'd missed and what the fuck could go wrong - the dread sense that everyone's expensive holiday would be ruined and it'd be all my fault. Little things like Insurance and a JR pass are sorted. The last thing I do, is buy some rolls of film and a brand new lens for my EOS 650 cameras.
Work changed from tiring and misereable, to busy and tiring. I get warnings for being down. I get praised for picking up months later. Two colleagues left, two more joined - and they were still getting themselves to speed
When people realise you're going away, they want everything done before you go - just in case it might be needed when you're not there. I start to wonder if all I achieved by taking a two week holiday was to make the two weeks before - and two weeks after, a living hell of things to get done. I'd deliberately left a single day between the October Bank Holiday and departure day to wrap things up and take care in handing things over.
Halfway around the world, I'd be completely beyond contact. Intentionally so.
Instead, I'm spending two hours crashing together a 'basic state of play' email, leaving the office an hour and a half after I meant to, and finishing off a software program that might be needed as soon as I get home. This is the point the oulfella chooses to check if any of his medicines are actually illegal - something I'd mentioned months before. In the end, we figure they're probably fine - no stimulants or opiod derivatives.
The travelling group assembles for the first time.
Our group is meself, the oulfella, the brother and me mate. We are four. The oulfella is past sixty and doing the retirement thing after completing his lifetime employment - the strag of the group, the brother podcasts, doesn't drink and works as a tourguide over the summer, and me mate's like me - either winners, or runners up, at the pub quiz at the local anime con.
This is followed by celebratory pints, a few hours drunken sleep, and an early morning start to the airport.
Celebratory pints are regretted - my head is full of nose-goo. Early mornings in the airport aren't. The views of the lights out the window are always beautiful. Cities need more colour at night like this. We take our places at the checkin line and are are made to remember our place as every single passenger who arrives at the priority line gets served before anyone in the normal.
The preflight meal is a massive slab of burger from the airport Burger King.
It doesn't kill last night's pints before the morning flight begins boarding. All four members of the travelling party are seated at the back of an Embraer 190 aircraft. The seat is comfortable. The in-flight snacks are tasty and fresh. The view out the window is spectacular, with the sun streaming through the clouds over a darkened Dublin City. I snap a well-branded shot out the window , while simmering in anticipation of the journey ahead
My head explodes from the change in pressure - especially on the descent. The pain lasts all through Schiphol airport, and through the next takeoff.
The 777 is a larger aircraft, with more space for the legs, and an inflight entertainment system with a gammy jack. But if it can be sat in just the right position to work and it doesn't cause trouble. By the time twelve hours have passed, my head has cleared.
There is something deeply magical about flying that is too easy to forget these days. Siberia rolls past below in darkness. The northern lights are visible off the wing as a dim green glow. It feels adventurous in a way that flying generally doesn't anymore. It's feels like a journey out of a different time, from when flying was an adventure rather than a fussy routine. The aircraft becomes a comfortable home for twelve hours, while we're given dinner, snacks and breakfast.
Narita airport in Tokyo greats us with a warmth that does not belong to Halloween. Customs welcomes us to the country with fussless efficiency and a stamp in the passort and we are unleashed on Japan.
Being so far from home feels strange.
JR passes are received while I sweat from the heat. It is perfectly acceptable that I sign for all four passes by myself while everyone waits outside. I appreciate the pragmatism of not having the office clogged up with four weary travellers and their luggage. The ticket agent books our first trip all the way through to Hiroshima station from the airport.
The smallfella gets a local SIM - causing a few minutes of hilarity by dropping his own microsim on the floor. He crawls along the floor with the kiosk attendant looking for it, while I worry about missing the train.
Meself and me mate use prepaid eSims on our phones - both of us being DualSIM. Either approach works fine - but I've me own SIM for making phonecalls home. I think having a Dual SIM phone is a blessing for trips like this.
The Narita Express Carries us first through fields, and then what feels like an eternal city before we reach Tokyo proper. A Hikari express Carries us to Kobe. A Sakura train completes the trip to Hiroshima. A trip of near 1000 kilometres is covered in about 7 hours - allowing for waiting. The Shinkansen is a marvel of comfort and speed- smooth, unobtrusive and meticulously efficient with only the turbine-like whine of the motors and the calm voice of the electronic annoucements for company.
I'm asked why we didn't just crash overnight in Tokyo - rather than spend another 8 hours travelling. It seemed logicial at the time - we'd basically lose two days to travelling, rather than the one if we did that, and I always wanted to finish in Tokyo, rather than racing for the plane across the country.
It means 30 hours straight of travelling before we make it to Hiroshima. Night falls far quicker in Japan compared to the lingering twilight we get at home home and it's well dark by the time we find our way out of the train station. Somehow, the night even seems darker.
A city bus takes us the few stops from the trainstation to the hotel. You board by the centre door, take a ticket with a number on it, then follow that number on a screen in front of the driver. It tells you what fare to pay when you get off the bus. A distinctly logical system that'd never at all work at home. The bus is full of partygoers heading to a halloween celebration. We're too tired to appricate it. Maybe we'd arrived a day too late to have fun.
On arrival at our hotel in Hiroshima, checkin is quick and painless. I grab a can from the vending machine down the corridor before dozing off. The nightime view out the window is spectacular - a crescent moon looming over the quiet Peace Park and the shimmering river below. The room isn't spectacular - it's small and old, but it's not bad. Not obnoxious and definitely not uncomfortable or dirty. The aircon works to keep the room cool and dry and the controls are non-complicated. It's a bed, a bathroom and a desk with a television. Nothing more is needed. The shower is hot and freshens up after well over 24 hours of solid travelling.
People complain too easy in these days of Tripadvisor and Yelp. It's like they want to find things wrong, to give themselves more to say. The internet loves misery.
submitted by DartzIRL to JapanTravel [link] [comments]


2019.10.04 00:29 Pickup_your_nuts Today in History 04/10






















































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2019.08.28 07:25 cocoaAMP Sydney This Weekend August/September (31st - 1st)

Free Crap

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Educational Crap (Trail)

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Crap you guys suggested


Holy Shit I can’t afford this Crap Crap(hahahaha)




Father's Day Crap
Just in case you guys missed it RIGHT here.
Crap Survey
It would be great if you guys can take a min of your time to fill This out for me, so ill know what i can focus on for the up coming Crap List, much appreciated!!!


This is Crap list is simply accumulate from various websites I’m not the event planner nor the organizer, I’m purely doing this to crop with my own crap in life. Please double check with the coordinators for time and date of the event. I am not here to promote or spam anything on Sydney just putting information for people want to have fun this weekend future Crap may subject to change and also please checkout this subs wiki for more events that i may have missed.
submitted by cocoaAMP to sydney [link] [comments]


2019.03.17 13:05 DrSakamoto93 My (25M) experience with a gorgeous girl (24F), what do now?

After basically 8 years of being emotionally occupied by my previous relationship and healing process I think I'm finally ready to start dating again. I'm now going out constantly just to meet women, not for sex, I just really enjoy friendly intimacy with women than I do with men. Yet I am very prone of just getting caught off guard and falling in love lighting fast.
So this Friday I was out in a club, it was already 8 AM and my friends had left, I was having too good of a time so I decided to stay back. There were a lot of intriguing women but the music was straight fire. I didn't care to stop dancing for flirting. But, as I'm there minding my business this stunning woman comes up to me and shares some water with me; this is so unusual I just found it incredibly charming. She sticks around, we dance together for a while until she leaves for the rest area where the music is not so loud. I decide to follow her after a bit and I find her sitting in a couch in the middle of her two guy friends, one under each arm. Yet, she beckons for me and I sit on the couch next to hers. Then she shoots the line "why are you so perfect?", I did not know how to take this gracefully. I started blushing hard. Her friends just leave and we're alone, she tells me to sit next to her. She puts her arm around my shoulders, I grab her hand and then she hits me with the "you're so beautiful, it's so confusing!". This was a weird way of putting it, I thought. I inch in for a kiss, she comes closer but pulls away last second. I don't mind this, we keep talking. After a bit I pull in for another kiss, she pulls away last moment again, she keeps her face close to mine and under a hushed breath she utters "I'm gay". Without skipping a beat I smiled and retorted "I'm fluid". She just loosened up and opened up about being a lesbian for 5 years without feeling attraction for any men, she never enjoyed sex with men, but I was just so appealing to her. I go in for the last time, this time she doesn't back away and we start making out in a way that was sweeter than it was sexual. Soon it became 12 PM, the club was closing and we had to leave. I asked if she wanted to cuddle, she said she shared her Airbnb with her guy friends from before and there's no space. However, she gave me all her contact info and promise we'd see each other again the next day.
Now, on Saturday we started texting mid afternoon intermittently, we were both probably coming in and out of sleep. The texts were romantic so here I think we're both still feeling each other and it wasn't just a passing feeling (we were both on MDMA TBH). Then I try making plans to meet and she just became super dodgy. She'd tell me she wants to see me and that they're picking up drinks at a friend's of hers and invites me to come along, but as soon as I ask for an address she stops responding. I try calling her to speed up the process. She doesn't pick up. Yet, hours later she hits me up, inviting me to join them. Again, I ask for an address. Again, she ignores me. Truth be told, I am very critical in what I want from a romantic partner and she just has the most qualities than anybody I've met before. But I wouldn't like to allow anybody, no matter how ideal, to play with my feelings.
Now it's Sunday and she's texted me saying she fell asleep after my last text. She says nothing else and I've grown quite skeptical of her single line texts. What should I answer? Should I even? Some friends have telling me she may have just been for self-validation but then why with a man if she's a lesbian or why even keep goading me on? I'm just very emotional in the end and I'm just confused, this is my first time with anything like this. Any advice is well received c:
For additional context, I'm Mexican, she's Irish, we're both in Berlin ATM. I'm staying for the 3 months of my European Visa, she's leaving for Dublin on Monday. For those that don't know, after being in Europe (rather, the Schengen area) for 3 months one can't reenter for 3 months, so I was thinking about touring the Balkans for these 3 months before coming back. Ireland is not part of the Schengen area so she invited me to live with her, not even just visit her, in Ireland.
submitted by DrSakamoto93 to dating_advice [link] [comments]


2019.02.28 13:37 UnicornDick31 NewBeginning: Book a NJPW star's first year in WWE Part 2 (LONG)

NXT UK - August 14th
Zack Sabre Jr. comes out for the first time since winning the NXT UK Championship, he cuts a promo saying that he wants a new challenger, he’s the best technical wrestler in the world and he doesn’t want to sit on the sidelines and wait. He wants a fight, he calls out someone from the back for an open challenge. Ashton Smith answers the challenge.
Ashton Smith puts on a valiant performance but comes up short when ZSJ hits a Dragon Suplex into his signature Penalty Kick and pins him for the win.
A No. 1 Contenders fatal four way match is announced, the contenders will qualify for the match over the coming weeks. The match will take place in 4 weeks time.

NXT UK - August 21st
Jordan Devlin vs Travis Banks have a match to qualify for the fatal four way match. They have another great match that no one can seem to win, Banks keeps managing to avoid Ireland’s Call. Devlin can’t find a way to put Banks down and tries every move he has in the book. Eventually after a poke to the eye behind the referees back he manages to hit Ireland’s Call and get the win.
ZSJ announces that he will put his NXT UK Championship on the line next week against anyone who wants to accept his challenge.

NXT UK - August 28th
Eddie Dennis takes on Ligero in the next qualifying match, he dominates Ligero throughout the match and eventually gets the win after a Neck Stop Driver. He is the second man to qualify for the Fatal Four Way Match in 2 weeks time.
Zack Sabre Jr. comes down to the ring for the Main Event, his opponent is Joe Coffey who accepts his challenge. He looks to get another opportunity to win the NXT UK Championship. They go back and forth until ZSJ wins the match after locking in the Cross Armbreaker to make Coffey tap out. ZSJ retains the NXT UK Championship by submission.

NXT UK - September 4th
This week Flash Morgan Webster takes on Wolfgang in the final qualifying match for the opportunity to face Sabre for the NXT UK Championship at NXT UK Takeover: Dublin.
Before that Main Event match, Mark Andrews will fight Fabian Aichner in the a qualifying match, after Aichner dominates Andrews throughout the match. Andrews makes a comeback and hits the Stun Dog Millionaire before scoring the pin fall victory after a Shooting Star Press.
It’s main event time and Wolfgang is out first, followed by Flash Morgan Webster. The match becomes a Match of the Year contender, Webster attempts a Tope Con Giro but Wolfgang catches it into a Powerbomb onto the apron. He then hits a Moonsault off the apron to the outside when Webster gets back to his feet, he proceeds to slide Webster back into the ring and goes to the top rope to hit The Howling. Webster rolls out of the way, he picks up Wolfgang and hits the Tilt-A-Whirl Facebreaker and then the Angel’s Wings in combination with each other. Wolfgang manages to get his foot on the rope, Webster goes to the top and hits a 450 Splash for the win.Webster is heading to the Fatal Four Way next week.

NXT UK - September 11th
A video package hyping up tonight Main Event is shown, each man in the Fatal Four Way is hyped up to be a genuine threat to the title.
ZSJ joins commentary before the match starts, he says he wants to keep his eye on whoever his next challenger will be.
Eddie Dennis is the first man to come out, he looks very cocky, knowing he has the size and strength advantage in the match. He expects that he will win this match and go on to defeat ZSJ. Dennis’s former friend, Mark Andrews is the next man out for the match. The two stare each other down while Jordan Devlin makes his way to the ring, followed by Flash Morgan Webster. The match gets underway and Dennis goes straight after Andrews, they brawl to the outside leaving Webster and Devlin to go at it inside the ring. Dennis starts beating down Andrews, while in the ring Webster hits the Tilt-A-Whirl face breaker on Devlin. He then notices that Dennis is in the perfect position and hits a Tope Conn Giro to Dennis on the outside. He rolls him back into the ring and looks for the Angel’s Wings but its reversed and Dennis hits the Neck Stop Driver. While he goes for the pin, out of nowhere Andrews hits a Shooting Star Press onto the both of them, breaking up the pin. Devlin tries to roll up Andrews but he kicks out, they then go at it hitting strikes back and forth. Jordan Devlin hits the Ireland’s Call on Andrews and goes for the pinfall, Andrews manages to kick out at 2 and a half. Andrews gets hit with a Big Lariat to the back of the head by Eddie Dennis, and throws him out of the ring. He pwerbombs Andrews onto the apron taking him out of the equation. Jordan Devlin hits a Suicide Dive on Dennis, then hits a Brainbuster on the ramp. Devlin slides back into the ring and gets hit with the Angel’s Wings and a 450 Splash and gets pinned by Webster. He gets the 3 count and Flash Morgan Webster is the new No.1 Contender. ZSJ leaves the commentary table and faces off with Webster.
The match is set, Zack Sabre Jr. vs Flash Morgan Webster, 1 on 1 for the NXT UK Championship at NXT UK Takeover: Dublin.

NXT UK TV - September 18th
Zack Sabre Jr. hosts an open challenge once again, surprisingly this one is answered by Sheamus, Raw is on tour in Ireland and stops into the NXT UK Tapings to answer Sabre's Open Challenge.
ZSJ takes on a former WWE Champion who gives him a tough challenge, but at the end of the day his sheer technical prowess wins out. Sheamus taps out to the Cross Armbreaker, he shakes hands with ZSJ in a show of sportsmanship before leaving.
Webster stands on the stage and sarcastically applauds ZSJ’s efforts. He mouths “I can top that”

NXT UK TV - September 25th
Webster comes out with a mic in hand, he says that ZSJ wants to host open challenge after open challenge thinking that proves anything, what he should be doing is focusing on their match at Takeover. Webster invites ZSJ to sit at commentary to watch this next match, he says that Zack needs to see what he’s up against. He then says he needs to be taken seriously because he will be NXT UK Champion come October 26th. ZSJ comes out and without saying a word makes his way to the commentary table. Webster proceeds to call out anyone who wants to fight him right now.
He is answered by Dave Mastiff, the big man surprises Webster and uses his power to his advantage. Webster makes a comeback and starts to pick up the pace, to his surprise Mastiff matches his speed as much as he tries to increase. Mastiff eventually succumbs to the Angel’s Wings and Webster gets the win.
After the match Webster looks to ZSJ to see what he thinks, but Sabre doesn’t give him any reaction and leaves. A look of anger and slight disappointment comes over Webster’s face.

NXT UK TV - October 2nd
ZSJ cuts a promo hyping up his match with Webster at Takeover: Dublin. He belittles Webster for trying to get attention last week. He says Webster is a hypocrite for even saying that he wasn’t focusing on their match because he was having Open Challenges, then what does he do, THE EXACT SAME THING. He says that the entire NXT UK roster better be on notice, because next week he will be hosting another Open Challenge for his NXT UK Championship.
Webster is interviewed and says that he is taking Sabre seriously and his statements earlier in the night were very obviously to get under his skin. He then says that he wont let Sabre’s comments get under his skin and he will continue to train for their match for the 3 weeks. He states that he will be as ready as any person could be, but Sabre still is still worrying about defending his title instead of training for their match.

NXT UK TV - October 9th
ZSJ opens the show by coming down to the ring and calling out anyone who is backstage to come out and fight him. His challenge is accepted by Danny Burch, Burch is the man who took Pete Dunne to the limit and now looks for another opportunity at the NXT UK Championship almost 1 year later.
Danny Burch once again takes the Champion to the limit, he comes milliseconds from winning the Championship on multiple occasions. Sabre manages to stay in the match and Burch starts getting desperate, he tries to go after ZSJ again and gets surprised when he gets caught in a Cross Armbreaker. Burch tries to reach the rope, but he can’t, he tries to reverse the momentum and roll out of it, yet he can’t manage to escape. He holds on as long as he possibly can, but it gets to be too much and he taps out. ZSJ celebrates with the Title while medics tend to Burch in the background.

NXT UK TV - October 16th
A video package is shown of Zack Sabre Jr. training, he says that Webster has no idea what he is talking about. He spends all week training, day or night he doesn’t care. He then comes to NXT UK and defends the Championship, puts on exhausting and gruelling matches only to go home and put himself through the toughest training regimen.
Webster is put in a tag team match for the Main Event, it will be Flash Morgan Webster & Mark Andrews taking on The Coffey Brothers.
Throughout the match Webster can’t seem to get his head in the game, he is too focused on ZSJ and it causes multiple occasions where he loses the upper hand against the power of the Coffey Brothers. Webster is too focused on ZSJ that his strategy for this match was completely off, he eventually gets hit with the Pop up European Uppercut. And the Coffey Brothers win the match.

NXT UK TV - October 23rd
The commentary team hype up the card for Takeover and when they get to the UK Championship match. They talk about how competitive this match will be and they introduce a video package that highlights the training that each man has gone through to get to this point.
ZSJ comes out and picks up a microphone, he says that come Sunday there is no doubt in his mind that come Saturday Night he will win and keep hold of his NXT UK Championship. He says that Flash Morgan Webster is a stepping stone for him to reach bigger and better things. He calls Webster a “flash in the pan talent”. He says that a year from now no one will even know who Flash Morgan Webster is, but he will still be NXT UK Champion and fighting in Main Events. Webster then comes out and he proceeds to say that he knows ZSJ will be his toughest opponent to date, but he has trained his ass off and will push himself as far as he can go and come out of the weekend as the new NXT UK Champion. They end the show with a shot of the two competitors standing face to face.

NXT UK Takeover: Dublin - October 26th
During the event NXT Champion, Johnny Gargano tweets out that he is not impressed by NXT UK and refers to them as the ‘minor leagues’
Flash Morgan Webster makes his way to the ring looking more determined than ever before. The Zack Sabre Jr. comes out looking very confident. As the match starts the two face off, they take in the crowd reaction. They lock up, Webster tries for an arm drag but Sabre blocks the attempt, he whips Webster into the ropes and tries a drop toe hold but Webster flips out. They lock up once again, and neither man can seem to get the upper hand to start off this match. Sabre manages to get control and works over Webster’s arms throughout the match. Webster makes a comeback and gets a couple near falls on ZSJ, frustration is seeping into the mind of Webster. He goes for a 450 but Sabre catches him into a Kimura. He locks it in but Webster manages to get the rope break. Both men are looking exhausted the longer the match goes, they both reach their feet at almost the same time and start trading strikes. Sabre whips Webster into the turnbuckle but misses a corner clothesline. Webster tries for a corner clothesline, Sabre moves out of the way as well, he grabs Webster’s arm and locks in a rope hung armbar, he lets go before the 5 count, he hits a bicycle kick and tries to pin but Webster once again kicks out. Webster tries to dig deep and hit once last big move, he goes for the Angel’s Wings but Sabre counters and locks in the Cross-Armbreaker to get the win.

NXT TV - October 30th
The main event of NXT is a Champion vs Champion match, pitting NXT Champion Johnny Gargano against NXT North American Champion KUSHIDA. The match goes for about 15 minutes before Zack Sabre Jr.,Jonah Rock and Shane Thorne attack both men. They leave both men laying in the ring before leaving the arena. The show ends in confusion and without anyone knowing what comes next.

NXT UK TV - November 6th
Zack Sabre Jr. comes down to the ring with a microphone in hand. He says that the reason himself, Shane Thorne and Jonah Rock did what they did last week on NXT is because NXT UK is treated as less talented, less important and all around worse than NXT. He says that someone like Shane Thorne was pushed to the side in NXT and “dumped” on NXT UK, but what they didn’t realise is that NXT UK is home to the greatest talent in the world. Shane Thorne took the opportunity and ran with it. But the worst thing NXT did, is always acting like they are the best thing ever, always thinking they outshine NXT UK. There Champion is a guy who spent more than a year confused about whether he really wanted to be friends with Tommaso Ciampa or not, while NXT UK’s top champion is the greatest technical wrestler in the entire world. Yet all anyone can talk about is the NXT Championship Match.
Johnny Gargano is standing in the crowd staring down ZSJ, he notices this and turns his attention to Gargano, he doesn’t show any fear, rather showing confidence. Then on the otherside of he crowd Shane Strickland is seen, then Keith Lee, then KUSHIDA. The four men hop the barricade and attack ZSJ, Shane Thorne and Jonah Rock come out to make the save but all three men get beaten down and left in the ring.
Backstage, William Regal and Johnny Saint are seen talking, they look to be having a serious discussion.
At the end of the show Johnny Saint comes out, he invited William Regal to join him in the ring. They announce that at NXT Takeover: War Games it will be Team NXT vs Team NXT UK inside War Games. The teams will be announced at a further date.

NXT TV - November 13th
William Regal announces that in the Main Event KUSHIDA will defend his North American Championship against Roderick Strong. He also announces that Johnny Gargano has been picked as his team captain for their War Games match.
During the North American Championship Match, ZSJ comes out and looks to distract KUSHIDA, Gargano comes out and confronts ZSJ. This leads to a brawl between the two top Champions, unfortunately ZSJ has succeeded in distracting KUSHIDA enough for Strong to hit the End of Heartache and win the North American Championship.

NXT UK TV - November 13th
Zack Sabre Jr. is announced as captain of the NXT UK team at War Games.
Later in the night Jonah Rock and Shane Thorne are revealed as competitors in the War Games match, they will join ZSJ as he takes on NXT inside the most dangerous match in NXT.

NXT TV - November 20th
KUSHIDA approaches Regal backstage and says he wants in on War Games. He says he wants to get revenge on ZSJ and the rest of the NXT UK team. Regal announces that KUSHIDA is the second member of Team NXT, and that the final two members will be announced later on in the show.
Regal comes out and invites KUSHIDA and the team captain, NXT Champion Johnny Gargano out to join him. He then reveals that their tag team partners are Keith Lee and Shane Strickland.

NXT UK TV - November 20th
ZSJ is seen talking to multiple people as he arrives at the arena, all of them are trying to get him to pick them for War Games.
To end the show ZSJ is out with Shane Thorne and Jonah Rock by his side, they hype up the War Games structure and their opponents. He announces that they found someone, another guy who was overlooked until he came to NXT UK. And that man is Noam Dar.
The Scottish Supernova makes his entrance and shakes hands with each of his team mates, the stage is set, at NXT Takeover: War Games it will be…
NXT UK Champion, Zack Sabre Jr., NXT UK Tag Team Champions Shane Thorne and Jonah Rock, and Noam Dar vs NXT Champion Johnny Gargano, KUSHIDA, Keith Lee ans Shane Strickland.

NXT Takeover: War Games - November 23rd
NXT Champion Johnny Gargano is the first out and he stands on the stage as the rest of his team make their way out. They decide who is going to start the match. Lee, Strickland and KUSHIDA all enter the cage. Johnny Gargano will start of the match for Team NXT.
Team NXT UK comes out and Zack Sabre Jr. is last out, he stares at Gargano standing in the ring. Then he just walks down to the ring and the rest of his team, confused, step into the shark cage.
The match kicks off, Champion vs Champion, NXT vs NXT UK, Johnny Gargano vs Zack Sabre Jr.
They stare down and the crowd goes insane at the thought of seeing ZSJ and Gargano lock up. The two take in the crowd and finally lock up. They keep trying to one up each other at the beginning of the match. ZSJ gets the advantage over Gargano, the clock starts to countdown, we don’t know which team is going to have the advantage. ZSJ turns his attention to the stage to see who’s coming out next.
Keith Lee is the next guy out, he goes crazy throwing Sabre around the ring. He hits a Sit Out last ride power bomb and then Gargano gets back to his feet. Sabre rolls to the other ring and when he gets up, Keith Lee throws Gargano over the middle and onto ZSJ.
Jonah Rock is the next guy to be released from the cage, comes in and steps up to Keith Lee. They trade strikes and Jonah manages to muscle Keith up and slams him to the mat. Johnny Gargano runs in and tries to get the jump on Jonah, he hits a Samoan Drop to Gargano. He turns his attention back to Lee, who hits him with a Rolling Elbow when he turns around. Lee tries to hit another Sit Out Last Ride Powerbomb on Rock, but ZSJ chops Lee down from behind and kicks him in the back of the head.
Shane Strickland is released from the cage next and he hits the ring, taking out ZSJ and the coming face to face with Jonah Rock. He tries to fight Jonah but the strength advantage kicks in and Strickland receives a Brainbuster, then when Jonah goes for the Monsta Splash, Strickland meets him on the top rope, he tries for the Superplex. Jonah Rock fights out and tries to suplex Strickland but gets countered again. Gargano joins Strickland on the top rope and they manage to suplex Rock off the top rope.
Shane Thorne enters the match next and straight away goes after Gargano and Strickland, he then checks on his tag team partner and they take out Strickland and Gargano. Thorne & Rock then turn to see Keith Lee make it back to his feet. They pick him up for a Doomsday Device but Lee fights out and hits a Body Chop on Shane Thorne.
KUSHIDA is finally released into the match, he gets in the ring and hits a rolling elbow to Thorne and then a Dragon Suplex, meanwhile Keith Lee hits a Powerbomb on Jonah Rock. KUSHIDA lands a Diving Moonsault on Shane Thorne. In the opposite ring ZSJ & Gargano make it back to their feet and come face to face once again, Gargano hits ZSJ with a superkick, and out of nowhere KUSHIDA surprises ZSJ with a springboard overhand chop.
The final member of Team NXT, Noam Dar, is released and instantly evens the odds with intensity, he locks in a heel hook to try and end the match early on Gargano. Strickland breaks up the submission with a Swerve Stomp to Noam Dar. the end of the match we are left with ZSJ, KUSHIDA and Noam Dar left in one ring and everyone else in the other. ZSJ locks the Cross Armbreaker on KUSHIDA but when it looks like he’s about to tap out Dar kicks ZSJ. He then hits a Shining Wizard on ZSJ and the another to the back of his head, he then drags KUSHIDA into the cover and the referee counts the 3.
Team NXT has won, Noam Dar has turned on ZSJ and NXT UK.

NXT UK TV - November 27th
Zack Sabre Jr. comes out to open the show, looking battered and bruised. He grabs a microphone, he’s not showing the same confidence that he usually does. He says that he is disappointed that there team lost on Saturday Night, but even more, he’s disappointed that Noam Dar would betray them the way he did. He calls out Noam Dar to ask why, Dar appears on the stage but doesn’t say anything, he looks at ZSJ looking smug. He then leaves without an explanation for his actions in War Games.
Jordan Devlin demands that Johnny Saint give him an NXT UK Championship match. Saint says he can have the match if he can beat this man next week… in walks Liverpool’s Number One, Zack Gibson.

NXT UK TV - December 4th
This NXT UK episode starts off with a short promo package from ZSJ backstage, saying that he was disappointed last week, but the way Noam Dar reacted when he came out last week. He is no longer disappointed but rather looking forward to beating Dar all over the arena. He vows to destroy Noam Dar and get revenge for the betrayal on behalf of the entirety of NXT UK.
Jordan Devlin vs Zack Gibson put on the match of the year in WWE, the match lasts the entire episode of NXT UK as both guy can’t seem to put eachother away no matter what they do. Gibson goes for the Helter Skelter once again at the end of the match, he misses and Jordan Devlin hits the Package Piledriver for the first time in WWE. He finally gets the pin and wins the match, earning the opportunity to go to NXT UK Takeover: Manchester to face Zack Sabre Jr. for the NXT UK Championship.

NXT UK TV - December 11th
Noam Dar finally comes out to explain his actions, he starts by saying that Zack Sabre Jr. is a liar, Sabre said that he was overlooked before coming to NXT UK, which was true, but that was where the truth ended. He then acted like I got my opportunity in NXT UK and wasn’t overlooked. Yet, when ever a new No. 1 Contender was needed, they always picked someone else. He says that he never was chosen to get an opportunity, he was never even considered. So that was when he realised that ZSJ does not actually care about NXT UK, he just wanted the attention for himself. So Noam Dar says he decided to take the opportunity himself and that no one can ignore him any longer, and he won’t stop until he gets the title match he rightfully deserves.

NXT UK TV - December 18th
Assistant GM, Sid Scala announces during the show that on the Christmas Day episode of NXT UK next week it will be mad extremely special. First Zack Sabre Jr. will defend his NXT UK Championship against Primate.

NXT UK TV - December 25th
Zack Sabre Jr. begins to make his way to the ring, Noam Dar attacks him while he makes his entrance. He hits him with the running enziguiri before security can pull him off.
ZSJ gets back to his feet and continues to go to the ring for his match.
Primate arrives looking menacing and is ready for this opportunity, this is the biggest match in his career to this point and he is taking it seriously.
They face off and shake hands before the match begins, they then lock up, Primate tries to use his power to beat ZSJ, while Sabre uses his master technical ability against Primate. ZSJ tries locking in the Cross Armbreaker but Primate slips out before he can lock it in fully. He then hits ZSJ with a powerslam and then goes for the Sit Out Powerbomb. He is countered into the Triangle Choke by ZSJ. He makes Primate pass out to retain the NXT UK Championship.

NXT UK TV - January 1st, 2020
Primate and Jordan Devlin will team up to take on Zack Sabre Jr. and Mark Andrews in the Main Event.
Primate is first out, followed by Jordan Devlin, they shake hands in a mutual show of respect. Then after Mark Andrews has made his way to the ring, ZSJ arrives on the scene. They have a hard fought battle but ZSJ locks Primate in the Armbreaker close to his teams corner, Andrews reaches in and tags himself in, he climbs the rope and hits the Shooting Star Press for the win. ZSJ and Andrews leave after their win, leaving Primate and Devlin in the ring, Devlin starts arguing with him, blaming him for their loss. They begin shoving each other and then Devlin hits the Ireland’s Call on him before leaving.

NXT UK TV - January 8th
Zack Sabre Jr. cuts a promo against Devlin ahead of their match on Saturday, he says that Devlin is a sore loser. He says that Saturday night will be no different to an other night since he has won the NXT UK Championship, and Jordan Devlin will lose, and he will retain the title once again. Just like every other one of his title defences.

NXT UK Takeover: Manchester - January 11th
The whole night feels like a big fight feel, they air video packages of both men training. Cut together with interviews with the competitors, as well as their trainers.
Jordan Devlin makes his entrance first, the crowd boo him out of the building, as soon as ZSJ’s music hits, those boos quickly turn into cheers for Sabre. the bell rings and Devlin goes right after Zack, he hits forearm smashes and traps him in the corner. He continues with the kicks in the corner but makes sure to stop before the count. He then tries to end the match quickly with Ireland’s Call. ZSJ kicks out, Devlin sits next to Zack’s prone body laying next to him, out of nowhere ZSJ surprises Devlin and locks in an Octopus Stretch. Devlin gets out and then rolls to the outside to regroup, Sabre follows and they start brawling on the outside. Devlin pushes ZSJ into the steps, he damages his knee on impact. Devlin rolls him back in the ring and locks in a knee bar. ZSJ is clearly in pain in the centre of the ring but somehow he uses one last gasp of strength and drags himself to the rope for the rope break. Devlin continues to target the knee throughout the match, Sabre tries to get away from Devlin to recover but he won’t let up and continues the attack. Devlin gets caught in a Triangle Choke, he lifts up Sabre and slams him to the mat. Both men are left laying, as the referee begins the count. They both make it to their feet at 8 and Sabre gets the upper hand, just as he begins to gain momentum with Devlin trapped in the corner. Devlin kicks Sabre’s knee which creates space between them. Devlin gets ZSJ in the Package Piledriver but he fights out of it and traps Devlin in the Cross Armbreaker. Jordan Devlin has no choice but to tap out, Zack Sabre Jr. has once again retained the NXT UK Championship.
After the match while ZSJ is celebrating, he gets hit with a running Enziguiri to the back of the head. Dar locks in the Superkneebar to the same leg that was injured earlier in the match, security and referees are trying to pull him off of Sabre. He refuses to release the hold, for a bout 5 minutes every time the security got him off of Sabre, he would lock it in again. As he’s leaving Jordan Devlin is getting back to his feet and Dar attacks him too, he then leaves with the destruction left behind him. Sabre has to be stretchered out of the arena, Jordan Devlin is barely able to walk out on his own.

NXT UK TV - January 15th
Zack Sabre Jr. and Jordan Devlin both don’t appear on this episode after the war that they both went through in Manchester.
Noam Dar cuts a promo in the ring saying that he demands a title match at the next Takeover event, and if he isn’t granted his match he will continue to take out every single person on the roster that tries to get in his way. Johnny Saint says that no one is given a match here in NXT UK, but he will give Noam Dar an opportunity to earn an NXT UK Championship match.
Noam Dar vs Jordan Devlin is announced as the Main Event of next weeks show, whoever wins the match will go on to face Zack Sabre Jr. for the UK Championship at NXT Takeover: Miami.

NXT UK TV - January 22nd
Jordan Devlin comes out for his match, still showing the effects of his match against Sabre, Noam Dar makes his way out, taunting and acting like a smug bastard. Throughout the match Devlin takes a hell of a lot of punishment, he slowly but surely gets more and more crowd support. At the same time, Dar is getting the crowd to turn on him even further and solidify himself as the top heel in NXT UK. Devlin has multiple comebacks during the match, but they get thwarted by Dar every single time. Devlin tries to go for Ireland’s Call, Noam Dar gets out and locks in the Superkneebar. Devlin tries to hold on as long as he possibly can, he never taps out but the referee calls for the match to save Devlin from being injured. Noam Dar is announced as the winner and new No. 1 Contender to Zack Sabre Jr.’s coveted title.
By the end of the match, the crowd are fully behind Jordan Devlin. He solidifies his face turn when he leaves and interacts with the fans.

Royal Rumble - January 26th
Zack Sabre Jr. represents NXT UK by entering the Royal Rumble at #7, he lasts about 10 minutes in the match, putting in a good showing and manages to eliminate Daniel Bryan. He is finally eliminated by Pete Dunne.

NXT UK TV - January 29th
Zack Sabre Jr. makes his return to NXT UK and cuts a promo about what has been going on these past two weeks since Takeover. He says that Jordan Devlin took him to the limit and earned his respect, but Noam Dar had to ruin the momentary attacking the both of us after our match. He says that come Takeover: Miami, he will tear Noam Dar limb from limb and retain the NXT UK Championship once again. He says that he has beaten practically every single person on the NXT UK roster, and this time will be no different.

NXT UK TV - February 5th
Noam Dar opens the show with a match against Ligero, he dominates the match and locks in the Superkneebar but refuses to let go of the hold after Ligero taps out.

NXT UK TV - February 12th
Noam Dar attacks Jordan Devlin as he is arriving at the arena earlier in the day, later on in the night when ZSJ is making his entrance for a match, Noam Dar attacks him too leaving him laying and unable to compete.

NXT UK TV - February 19th
Backstage, Jordan Devlin demands to be given a match against Noam Dar, he wants revenge for all the attacks from his hands. The match is booked for next weeks episode.
Zack Sabre Jr. comes out for the match that was supposed to happen last week before Dar attacked him, his opponent is Zack Gibson. Gibson shows a good effort but Sabre wins fairly easy, he looks super strong being able to make the bigger man tap out and stand tall to end the show.

NXT UK TV - February 26th
Jordan Devlin vs Noam Dar goes back and forth throughout the match multiple times, the match ends in a no contest when Dar low blows Devlin, forcing the DQ. He continues to attack Devlin after the match, Sabre runs out to make the save and gets the upper hand but Zack Gibson attacks him from behind. Dar joins in again and the two men beat down Sabre and Devlin. They shake hands after the beat down and leave the ring with Sabre and Devlin left laying.

NXT UK TV - March 4th
After the actions last week by Dar and Gibson, a tag team match is set for next week, it will be Noam Dar & Zack Gibson vs Zack Sabre Jr. & Jordan Devlin.
There is a backstage segment where Devlin approaches Sabre and they shake hands in a show of respect, they agree that they will join forces to take out their common enemy.
Noam Dar cuts a promo saying that Sabre will never be rid of Noam Dar, he will have to deal with these constant attacks for the rest of his career. He will not let up, he will not stop, and at Takeover: Miami he will take everything away from Sabre when he defeats him and walks out NXT UK Champion.

NXT UK TV - March 11th
The show is Main Evented by the tag team match that was made last week, Noam Dar and Zack Gibson have some tension after a dispute over who should start the match. Ultimately Zack Gibson is chosen to start, Sabre and Devlin seem to work well together, Sabre starts off the match. Gibson dominates Sabre in the beginning and locks him in the Shankly Gates, Sabre struggles to get out and manages to make it to the ropes. Gibson throws Sabre into his teams corner, he beats down Sabre, Dar tags himself in and hits a corner dropkick. He tries to lock in the Superkneebar once again, ZSJ slides out before he can lock it in. Sabre gets the tag on Devlin who gets in the ring and picks up the pace, he hits Ireland’s Call but Dar kicks out. Towards the end of the match Gibson gets in the ring to attack Devlin but is instead thrown out of the ring, Devlin tags in Sabre and hits Gibson wth a Suicide Dive. He gets back up on the apron and Dar hits a running enziguiri on Devlin. The match is down to ZSJ and Dar, he locks in the Cross Armbreaker but Dar gets to the ropes. Gibson is tagged in again and as he gets in Sabre locks in the Triangle Choke, Gibson is forced to tap out.

NXT UK TV - March 18th
Johnny Saint announces that next week there will be a contract signing for the NXT UK Championship.
Neither Noam Dar or Zack Sabre Jr. make an appearance on this episode. But a video package is shown hyping up the match between them. The video goes over everything that has lead up to this moment, starting way back in November at NXT Takeover: War Games.

NXT UK TV - March 25th
The contract signing is overseen by Triple H in a rare appearance on NXT UK. He says that he is here because he has seen what happens when these two men are in the same room, so if anything happens there will be consequences. He then introduces the Scottish Supernova, Noam Dar. He walks down to the ring, the crowd are booing, but he just looks very pleased with himself and extremely smug. Next HHH introduces the current NXT UK Champion, Zack Sabre Jr., who comes down extremely focused. He straight away starts saying that at Takeover he isn’t just going to beat Noam Dar, he is going to send him into early retirement. He is going to break every bone in his body, and only then will he end the match and retain his NXT UK Championship. Noam Dar doesn’t have any worry on his face, still smirking at ZSJ. He signs the contract, then Sabre does the same. Both men stare each other down, Dar with that smirk on his face, Sabre looking intense, like he’s prepared to kill. Triple H tries to get Sabre to leave but Dar turns Triple H around and hits him with a Northern Lights Suplex through the table. Sabre and Dar then get into a brawl, Sabre attempts to lock Dar in the Cross-Armbreaker which Dar escapes and slides out of the ring. The show ends with Dar smiling from the stage as HHH is left laying.

NXT UK TV - April 1st
The go home show for Takeover: Miami is here, in just three days Noam Dar will have his opportunity to take the title off of Zack Sabre Jr. in on of the most personal rivalries we’ve seen in NXT UK. They each have video packages air during the episode showing their training and them talking about how much they want this match. They both say they are going to make their opponent tap out.
Because of both men being adamant about making each other tap out, Johnny Saint decides to make the match a Submission match. Come Saturday, one man will have to give up, one man will have to quit. The stakes are made even greater, as neither man is willing to tap out, but come Saturday, someone will have to.

NXT Takeover: Miami - April 4th
The show is full of great matches, but none more personal than the NXT UK Championship match. Zack Sabre Jr. is interviewed on the Pre Show, he says that he’s never tapped, in fact, since he’s arrived he’s never even been pinned. ZSJ says that if Noam Dar manages to make him tap out then he deserves to be Champion. But that won’t happen anyway, because Sabre refuses to give up.
Noam Dar’s music hits and he is greeted with a chorus of boos from the NXT Universe. The reaction doesn’t phase him as all that matters is walking out NXT UK Champion. Zack Sabre Jr. makes his way out to one of the biggest pops of the night. Both men stare each other down, when the bell rings they both trade strikes straight away, Dar tries to trip Sabre and lock in the Superkneebar. Sabre rolls out of the ring, they start brawling on the outside but then Dar pushes Sabre into the steps and he hits the knee, he instantly is in incredible pain. He hit the same knee as what was injured at Takeover: Manchester. Dar targets the knee throughout the match, Sabre gets in some quick bursts of offence but is always shut down by Dar who quickly targets the knee again. He locks in a Figure Four around the ring post and then he sets up for the Superkneebar, Sabre uses his technical ability to come up with an inventive way to escape the hold. He tries to get some feeling back into his knee whenever he can, but Dar won’t let up with the intensity. Sabre hits a Northern Lights Suplex but shows the effects the move had on his knee. The commentary put over that if this match doesn’t end soon Sabre could be in trouble. Sabre locks in the Cross Armbreaker but Dar struggles and manages to reach the rope. The end comes when Dar manages to lock in the Superkneebar in the centre of the ring, Sabre has nowhere to go, he tries to hold on. He refuses to give up for almost two minutes being stuck in the move, he almost makes it to the ropes multiple times but Dar keeps dragging him to the centre and locking it in again. Sabre has no choice but to tap out, Dar wins. Noam Dar is the first person to defeat Sabre, and by making the master Submission tap out himself. Noam Dar is your new NXT UK Champion, he celebrates his victory and leaves the ring. As Zack Sabre Jr. gets back to his feet, the crowd chant “Thank You Sabre” as he leaves.

Friday Night Smackdown - April 10th
It’s the night after Wrestlemania, Daniel Bryan is cutting a promo in the middle of the ring, he demands a title match but is instead greeted with the Main Roster debut of former NXT UK Champion Zack Sabre Jr.

This sets up his first feud on the main roster against Daniel Bryan, slowly building to their eventual match at Summerlsam.
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2018.10.07 22:43 peter_j_ [DIPLOMACY] Theresa May hauls her position before the EU once again. The 52 point Brexit talking points

Following the fairly comprehensive rejection of the UK's attempts to broker a deal regarding Britain's scheduled departure, the team have returned to attempt to broker an agreement with the EU, project by project:
We implore the EU - the fulfilment of the democratic mandate is not always what politicians choose, but we both must seek to continue the long history of the UK working closely in concert with the EU where possible. Thus, contrary to our previous negotiations, we have agreed to yield the "red line" of refusing to be arbitrated by the ECJ and EU, in the case of certain programs we feel are essential to the long term health of both the UK and the EU.
  1. Immigration. A two-year long hiatus has been issued regarding the state and settlement of EU citizens in the UK. As of now, there are no plans to compel any of them to leave. All wishing to stay need only provide proof of their residency in the UK from before March 29th 2016, and they will receive right to remain indefinitely. The intermediate question of those arriving after that date, is as yet unanswered. We hope that the EU will look favourably upon British expats continuing to reside in the EU.
  2. Asylum Seeking. The UK wishes to apply to rejoin the Dublin III protocol on Asylum Seekers, and continue the process of ensuring refugees claim asylum in the first treaty country they arrive in. Britain would also like to ensure the status quo remains regarding the Calais forward border, where any Asylum seekers already in France are denied access to the UK under the terms of that treaty.
  3. Trade Deal. The UK wishes to secure a trade deal with the EU which assures the business world deeply divested within all the relevant states, of the following: (a) minimal tariffs exist on all goods and services in the EU. Potential exceptions under WTO rules are reasonably expected to be retaliated against, but the UK reiterates its position that freer trade is essential to the prosperity of both the EU and the UK, so any exceptions to general tariff erradication should be specified. (b) A customs arrangement in which goods produced in the UK can have a "passport" which allows for them to be relatively seamlessly traded throughout the UK and EU much as before. The specific case of Northern Ireland and Customs, is addressed further below.
  4. The UK would like to state fully that it cannot - despite the apparent convenience of existing customs and single market access - entertain the prospect of giving up the right to negotiate FTAs with non-EU countries.
  5. Data Protection and Privacy. The UK will continue to pursue its own national prerogative with data protections, though it will remain compatible with the EU's own rules - the expense of having recently rolled out GDPR is not something we want to immediately roll back.
  6. Europol. Though we will be exiting the EU, and its constituent Europol Treaty, Europol co-operates on an operational basis with Albania, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Denmark, Colombia, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Ukraine and United States of America and Interpol; and has strategic treaty agreements with Brazil, China, Russia, Turkey, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and World Customs Organization (WCO). The UK would like to continue to work with Europol on both the Operational Basis (OB), and in Strategic Agreement (SA), and we are prepared to continue paying the same share as we currently do/did, in order to preserve continuity in these urgent security matters. This is also true for the European Arrest Warrant.
  7. Jam. You guys were wrong, both on the 60% fruit rule, and the list of suitable fruits rule. This issue is much bigger than you allow, and we will die on this cross if we have to. This is what Brexit was really about.
  8. Pig Semen. We would like to continue to pay into the fund and regulation body necessary to approve certification of the sale of the sperm of porcine livestock, as we currently do/did. Many non-EU countries also participate in this measure, and we agree it is necessary for the health of all concerned.
  9. Bright Lights. We will continue to follow the good path of keeping lights dimmer and more efficient, and will continue to ensure the legal continuity of the directive, to ensure freedom of import and export of lights and products containing lights, in the UK, and paying for it.
  10. Bananas. Your war against bendy bananas and small bananas is over, as far as it pertains to the UK. We regard the strictures as contributing to the overall global problem of wastage in food, and we urge the EU to repeal the rule saying bananas must be "free from malformation or abnormal curvature, be more than 14 centimetres in length and come in bunches of at least four."
  11. The UK will continue to enforce the EU's current perameters regarding shoe labelling.
  12. The EU has commendable strict rules about the transportation of live horses within the EU. As we have discovered, though, in many countries in the EU, this has not always been perfectly enforced. We will continue to abide by the rule, and help pay for regulation, as the movement of live horses between the EU and UK is essential for the continuity of many of the UK and EU's proudest traditions and sports.
  13. Football. We wish to come to a bilateral agreement with the EU regarding the professional status of footballers - from the UK, EU, and non-EU. At present, if a footballer is allowed to work in the EU, they are allowed to live and work in any EU country. We would like to keep this rule, and pay for its continued enforcement, and receive assurances that players from the UK may also continue to do so.
  14. Health and Safety. It's very possible that several hundreds of thousands of people (perhaps millions?) in the UK voted for Brexit specifically because of the perceived supposed strictures around safety at work legislation. However, the UK is all about keeping citizens safe, so we will continue to use the safety at work legislation, but opt out of the enforcement and regulatory body, and corresponding payments.
  15. Lead in toys. The UK will implement a general ban on all the uses of lead in toys aimed at children under 12, and we hope you do the same - despite British Newspapers' attempts to portray this legislation in a negative light.
  16. Noisy Vehicles. The UK will opt out of the EU directive about noisy vehicles, but because it is a good rule, we will continue to maintain those standards in cars made in the UK (more on those later!)
  17. Torture instruments. The UK will continue to ban the importing of instruments whose uses solely consist of inflicting harm on other people in a cruel or sadistic manner.
  18. UK holidaymakers. The UK will continue to give EU holidaymakers preferential high-speed admission to the UK. We will standardise the granting of a free 3 month visa upon arrival, after which they will have to apply for longer stays with the relevant high commission/embassy of their country. We hope to receive similar treatment.
  19. Roaming data charges. The UK wishes to continue to pay into, and secure, the EU's plan to ensure that telecoms continuity is offered throughout the EU and UK. As such, we will abolish roaming charges to EU travellers, in return for assurances that British tourists and expats in the UK may receive the same treatment.
  20. Open Skies. The UK wishes to make a bilateral deal with the EU much like the EU-US Open Skies Agreement, which allows us to continue to enjoy the liberalisation of air traffic between our constituent countries. We will seek assurances from the US also, that the continued participation of EU and US airlines to heavy British passenger traffic transit, remains viable. We will agree to pay into the regulatory system and body for this. We seek assurances that our status can be passed seamlessly from EU status to a continuation of membership in the treaty.
  21. Air Passenger Rights. The EU's excellent bill securing the rights of air passengers to claim compensation for airlines cancelling or delaying flights, will also be maintained, with commensurate payment, as well as ensuring our airlines continue to do so.
  22. 48 hour work weeks. The EU insists that nobody may work more than 48 hours per week. The UK will no longer abide by this rule, and will loosen restrictions so that working up to 60 hours per week is possible without penalty to the employer, but the payment of overtime compensation of at least 25% higher than standard wages, and additional tax levied at £1 per hour, for every hour worked over 48 in a week, is issued, instead.
  23. Discrimination against disabled carers. This rule is a good one, and will apply to all situations in the UK, as part of the Great Repeal Bill.
  24. Agency Worker pay. Agency work in the UK ensures that workers are paid equal wages as normal employees for services rendered; with a premium added by the agency for the infrastructure necessary to recruit. This will continue, though EU workers will not be permitted to work in the UK for agencies except in a case by case basis.
  25. Part Time Workers Pension. The UK will continue to offer the same rights of Part Time Workers to pensions, as secured under the 1994 UK judiciary directive which gave birth to this law.
  26. Under EU law, if you get sick while on annual leave, you can retake that leave at a later date and even carry it over into the following year. According to the Local Government Association, this conflicts with UK law, which doesn't allow employees to carry over leave from one year to the next. The Law will be scrapped.
  27. Gender Equality. The UK will match or exceed its percentage of the EU's planned funding for projects aimed at reducing Gender inequality in the UK.
  28. Maternity Leave. The EU should adjust their laws so that they all come into line with more generous systems, like the UK's, or EU countries like Sweden.
  29. Erasmus. This University exchange programme is excellent, and we would like to keep paying into it, to offer our Students the chance to live and study in Europe, with EU students receiveing the same benefits with access to UK universities.
  30. Europass. Europass and the European Qualifications Framework are excellent, and the UK would like to continue to pay into the scheme, and receive assurances that UK university degrees and professional qualifications will continue to be recognised - we accept the regulatory and financial cost of doing so.
  31. Horizon 2020. We would very much like the EU's agreement for us to continue paying into, and participating in, Horizon.
  32. CO2 Cap. The UK withdraws from the Carbon trading system and C02 emissions cap, but will continue to seek pollution reduction of our own volition.
  33. Clean Beaches. UK was slow in enacting the clean beaches directive 1975, but the effect has been exceptionally successful. As we share the North Sea, English Channel, and Irish Sea coastlines with the EU, we would like to continue to observe the directive, and pay for its enforcement, to ensure the splendid standards continue.
  34. Air Quality. The UK will drop the 2008 directive on air quality, and seek its own pollution controls, which will more effectively target diesel cars and trucks, and city centres.
  35. Wild Birds. The UK would like to continue paying and regulating the EU's shared Wild Birds Directive - many birds transit the UK through the EU, and these high standards are greatly appreciated by all.
  36. Animal Welfare. The UK has a complicated relationship with the EU here - in many instances our farming and animal standards are higher, and in others, the EU's standards have been seen as a burden. There around 40 points of discussion on animal rights, whereas the exact terminology regarding animal cruelty, is already devolved to the States of the EU (England, NI, Wales, and Scotland, all have variations). The UK withdraws from the EU's agreements, and we will establish in the Repeal Bill a copypasta which shows that we remain committed to high animal welfare standards, and than any animals or animal products destined for the EU market, are compliant.
  37. Bees. The UK has already allowed neonicotinoid pesticides on oilseed farms for two years, following the EU's precautionary ban of them. The UK has no interest in seeing its bee population suffer unnecessarily, but has yet to be convinced that neonicotinoid pesticides certainly harm bees in the quantities typical of usage. The UK will independently continue to seek scientific answers independently.
  38. NHS, The UK will no longer provide free healthcare treatment for EU Citizens. Those with Right to Remain (see Section 1.) will be entitled, as taxpayers, to continue to enjoy the NHS, but payment for services from other EU Citizens, will be essential upon receipt of care. The UK wishes to ensure that health insurance and travel insurance can continue to be compatible between the EU and UK, and we will immediately grant EU insurers the right to manage that service and business with the UK Government and NHS. We hope for reciprocal treatment.
  39. Epidemics. The UK would like to apply to continue to be a member of the epidemics and pandemics protocols responsible for the successful containment of SARS and Asian Flu. IRL I think the UK won't, but Grizz or Spum will crisis me if I dont.
  40. Healthiness. The UK will withdraw from the EU's agreed targetting advertising, and other measures to promote healthy living. We will however continue to pursue this aim, as it is essential for the NHS to be effective, and essential for humanity, that obesity and related illnesses are tackled.
  41. Disease prevention. According to the Royal College of Physicians, no single country could fulfil the role of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control](https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=LEGISSUM:c11541), as their early warning and information sharing system offer medics and hospitals realtime updates on non-pandemic illnesses such as waterborne diseases, and HIV. We would like to please continue to participate in this item, and continue to pay for it.
  42. Recognising Medicines. Because Jeremy Hunt is a twat, the UK will no longer be part of the European Medicines Agency, or its Mutual Recognition Licensing, or its authority ruling on the creation of new medicines. This is a double edged sword - it will allow UK pharma to produce new research and new medicines faster, but obviously we won't be able to export them to the EU until the EMA recognise them and agree to allow them into the EU. In this sense the UK will become a "third country" like the US, or China (whom are both successful importers and exporters of medicines to the EU).
  43. Road Safety. The UK will independently set the rules on crash prevention systems, and road safety testing. We will set the bar a teeny bit higher, to ensure that vehicles made in the UK are compliant, but imported cars have to be adjusted slightly for sale in the UK to ensure that cars built int he UK are a) safer, and b) preferential purchase options for UK citizens. More on that later.
  44. Financial Services Passporting. The UK would like an agreement with the EU that allows businesses to register with the EU as EU compatible businesses, which would allow them to continue to operate and export their goods and services to the EU as voluntarily compliant with EU, and subject to EU spotchecks and legislation. For our part, the UK will allow EU regulators preferential and unrestricted access to the UK in order to investigate companies, to ensure their compliance with the rules.
  45. Firearms. The UK will create its own laws for the licensing, sale, and requirements for the safe keeping, of firearms.
  46. Tobacco. The UK will make and maintain its own rules on tobacco - they will continue to challenge smokers to confront the inevitablity of the serious health issues that come from the practice of smoking it, and our high taxes on the product will continue and may rise more in the UK.
  47. The Irish Border. The UK will in no way breach the Good Friday Agreement. Will impose no countings or checks or taxes or border hardware or personnel of any sort in Ireland. Irish farmers and other businesses are free to go about their activities as they have, in peace, since the GFA. If the GFA is breeched by Ireland or the EU, the UK will take it most seriously indeed.
  48. The French Border. We welcome Mr Macron's recent statement that he would try to renegotiate Le Touquet agreement, and we will seek to agree this bilaterally.
  49. The UK will continue the good spirit of the broadband affordibility legislation, but will withdraw from participation in the EU framework for it.
  50. New Passports. The UK will issue Dark Blue passports, because twats like Gove and Farage would rather have that than a more prosperous and frictionless future for ordinary people.
  51. EURATOM. The UK would like to continue to participate in EURATOM, which we have done since 1957, and agree to the project's supervision by the ECJ.
  52. GALILEO. The UK welcomes the offer that the EU will continue to grant access to GALILEO signals, and we appreciate the recognition of our work in it so far. However, unless the EU will give us assurances that UK firms will be have access to future build bids, we will withdraw from GALILEO, and will continue to seek an independent future in Space.
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2018.09.12 08:25 rEuropeanUnion State of the European Union 2018

State of the European Union 2018

Reddit Live Thread HERE (NOW OVER)

Location: Strasbourg, France.
TL;DR: The State of the European Union speech will be on Wednesday, 12 September, from 09:00 CEST to 10:00 CEST. It will be presented by Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission. The parliamentary debate will be held after the speech.
Official live video feeds
Other live coverage
Live Blogs
Hashtags on social media
#SOTEU, #FutureOfEurope
Articles

Programme

The State of the European Union is an annual speech delivered each September by the President of the European Commission before the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).
At 9:00 Brussels time, President Jean-Claude Juncker, will deliver his speech before a plenary session of the European Parliament. The speech reviews the successes and failures of the Union, declares its general political direction, and sets out the legislative agenda of the European Commission for the year.
Once the hour-long speech has concluded, the European Parliament then holds an open debate, going over the State of the European Union speech, and the political situation throughout the European Union.

Summary of Upcoming Commission Proposals:

  • Improving the detection and removal of terrorist content online within one hour by companies like Google, or they will face fines
  • New rules on stopping data misuse by EU political groupings (EPP, ALDE etc.)
  • Scrapping the biannual clock change in the European Union
  • Upgrading the mandate and resources of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency to a “genuine border police” with 10,000 officials by 2020
  • Upgrading the European Asylum Support Office (future EU Asylum Agency)
  • A new policy on returning migrants, including common conditions and timelines for returns
  • Africa package (creating more paths for legal migration, tackling root causes of migration, trade agreement with Africa etc.)
  • Strengthening the European Banking Authority to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing through more resources and greater enforcement powers
  • Creating a European Cybersecurity Research and Competence Centre
  • Commission initiative to strengthen the enforcement of the rule of law in the European Union
  • Commission communication on the possible extension of the tasks of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office to include the fight against cross-border terrorism
  • Commission communications on enhancing the use of qualified majority voting in common foreign and security policy and the internal market
  • Single Market implementation and enforcement report
  • Commission communication on the future of EU Energy and Climate policy, including the future of the Euratom Treaty
  • Long-term EU strategy for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
  • "Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030, on the follow-up to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including on the Paris Agreement on Climate Change" reflection paper

The President of the European Commission

Jean-Claude Juncker
Term: 1 November 2014 - 31 October 2019
Jean-Claude Juncker started as a deputy in Luxembourg in 1984. Soon after, he started taking on various governmental roles. He because Luxembourg’s minister of finances in 1989, and subsequently became Prime Minister of Luxembourg, holding the office between 1995 and 2013.
Juncker held the Eurogroup presidency from 2005 to 2013, serving 3 terms. He was then chosen as the European People’s Party lead candidate for the 2014 European Parliament elections. He was proposed by the European Council afterwards, and the European Parliament voted in favour of him being President. He has previously announced he will not stand for a second term as President, meaning his tenure will end on the 31st October 2019.

Current European political topics

European Parliament Elections

Between May 23rd to the 26th 2019, elections to the European Parliament will be held. Following Brexit, the amount of MEPs will be reduced to 705, with some of the UK’s MEPs being redistributed to other member states and some being held in reserve for any potential enlargements of the EU.
The European Parliament has confirmed that it will follow the “Spitzenkandidaten” process once more. The European political parties will endorse ‘lead candidates’ ahead of the vote which will compete to be President of the European Commission. The European Council officially proposes a candidate for Commission President, ‘taking into account’ the results of the Parliament elections. However, the European Parliament has already stated it will reject any candidate who was not designated as a ‘lead candidate’ ahead of time.
Candidates:
Candidate Date Announced European Political Party
Maroš Šefčovič 4th June 2018 Party of European Socialists
Ska Keller 9th July 2018 European Greens
Manfred Weber 5th September 2018 European People's Party
Petra de Sutter 12th September 2018 European Greens
The European Commission is set to propose rules that could result in the political parties at the EU level (European People’s Party, Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe etc.) being fined up to 5% of their annual budget if they misuse personal data in a similar way to how Cambridge Analytica operated, trying to influence elections with this data.
As part of a broader package to counter online voter manipulation and personal data misuse for political purposes, the European Commission will recommend that governments should crack down on “micro-targeting”, the practice of sending personalised political messages to users without their consent. It will also be recommended that member states introduce stricter transparency requirements on online political advertising.
Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Vera Jourova has said that voters should be able to “always understand when something is an online campaign, who runs the campaign, who pays for it and what they want to achieve.” However, she said that the EU wouldn’t go as far as regulating the online activity of any political grouping, stating that the internet is a “zone for free expression.”
Overview of the European Parliament elections, 2019

Eurozone

In the 2017 SOTEU speech, Juncker proposed an EU minister of finance, who would be a Vice-President of the Commission and also President of the Eurogroup, the informal meeting of Eurozone finance ministers. By extension, they would also be Chair of the board of the European Monetary Fund. This minister could oversee the use of EU budgetary instruments and represent the euro area at a global level.
In December 2017, the Commission proposed to integrate the European Stability Mechanism (to become the European Monetary Fund) and the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance into EU law. The possibility of introducing an EU finance minister who would be a Vice President of the Commission as well as chair of the Eurogroup was also floated. They could oversee the budgetary instruments of the EU and represent the Euro area at a global level.
The Meseberg Declaration agreed between France and Germany calls for establishing a eurozone budget for competitiveness, convergence and stablisation within the framework of the EU. Resources would come from national contributions, allocation of tax revenue and European resources. However, 12 EU member states including Austria, Finland and the Netherlands questioned the need for any “fiscal capacity”, saying that there is “wide divergence” on the need for any budget, or at least what form it may take.
More recently, Germany’s deputy finance minister Jörg Kukies has stated that talks on a Eurozone budget should not distract from talks on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the EU’s multi-annual budget. The “most pressing issue” was to figure out how the EU budget can contribute to stabilization, competitiveness and convergence. “This is a more relevant question than carving out a separate budget for the Eurozone”.
Under the Commission’s MFF Proposals, the European Commission proposed a €30 billion European Investment Stabilisation Function, which would provide back-to-back loans to a member state experiencing financial difficulties, provided they adhered to relevant EU budgetary rules beforehand.
A Convergence Facility for Member States actively trying to join the euro will be introduced, assisting member states with the reforms needed to do so. Bulgaria is actively attempting to join the euro, and will have to join the system of EU banking supervision (banking union) as well as the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II) for 2 years before it can join the euro area.
A Reform Support Programme of €25 billion has also been proposed, which would provide financial incentives and also provide technical assistance for EU member states to carry out structural reforms. This programme is voluntary, and the money could be claimed back if the reforms are reversed.
In June 2018, EU leaders agreed in principle on making the European Stability Mechanism the backstop to the Single Resolution Fund. The Fund is used to wind down/resolve banks that have been declared failing or likely to fail by the European Central Bank, and shall reach the target level of at least 1% of the amount of covered deposits of all credit institutions within the Banking Union by 2024. The backstop should effectively double its capacity, providing around €55 billion of support.
Eurozone countries will work towards an agreement in December 2018 to change how the ESM functions, including creating the backstop to the Single Resolution Fund and how the ESM is governed. In future it could be integrated into EU law following the Commission’s proposal.
Eurozone finance ministers also agreed to work towards adopting a roadmap on starting political discussions on a European Deposit Insurance Scheme in December 2018. This Scheme would guarantee deposits of up to €100,000. When a bank is placed into insolvency or in resolution and it is necessary to pay out deposits, the national schemes and the European Deposit Insurance Scheme could intervene.
Factsheets on Deepening Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union

Migration

In June 2018, the European Council adopted conclusions on migration, calling on, among other things, for vessels operating in the Mediterranean to respect international law and not impede the work of the Libyan Coast Guard. Disembarkation platforms in third countries from which some asylum seekers could be relocated and voluntary controlled centres in EU member states were an option agreed to, though no country has currently agreed to host either. There was also agreement on the need to have dedicated funds to manage external migration in the next MFF.
The aim of ‘controlled centres’ inside the EU would be to improve the process of distinguishing between those individuals who qualify for refugee status, and those who don’t. The centres would be managed by a Member State with support from EU agencies. The Commission has offered to assist any member state granting access to their ports for disembarkation through a disembarkation team, which could include around 500 people from Frontex, Europol and the European Asylum Support Office. The EU budget could also cover all infrastructure and operational costs. The initial registration and asylum screening process could be as short as 72 hours.
For those Member States which agree to process a share of those disembarked from sea, the Commision is offering to allocate €6,000 per person relocated and will cover the transfer costs of €500 per person given to the country of disembarkation.
The European Commission intends to propose an upgrade to the European Border and Coastguard Agency (Frontex) to have 10,000 officiers by 2020, though most of them could be from a pool of national border guards to start with, with 50% of staff being permanent by 2027. It will have the power to bear arms, and would aim to intercept new arrivals, stop unauthorised travel between EU states and accelerate the return of rejected asylum seekers to their countries of origin, even without the consent of the member state. The agency would also gain more powers to exchange information with third countries. A senior EU official has been quoted as saying “we want to federalise external border protection as much as possible and help out countries on the front line.” However, certain EU member states such as Malta are reluctant about further competence shifts to Frontex.
The Italian government has recently been rejecting NGO vessels rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean from docking in Italy, though other member states such as Malta and France have done this as well. Italy has also rejected permission for Italian navy ships to dock in Italy to disembark rescued migrants, and threatened to torpedo Operation Sophia (the EU’s naval mission in the Mediterranean to combat people smuggling) if the rules weren’t changed to stop the automatic disembarkation of rescued migrants in Italy. The possibility of simply rejecting Sophia vessels from docking in Italian ports was also floated.
On 24th August, the Italian government threatened to withhold its EU budget contribution if other EU countries didn’t agree to taking migrants from the Italian Coast Guard ship Diciotti, currently stranded in an Italian port. The European Commission called a meeting of 12 EU member states, but no agreement was found at that meeting.
Only Ireland and Albania agreed to take in some of the migrants, and Italy also threatened to veto the EU’s next multi-year budget, the Multiannual Financial Framework if the EU didn’t start to share in the intake of migrants. The MFF is adopted by unanimous approval among member states following the approval of the European Parliament.
Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources Günther Oettinger pointed out that Italy refusing to pay its budgetary contribution would be the first time that event happened in the history of the European Union, and Italy would potentially face both late interest payments and sanctions.
The reform of the Common European Asylum System, comprising 7 proposals, may be touched upon:
Proposal Description Stage of legislative process
Dublin Regulation Determines which member state is responsible for processing an application for international protection EP adopted position, Council yet to adopt a position
Eurodac Regulation Strengthen the Eurodac fingerprint database by collecting more data such as facial images to facilitate returns and help tackle irregular migration Political agreement
EU Asylum Agency Upgrading the European Asylum Support Office to a full EU Asylum Agency, providing guidance and assistance for assessments of asylum applications Agreement, but won’t be adopted until other proposals finalised
Asylum Procedure Regulation Aims to achieve a fully harmonised EU procedure for granting and withdrawing international protection EP adopted position, Council yet to adopt a position
Qualification Regulation Harmonised protection standards and rights for asylum seekers, ensuring asylum seekers are treated in the same way in all member states Negotiations between EP and Council
Reception Conditions Directive Harmonised EU reception standards for asylum seekers Negotiations between EP and Council
EU Resettlement Framework Common framework for EU member states resettling recognised refugees from outside EU territory Negotiations between EP and Council
There will be a report on progress during the October 2018 European Council.
The latest proposals from the Austrian presidency are to have a form of “mandatory” solidarity whereby member states are free to help with migration either by taking in migrants, giving experts and equipment or contributing in some other way. However, Italy reportedly rejects this plan and wants more relocation of migrants. Background information: Finding solutions to migratory pressures
Background information: Reform of EU asylum rules
Commission factsheets on migration

Trade

In July 2018, President Trump and President Juncker came to an agreement on trade which provided for negotiations which would explore the possibility of negotiating a deal facilitating zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods. Tariffs on automobiles are stopped for as long as there is suitable progress on negotiations, with the tariffs on steel and aluminium being reviewed.
Trump later dismissed the EU’s offer on tariffs as “not good enough” and said the EU’s trade policies were almost as bad as China’s after Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said the EU was “willing to bring down...our car tariffs to zero”, provided the USA did the same. The USA is holding out on the prospect of a partial trade deal within the next two months.
If tariffs on cars were to be introduced, the European Commission has been working on a list of US products that would face retaliatory tariffs.
Italy has threatened to veto the ratification of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) negotiated with Canada. Currently, the trade deal is provisionally applied, meaning most of its provisions are in force pending the ratification of all member states. If a member state fails to ratify, provisional application has to be terminated.
In last year’s SOTEU speech, Juncker announced that all proposed negotiating mandates for future trade and investment details would be published, starting for the negotiations with Australia and New Zealand.
The status of the EU’s trade deal negotiations is as follows:
Country Status
Australia Negotiation, 2nd round in November
Canada Provisionally applied since 21st September 2017, but CJEU case pending on the compatibility of its court system with EU law. Austria’s and Belgium’s ratification depend on the outcome of this case.
Chile Negotiation, 3rd round concluded in June 2018, no new date set.
Indonesia Negotiation, 6th round in October 2018
Japan Signed, but yet to be ratified by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. Aim to be applied by April 2019, before Brexit. No national ratification is needed.
Singapore Commission has proposed decision to sign and ratify the EU-Singapore agreements. The FTA will only need European Parliament and Council of Ministers approval, while the Investment Protection Agreement will need that in addition to national ratification.
Mercosur Negotiation, next round September 10th - 14th, will require national ratification.
New Zealand Negotiation, 1st round concluded in July 2018
Mexico Agreement in principle, aim to finish the legal text by the end of 2018.
Vietnam Currently undergoing translation into all EU languages, Commission will then propose to sign and ratify the deal. Also split into a Free Trade Agreement (EP/Council approval) and an Investment Protection Agreement (requiring national ratification).

Rule of Law

In December 2017, the European Commission activated Article 7(1) for the first time in the history of the EU, citing threats to the rule of law and judicial independence in Poland. Infringement proceedings have also been launched against the Law on Ordinary Courts, and most recently against the Law on the Supreme Court, which may have forced around 40% of Supreme Court judges to retire. The Supreme Court has suspended the law as it awaits the results of a CJEU case on the law.
The European Parliament will vote on whether or not to Article 7(1) against Hungary later today, determining a clear risk of a serious breach of the EU’s values, after the Civil Liberties committee adopted a report recommending its activation. The European Parliament will have to vote by a ⅔ majority to trigger the article, though abstentions will not count towards this threshold. The European People’s Party, of which the governing party of Hungary Fidesz is a member, will be given a free vote on the matter.
Following this, a hearing will be conducted of Hungary where the Council can address recommendations to it. The Council needs to vote by a ⅘ majority to actually determine a clear risk of a serious breach of the EU’s values. This is separate from Article 7(2), which is the process leading to sanctions.
As part of the 2021-2027 MFF proposals, the Commission has proposed a mechanism whereby EU funding could be suspended to member states that don’t have independent judiciaries or flout the rule of law. The Commission would propose to suspend funding, and the decision is presumed to be adopted unless a qualified majority of EU countries votes against it. Individual beneficiaries of EU funding through schemes such as Erasmus+ should not be affected.
In October 2018, the Commission intends to produce a mechanism to promote the rule of law in the European Union, though it is not yet clear what form this may take.
The Commission will also produce a document which discusses the possibility of expanding the competences of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office to fight cross-border terrorism, which currently has a mandate to fight fraud against the EU budget. 22 member states (all bar Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, Poland, Sweden & the United Kingdom) are currently part of the project.

Brexit

The United Kingdom and the European Union have reached agreement on at least 80% of the draft withdrawal agreement text, including issues such as the rights of EU citizens post Brexit and the budgetary settlement that the UK will pay. Agreement was also reached on a transition period, where the UK would follow EU law and pay into the budget as if it was a member until December 31st, 2020. The UK can negotiate and sign deals during this period but not implement them unless authorised by the European Commission.
Negotiations are still needed on certain issues, such as the Protocol on Northern Ireland and the way a hard border can be avoided between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus, Gibraltar, data protection, ongoing police and judicial cooperation, the role of the EU Court of Justice and geographical indicators are other areas that are yet to be resolved.
The UK Government published a White Paper (also referred to as the ‘Chequers’ agreement) on July 12th, 2018, leading to the resignation of Cabinet ministers Boris Johnson and David Davis from the government. The EU has also opposed this agreement, with Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier stating that accepting it could be “the end of the single market and the European project.” It is still controversial in the UK as well, with a former Brexit minister Steve Baker predicting up to 80 Conservative MPs could vote against the agreement. The UK government may even scrap the agreement if the EU gives way on its hard position on the Irish border.
Some EU member states are considering giving Barnier a new mandate to help close a Brexit deal, which will be discussed at the Salzburg summit in a week's time. The planned timing of a deal and the remaining sticking points such as the Irish border will be discussed. Formal guidelines would be adopted by the October European Council, and talks would aimed to be concluded at a hypothetical special Brexit summit in November. However, other sources have said that the current guidelines are sufficient and that the UK may not like the content of hypothetical new guidelines.
The Brexit withdrawal agreement will need the consent of the European Parliament and a reinforced qualified majority vote (72% of the states representing 65% of the population) in the Council of Ministers. It will be accompanied by a political declaration on the future relationship between the UK and the EU, though negotiations can’t properly start until the UK becomes a third country.
Background information: Brexit
Background information: Brexit negotiations

Internal Market

Following a public consultation in which 4.6 million European citizens replied, the European Commission will propose to scrap the biannual change in the clocks. 84% of those who responded were in favour of scrapping the change. Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc has stated the change was unlikely to happen before 2021 at the earliest. EU countries are free to decide on their own time zones.
A “digital tax” was proposed by the European Commission whereby EU member states would charge a 3% levy on large companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google. This idea has proved controversial, with countries such as Ireland preferring a solution adopted at a global level to avoid stifling investment and innovation.
To facilitate agreement on the file, France has said it could consider ways to compensate Ireland for possible lost revenues from the proposal, and a "sunset clause" has been suggested where by the EU tax would no longer have effect once the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) comes up with a global solution. The aim is to agree on the EU tax by the end of 2018.

Foreign Relations

High Representative Federica Mogherini wants to see a binding agreement on relations between Serbia and Kosovo by the end of her mandate in November 2019. Recently, there have been suggestions of ‘border swaps’ between Kosovo and Serbia to agree on a deal. Some have been receptive to the idea, but countries such as Germany have rejected any border changes.
Germany has begun construction of Nord Stream II in German coastal waters, a controversial gas pipeline with Russia, despite the threat of US sanctions on the companies involved in financing the pipeline and the objection of some Eastern European states. President Trump has started that the project would make Germany a “captive” of Russia.
Germany, Finland, Sweden and Russia have given approval for the pipeline to pass through their territorial waters, but Denmark’s approval is still pending. Nord Stream 2 filed an application to Denmark for a new route that would avoid Denmark’s territorial waters altogether.
The European Commission also published a plan to provide €18 million in aid to Iran following some US sanctions being re-introduced on August 6th. In November, the US will introduce sanctions on oil. The EU has introduced a ‘blocking statute’ which forbids companies from complying with US sanctions. If firms are wanting to pull out of Iran to comply with US sanctions, they should get EU authorisation, but not if it is a business decision.
A communication on extending the use of qualified majority voting (QMV) in foreign policy will be produced, exploring the possibility of introducing QMV rules on human rights, sanctions, and joint civilian mission decisions. Certain sanctions regimes may keep unanimity rules, but it could be used especially when the EU has to implement UN sanctions. It will require unanimous agreement among all member states to move from unanimity to qualified majority voting rules.

Environment

On Monday, the European Parliament’s Environment committee voted for cutting emissions for cars and vans by 20% by 2025 and 45% by 2030, above the targets of 15% and 30% proposed by the Commission. The plenary of the European Parliament will vote on the issue next month.
Carbon prices under the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) hit a decade high in August 2018 at €20 a tonne, following reforms to introduce a Market Stability Reserve that removes excess credits from the market.
The ETS provides ‘licences’ to pollute a certain amount each year. Those businesses that don’t have enough licences for the amount of pollution they give off are required to purchase more else they are fined, while those who have more licences than needed can sell the excess. The cap is progressively reduced over time so as to reduce carbon emissions within the EU.
The European Commission will potentially produce a long-term EU strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in November 2018.

Previous State of the European Union Speeches

2017

President Juncker presented a much more upbeat picture of the state of the EU, saying "the wind is back in Europe's sails." He rejected calls for a multi-speed Europe, stating that “Europe must breathe with both lungs. Otherwise our continent will struggle for air.” He also stated that now was the time for completing the “European House” as the “sun is shining”.
He announced various proposals, such as creating an EU Cybersecurity Agency, trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand, reforms of the Eurozone, opening up Schengen to Bulgaria and Romania, and moving to more qualified majority voting for certain decisions.

2016

For Juncker’s second SOTEU speech, he again put forward a somewhat gloomy picture of the state of the EU, stating that “our European Union is, at least in part, in an existential crisis”. This speech followed the UK’s vote to leave the European Union in June 2016.
He mentioned how the EU was currently facing many “unresolved problems”, and revealed proposals the Commission would be putting forward over the next year to try to resolve them, attempting to create a Europe that “protects, empowers and defends”.

2015

Juncker’s first SOTEU speech as Commission President mentioned how there was “not enough Union in this Union”, painting a somewhat dark picture of the state of the European Union at the time.
The main topics of his speech were migration, the Eurozone crisis, the UK’s (then) future referendum on EU membership, EU-Ukraine relations and addressing climate change.

2014

There was no State of the Union speech, as it was the year of the European Parliament elections.
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2018.09.04 22:15 aer-o [ROLEPLAY] ! Extreme Instability !

Rapid City Journal (RCJ) - January 21st Edition
1965–1970: Early career Influenced by early-rock-and-roll and rhythm-and-blues artists, including groups such as The Beatles, The Drifters and The Four Seasons, he favored tightly-structured pop melodies and down-to-earth, unpretentious songwriting.[20]
After seeing The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, Joel decided to pursue a career in music. In an interview he said of the group's impact, "That one performance changed my life … Up to that moment I'd never considered playing rock as a career. And when I saw four guys who didn't look like they'd come out of the Hollywood star mill, who played their own songs and instruments, and especially because you could see this look in John Lennon's face – and he looked like he was always saying: 'F--- you!' – I said: 'I know these guys, I can relate to these guys, I am these guys.' This is what I'm going to do – play in a rock band'."[21]
Joel joined the Echoes,[22] a group that specialized in British Invasion covers. The Echoes began recording in 1965. Joel (then 16) also played piano on several records released through Kama Sutra Productions and on recordings produced by Shadow Morton. Joel played on a demo version of "Leader of the Pack", which would become a major hit for the Shangri-Las.[23] Joel states that in 1964 he played on a recording of the Shangri-Las' "Remember (Walking in the Sand)" but he is unaware of whether he played on the demo or master version;[24] The released single included a co-producer credit for Artie Ripp,[25] who later was the first to sign and produce Joel as a solo artist after Michael Lang, who had given Joel a monetary advance, passed Joel along to Ripp to focus his attentions elsewhere instead.[26]
In late 1965, the Echoes changed their name to the Emeralds and then to the Lost Souls. Joel left the band in 1967 to join the Hassles, a Long Island group that had signed with United Artists Records.[27] Over the next year and a half they released four singles and two albums (The Hassles and Hour of the Wolf). All were commercial failures. Joel and drummer Jon Small left the Hassles in 1969 to form the duo Attila, releasing an eponymous debut album in July 1970. The duo disbanded the following October when Joel began an affair with Small's wife, Elizabeth, whom Joel eventually married.[28]
1970–1974: Cold Spring Harbor and Piano Man Joel signed a contract with the record company Family Productions (owned by Artie Ripp but backed by Gulf + Western[29]), with which he recorded his first solo album, Cold Spring Harbor (a reference to Cold Spring Harbor, New York, a town on Long Island). Ripp states that he spent $450,000 developing Joel;[29] nevertheless, the album was mastered at the wrong speed and as a result, the album was a technical and commercial disappointment.[30]
The popular songs "She's Got a Way" and "Everybody Loves You Now" were originally released on this album, but went largely unnoticed until being released as live performances on Songs in the Attic (1981). Columbia released a remastered version of Cold Spring Harbor in 1983.
Joel began his Cold Spring Harbor tour in the fall of 1971, touring with his band (Rhys Clark on drums, Al Hertzberg on guitar, and Larry Russell on bass guitar) throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico, opening for groups such as the J. Geils Band, The Beach Boys, Badfinger, and Taj Mahal. Joel's performance at the Puerto Rican Mar Y Sol Pop Festival was especially well-received; and although recorded, Joel refused to have it published on the Mar Y Sol compilation album Mar Y Sol: The First International Puerto Rico Pop Festival. Nevertheless, interest in his music grew.[31]
During the spring of 1972, the Philadelphia radio station WMMR-FM began playing a concert recording of "Captain Jack", which became an underground hit on the East Coast. Herb Gordon, a Columbia Records executive, heard Joel's music and introduced him to the company. Joel signed a recording contract with Columbia in 1972 and moved to Los Angeles; he lived there for the next three years.[1][32] For six months he worked at The Executive Room piano bar on Wilshire Boulevard as "Bill Martin". During that time, he composed his signature hit "Piano Man" about the bar's patrons.[33]
Despite Joel's new contract, he was still legally bound to Family Productions. Artie Ripp sold Joel's first contract to Columbia. Walter Yetnikoff, the president of CBS/Columbia Records at the time, bought back the rights to Joel's songs in the late 1970s, giving the rights to Joel as a birthday gift.[34][35] Yetnikoff notes in the documentary film The Last Play at Shea that he had to threaten Ripp to close the deal.
Joel's first album with Columbia was Piano Man, released in 1973. Despite modest sales, Piano Man's title track became his signature song, ending nearly every concert. That year Joel's touring band changed. Guitarist Al Hertzberg was replaced by Don Evans, and bassist Larry Russell by Patrick McDonald, himself replaced in late 1974 by Doug Stegmeyer, who would stay with Joel until 1989. Rhys Clark returned as drummer and Tom Whitehorse as banjoist and pedal steel player; Johnny Almond joined as saxophonist and keyboardist. The band toured the US and Canada extensively, appearing on popular music shows. Joel's songwriting began attracting more attention; in 1974 Helen Reddy recorded "You're My Home" (Piano Man).
1974–1977: Streetlife Serenade and Turnstiles In 1974, Joel recorded his second Columbia album in Los Angeles, Streetlife Serenade. His manager at the time was Jon Troy, an old friend from the New York neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant; Troy would soon be replaced by Joel's wife Elizabeth.[36] Streetlife Serenade contains references to suburbia and the inner city. It is perhaps best known for "The Entertainer", a No. 34 hit in the US. Upset that "Piano Man" had been significantly cut for radio play, Joel wrote "The Entertainer" as a sarcastic response: "If you're gonna have a hit, you gotta make it fit, so they cut it down to 3:05." Although Streetlife Serenade is often considered[by whom?] one of Joel's weaker albums (Joel dislikes it himself), it contains the notable songs "Los Angelenos" and "Root Beer Rag", an instrumental that was a staple of his live set in the 1970s.
In late 1975, Joel played piano and organ on several tracks on Bo Diddley's The 20th Anniversary of Rock 'n' Roll all-star album.
Disenchanted with Los Angeles, Joel returned to New York City in 1975 and recorded Turnstiles, the first album he recorded with the group of hand-picked musicians who became the Billy Joel Band. Produced by James William Guercio (then Chicago's producer), Turnstiles was first recorded at Caribou Ranch with members of Elton John's band. Dissatisfied with the result, Joel re-recorded the songs and produced the album himself.
"Say Goodbye to Hollywood" was a minor hit; Ronnie Spector recorded a cover as did Nigel Olsson, then drummer with Elton John. In a 2008 radio interview, Joel said that he no longer performs the song because singing it in its high original key "shreds" his vocal cords; however, he did finally play it live for the first time since 1982 when he sang it at the Hollywood Bowl in May 2014. Though never released as a single, "New York State of Mind" became one of Joel's best-known songs; Barbra Streisand and Tony Bennett have each recorded covers (Bennett's a duet with Joel on Playing with My Friends: Bennett Sings the Blues). Other notable songs from the album include "Summer, Highland Falls", "Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)", "Say Goodbye to Hollywood", (a live version of which became a Top 40 hit), and "Prelude/Angry Young Man", a concert mainstay.
1977–1979: The Stranger and 52nd Street Columbia Records introduced Joel to Phil Ramone, who would produce all of Joel's studio albums from The Stranger (1977) to The Bridge (1986). The Stranger was an enormous commercial success, yielding four Top-25 hits on the Billboard charts: "Just the Way You Are" (#3), "Movin' Out" (#17), "Only the Good Die Young" (#24), and "She's Always a Woman" (#17). Joel's first Top Ten album, The Stranger was certified multi-platinum and reached number two on the charts, outselling Simon & Garfunkel's Bridge over Troubled Water,[37] Columbia's previous best-selling album. The Stranger also featured "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant", an album-oriented rock classic, which has become one of his best-known songs.
The Stranger song "Just the Way You Are" — written for Joel's first wife, Elizabeth Weber[38] — was inspired by a dream[39] and won Grammy awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.[40] On tour in Paris, Joel learned the news late at night in his hotel room.[22] Rolling Stone ranked The Stranger the 70th greatest album of all time.[41]
Expectations were high for Joel's next album, 52nd Street, which he released in 1978, naming it after Manhattan's famous 52nd Street, which, at the time of its release, served as the world headquarters of CBS/ Columbia. The album sold over seven million copies, propelled to number one on the charts by the following hits: "My Life" (#3); followed successes from the album were "Big Shot" (#14), and "Honesty" (#24). A cover of "My Life" (sung by Gary Bennett) became the theme song for a new television sitcom, Bosom Buddies, which featured actor Tom Hanks in one of his earliest roles. 52nd Street won Grammy awards for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male and Album of the Year.
In 1979, Joel also traveled to Havana, Cuba, to participate in the historic Havana Jam festival that took place between March 2–4, alongside Rita Coolidge, Kris Kristofferson, Stephen Stills, the CBS Jazz All-Stars, the Trio of Doom, Fania All-Stars, Billy Swan, Bonnie Bramlett, Mike Finnegan, Weather Report, and an array of Cuban artists such as Irakere, Pacho Alonso, Tata Güines and Orquesta Aragón.[42] His performance is captured in Ernesto Juan Castellanos's documentary Havana Jam '79.
1979–1983: Glass Houses and The Nylon Curtain The success of his piano-driven ballads like "Just the Way You Are", "She's Always a Woman", and "Honesty" led some critics to label Joel a "balladeer" and "soft rocker". Joel thought these labels were unfair and insulting, and with Glass Houses, he tried to record an album that proved that he could rock harder than his critics gave him credit for, occasionally imitating and referring to the style of new wave rock music that was starting to become popular at the time. On the front cover of the album, Joel is pictured in a leather jacket, about to throw a rock at a glass house (referring to the adage that "people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones").
Glass Houses spent six weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard chart and yielded such hits as "You May Be Right" (used as the theme song, covered by Southside Johnny, for the CBS mid-1990s sitcom Dave's World) (#7, May 1980), "Don't Ask Me Why" (#19, September 1980), "Sometimes a Fantasy" (#36, November 1980) and "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me", which became Joel's first Billboard number-one single (for two weeks) in July 1980. "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" spent 11 weeks in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 and was the 7th biggest hit of 1980 according to American Top 40.
Glass Houses won the Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male. It would also win the American Music Award for Favorite Album, Pop/Rock category. The album's closing song, "Through The Long Night" (B-side of the "It's Still Rock & Roll to Me" single), was a lullaby that featured Joel harmonizing with himself in a song he says was inspired by The Beatles' "Yes It Is".[31] In a recorded Masterclass at the University of Pennsylvania, Joel later recollected that he had written to the Beatles asking them how to get started in the music industry. In response, he received a pamphlet about Beatles merchandise. This later led to the idea of Joel conducting Q&A sessions around the world answering questions that people had about the music industry.[43]
His next release, Songs in the Attic, was composed of live performances of less well-known songs from the beginning of his career. It was recorded during larger US arenas and intimate night club shows in June and July 1980. This release introduced many fans, who discovered Joel when The Stranger became a smash in 1977, to many of his earlier compositions. The album reached No. 8 on the Billboard chart and produced two hit singles: "Say Goodbye to Hollywood" (#17), and "She's Got a Way" (#23). It sold over 3 million copies. Though not as successful as some of his previous albums, the album was still considered a success by Joel.[31]
The next wave of Joel's career commenced with the recording of his next studio album, The Nylon Curtain. With The Nylon Curtain, Joel became more ambitious with his songwriting, trying his hand at writing topical songs like "Allentown" and "Goodnight Saigon". Joel has stated that he wanted the album to communicate his feelings about the American Dream and how changes in American politics during the Reagan years meant that "all of a sudden you weren't going to be able to inherit [the kind of life] your old man had."[44] He also tried to be more ambitious in his use of the recording studio. Joel said that he wanted to "create a sonic masterpiece" on The Nylon Curtain. So he spent more time in the studio, crafting the sound of the album, than he had on any previous album.[44] Production of The Nylon Curtain began in the fall of 1981. However, production was temporarily delayed when Joel was involved in a serious motorcycle accident on Long Island on April 15, 1982, severely injuring his hands. Still, Joel quickly recovered from his injuries, and the album only ended up being delayed by a few months.[45]
In 1982, he embarked on a brief tour in support of the album. From one of the final shows of the tour, Joel made his first video special, Live from Long Island, which was recorded at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York on December 30, 1982. It was originally broadcast on HBO in 1983 before it became available on VHS.
The Nylon Curtain went to No. 7 on the charts, partially due to heavy airplay on MTV for the videos to the singles "Allentown" and "Pressure". "Allentown" spent six weeks at a peak position of No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it one of the most-played radio songs of 1982, pushing it into 1983's year-end Top 70, and making it the most successful song from The Nylon Curtain album, besting "Pressure" which peaked at No. 20 (where it resided for three weeks) and "Goodnight Saigon" which reached No. 56 on U.S. charts.[46]
1983–1988: An Innocent Man and The Bridge Joel's next album moved away from the serious themes of The Nylon Curtain and struck a much lighter tone. The album An Innocent Man was Joel's tribute to R&B and doo wop music of the 1950s and 1960s and resulted in Joel's second Billboard number-one hit, "Tell Her About It", which was the first single off the album in the summer of 1983. The album itself reached No. 4 on the charts and No. 2 in UK. It also boasted six top-30 singles, the most of any album in Joel's catalog. The album was well received by critics, with Stephen Thomas Erlewine, senior editor for AllMusic, describing Joel as being "in top form as a craftsman throughout the record, effortlessly spinning out infectious, memorable melodies in a variety of styles."[47]
At the time that the album was released, WCBS-FM began playing "Uptown Girl" both in regular rotation and on the Doo Wop Live.[48][49] The song became a worldwide hit upon its release. The music video of the song, originally written about then girlfriend Elle MacPherson, featured future wife Christie Brinkley as a high society girl, whose car pulls into the gas station where Joel's character is working. At the end of the video, Joel's "grease monkey" character drives off with his "uptown girl" on the back of a motorcycle. When Brinkley went to visit Joel after being asked to star in the video, the first thing Joel said to her upon opening his door was "I don't dance". Brinkley had to walk him through the basic steps he does in the video. Their work together on this video shoot sparked a relationship between the two which would later lead to their marriage in 1985.[50]
In December, the title song, "An Innocent Man", was released as a single and it peaked at No. 10 in the U.S. and No. 8 in the UK, early in 1984. That March, "The Longest Time" was released as a single, peaking at No. 14 on the Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart. That summer, "Leave a Tender Moment Alone" was released and it hit No. 27 while "Keeping the Faith" peaked at No. 18 in January 1985. In the video for "Keeping the Faith", Christie Brinkley also plays the "redhead girl in a Chevrolet". An Innocent Man was also nominated for the Album of the Year Grammy, but lost to Michael Jackson's Thriller.
Joel participated in the USA For Africa We Are The World project in 1985, capping off a series of successful singles.
Following the success of An Innocent Man, Joel was asked about releasing an album of his most successful singles. This was not the first time this topic had come up, but Joel had initially considered "Greatest Hits" albums as marking the end of one's career. This time he agreed, and Greatest Hits Vol. 1 and 2 was released as a four-sided album and two-CD set, with the songs in the order in which they were released. The new songs "You're Only Human (Second Wind)" and "The Night Is Still Young" were recorded and released as singles to support the album; both reached the top 40, peaking at No. 9 and No. 34, respectively. Greatest Hits was highly successful and it has since been certified double diamond by the RIAA, with over 11.5 million copies (23 million units) sold. It is one of the best-selling albums in American music history, according to the RIAA.
Coinciding with the Greatest Hits album release, Joel released a two-volume Video Album that was a compilation of the promotional videos he had recorded from 1977 to the present time. Along with videos for the new singles off the Greatest Hits album, Joel also recorded a video for his first hit, "Piano Man", for this project.
Though it broke into the top ten, Joel's next album, The Bridge (1986), did not achieve the level of success of his previous albums, but it yielded the hits "A Matter of Trust" and "Modern Woman" from the film Ruthless People, a dark comedy from the directors of Airplane! (both #10). In a departure from his "piano man" persona, Joel is shown in the video playing a Gibson Les Paul. The ballad "This is the Time" also charted, peaking at No. 18.
On November 18, 1986, an extended version of the song "Big Man on Mulberry Street" was used on a Season 3 episode of Moonlighting. The episode itself was also titled "Big Man on Mulberry Street".
The Bridge was Joel's last album to carry the Family Productions logo, after which he severed his ties with Artie Ripp. Joel has also stated in many interviews, most recently in a 2008 interview in Performing Songwriter magazine, that he does not think The Bridge is a good album.
In October 1986, Joel and his handlers started planning a trip to the Soviet Union. He became one of the first American rock acts to play there since the Berlin Wall went up, a fact not lost on history buff Joel.[51] There were live performances at indoor arenas in Moscow, Leningrad and Tbilisi. Joel, his family (including young daughter Alexa), and his full touring band made the trip in August 1987. The entourage was filmed for television and video to offset the cost of the trip, and the concerts were simulcast on radio around the world. Joel's Russian tour was the first live rock radio broadcast in Soviet history.[52]
Most of that audience took a long while to warm up to Joel's energetic show, something that had never happened in other countries he had performed in. According to Joel, each time the fans were hit with the bright lights, anybody who seemed to be enjoying themselves froze. In addition, people who were "overreacting" were removed by security.[53] It was during this concert that Joel, enraged by the bright lights, flipped his electric piano and snapped a microphone stand while continuing to sing the current part of the set.[54] He later apologized for that incident.
The album КОНЦЕРТ (Russian for "Concert") was released in October 1987. Singer Pete Hewlett was brought in to hit the high notes on his most vocally challenging songs, like "An Innocent Man". Joel also did versions of The Beatles' classic "Back in the U.S.S.R." and Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are a-Changin". It has been estimated that Joel lost more than $1 million of his own money on the trip and concerts, but he has said the goodwill he was shown there was well worth it.[31]
1988–1993: Storm Front and River of Dreams The recording of the album Storm Front, which commenced in 1988, coincided with major changes in Joel's career and inaugurated a period of serious upheaval in his business affairs. In August 1989, just before the album was released, Joel dismissed his manager (and former brother-in-law) Frank Weber after an audit revealed major discrepancies in Weber's accounting. Joel subsequently sued Weber for $90 million, claiming fraud and breach of fiduciary duty and in January 1990 he was awarded $2 million in a partial judgment against Weber; in April, the court dismissed a $30 million countersuit filed by Weber.[55]
The first single for the album, "We Didn't Start the Fire", was released in September 1989 and it became Joel's third and – to date – most-recent US number-one hit, spending two weeks at the top. Storm Front was released in October, and it eventually became Joel's first number-one album since Glass Houses, nine years earlier. Storm Front was Joel's first album since Turnstiles to be recorded without Phil Ramone as producer. For this album, he wanted a new sound, and worked with Mick Jones of Foreigner fame. Joel is also credited as one of the keyboard players on Jones' 1988 self-titled solo album, and is featured in the official video for Jones' single "Just Wanna Hold"; Joel can be seen playing the piano while his then-wife Christie Brinkley joins him and kisses him. Joel also revamped his backing band, dismissing everyone but drummer Liberty DeVitto, guitarist David Brown, and saxophone player Mark Rivera, and bringing in new faces, including multi-instrumentalist Crystal Taliefero.
Storm Front's second single, "I Go to Extremes" reached No. 6 in early 1990. The album was also notable for its song "Leningrad", written after Joel met a clown in the Soviet city of that name during his tour in 1987, and "The Downeaster Alexa", written to underscore the plight of fishermen on Long Island who are barely able to make ends meet. Another well-known single from the album is the ballad "And So It Goes" (#37 in late 1990). The song was originally written in 1983, around the time Joel was writing songs for An Innocent Man; but "And So It Goes" did not fit that album's retro theme, so it was held back until Storm Front. Joel said in a 1996 Masterclass session in Pittsburgh that Storm Front was a turbulent album and that "And So It Goes", as the last song on the album, portrayed the calm and tranquility that often follows a violent thunderstorm.
In the summer of 1992, Joel filed another $90 million lawsuit against his former lawyer Allen Grubman, alleging a wide range of offenses including fraud, breach of fiduciary responsibility, malpractice and breach of contract[56] but the case was eventually settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.[57]
In 1992, Joel inducted the R&B duo Sam & Dave into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. That year, Joel also started work on River of Dreams, finishing the album in early 1993. Its cover art was a colorful painting by Christie Brinkley that was a series of scenes from each of the songs on the album. The eponymous first single was the last top 10 hit Joel has penned to date, reaching No. 3 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart and ranking at No. 21 on the 1993 year-end Hot 100 chart. In addition to the title track, the album includes the hits "All About Soul" (with Color Me Badd on backing vocals) and "Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)", written for his daughter, Alexa. A radio remix version of "All About Soul" can be found on The Essential Billy Joel (2001), and a demo version appears on My Lives (2005).
The song "The Great Wall of China" was written about his ex-manager Frank Weber and was a regular in the setlist for Joel's 2006 tour. "2000 Years" was prominent in the millennium concert at Madison Square Garden, December 31, 1999, and "Famous Last Words" closed the book on Joel's pop songwriting for more than a decade.
1993–present: Touring Beginning in 1994, Joel toured extensively with Elton John on a series of "Face to Face" tours, making them the longest running and most successful concert tandem in pop music history.[58] During these shows, the two have played their own songs, each other's songs and performed duets. They grossed over US$46 million in just 24 dates in their sold out[59] 2003 tour. Joel and John resumed the Face to Face tour in March 2009[59] and it ended again, at least for the time being, in March 2010 in Albany, New York, at the Times Union Center. In February 2010, Joel denied rumors in the trade press that he canceled a summer 2010 leg of the tour, claiming there were never any dates booked and that he intended to take the year off.[60] Joel told Rolling Stone magazine: "We'll probably pick it up again. It's always fun playing with him."[61]
Joel performing in 2007 in Florida On August 25, 1994, Joel and second wife Christie Brinkley divorced, but they remained friends.
1997's "To Make You Feel My Love" and "Hey Girl" both charted from Joel's Greatest Hits Volume III album. Joel wrote and recorded the song "Shameless" that was later covered by Garth Brooks and reached No. 1 on Billboard's country charts. Joel performed with Brooks during his Central Park concert in 1997. To add onto his achievements Joel was inducted into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame in 1999. Ray Charles made the induction speech and mentioned the duet Joel wrote for the two of them, "Baby Grand" (a track on Joel's album The Bridge released in 1986).
On December 31, 1999, Joel performed at New York's Madison Square Garden. At the time, Joel said that it would be his last tour and possibly his last concert. Two of his performances from that night, "We Didn't Start the Fire" and "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" were filmed and featured that night as part of ABC's special New Year's Y2K coverage. The concert (dubbed The Night of the 2000 Years) ran for close to four hours and was later released as 2000 Years: The Millennium Concert.
In 2001, Joel released Fantasies & Delusions, a collection of classical piano pieces. All were composed by Joel and performed by Hyung-ki Joo. Joel often uses bits of these songs as interludes in live performances, and some of them are part of the score for the hit show Movin' Out. The album topped the classical charts at No. 1. Joel performed "New York State of Mind" live on September 21, 2001, as part of the America: A Tribute to Heroes benefit concert, and on October 20, 2001, along with "Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)", at the Concert for New York City in Madison Square Garden. That night, he also performed "Your Song" with Elton John.
In 2003, Joel inducted The Righteous Brothers into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, noting that his song "Until the Night" from the album 52nd Street was a tribute to the duo.
In 2005, Columbia released a box set, My Lives, which is largely a compilation of demos, b-sides, live/alternate versions and even a few Top 40 hits. The compilation also includes the Umixit software, in which people can remix "Zanzibar" and a live version of "I Go to Extremes" with their PC. Also, a DVD of a show from the River of Dreams tour is included.
Billy Joel with his band performing in California On January 7, 2006, Joel began a tour across the U.S. Having not written, or at least released, any new songs in 13 years, he featured a sampling of songs from throughout his career, including major hits as well as obscure tunes like "Zanzibar" and "All for Leyna". His tour included an unprecedented 12 sold-out concerts over several months at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The singer's stint of 12 shows at Madison Square Garden broke a previous record set by New Jersey native Bruce Springsteen, who played 10 sold-out shows at the same arena. The record earned Joel the first retired number (12) in the arena owned by a non-athlete. This honor has also been given to Joel at the Wells Fargo Center (Philadelphia) (formerly the Wachovia Center) in Philadelphia where a banner in the colors of the Philadelphia Flyers is hung honoring Joel's 46 Philadelphia sold-out shows. He also had a banner raised in his honor for being the highest grossing act in the history of the Times Union Center (formerly the Knickerbocker Arena and Pepsi Arena) in Albany, New York. This honor was given to him as part of the April 17, 2007, show he did there. On June 13, 2006, Columbia released 12 Gardens Live, a double album containing 32 live recordings from a collection of the 12 different shows at Madison Square Garden during Joel's 2006 tour.
Joel visited the United Kingdom and Ireland for the first time in many years as part of the European leg of his 2006 tour. On July 31, 2006, he performed a free concert in Rome, with the Colosseum as the backdrop.[62]
Joel toured South Africa, Australia, Japan, and Hawaii in late 2006, and subsequently toured the Southeastern U.S. in February and March 2007 before hitting the Midwest in the spring of 2007. On January 3 of that year, news was leaked to the New York Post that Billy had recorded a new song with lyrics—this being the first new song with lyrics he'd written in almost 14 years.[63] The song, titled "All My Life", was Joel's newest single (with second track "You're My Home", live from Madison Square Garden 2006 tour) and was released into stores on February 27, 2007.[64] On February 4, Joel sang the national anthem for Super Bowl XLI, becoming the first to sing the national anthem twice at a Super Bowl. and on April 17, 2007, Joel was honored in Albany, New York, for his ninth concert at the Times Union Center. He is now holding the highest box office attendance of any artist to play at the arena. A banner was raised in his honor marking this achievement.
On December 1, 2007, Joel premiered his new song "Christmas in Fallujah".[65] The song was performed by Cass Dillon, a new Long Island based musician, as Joel felt it should be sung by someone in a soldier's age range (though he himself has played the song occasionally in concert.) The track was dedicated to servicemen based in Iraq. Joel wrote it in September 2007 after reading numerous letters sent to him from American soldiers in Iraq. "Christmas in Fallujah" is only the second pop/rock song released by Joel since 1993's River of Dreams. Proceeds from the song benefited the Homes For Our Troops foundation.
Joel with Mike DelGuidice in 2016 On January 26, 2008, Joel performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra celebrating the 151st anniversary of the Academy of Music. Joel premiered his new classical piece titled, "Waltz No. 2 (Steinway Hall)" arranged by Brad Ellis. He also played many of his less well-known pieces, with full orchestral backing arranged by Mr. Ellis, including the rarely performed Nylon Curtain songs "Scandinavian Skies" and "Where's the Orchestra?".
On March 10, 2008, Joel inducted his friend John Mellencamp into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.
Joel's staying power as a touring act continues to the present day. He sold out 10 concerts at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut from May to July 2008. The casino honored him with a banner displaying his name and the number 10 to hang in the arena. On June 19, 2008, he played a concert at the grand re-opening of Caesars Windsor (formerly Casino Windsor) in Windsor, Ontario, Canada to an invite-only crowd for Casino VIPs. His mood was light, and joke-filled, even introducing himself as "Billy Joel's dad" and stating "you guys overpaid to see a fat bald guy". He also admitted that Canadian folk-pop musician Gordon Lightfoot was the musical inspiration for "She's Always A Woman".[66]
On July 16, 2008, and July 18, 2008, Joel played the final concerts at Shea Stadium before its demolition. His guests included Tony Bennett, Don Henley, John Mayer, John Mellencamp, Steven Tyler, Roger Daltrey, Garth Brooks, and Paul McCartney. The concerts were featured in the 2010 documentary film Last Play at Shea. The film was released on DVD on February 8, 2011. The CD and DVD of the show, Live at Shea Stadium were released on March 8, 2011.
On December 11, 2008, Joel recorded his own rendition of "Christmas in Fallujah" during a concert at Acer Arena in Sydney and released it as a live single in Australia only. It is the only official release of Joel performing "Christmas in Fallujah", as Cass Dillon sang on the 2007 studio recording and the handful of times the song was played live in 2007. Joel sang the song throughout his December 2008 tour of Australia.
On May 19, 2009, Joel's former drummer, Liberty DeVitto, filed a lawsuit in NYC claiming Joel and Sony Music owed DeVitto over 10 years of royalty payments. DeVitto had never been given songwriting or arranging credit on any of Joel's songs, but he claimed that he helped arrange some of them, including "Only the Good Die Young".[67] In April 2010, it was announced that Joel and DeVitto amicably resolved the lawsuit.[68]
2011 marked the 40th anniversary of the release of Joel's first album, Cold Spring Harbor. According to Joel's official website, to commemorate this anniversary, Columbia/Legacy Recordings originally planned "to celebrate the occasion with a definitive reissue project of newly restored and expanded Legacy editions of the complete Billy Joel catalog, newly curated collections of rarities from the vaults, previously unavailable studio tracks and live performances, home video releases and more", although this never fully came to fruition.[69] The album Piano Man was re-released in a two-disc Legacy edition in November 2011.[69]
In 2012, Joel signed an exclusive worldwide publishing agreement with Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG), and its subsidiary Rondor Music International. Under the agreement, UMPG and Rondor replaced EMI Music Publishing in handling Joel's catalog outside the U.S. Additionally, the agreement marked the first time since Joel regained control of his publishing rights in the 1980s that he began to use an administrator to handle his catalog within the U.S. The agreement's focus is on increasing the use of Joel's music in movies, television programs, and commercials.[70]
On December 12, 2012, Joel performed as part of 12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief at Madison Square Garden, a concert held for all the victims of Hurricane Sandy. He changed the lyrics to "Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)" to make it relate to all the damage caused by Sandy.
In May 2013, it was announced that Joel would hold his first ever indoor Irish concert at the O2 in Dublin on November 1. He subsequently announced his return to the UK for the first time in seven years to perform three dates in October and November. Joel played two arena dates in Manchester and Birmingham plus a very special show at London's Hammersmith Apollo. In October, Joel held a surprise concert on Long Island at The Paramount (Huntington, New York) to benefit Long Island Cares. The venue holds a capacity of 1,555 and sold out in five minutes. Joel headlined a solo arena concert in New York City for the first time since 2006 when he performed at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on December 31, 2013. In 2015, Joel performed 21 concerts (in addition to his Madison Square Garden residency) from January 7 to August 2 in various cities around the U.S. and Canada.
On December 3, 2013, it was announced that Joel would become a franchise of Madison Square Garden, playing one concert a month indefinitely, starting with a date on January 27, 2014.[71]
Joel performing at Madison Square Garden in 2016 On January 7, 2014, the Billy Joel in Concert tour began. Joel kicked off the 2014 New Year in the Amway Center (in Orlando, Florida) and performed several cover songs such as Elton John's "Your Song", Billy Preston's "You Are So Beautiful" (in tribute to Joe Cocker), The Beatles' "With a Little Help from My Friends", "Can't Buy Me Love", and "When I'm 64", Robert Burns' "Auld Lang Syne", and AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long" (with Brian Johnson). Rufus Wainwright joined Joel during the concert to sing "New York State of Mind".[72] Joel also performed an unusual set, including the song "Souvenir" (from 1974's Streetlife Serenade) and excluding "We Didn't Start the Fire".[73]
On August 4, 2015 Joel played the final concert at Nassau Coliseum before the arena underwent a $261 million renovation.[74]
On April 5, 2017 Joel played the first concert at the newly renovated Nassau Coliseum.
On June 24, 2017, he returned to Hicksville High School fifty years after his would-be graduating class received their diplomas,[75] to deliver the honorary commencement address. It was also the 25th anniversary of receiving his own diploma from the same High School.
submitted by aer-o to worldpowers [link] [comments]


2018.08.26 18:02 UNDhockeyhateswomen A few questions from m a recent visitor...

I just got back from a whirlwind two-day drive from Dublin airport through Northern Ireland and back. My wife and I gathered a few questions along the way that we would love answered. Thanks in advance!
Is there any route where a road sign or something says when and where you’re crossing from Ireland and N Ireland or vice versa? All we noticed is the speed limit change and fuel prices. Also, the roadside signs we no longer in both Gaelic and English
I figured out who the hell Tyrone is so we can skip the question about why he’s needing good luck.
What is the purpose of the traffic light changing to red/yellow before green? Is that “release the clutch”?
Is Gaelic spoken as a first language commonly? How often is it used in commerce or conversation at work, dating or school?
Are euros and Irish Pounds interchangeable in both countries?
Is seasonal affective disorder a big thing? That was the coldest August day I’ve ever felt!
I’m sure I’ll have more but there’s a few....
Thanks again!
submitted by UNDhockeyhateswomen to northernireland [link] [comments]


2018.08.03 00:09 craigspencersmith AI finance news - is this useful to anyone?

Prime Trust acquires FundAmerica, Hitachi buys REAN, SGOCO plans USD 50m rights offering, Endava and Opera IPOs pop and downsized Aurora drops as trading starts, IBM spinoff takes investment from Peter Thiel fund, Google’s AI-focused VC fund invests in visual analysis firm Zoora, Awake gets new CEO while STATS gets new CTO & a Q2 ICO data roundup
The Artificial Intelligence – Blockchain finance newsletter gets readers up to date on the latest funding news and related issues.
Prime Trust, the Las Vegas, Nevada-based financial services company for the blockchain, said it acquired FundAmerica, a crowdfunding software services developer. Terms weren’t disclosed.
Hitachi Vantara, the Santa Clara, California-based subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Hitachi, said it was acquiring REAN Cloud, the IT services firm. Terms weren't disclosed. Hitachi Vantara provides corporate data and analytics services.
AXS Blockchain Solutions, the Vancouver, Canada-based business services firm, said it acquired Chainlinks Lab for CAD 4m (USD 3.1m).
Partners Group, the Baar, Switzerland-based investment firm, may announce the USD 6bn acquisition of data analytics company Information Resources from New Mountain Capital by the end of the month, according to a Reuters report.
SGOCO, the Hong Kong-based company developing virtual reality technology, announced a USD 50m right offering.
AgEagle Aerial Systems, the Neodesha, Kansas-based agriculture imagery and data analytics company, said Alpha Capital Anstalt may sell as many as 4.25m shares it holds in the company, or a 5.49% stake. After a complete sale of the shares Alpha would hold a 4.5% stake in AgEagle. The sale is worth as much as USD 7.69m based on the USD 1.81 share price at the time of the announcement.
AgEagle said last week it had hired Barrett Mooney as chief executive officer. He succeeded company founder Bret Chilcott, who will remain as chairman and president.
Alpha Capital Anstalt, the Vadux, Lichtenstein-based investment fund, is also one of the selling shareholders in a deal from troubled BTCS, the Silver Spring, Maryland-based blockchain investment firm.
Other filings included iMine and FDCTECH
Over USD 100m
Stem, the Millbrae, California-based company developing AI-backed energy storage, said it raised CAD 200m (USD 152m) from Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan as part of a Series D funding that included an additional USD 26m from investors including BNP Paribas and Magnesium Capital.
Endava, the London, UK-based business services firm developing AI technologies, saw its shares rise 20% on their first day of trading Friday after it and shareholders, which include founder Alex Day, raised a larger-than-expected USD 127m in an initial public offering of 6.3 million American Depositary Shares at an above range USD 20 each. The company and shareholders had initially sought as much as USD 106.4m from the sale of 5.6m ADS at USD 17 to USD 19 each on the NYSE.
Opera, the Oslo, Norway-based AI-backed mobile browser, saw its shares close up 8.5% on their first day of trading Friday after it raised USD 115m from an initial public offering of 9.6m ADS at USD 12 each, the highest end of the indicative range.
The Chinese city of Nanjing is forming a USD 1.4bn blockchain investment fund, according to a Coindesk report.
Other deals included Megvii and Tuya Smart
USD 100m to USD 50m
Aurora Mobile, the Shenzhen, China-based company using AI for marketing, saw its shares rise as much as 13% on their first day of trading after it raised a less-than-planned USD 77m in an initial public offering of 9.1 million ADS at USD 8.50 each, the lowest end of the marketed range. The company had originally planned to sell 12m ADS. The shares closed the week at 10 cents below their IPO price.
BlockFi, the New York City-based cryptoasset-backed US dollar lender, said it raised USD 52.5m in a funding round led by Galaxy Digital Ventures.
ODX, the Singapore-based blockchain-backed internet service provider, said it raised USD 60m from investors that included Pantera and BlockTower Capital.
Other deals included Root Ventures and Wayz.ai
Under USD 50m to USD 10m
Cogito, the Boston, Massachusetts-based company using AI for customer call center services, said it raised USD 37m in a Series C led by a Goldman Sachs venture capital fund. The venture capital arm of Salesforce, an existing investor, also participated.
SessionM, the Boston, Massachusetts-based retail data and analytics platform using machine learning, said it raised USD 23.8m in a funding round led by the venture capital arm of Salesforce. General Atlantic also participated.
Groundspeed Analytics, the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based firm developing AI-backed insurance processes, said it raised USD 30m in a Series B led by Oak HC/FT.
Kandou Bus, the Lausanne, Switzerland-based AI computer chip technology developer, said it raised USD 15m in a Series B funding from Bessemer Venture Partners and Walden Investment.
Xage Security, the Palo Alto, California-based company developing blockchain security systems for the industrial use of the Internet of Things, said it raised USD 12m in a Series A led by March Capital Partners. A venture capital fund from General Electric also participated.
Under USD 10m and undisclosed
Zorroa, the Berkeley, California-based visual search and analysis platform, said it raised USD 7m in a funding round led by Google’s AI-focused venture capital fund Gradient Ventures.
Senzing, the Venice Beach, California-based AI software developer, said it took an investment of unspecified size from Mithril Capital Management, a technology focused growth fund co-founded by Peter Thiel. Senzing was spun out of IBM two years ago.
snap40, the Edinburgh, Scotland-based wearable healthcare device company using AI, said it raised USD 8m in a seed funding led by ADV.
Petroteq Energy, the Sherman Oaks California-based company developing blockchain technology for use in the oil and gas industry, said it is raising USD 1.8m from the sale of shares and warrants. Earlier this month the company applied to uplist to the Nasdaq.
TraNeXus, the Dublin, Ireland-based tourism company developing blockchain services, said it is planning an ICO of unspecified size in the last quarter of 2018.
Outlier, the Oakland, California-based corporate data analytics firm using AI, said it raised USD 6.2m in a Series A funding led by Ridge Ventures.
Other deals included CriptoHub, Universal Protocol Platform, FlipNick, Cloud Benefit Solutions, Blockchain Mining, Peblik, Beeline and BinaryVR
Augur, the Tallinn, Estonia-based crypto-prediction platform that some use for financial markets, is attracting securities regulators, according to an Insurance Journal report.
US Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo tells Congress the regulator is behind on blockchain, according to a Coindesk report. His prepared remarks are here.
Nasdaq hosted a closed door crypto-conference this week with market players where it urged them to take steps to raise the public image of the new industry, according to a Bloomberg report.
Awake Security, the Sunnyvale, California-based cybersecurity company using AI, said it hired Rahul Kashyap as chief executive officer. Kashyap was previously the chief technology officer at Cylance. Current Awake CEO Michael Callahan will continue in a technical leadership role and as a board director.
Kingland, the Clear Lake, Iowa-based business software developer using AI, said the dean of the University of Iowa’s business school David Spalding is joining the board.
STATS, the Chicago, Illinois-based sports data and analytics firm, said it hired former JPMorgan banker Helen Sun as chief technology officer. STATS said Sun will oversee the development of new products, which will include AI-backed products.
The Green Organic Dutchman, the Toronto, Canada-based medical marijuana grower, said it has hired IBM veteran Geoff Riggs as chief information officer to lead initiatives in AI and ecommerce.
Crowdstaffing, the San Jose, California-based human resources firm using machine learning, said it hired Scott Giroux as vice-president of operations. Scott joins from Volt Workforce Solutions.
Gopher Protocol, the Los Angeles-based AI-enabled mobile technology developer, said it hired David Davis as an interim chief executive officer. Davis was most recently the CEO of software developer BitSpeed. Mansour Khatib previously held Gopher’s interim CEO position. The statement didn’t say what role, if any, he would maintain at Gopher.
In June, Gopher said a partially owned subsidiary was acquiring blockchain software developer TOKENIZE-IT SA.
AlphaPoint, the New York City-based blockchain services firm, said it hired Kristin Boggiano as chief legal officer. She was most recently senior regulatory counsel at Guggenheim Asset Management.
In June, the company hired former Nasdaq executive Michael Schmidt as chief human resources officer and raised USD 15m in a Series A from Galaxy Digital Ventures.
TraNeXus, the Dublin, Ireland-based tourism company developing blockchain services, said it has hired Christoph Klenner as CEO of operating company TraNeXus Global Services. Klenner was previously head of the European travel industry association. He is also joining the TraNeXus board.
Ether Capital, the Toronto, Canada-based cryptocurrency investor, said it hired Brian Mosof as chief executive officer and Stefan Coolican as chief financial officer. Mosof was running a family office before taking up the position. Coolican was a director at investment bank Cormark Securities.
Appier, the Taipei, Taiwan-based company developing AI-backed business services, said it hired Min Sun as chief artificial intelligence scientist. Sun was an assistant professor of electrical engineering at National Tsing Hua University.
Other hires included ZoomInfo, Kennedy Marketing, SambaNova Systems, Long Blockchain, WANdisco and Aion Foundation,
Advisory appointments included CriptoHub and DigitalTown,
Highlights of the Q2 Coindesk report courtesy of the Irish Tech News include:
37 companies filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to raise USD 304m in the quarter.
Companies pursuing initial coin offerings raised more funds than through venture capital rounds.
submitted by craigspencersmith to artificial [link] [comments]


2018.08.03 00:08 craigspencersmith AI finance news - is this useful to anyone?

Prime Trust acquires FundAmerica, Hitachi buys REAN, SGOCO plans USD 50m rights offering, Endava and Opera IPOs pop and downsized Aurora drops as trading starts, IBM spinoff takes investment from Peter Thiel fund, Google’s AI-focused VC fund invests in visual analysis firm Zoora, Awake gets new CEO while STATS gets new CTO & a Q2 ICO data roundup
The Artificial Intelligence – Blockchain finance newsletter gets readers up to date on the latest funding news and related issues.
Prime Trust, the Las Vegas, Nevada-based financial services company for the blockchain, said it acquired FundAmerica, a crowdfunding software services developer. Terms weren’t disclosed.
Hitachi Vantara, the Santa Clara, California-based subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Hitachi, said it was acquiring REAN Cloud, the IT services firm. Terms weren't disclosed. Hitachi Vantara provides corporate data and analytics services.
AXS Blockchain Solutions, the Vancouver, Canada-based business services firm, said it acquired Chainlinks Lab for CAD 4m (USD 3.1m).
Partners Group, the Baar, Switzerland-based investment firm, may announce the USD 6bn acquisition of data analytics company Information Resources from New Mountain Capital by the end of the month, according to a Reuters report.
SGOCO, the Hong Kong-based company developing virtual reality technology, announced a USD 50m right offering.
AgEagle Aerial Systems, the Neodesha, Kansas-based agriculture imagery and data analytics company, said Alpha Capital Anstalt may sell as many as 4.25m shares it holds in the company, or a 5.49% stake. After a complete sale of the shares Alpha would hold a 4.5% stake in AgEagle. The sale is worth as much as USD 7.69m based on the USD 1.81 share price at the time of the announcement.
AgEagle said last week it had hired Barrett Mooney as chief executive officer. He succeeded company founder Bret Chilcott, who will remain as chairman and president.
Alpha Capital Anstalt, the Vadux, Lichtenstein-based investment fund, is also one of the selling shareholders in a deal from troubled BTCS, the Silver Spring, Maryland-based blockchain investment firm.
Other filings included iMine and FDCTECH
Over USD 100m
Stem, the Millbrae, California-based company developing AI-backed energy storage, said it raised CAD 200m (USD 152m) from Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan as part of a Series D funding that included an additional USD 26m from investors including BNP Paribas and Magnesium Capital.
Endava, the London, UK-based business services firm developing AI technologies, saw its shares rise 20% on their first day of trading Friday after it and shareholders, which include founder Alex Day, raised a larger-than-expected USD 127m in an initial public offering of 6.3 million American Depositary Shares at an above range USD 20 each. The company and shareholders had initially sought as much as USD 106.4m from the sale of 5.6m ADS at USD 17 to USD 19 each on the NYSE.
Opera, the Oslo, Norway-based AI-backed mobile browser, saw its shares close up 8.5% on their first day of trading Friday after it raised USD 115m from an initial public offering of 9.6m ADS at USD 12 each, the highest end of the indicative range.
The Chinese city of Nanjing is forming a USD 1.4bn blockchain investment fund, according to a Coindesk report.
Other deals included Megvii and Tuya Smart
USD 100m to USD 50m
Aurora Mobile, the Shenzhen, China-based company using AI for marketing, saw its shares rise as much as 13% on their first day of trading after it raised a less-than-planned USD 77m in an initial public offering of 9.1 million ADS at USD 8.50 each, the lowest end of the marketed range. The company had originally planned to sell 12m ADS. The shares closed the week at 10 cents below their IPO price.
BlockFi, the New York City-based cryptoasset-backed US dollar lender, said it raised USD 52.5m in a funding round led by Galaxy Digital Ventures.
ODX, the Singapore-based blockchain-backed internet service provider, said it raised USD 60m from investors that included Pantera and BlockTower Capital.
Other deals included Root Ventures and Wayz.ai
Under USD 50m to USD 10m
Cogito, the Boston, Massachusetts-based company using AI for customer call center services, said it raised USD 37m in a Series C led by a Goldman Sachs venture capital fund. The venture capital arm of Salesforce, an existing investor, also participated.
SessionM, the Boston, Massachusetts-based retail data and analytics platform using machine learning, said it raised USD 23.8m in a funding round led by the venture capital arm of Salesforce. General Atlantic also participated.
Groundspeed Analytics, the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based firm developing AI-backed insurance processes, said it raised USD 30m in a Series B led by Oak HC/FT.
Kandou Bus, the Lausanne, Switzerland-based AI computer chip technology developer, said it raised USD 15m in a Series B funding from Bessemer Venture Partners and Walden Investment.
Xage Security, the Palo Alto, California-based company developing blockchain security systems for the industrial use of the Internet of Things, said it raised USD 12m in a Series A led by March Capital Partners. A venture capital fund from General Electric also participated.
Under USD 10m and undisclosed
Zorroa, the Berkeley, California-based visual search and analysis platform, said it raised USD 7m in a funding round led by Google’s AI-focused venture capital fund Gradient Ventures.
Senzing, the Venice Beach, California-based AI software developer, said it took an investment of unspecified size from Mithril Capital Management, a technology focused growth fund co-founded by Peter Thiel. Senzing was spun out of IBM two years ago.
snap40, the Edinburgh, Scotland-based wearable healthcare device company using AI, said it raised USD 8m in a seed funding led by ADV.
Petroteq Energy, the Sherman Oaks California-based company developing blockchain technology for use in the oil and gas industry, said it is raising USD 1.8m from the sale of shares and warrants. Earlier this month the company applied to uplist to the Nasdaq.
TraNeXus, the Dublin, Ireland-based tourism company developing blockchain services, said it is planning an ICO of unspecified size in the last quarter of 2018.
Outlier, the Oakland, California-based corporate data analytics firm using AI, said it raised USD 6.2m in a Series A funding led by Ridge Ventures.
Other deals included CriptoHub, Universal Protocol Platform, FlipNick, Cloud Benefit Solutions, Blockchain Mining, Peblik, Beeline and BinaryVR
Augur, the Tallinn, Estonia-based crypto-prediction platform that some use for financial markets, is attracting securities regulators, according to an Insurance Journal report.
US Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo tells Congress the regulator is behind on blockchain, according to a Coindesk report. His prepared remarks are here.
Nasdaq hosted a closed door crypto-conference this week with market players where it urged them to take steps to raise the public image of the new industry, according to a Bloomberg report.
Awake Security, the Sunnyvale, California-based cybersecurity company using AI, said it hired Rahul Kashyap as chief executive officer. Kashyap was previously the chief technology officer at Cylance. Current Awake CEO Michael Callahan will continue in a technical leadership role and as a board director.
Kingland, the Clear Lake, Iowa-based business software developer using AI, said the dean of the University of Iowa’s business school David Spalding is joining the board.
STATS, the Chicago, Illinois-based sports data and analytics firm, said it hired former JPMorgan banker Helen Sun as chief technology officer. STATS said Sun will oversee the development of new products, which will include AI-backed products.
The Green Organic Dutchman, the Toronto, Canada-based medical marijuana grower, said it has hired IBM veteran Geoff Riggs as chief information officer to lead initiatives in AI and ecommerce.
Crowdstaffing, the San Jose, California-based human resources firm using machine learning, said it hired Scott Giroux as vice-president of operations. Scott joins from Volt Workforce Solutions.
Gopher Protocol, the Los Angeles-based AI-enabled mobile technology developer, said it hired David Davis as an interim chief executive officer. Davis was most recently the CEO of software developer BitSpeed. Mansour Khatib previously held Gopher’s interim CEO position. The statement didn’t say what role, if any, he would maintain at Gopher.
In June, Gopher said a partially owned subsidiary was acquiring blockchain software developer TOKENIZE-IT SA.
AlphaPoint, the New York City-based blockchain services firm, said it hired Kristin Boggiano as chief legal officer. She was most recently senior regulatory counsel at Guggenheim Asset Management.
In June, the company hired former Nasdaq executive Michael Schmidt as chief human resources officer and raised USD 15m in a Series A from Galaxy Digital Ventures.
TraNeXus, the Dublin, Ireland-based tourism company developing blockchain services, said it has hired Christoph Klenner as CEO of operating company TraNeXus Global Services. Klenner was previously head of the European travel industry association. He is also joining the TraNeXus board.
Ether Capital, the Toronto, Canada-based cryptocurrency investor, said it hired Brian Mosof as chief executive officer and Stefan Coolican as chief financial officer. Mosof was running a family office before taking up the position. Coolican was a director at investment bank Cormark Securities.
Appier, the Taipei, Taiwan-based company developing AI-backed business services, said it hired Min Sun as chief artificial intelligence scientist. Sun was an assistant professor of electrical engineering at National Tsing Hua University.
Other hires included ZoomInfo, Kennedy Marketing, SambaNova Systems, Long Blockchain, WANdisco and Aion Foundation,
Advisory appointments included CriptoHub and DigitalTown,
Highlights of the Q2 Coindesk report courtesy of the Irish Tech News include:
37 companies filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to raise USD 304m in the quarter.
Companies pursuing initial coin offerings raised more funds than through venture capital rounds.
submitted by craigspencersmith to u/craigspencersmith [link] [comments]


2018.05.24 11:37 chowieuk Sir Ivan Rogers full speech on 'The Real Brexit Options'. It's surprisingly enlightening, honest and a must read for anyone interested in the brexit process.

It's long, but i urge you to read it. Full text here.
Some choice quotes here
As a negotiator, I am actually a great believer that the threat of leaving the negotiating table and going another route has to be there, whenever you can credibly deploy it. But the key word there is “credibly”.
There was, for the EU side of the table, no credibility at all to the idea that the UK could better secure its fundamental interests on the financial markets issues in the time zone by leaving the EU, thus guaranteeing it would have no vote in the Council or Parliament on the future regulatory regime changes.
For one simple reason. It is not true. As we are in the process of finding out.
Just as, in the Article 50 negotiation since the referendum, there has been no credibility in the threat to walk out to “no deal”, as it has been self-evident to the other side of the table from 2016 that a “no deal” outcome post exit, without any sort of preferential access deal for British goods and services in key sectors, is vastly worse for the UK than even a bog standard Canada Dry style FTA of the sort with which we are confronted post a transition standstill, should UK red lines not evolve.
I have talked with old Swiss and Norwegian counterparts and negotiators who despair at the mischaracterisation of their models and of how their democracies, both of which are rather vibrant by any international standard, function, and of the difficult compromises over the trade off between sovereignty and maximising market access they have made.
I talk to lots of people in EU capitals who despair that the UK political class, whose forebears they think made the strongest case for tackling the real, pernicious behind the border barriers to trade across borders in both goods and services, and who remember that in a world where we rely purely on national rules, national Courts and national enforcement mechanisms to strike down those trade barriers against foreign goods, services and companies, we are always waiting for Godot. And who hear people professing themselves free traders who have only a hazy understanding about multilateral, regional and bilateral free trade deals, have never negotiated one – but know it’s straightforward, once one has left the EU.
At the moment, it sometimes feels, from the noise levels, that there are only three schools:
  • Those Remainers, who are in fact Reversers, who, whether genuinely or not, see no viable version of Brexit and want to put the issue back to the people as and when there is a final version of the Framework Agreement this year, presumably with the intended choice between that and the status quo ante the referendum, but minus the Cameron renegotiation package;
  • Those Leavers who view anything except the clearest complete rupture with the EU as an unacceptable betrayal of the “will of the people” and an act of sabotage of the “true path” Brexit – a path which will later have to be resumed if any of this perfidy were to succeed short term;
  • A third way school, which attempts to satisfy both the extremes by asserting that, from outside the EU, we can resume total control of our laws, borders and money and exercise full sovereignty, without intrusion by a foreign Court, but still retain virtually all the benefits of current trading arrangements with our former partners, whilst diverging from them to taste, wherever we derive advantage domestically or with other partners, from so doing. Plus of course still have a major role in setting the key policies of the bloc we have left.
my view on each of these schools of thought is that all are wrong and are basically fantasist propositions.
One of the most powerful charges made against the UK political elite by those advocating Brexit has always been that it deliberately mis-sold the nature and direction of the European project to the British people. That is for another lecture – though I covered in the last one here some issues on which I believed that to be a reasonable accusation.
But if we are to avoid miss-selling the British people on our post Brexit options, we need a far more honest debate based on clear, accurate, realistic accounts of the pros and cons of each of the options. Not on fantasies, or incoherent and muddled thinking.
The last of the three positions I described, which is essentially the revealed position of the UK Government, if one reads its speeches and documents on everything from financial services to customs procedures and from data to internal security, is really a very thinly disguised attempt to achieve from outside the EU the vast bulk of what Cameron was seeking to achieve from just inside the perimeter fence.
I dislike all the endless cake and cherries metaphors. They do not help clarify what is desirable or doable.
But the Luxembourg PM, Xavier Bettel’s pithy description is a pretty good one: “Before they (the British) were in with a lot of opt-outs; now they are out and want a lot of opt-ins”.
Michel Barnier has likewise expressed surprise that so many of the UK documents read like ones from a state aspiring to accede to the EU, not one intending to leave it. I confess I slightly share the puzzlement. So many of the positions in these documents read a good deal more enthusiastic about the case for remaining closely aligned to EU policy than most of the instructions I ever received from Departments when negotiating over years on their behalf in Brussels!
There is no legal status of “being a third country which used to be a member and therefore can be treated radically better than other third countries”. There is no legal “half way in, half way out”option for either the Single Market or the Customs Union. There is therefore an asymmetry. If you are in, you can, within constraints, negotiate bespoke arrangements, carve outs, opt-outs, opt back-ins, and so forth. But once you are out of the legal architecture of the EU, the scope for bespoke arrangements is massively diminished.
This is not a popular message with much of the British political class. They view EU law as a branch of theology, and think that “common sense” must dictate that if all just “will” large elements of continuity after Brexit, it must come to pass. “Be pragmatic, be creative, be flexible” are the pleas. “Drop your pointless theological fixations, just for us. You know it makes sense. And if you don’t, your car makers do, and they’ll soon talk sense into you”.
We have the rather odd sight of politicians who, as is their perfect right, made a case for Brexit on the basis of national sovereignty, autonomy and control, and not primarily on economic grounds, objecting to being confronted with sovereigntist arguments from the EU27. Nothing seems to rile UK politicians more than French and German ones, or EU Commissioners, talking about the “sovereign autonomy of the EU legal order” and of EU decision-making, when ruling out UK participation in decision-making fora of the Union after Brexit. But that the Union, and before it, and before we even joined it, the EEC, IS an autonomous legal order – a unique legal system – is not news. That’s been there from the start.
By all means object to that, and indeed cite it as one reason to want to exit the EU. But do not feign surprise or outrage when this autonomous legal order, which is not a State, federal or confederal, but a unique supranational construction in nature, duly operates in precisely the way any expert can tell you it will – and has to.
Those of us who would argue that sovereignty in the 21st century is, in the bulk of fields, an inevitably qualified concept – where it’s not as simple as saying “we have lost/surrendered it and we need to get it back” are, I feel, much better placed than the pure sovereigntists to argue against an EU doctrine of sovereign autonomy being deployed against us as a newly minted “third country”.
You simply cannot, with any honesty or coherence, make an argument for taking back control and full autonomy of decision-making on the UK side of the Channel, and simultaneously argue for the EU27 to restrict to a certain extent its own autonomous decision-making precisely in order to give you, a non-member of the club, a real say in the direction of its policy.
Yet, candidly, this is what key UK speeches and papers over the last 18 months do, time and again.
A few examples. But there are legions more I could give.
On data protection and privacy, which is now absolutely critical to modern cross border trade flows – a connection largely ignored by those loudly proclaiming themselves free traders – we are currently enacting legislation to give effect to the General Data Protection Regulation, a huge piece of EU legislation to which we contributed heavily. (I personally endured many years of painful Ambassador-level discussions on it.) Once outside the EU, our ability to contribute from within to any development of the EU policy framework will disappear. But we will be obliged to implement changes agreed by the 27, or at least to keep substantially in line, or the UK regime will not be declared “adequate” – essentially equivalent – by the EU.
That would have huge repercussions for corporate Britain. And there is no reason to believe the EU would behave any more emolliently to us on the issue than they did in analogous negotiations with the US, a far far bigger world player in data. When I was working on the GDPR, several senior UK Ministers vehemently objected to facets of the legislation, for reasons I well understood, wanted to vote against it, and talked bravely about the different UK regime, based on different cultural principles, we would construct post Brexit.
But since the referendum, the penny has seemingly dropped in Government that autonomy/sovereignty in this domain is, to put it mildly, highly constrained. The reality – not one I welcome, but businesses have to deal with the world as it is, not build castles in the air – is that three discrepant data realms are developing in data protection and privacy – a US one, a Chinese one and an EU one. There is no very effective global governance, whether via the WTO or other global forum, which prevents those players going their own ways, or radically constrains their room for manoeuvre. The result is that the UK, recognising that it has no practical choice in its own commercial interest but to deliver long term convergence with one of these three regimes, is formally indicating that it intends to stay aligned with the EU model.
Second example. Financial services and regulation. I alluded earlier to the centrality of these issues for Cameron, both early on in his term, as the casus belli over the quid pro quo for agreeing the Fiscal Compact Treaty, and in the renegotiation itself. This was not, contrary to much EU belief, about protecting the City from tough regulation. The UK regulatory reaction to the financial crisis was both tougher and I think, more coherent, than the EU norm.
But it was facing the reality that UK interests in the biggest developed market on the planet and the one in our time zone, and in the sector in which, above all, we had a major surplus with the EU, could increasingly be imperilled by being outvoted by Eurozone players acting as a block, given that they would have the qualified majority to outvote us.
These issues have not gone away through the mere act of leaving. They have merely got more acute. And we know that in the development of future financial regulation within the EU, we shall not be in the room. We know that passporting, on which the Single Market in this domain was built, has inevitably gone.
So here, the UK is again advancing a proposition – snappily entitled bespoke dynamic mutual recognition – which has considerable substantive merits on how issues might be best ordered across international boundaries between regulators and supervisors on either side of the Channel, but is inevitably going to be rejected – indeed, already has been unequivocally rejected – as legally unviable. One cannot take oneself outside the jurisdiction of the ECJ, and leave the Single Market, and simultaneously demand a role that no non-member has in the shaping of EU regulation.
Why, again, should members, who have painfully agreed an extremely detailed constraining single rule book, allow a non-member greater latitude than they have themselves to achieve so-called comparable regulatory outcomes – and agree a non-ECJ unique resolution mechanism to decide whether they are comparable? This is not going to happen in a month of Sundays.
when you deliberately leave a regulatory union because you cannot live with the supranational law and enforcement, it is scarcely surprising that those who can and do live with both, want to “take back control” strands of activity where they see their interests or financial stability threatened by decisions taken and adjudicated wholly outside their legal order.
Thirdly, more broadly on mutual recognition, beyond the financial services sector, the UK seems to seek – via what the Prime Minister called in her Mansion House speech “ a comprehensive system of mutual recognition” – something which goes even beyond what the EU 27 expect of, and deliver to, each other. At best, within the EU thanks to, or perhaps notwithstanding, UK efforts over decades, we have a system of conditional and managed mutual recognition. That goes right back to the famous Cassis de Dijon judgment – for it was the dreaded ECJ which first elaborated the whole concept of mutual recognition – of which UK Prime Ministers of both major parties became so enamoured, as it was a means of avoiding extensive regulatory harmonisation but of really tackling the pernicious behind the border barriers to internal trade which the UK was, as a free trade nation, the keenest to dismantle.
But neither the Court nor the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU imposes an unconditional rule of freed cross border trade, any more than it does on free movement of people. If the UK believes that the EU will agree to admit UK goods and services into the Single Market simply because they comply with UK law and that law aligned is aligned with EU law, so we might get treated as if we were still close to being a member state, rather than in one of several different categories of third country, this is simply wishful thinking, driven by people who have not even half understood how mutual recognition works and what it depends on. Can one, like the Canadians, in the CETA deal, get to much thinner agreements in multiple sectors delivering mutual recognition of conformity assessments? Yes. But that is not remotely the same trade arrangements as we have today.
Deep trade liberalisation tackling behind the border barriers comes with powerful institutions which constrain one’s sovereignty. If you don’t want those institutions, that’s fine. But then you don’t get the full trade liberalisation.
That is less free trade, not freer trade.
Fourthly, numerous justice and home affairs issues, on which, as I say, when within the EU, we had considerable, if not quite complete, latitude to decide which instruments to join and which to shun. Again, the UK Government desire to keep vast tracts of the current settlement essentially intact is clear.
To pick a few examples, the Brussels Regulations have created uniformity across the bloc for litigating parties and have greatly enhanced the UK’s attractiveness as a place to litigate. Which is now imperilled: we cannot and will not achieve the same results from outside.
We want to retain all the advantages that the European Arrest Warrant, for all its defects, has delivered, recognising that if we have to return to predecessor regimes, they are vastly less efficient and hence pose safety risks to the public – and that, in any case, Member States have no competence, in either sense of the word, to negotiate upgrades with us. But again, the substantive benefits come from the regime to which the role of a supranational Court is completely fundamental. On Europol, we started by wanting, post Brexit, a superior relationship to the one the Danes, whose people had rejected Europol membership in a referendum, had negotiated from within the EU. But again, this is just fanciful. The reality will at best, be Icelandic or Norwegian levels of access, no British leadership of operational projects and demonstrably less British impact on the direction of work.
Fifthly, major projects like the Galileo space programme – though the same types of issues which have cropped up recently there will reappear in multiple other areas. Here again, the toxicity of the exchanges in recent weeks and the mutual accusations of bad faith conceal an obvious truth. The UK genuinely wants to remain a major player in the project, with privileged ongoing access from outside the EU, and views its capabilities and contribution to date as giving it the right to that ticket. For the EU, the decision to leave inevitably entails relegation to a different role and status in the project, and, let’s be candid, offers scope for EU located firms to take contractual business away from UK ones.
For those of us who worked on the intensive debate over the creation of Galileo about 18 years ago, and recall a previous generation of UK politicians instructing one to find ways to ensure it did not get off the ground – I failed – listening to a much more Eurosceptic set of politicians complain bitterly that, post Brexit, the field might be somehow tilted more against the depth of participation we now are enthusiasts for, brings me back to my collective amnesia point.
And finally, we have the whole issue of the very large tracts of the UK economy in which regulatory agencies at the EU level either administer EU law or supply expert advice to underpin policy – in other words, supply key government functions which we no longer have at the national level. Post Brexit, we either have to take back full control and re-learn how to conduct those functions or we have to find a way to remain part of or affiliated to these agencies, but, inevitably, with less of a voice than we had within on policy direction.
There is a plethora of these bodies, managing critical issues from aviation safety to chemicals, from food safety to the energy internal market, from medicines to trademarks, from telecommunications and broadcasting to fisheries. They cover, in other words, large tracts of the most successful business sectors the UK has.
I do not want to be unfair about the UK papers and speeches here – and there will be a vast volume of work going on in each area to examine what can and should be done and at what speed. No single post Brexit model will work for all. But if we want, in areas , genuinely to go it alone – or have to, because we cannot accept the jurisdictional and dispute resolution implications of staying in agencies run at the EU level in which our voice is lessened – then we have to be going full tilt in developing that regulatory capability at huge speed, rather than assuming the EU is bound to give us both associate membership and a serious role from outside in policy setting, when the only way that can happen is if we shift our red line on jurisdiction questions.
That was promulgated as a red line when no serious thought at all had been given to these questions.
The fact that, in so many areas, we are obviously NOT doing that, and both regulators and industries are making it clear that they have no intention of replicating, at great cost, regulatory capability which already exists, is yet another reason why the EU side has long since concluded that the UK would not walk out.
Because it could not.
No amount of “be careful: we could still walk out, you know” sabre rattling makes the slightest odds when the other side knows that the day after doing so, we would be back pleading for continuity and for the ongoing delivery of, and access to, functions the British State has no capability to provide.
The correct way to think of the EU in economic terms is as a “regulatory union”, with the appetite and ability to extend its rules extraterritorially: the so-called Brussels effect. The EU is a superpower in no other respect. But in this critical one, it is. And the idea that, on its own, the UK, can compete with massive regional trading blocs – the EU, the US, China – as a standard setter, on industrial goods to data, is an illusion. And leaving a regulatory union, including a Customs Union is really much more difficult than leaving a free trade area.
This brings me to the question of the Customs Union, which I have managed to avoid, deliberately, for the bulk of this lecture. Not because it is not important. But because it is simply absurd the extent to which the debate about whether to stay in some form of Customs Union with the EU after Brexit has now become, with the Irish border issue, the only apparent subject for discussion. We spent several decades in the Customs Union, with the political class evidently largely failing to understand what it was, how it worked, and what the linkage was to the Single Market. Now, suddenly, on leaving all manner of people who have never previously had a thought about it, opine as if experts on what the consequences of staying in a Customs Union are.
So, first, some brief pedagogy. Contrary to what you often still read, the Customs Union itself did not abolish internal borders to trade within the old EEC. It dates from the late 60s and some of us still recall our long border queues at Western European borders in the 70s and 80s.
The Customs Union was radically deepened by the Single Market Project, in which, as I say, Lord Cockfield was a driving force, to establish a common area for the free circulation of goods covering all the Member States, backed up by the Common External Tariff, a Single Customs Code, common IT systems, and common judicial oversight and enforcement: the dreaded supranationalism again.
That gave the Member States the confidence that they could rely on each other to police the external border effectively, and hence eliminate customs checks at internal borders between them.
One can like this or loathe it as a political, integrationist project, but that is the reality of why there is now friction-free goods trade within the EU.
When Margaret Thatcher visited the Japan of the Nakasone era, her whole pitch to Japanese car firms and other multinationals was to view the UK as the platform into the Single Market. They took her at her word, and an amazingly high proportion of Japanese inward investment into the European Continent has come our way in the last 30 years. For precisely the reason that we are inside the Single Market and Customs Union.
But frictionless borders also mean that there is, in practice, now just no such thing as a British car or a British plane. A Mini, for example, is assembled in Oxford, supporting 4000+ jobs around that city alone, from thousands of components, many of which are from elsewhere in the EU, and arrive at the plant on a just in time basis, thanks to frictionless internal borders. And virtually every component has its own cross border supply chain.
Any disruption or delay to any of these components can bring the production line to a halt, costing millions a day. For industries which operate on very tight margins and rely entirely on the frictionless internal trade and pan-EU rules of origin, a small number of those disruptions changes the decision as to where it is optimal to assemble the car or plane. A thousand or so trucks of car components cross our border every day.
No developed country has chosen to leave a Customs Union before.
It can be done, though. But anyone suggesting it is easily done needs their head examined.
What clearly cannot be done though is to replicate the effect of removing all internal borders via customs facilitation, whether you call that “maximum” facilitation or not. And that is not because of EU obstinacy or obstructionism.
It is because those internal barriers are only removed by participation in the Single Market as well as the Customs Union. And it is because World Customs Organisation rules require certain processes, such as the declaration of goods crossing borders, which cannot legally be eliminated.
This means, for example, that even zero-rated goods have to be declared, to prove they should be subject to a zero tariff. A zero tariff is not no tariff. It is therefore not a means of eliminating customs requirements. Nor do things like trusted trader schemes work for any but a small minority of companies: only about 100 or so companies benefit from such schemes on the US-Canada border.
Yet again, the fantasies of what will supposedly be possible when we are sovereign are just that. Because our sovereignty is heavily constrained, and not solely at EU level.
The case against creating a new Customs Union with the EU – it is, to be clear, legally not possible to stay in the Customs Union after exit – stems from its linkage to the Common Commercial Policy and the need to apply the same external tariffs as the EU. The thesis runs that this would hobble the UK’s new sovereign, autonomous trade policy from the outset because we could only make significant advances in our bilateral trade deals if we can vary our tariff rates away from EU ones.
People note, with justice, that neither Norway nor Switzerland took the Customs Union route. Though they say much less – or indeed nothing – about why the Norwegians took an EEA route – which as I say, they think the British political debate grossly distorts – or why the Swiss took the route of voluntary complete regulatory alignment across the full range of industrial goods: thus forfeiting sovereignty completely in that – huge – area, as one senior Swiss negotiator put it to me, when I was examining the Swiss option.
Ruling out these options before truly understanding what either meant, or whether variants on them might be viable, was, in my view, simply an act of folly.
The view that for the UK to have a genuinely autonomous trade policy, it must have full latitude to vary tariffs seems to me to be relatively thin – except in agricultural tariffs, where it is strong. Again, some brief history, given the complete amnesia in the debate. The WTO, and the GATT before it, has been, on the whole, very successful since the War in negotiating multilateral tariff reductions. But, inevitably, vastly less successful at tackling non-tariff barriers multilaterally or plurilaterally.
The last successfully completed World Trade Round, the Uruguay Round, was completed with another UK Conservative politician, Leon Brittan, at the helm on the EU side, in days when overwhelmingly it was the US and the EU who mattered in concluding these Rounds.
But the inability of the WTO system to conclude any major global Round now in a quarter century since, having completed numerous rounds in the previous 50 years, makes my point.
The world trade system has sought to move beyond tariffs, for two reasons: because, by and large, in industrial sectors, most of the tariff cutting has been done and the major developed country blocs, including both EU and US actually have very low average common external tariffs; and because the real, and growing, impediments to free trade in the 21st century are behind the border barriers in issues like services, government procurement, intellectual property, and cultural/social/environmental norms masking barriers to foreign entry into markets.
By definition, those barriers are much harder to eliminate multilaterally. Which is why, as the Doha Round repeatedly failed, the world moved further towards regionalism and bilateralism, and negotiations between and within mega trade blocs. Basically to be oblivious to that trend, and to talk blithely about a world leading role for the UK in the WTO just at the time the US, which largely created the Bretton Woods Institutions, including the GATT, is posing serious threats to their foundations, and is deliberately hobbling the WTO, is one of the bigger ironies – and solipsisms – of the current UK debate.
But again, a candid debate on free trade – in which I am a fervent believer – demands real honesty about the distributional impacts between sectors and geographically within the UK and beyond it.
We can certainly, for example, have cheaper bananas if we want Chiquita and Dole to monopolise the UK market at the expense of African and Caribbean – UK Commonwealth – producers whom we have protected since we joined the EU – indeed, as in cane sugar, via our own Accession Treaty – and for whom the European Trade Commissioner, a British Tory, for whom I was working, fought a pretty brutal trade war against the Clinton White House 20 years ago. I much look forward to watching that debate in the Commons. Perhaps it’s only the White Commonwealth – CANZUK as it is sometimes called – whose future matters to some professed Commonwealth trade enthusiasts?
We can have cheaper beef and lamb from Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and the US, but there will be impacts, which will hit some regions and nations much harder than others, if we do.
We will never succeed in doing a trade deal with the US without changes to our sanitary and phytosanitary standards which will pose real problems for our trade relationship with the EU – which is a vastly bigger export market for our food and drink industry.
We can do a free trade deal with China, but there will be deals as part of it on the treatment of steel, aluminium and much else, where, in order to land the deal, we may have to permit substantially greater penetration of our market than the EU or our less than free trading US friends will. One cannot slip such deals through by executive action and avoid serious Commons debate, and Scottish Parliament debate, on what we want. Nor should one try to.
The so-called maximum facilitation model will never be accepted by the 27 side of the table. Not now. Not in five years. Not in 105 years. Because, consistent with what I said earlier about what the Customs Union actually is, no technological solution, current or future, ever solves the problem. You can have the most facilitated border in the world, but it’s still a facilitated border. And, as an external border of the EU, rather than the internal border we have now, it cannot look the same.
It’s good that the truck drivers are now explaining this to British Ministers. The Freight Trade Association said this week:
“A haulier could lift a full trailer in Birmingham but it could contain 40 different consignments from 40 different producers. Then it comes to Northern Ireland and is broken down with mixed loads on different trucks going to different places, so a tracking device telling you the original truck had crossed the border does not tell you anything… Customs is only the tip of the iceberg and the biggest problem is sanitary and phytosanitary checks on agrifood. Twenty per cent of meat has to be checked and 50 per cent of chicken.”
I could go into much more detail on this. But the central point is that once the UK leaves and what used to be an internal border becomes an external border, the full EU regime will apply automatically as to all other external borders, and that necessitates a hard border. Unless the UK accepts the special status for Northern Ireland – which is politically impossible.
One can, for the reasons I gave earlier – international legal obligations on the UK beyond the EU – forget all the endless repetition of “on the EU and Dublin’s head be it: we won’t erect a hard border; it would be their choice”.
Firstly, that’s simply legally untrue, at WTO and WCO level. Secondly, the EU simply won’t agree a max fac deal as solving the problem. It was dead well before arrival.
Domestically, we can have a 21st century thirty years war in which true path Leavers resume the campaign for the hardest possible clean break Brexit and reject any economic deal the EU could ever conceivably sign; and the hard Remainers say that everything bar remaining or reapplying for full membership is an unacceptable loss from the status quo. We can have two different “stab in the back” legends running concurrently. Given that, as the Swiss always correctly observe, no negotiation with the EU ever ends, and there is no permanent, completely stable end state, we could indeed actually have this sterile debate for ever…
But the sooner we realise there are no perfect choices, that there are serious trade-offs between sovereignty and market access interests and that we are best off if we make stone cold sober judgments of where sovereignty at the national level can be real and effective, and where it is purely notional and actually a material loss of control, the better for the UK.
submitted by chowieuk to ukpolitics [link] [comments]


2018.04.25 16:55 ThaddeusJP Hot Wheels Collecting Resources: Popular questions, terms, where to look, and websites

Hot Wheels Collecting information and resources:

Some informative reading:

History of Hot Wheels via the HW Wiki
Larry Wood, Designer, Petrolicious Interview
Larry Woods presentation on HW; history and design (runs about an hour but very interesting)

Design Process:

Petrolicious article on how HWs are designed
Speed Hunters on the design process
Need For Speed HW Studio Tour
YouTube Video showing actual car production (non English but still good to watch)

Popular Terminology:

Casting Number - Letters and numbers used to identify all parts of a Hot Wheels car. The casting is the car itself.
Treasure Hunt - Highly Sought after cars with lower production numbers hidden in the yearly releases.
Tampos - Graphics that are applied to a car, usually in a silk screen process. Newer processes involve digital printing.
Card/Blister - The Packaging the car is sold in/on.
Real Riders - Rubber tires found on Supers and Premium line cars.
Spectraflame - Mattelic finsh paint used on the original 60s-70s era cars and newer special releases.
Redline - Cars manufactured in the frist decade of HW production. They are highly collectible.
Blackwall - AKA Basic Wheel. Cars made in the late 70s to 80s have a distinctive black tire. Newer models have a concave version to protect the chrome finish.

Popular questions:

What is a treasure hunt/super treasure hunt? Special cars hidden in the mainline that are highly collectible. Regular hunts are limited production (Mattel does not report actual numbers) and are identified with a flame logo. Super Treasure Hunts are variations of mainline cars with Real Rider Tires (rubber) and Spectraflame paint. They are highly sought after and have a TH logo. More info can be found here: http://www.hwtreasure.com/
I found an old car; what is it worth?
Odds are, not much. Most of the more valuable cars are from the original lines (1968-late 70s) that are called Red lines. Many cars made in the 90s to now have nominal value. There are outliers however. Checking your car on ebay Sold listings may give you a good idea of its value.
My car says 1988 on the bottom but it seems new. Is it that old?
The date on the bottom if the car is the copyright date of the original casting, not necessarily when it was actually made.
Should I buy as an investment?
Unless you're buying older, already high priced cars, probably not. Again, most cars will stay around the original $1 in value, even on card.
What should I collect?
Whatever you like! There is no 'wrong' car to buy. Be it Hot Wheels, MatchBox, or any of the other brands its up to you. Sometimes folks start out and buy EVERYTHING. It is a good idea to pick a focus if you're starting out: Muscle cars, Yellow cars, Cars made in Britain, etc... just so you don't get away from yourself!
Should I open my cars?
It's personal preference. As of the late 2000s Mattel began showing more art on the blister cards so folks liked to display them in package. Others love to open and play with them (they are toys after all!). End of the day, its up to you. Worst case, you can always get two!
I just inherited 200+ cars. How can/should I sell them?
Older cars (redline era) can generally be sold with ease as they are highly collectible. Larger lots of new cars should probably be sold as a group. While you can list every car you have, it can take time. Shipping is also a concern as you would be spending a lot on postage. Its a time vs. money question: If you have the time smaller groups. Want a cash now? Sell as a lot. eBay is the most popular option for online sales. You can also get a booth at a flea-market or show and sell there.
What is Kday?
K-Day is a semi-yearly event held at K-Mart stores where collectors can open new Hot Wheel cases and look for cars. More info can be found here.

Where to find cars:

Hot Wheel cars, and other brands, can be found in a variety of places. Popular Big-Box stores are the go-to, but there are many other places, many not listed here, that carry the Blue Brand and others.
  • WalMart - locate!: Has special sets a few times a year. Very hard to get a Thunt as many are open 24 hours and people pallet raid (open boxes before stock and pull the good stuff).
  • Target - locate!: Has at least one special line (i.e. Car Culture, Entertainment).
  • KMart - locate!: Has some excluse colors and has a K-Day (info above). Store locations are closing all the time however.
  • Fry's Electronics - locate!: Stocks more around holidays. Limited locations around the US.
  • Meijer - locate!: Very good selection although store may not be in your area (limited to Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Kentucky).
  • Kroger - locate!: Has some exclusives just to Kroger for Halloween. Also limited locations like Michigan and Texas.
  • Pep Boys - locate!: Auto parts store, bigger stores carry some auto themed toys and die cast.
  • AutoZone - locate!: Auto parts store. Generally found by the registers.
  • Books-A-Million (BAM) - locate!: Book Store chain typically in the eastern US.
  • HobbyLobby - locate!: Popular Hobby Store. Closed Sundays. Weekly Coupons, often for 30-50% off any one item are available online all the time.
  • HobbyTownUSA - locate!: Hobby store with a large selection of hobby items and some HW. They have a store inventory checker when looking at specific stores. You can check Mattel items here.
  • Michaels - locate!: Popular craft store. Cars run at a higher price but coupons are available online and can be scanned off your phone.
  • Discount Stores: Cars/sets are usually a year or two behind in release as they get over-stock. Most are still sold for $1 but every year Dollar General has a buy-one-get-two-free deal.
  • Pharmacy/Convience: stores like WalGreens locate! (currently carrying older CC and retro lines as well as new 50th series) CVS, RiteAid, DUANEreade also carry cars. Generally run over $1.50 for mainlines and higher for premium models.
  • General Grocery stores: Depending when you live your local chain may have them in the toy aisle or in a display somewhere in the store. Be sure to check end caps and near children oriented foods (Cereal aisle for example).

Brickseek stock Checker:

If you're looking to save some time on checking WalMart or Target, I suggest using BrickSeeks inventory checker. You can put in the Target or WalMart ID's and it should return results on inventory. The examples below are for the Car Culture line. UPCs can be found on the back of the blister. SKU and DPCI are generally found on the shelving price information in store and/or online.
Walmart SKU: 805984709
Target DPCI: 087-07-5547
UPC: 887961619805
FYIs
  1. WalMarts inventory is sometimes sketchy stock may not be correct.
  2. Targets checker does NOT show individual cars. they could have 20 of one car for all the checker knows.
  3. These checkers do not account for lost or stolen stock. If its stolen they wont know to adjust numbers as the checkers work with the stores internal database.

Popular Hot Wheels Sites:

  • Lamley Group - Probably the most popular US based site.
  • Live and Let Diecast - Community similar to here, just all about diecast in blog format.
  • OrangeTrack Diecast - New site that highlights older models with great write ups and current HW news.
  • T-Hunted! - Brazilian site (google Trans works well) that has all kinds of breaking HW news and info.
  • HW Collector News - Useful bits include checklists and lists of past and current releases.
  • DieCast Photography - Great photos and information.

Resources:

Other die-cast collecting subs of Interest:

/matchbox - Dedicated to MatchBox
/Maisto - Dedicated to Maisto
/Tomica - Dedicated to Tomica
/GreenlightLLC and /GreenlightDiecast - Dedicated to GreenLight
/diecast - Dedicated to all forms of Die-cast
/DiecastCustoms - Customization of diecast cars and other items.
/DiecastCollectors - Collecting all forms of diecast.

Official Hot Wheels Sites:

Hot Wheels.com
Hot Wheels Collectors
Hot Wheels Official Instagram
Hot Wheels Dream Team Instagram
Hot Wheels Twitter
Hot Wheels YouTube

Bonus Non- HW info!

Info on non-HW chase/Thunts
M2: EXAMPLE M2 Chases have yellow paint where you would expect to see chrome and/or gold additions/variations. They also make "raw version" which are unpainted.
GreenLight: EXAMPLE GreenLights chase cars have Green Tires and rims and are called "green machines"
Auto World: EXAMPLES AW's chase cars are called "UltraRed" and have a popping red paint job.
Johnny Lighting: EXAMPLE
JL has a great write up on thier site:
WHITE LIGHTNING CARS What is a White Lightning car? The White Lightning variation is Johnny Lightning’s chase car, a concept introduced to the die-cast market by Playing Mantis owner Tom Lowe in 1994. Most Johnny Lightning cars will have a version featuring some special traits that distinguish it from the regular release. These cars are randomly packed into the shipping cartons at the factory. Usually the special traits are white and usually the car will have a combination of two. Here’s a list of common White Lightning features:
White Body / Pearl White / Body Metallic / Gold Body / White Chassis / White Tires / White Rims / Gold Rims / White Interior / Tinted Glass
It’s important to note, however, that some cars only get one distinguishing trait and in the past some have received as many as three.
It's worth noting MatchBox does NOT have Thunt/Chase cars, at least as of now.

EURO UPDATE! Courtesy of crank_case

Tesco is a British (UK) chain supermarket that operates in Ireland also - so the Irish site is https://www.tesco.ie/ while the UK site is https://www.tesco.com/
Smyths Toys - are an Irish family owned chain of toy stores that also have branches in the UK. There is a single website for the UK and Ireland with currency options for Euros or GBP. Smyths are also going to expand into Germany, Austria and Switzerland by taking over the Toys'r'Us stores in those countries. https://www.smythstoys.com/
Dealz - a UK owned chain that operates as Poundland in the UK, but obviously because we use Eurodollars rather than Brexit beer tokens, the name wouldn't make sense here, so it's called Dealz. A wonderland of random pointless tat, sporadic batches of Hot Wheels/Matchbox and junk food. http://www.dealz.ie/
Marks Models - a small chain of stores (it's a small country), that specializes in all aspects of modelling - kits, trainsets, paint etc. One store in Dublin City, one outside Dublin in Greenogue and one in Cork city. Like I mentioned, they don't regularly stock hot wheels but do get batches of new old stock so sometimes you find great stuff from the 90s to mid 2000s http://www.marksmodels.com/
Toymaster - this one's a strange one, because it's an association of toy stores not a chain. Shops use the same Toymaster branding and combined buying power to compete with chains/supermarkets but each shop is independently owned, so there's no consistency in what each store stocks.
Halfords - a UK owned chain of car and bicycle accessory stores that stocks Hot Wheels but only for part of the year, usually singles in Spring/Summer and multipacks in the lead up to Christmas, but even in the spring/summer period, stock varies wildly from a bonanza to zero stock. http://www.halfords.ie/ is the Irish site, while the UK site is http://www.halfords.com/

If there is something of interest you think should be included please let me know!

submitted by ThaddeusJP to HotWheels [link] [comments]


2018.03.20 06:14 aapeterson Cormac

I felt the heat most on the bridge of my nose and on the fat pockets under my eyes. Even through the windshield of the van, the sunlight made me squint and turned the top of my hair as molten as its color. Knowing I wouldn’t need the gas for later, I turned the air conditioner on full.
Then I waited.
No one tried to stop me. Cormac had been around so long he was forecasted like the weather, and he was due within an hour. To pass the time I listened to a CD of my old stand-up routine. The one I’d done right before everyone decided I wasn’t funny.
Halfway through a hackneyed routine about how office life sucked, I saw Cormac crest a hill. He was just big enough to see and my stomach twisted. If I stared hard, I could tell he was blue.
I gripped the steering wheel. The voice of a younger and oblivious me droned from the speakers. I could still turn around and call the whole thing off. No one knew I was out here… because no one cared. The thought of that got me out of the car more than anything else.
Do or die, schedule be damned. I walked toward Cormac.
Slow like honey poured out of the wide-lipped mouth of a mason jar, that was Cormac. Inevitable as the grind of tectonic plates, that was Cormac too. Cold and terrifying as the meaningless black between the stars, that was Cormac most of all.
As we were in the middle of the desert, there was nobody else around. I’d planned it that way so there wouldn’t be any distractions. Cormac still drew onlookers, but not here. There were no roads anywhere near and no one without a GPS would have been able to navigate. Cormac was on his way to Los Angeles, to tear it into little bits. Everyone knew that’s where he was going because Cormac only ever walked in a straight line. Until he was done with a place and started new.
Sooner than I would have liked, I was in front of him. The blue, almost granite-like, hue of his body made him seem part of a heat haze. Like a mirage, except he had destroyed the Three Gorges dam in the course of an afternoon, busted every Power Plant in the state of New York, and broken who knew how many monuments.
I held my finger an inch from Cormac’s face, and stared him in the eye. Or what I thought was his eye. Cormac was humanoid, but no one really had any fucking idea what he was made of or where he came from.
“I’m not touching you.” I said.
I held my finger there a while longer, and took a step back. Cormac’s expression, or what passed for his expression had not changed.
I swallowed hard and held my finger steady.
“I’m not touching you.” I repeated, careful that I shouldn’t slip and actually make contact.
My heart hammered so hard I could feel it there at the end of my fingertip. Pounding as if to burst the skin and smear Cormac with its hidden red essence.
Christ, I had stage fright.
“I’m not touching you!” I screamed so loud it echoed off the mesas.
The day after my dad died I got a gym membership. I told the instructor I wanted to be a runner. He didn’t say much about it, since I figured a lot of people must have been compelled to work under the same regimen with Cormac around. Not that it meant much, as you’d have to be a turtle for him to catch you. It was a psychological thing.
I’d spent a year training. I had been a string bean when I started, but now I was a string bean with muscles, sinews and fibers. I looked like a fast string bean. I wore shorts with a long sleeve running shirt. My hat shaded my red hair from the sun.
“Why’d the chicken cross the road, Cormac?” I taunted.
I was dancing around him, with my finger held a few inches away. I was careful not to touch him as that would mean death. Whatever Cormac was made from, it killed humans in milliseconds.
“It wanted to cluck your mother. Ha ha, get it Cormac? It wanted to cluck your mother?”
Someone smart had once tried to knock Cormac into orbit. They’d been the first person to realize that Cormac was indestructible. Working from that, they’d realized it didn’t matter how strong or indestructible he was, he still had finite mass. After they’d figured out how to strap a rocket to him faster than he could take it off, they’d launched him. The corks were barely out of the champagne before he reappeared, right in the exact spot he had been, and resumed walking.
They’d figured it had cost him about thirty seconds.
“Cormac! Did you fart? Whoo boy, I can smell it all the way over here.” I farted again for good measure. There were a lot of beans at my camp sites.
No one had ever figured out how he did the reappearance trick. That was still back when we thought there was a way of getting rid of Cormac. Back before the world had gone into damage control. They tried a couple of more times, then they figured he had to have some kind of massless drive. No one knew why he didn’t use it at ground level. Probably couldn’t.
“Cormac, would you rather be kicked once in the junk or punched twice in the face?” I ran in front of him and bent over, grabbing my ankles and let a big one rip.
“Fine! Before you have to ask they’ll all be at equal strength and the foot isn’t sharp. Just a regular sneaker.” I put my hands over my face so that it looked like I was wearing pair of glasses, and then stuck out my tongue.
They’d tried a neutron bomb first, once he was away from population centers. There was plenty of time to evacuate, and there wasn’t much confusion as to where he might be going. After that hadn’t worked they’d tried a hydrogen bomb, just to see if it would make any difference.
It hadn’t.
We’d exhausted gun fire, explosives, and all other conventional warheads long before that point. It didn’t even slow him down. One mile per hour. No faster no slower.
I saw the moon had risen and realized I’d stayed too long. I’d been too excited. I’d been too busy testing for a reaction. If I was going to keep it up I had to stick to the schedule. Keep to the plan.
I had to endure. I had to be as regular and inevitable as Cormac himself.
“I’ve got to go for the night, ol’ buddy. Your mother called and said she needs a good fucking. Guess your daddy turned gay or something. Oh, and by the way, I’m still not touching you.”
After I jogged to my first camp, I took a long drink. I also took out both of my alarm clocks. One was solar powered, the other on a battery that was guaranteed for three years. I suppose I could have gotten another alarm clock, with another battery, but that seemed too redundant.
I knew how this was going to end anyway, and as long as I got to the fifth camp I would live to see the endgame.
I took out my alarm clocks and set them to wake me up in eight hours, and slept.
Cormac would be one half-mile away when I woke up.
I intended that he watch me wake up every morning. Always out of reach.
I’d gotten the idea from stuff I’d read in history about some Arab guy that had led an army through the desert by following a trail of oases. The rest of it, the part of it that didn’t involve any fighting, well, that’d been all me as far as I could tell.
Taking advantage of Cormac’s clockwork regularity and a GPS tracker, I’d laid out ten fully stocked base camps through the desert wilderness. I had unloaded them one at a time from my van until I’d eventually reached Cormac. Once on the move, as long as I did a brisk hour and a half jog toward dusk, I could be at a camp every night and rise to meet Cormac every morning.
My actual mission was complicated. It had occurred to me, some time long before I had resolved to do it, that where weapons failed I might succeed. Perhaps because of my failures as a comedian, I had begun to wonder if the indestructible Cormac might be heckled to death.
I broke camp early in the morning. The sun hadn’t even risen, the alarm clocks hadn’t even gone off, but I was eager and jogged to Cormac. If I really looked at him, I could see a sort of pale blue glow coming out of the crystalline cracks of what I assumed was his skin.
“Sorry I’m late, buddy. Your mom wouldn’t let me pull out until a little bit ago. Then I had to wipe all the shit off my dick. Next time you talk to her, tell that bitch to stop eating corn. I got a kernel stuck in my foreskin.” I gave an exaggerated yawn.
Cormac kept walking.
“It ever bother you that no one comes out to see you anymore?” There had been some cults once that had worshiped Cormac. Most of them went away after the inevitable happened. Never-sleeping Cormac would get a hold of someone and murder them with slow, absent-minded efficiency.
Only one person had ever survived contact with Cormac. Dumb kid had fallen asleep in her car waiting for Cormac to show up, like he was fucking Santa Claus. She’d been wearing very thick clothes, which was what saved her from his initial touch. After realizing with horror that Cormac had gotten a grip on her wrist while she was asleep, she’d cut off her own hand.
“I know your mom’s better company than you, but still. I knew a guy with some retard pedophile for a brother. He still took a trip up to the loony bin every year at Christmas to see him. Oh but look at me talk, you’ll be wanting to kill yourself if I keep it up.”
Cormac’s head pointed dead ahead.
I walked over to the side of the highway and grabbed fistful of pebbles. I threw them one at a time, and bounced them off Cormac’s face. He didn’t so much as turn in my direction.
“Would you say you look more like a Vegas attraction reject, or more like a stain glass window made by someone with palsy? ‘Cause I just think you look like a dick.” I bounced a rock right off of Cormac’s eye.
“What’s the first thing you’re going to break when you get out to LA? Too many fake tits there, for my money. Not that I’m saying they’re all bad. I mean, your mom’s got some great hooters. I could suck on those puppies all night. But if you took out a few plastic surgery centers that would probably be a big help.” I grabbed a stick, walked round behind Cormac, and held it against what I figured was his butt-hole.
Except that Cormac didn’t shit. Or eat. Or sleep.
“I don’t know if you know this, seeing as how you can’t speak or whatever, but you’re the reason there’s no nuclear power anymore. You got too close that time in New York. Almost had a meltdown. How many guy’s was it that died carrying all the hot stuff out? Fifty?
“They have to figure out how to take dams apart when you’re around too. Millions of people displaced by that. Some of those green wackos think you’re the best thing for the environment we’ve ever had. Me? I just know you’re a guy who loves having a stick in his ass so much that he won’t say a word to have it taken out.”
I took the stick and walked to the front of Cormac and held it where his nose might have been.
“You should take a whiff of this Cormac. God awful stuff. It’s probably what your father’s shit smells like after a night of gang bangs. Tell me Cormac, how is it possible for one man to love taking cock that much?” I turned and threw the stick far ahead.
“Fetch!”
Cormac kept walking, unperturbed.
“Ah, fuck it. We’ll get there eventually.”
I didn’t give a shit if Cormac was impervious to attack. There was no such thing as perfect self-esteem.
“If I tell you a secret, promise you won’t tell anyone else?” I had taken to standing in front of Cormac long enough for him to reach toward me, before stepping back. Risky, and far ahead of what I had laid out for a schedule, but it was the only thing I could do to make him react.
“I used to masturbate to my second cousin. All the time. Every day I came home from school, I’d have to whip one out to her. I knew it was wrong, but she had the best tits I’d ever seen, next to your mother.”
Cormac reached for my throat, but I leaned back so that he missed by the smallest of margins. Still wasn’t much more passionate than swatting at a fly.
“Another thing I want to get off my chest. One time I was at a sleep-over. Must’ve only been eight or nine. Took a big ol’ shit. Huge. Like the one your father has all over the operating room table while they’re trying to shove his asshole back inside. Anyhow, the toilet wouldn’t flush. Wouldn’t you know it, not a plunger in sight. So I left it. Pretended I didn’t know who’d done it.
“There was a dirty kid there named Ryan Sivyer, so I let him take the blame. Would you believe that Ryan Sivyer didn’t invite me back to his birthday the next month? Never accused me directly. Passive aggressive asshole.”
Cormac thought he was going to get clever and get me with his other hand, the one I’d led him to believe I wasn’t watching, but I moved again so that his fingers came up short.
“Chick I used to date in high school, I did some bad shit with her too. She was one of those goth weirdos, had a tongue ring and could suck a dick like no one’s business. I was only going with her because I liked her sister. I stole a pair of her sister’s panties one night when I was over at her house. No one ever said nothing about it. I used them for a jizz rag for what had to be six months before I threw them away.”
It was getting late. I was off schedule again. I cussed at myself for it, but I wanted to… I hadn’t planned on it for two days. I pulled out my dick, so close to Cormac that he had to be infuriated even though he gave no sign. Even as slow as he was I felt vulnerable.
Staring Cormac in the face, I let loose a stream of urine that splattered all over his iridescent blue feet.
“As you may be able to tell, old buddy old pal. I have a habit for pissing people off.” I raised the stream and pissed all over Cormac’s abdomen. I got part of his hand for good measure.
“Ha ha! Do you get it, Cormac? Pissing people off?”
I let the stream go to a drizzle before I zipped my fly.
“Anyhow, I need to go for the night. Drink up. Your mother gets moody if I don’t piss on her at least a little.”
I sat by the campfire, drank some water and ate another plate of baked beans. It would be week and a half before Cormac got to a population center.
It would be the longest stand-up performance of my life, with the world’s worst audience.
No distractions. For the either of us.
I laid down, set the alarm clocks, and looked up at the stars. Which one had Cormac come from? Where were his people?
Where were the other Cormacs?
God help me, did Cormac even understand English?
Cormac was an Irish word for “Destroying Son.” It’d stuck, at least in the English speaking world, because the first place Cormac had ever appeared was Ireland, and some writer had written a poem. Cormac had walked up out of the ocean, and walked straight to Dublin. It was kept secret for a while. They’d pass off whatever he broke as an “unscheduled demolition.”
No one knew why he’d gone there first. It was probably random, since we’d later figured out he’d landed in the Atlantic Ocean like a meteor and spent two weeks walking the ocean floor. It was probably the closest dry land to his drop spot.
After a while it had gotten to be too big to cover up. Cormac had ripped up every power plant in the city. Tore them to bits. He did that with every major utility he found. In a matter of days 1.6 million people were without power, water, or any of the amenities that make city life possible.
He had made Dublin unlivable within three weeks.
“As you can see, I’m up bright and early this morning. I pulled a trick on your mom. I face fucked her so hard last night she passed out. Wasn’t able to wake up this morning to make me throw her another pity fuck. I know, I was afraid the slut might be dead too, but I checked for a pulse before I left.
“‘Fraid to say your dad took a turn for the worse though. The doctors had to… cut him a new asshole! Ha ha! Get it Cormac? Because his other one had been fucked to pulp?!?”
I grabbed another handful of rocks, and took my time so that each one hit Cormac between the legs. It may not have been his dick. His dick may have been in the chest for all I knew, but I figured it was the thought that counted.
“When I was in college, I went back to my home town one weekend. Almost no one in my home town goes to college, so I thought I was hot shit. I was failing everything, but I didn’t tell anyone that part. I’d started doing stand-up then, and everyone thought I was famous.
“Found that goth weirdo I used to date. She’d gotten fat. Not the cute kind of fat either. The kind where it’s all bunched up in different weird places. Her sister though, she got hotter. Her sister and I got lit up, and then fucked in some bushes. We got caught us right in the middle of it. The goth weirdo started punching me in the back, calling me a bastard. Calling her sister a whore.
“After I’d pulled out of her sister, she just sat down, put her head in her hands and asked me why I had to be such an asshole. All she wanted to know was why I had to be such an asshole.
“I looked right up into her fat wobbly jowls, right into that ugly lumpy face and I said… ha ha! I said ‘Because your sister’s hot!’
“So she says ‘You’re not funny, Sean’ so I says ‘Well, you’re not hot so let’s call it a wash!’ Ha ha ha!”
I brought my face as close to Cormac’s as I dared. So close I could feel the fey heat of his blue lights on my eyes. I stared down into the depths of his glass-like face and snarled.
“Her face, all fat and covered with tears, that was the most pitiful thing I’d ever seen in my life. Till now.” I spit in Cormac’s face. It glistened in the sunlight.
I spent the next long while following the blue demon, running around him in circles, declaring that I was not touching him. He kept walking onward. Indifferent.
I had stayed late again. It was only my third day, and I’d already made a habit of breaking the schedule I’d promised myself to follow to the letter. I turned to the dark path ahead, and looked over my shoulder.
“You know Cormac, my mom died when I was young.” I paused, wondering why I had said such a thing. The words had slipped out of my mouth without thought.
“She got cancer.” I felt sweat on the skin of my palms. I pretended it was from the nervousness of not knowing what to say next. I reached out, and grabbed something… a half-formed joke.
“You ever wish your mom had died, Cormac? So that she wouldn’t have to see what you are?”
For half a beat, so quick it might have been my imagination, I swore I saw the fucking thing stop in its tracks.
I dismissed it as wishful thinking and turned to go.
I about let loose the shit that saved my life, before I realized how well and truly fucked I was. I’d woken up to go to the bathroom. I had not expected to see Cormac’s hands pressing against the nylon wall of my tent.
Trapped in a tent like this, even Cormac might manage to get a hold of me before I could escape.
I heard the swish-swish of stretched nylon, as Cormac’s hands loomed ever closer. The tent was coffin-like in its proportions. If I sat up to unzip the door, it would take me right into Cormac’s eager hands.
In desperation, I threw all my weight against the side of the tent opposite Cormac. I hoped that if I could flip it over a few times it would give me the time I needed to get out.
I threw my weight, and rebounded so that I almost bounced back into Cormac.
“I just had to put stakes in the ground!” I shouted.
Cormac must have been on his knees, ready to smother me, because there was barely a foot to move. What I needed was a knife. I had one.
Outside.
My shorts, which I had put under my head as a sort of pillow, found their way to my hands. If… I found the zipper and pressed the sharp pull tab to the fabric.
Using my other hand to create tension, I ripped the fabric. Once the hole was big enough, I put my fingers through it and ripped it wider. It wasn’t easy. When I’d planned all this out, I’d bought the best. The fear of Cormac’s hands gave me strength. I pushed myself, scrambling, through the small hole, as I felt the rest of the tent collapse behind me.
I ran a few yards before I took the time to so much as pant. I was naked except for a pair of boxer shorts. And the desert morning was cold enough that if my balls hadn’t already been pulled tight against me in fear, the temperature would have sent them their in minutes.
I turned to see Cormac rising back to his feet. If he was upset at my near escape, he showed no sign. Perhaps, could show no sign.
“Ah Cormac, thanks for the wake up call, Buddy. Your mom fucked me to exhaustion last night. I can barely keep my eyes open!”
The alarm clock, still in the tent, went off. It was followed shortly by its companion.
I stopped and stood stock still.
My camp sites were set an eighth of a mile off of Cormac’s line of travel. They were also set with the idea that Cormac’s rate of speed was constant. In all the careful years of observation he was observed to travel no faster or slower in any condition.
I smiled.
I smiled wider.
I smiled like when I found that one joke that would lay an entire audience flat.
I whooped and hollered, turned around, and pulled my shorts down to give Cormac a good view of what he’d missed. What he had tried to kill.
“I didn’t know you cared!” I laughed so hard I cried. I scrambled around the camp, grabbing what I could find and hurling it at Cormac in orgiastic glee.
“Am I getting to you, you old blueballed fuckface! Am I fraying your last nerve, you cumguzzling dickwipe?”
Cormac, slowly, but perhaps, just perhaps a little faster than usual crushed one of the alarm clocks beneath his foot. A few minutes later, the other followed. The twin beeps died so that the only sounds left were the wind and my own breathing.
I remembered the pause from last night. The tick. I ran to Cormac as though eager to share glorious news.
“Hey Cormac! Your momma doesn’t love you! You hear me? Your Momma hates you!”
“When I was little, my mom could tell I liked fighting and stealing too much. I used to get caught with shit from the grocery store in my pockets all the time. Pack of gum, chocolate bar, maybe a comic book. I stole a candle on the day my mom died. I lit it in the church, and I could tell my mom was somewhere up in heaven crying that her son had to be such a little shit even in the face of something so serious.”
I was dressed again. Cormac had ripped apart a lot of my equipment, but I had extra at the next camp site. The only things that were unique were the alarm clocks I’d been carrying in my pockets.
“It was a very confusing time when she died. But I was glad too, because that’s the kind of asshole I am. My mother died, and suddenly I got all the oven-bake pizza and ice cream I could eat. Still, it kept me up at night. Thinking about her somewhere up there, watching me.”
Cormac was definitely walking faster, and I thought I could sense something like strain coming off the hulking blue beast. I walked close to him, stuck my face in his, and walked backwards, matching him step for step.
“I can’t even imagine what your mother thinks of you, Cormac. Maybe I drank when I should have studied. Maybe I fucked when I should have been loving, but I ain’t never done the fucked up shit you done. If I hurt someone it was always incidental. But you? You go out of your way to be a dick.”
I poked Cormac with a stick. In his eyes. In his crotch. In his chest. “How’s it feel to know you can’t catch me? Little Sean Doolittle, who couldn’t win a fist fight if he had a gun, and big strong Cormac is at his mercy. What would your mother say to that?”
I broke the stick on Cormac’s face, but I didn’t worry to much about it, as the way ahead offered many more.
“Way I figure, you’ve got all kinds of relatives. I ain’t no fucking scientist, but nothing like you happens by itself. You’ve got to have family. You’ve got to have people fucking over a long period of time, and with all your fancy powers, you got to have them fucking in a society!
“A sophisticated piece of cum like you doesn’t come to be without serious emotional fucking damage. And this whole slow walk bit? That’s pretty fucked up too. This isn’t how things are supposed to be, are they Cormac?”
I thought about a version of Cormac that was fast. I thought about a hundred million Cormac’s sprinting, and invulnerable to atomics. I had to suppress a shudder.
“I used to burn ants with a magnifying glass. It was another one of those shit things I did that pissed off my mother. So she told me about how in the olden times, when you did something bad, they’d stake you to the ground, and smear you with honey and let the ants eat you alive.
“I figure that’s what they did to you, and you’re here kicking ant hills.” I found another stick and rammed it into Cormac’s face, over and over.
“You’re a disgrace to your whole fucking family, Cormac! Your mother doesn’t even cry when she thinks of you. She thanks God that you’re out of sight and out of mind. She divorced your father so she could go fuck other men, have other children, and write you out of her life.
“The ants finally learned how to pinch, Cormac! So pinch! Ha ha! Your own mother hates you! Pinch pinch!”
The sun was going down, but I didn’t mind. I was onto something, and I’d never been good with schedules anyway.
My throat was hoarse from yelling all through the night, but I’d gotten some extra water once we’d walked close enough to my next camp. I’d forgotten sunblock, but that seemed a minor concern. We were only one day out from the end game, and that was beyond even my wildest expectations.
“Hey Cormac! You think your mom’s going to be disappointed I didn’t fuck her last night? You know, I lied yesterday, when I said she never talks about you. She does have one secret pleasure.
“When I’m nailing her, and I mean really nailing her. Humping her so hard that her ass and tits are shaking like jello, she likes to say some of the nastiest stuff about what a disappointment you are.
“It’s got this weird incest vibe. Always saying ‘oh Sean, fuck me so hard I forgot about that little shit that came out of my pussy’ or ‘oh Sean spank me like I never spanked that stupid fuck’ and, this one’s the tops ‘oh Sean cum in me like that loser son of mine dreams about every night when he touches himself!’”
I had to put my hand on my legs when I bent over, I was laughing so hard. My nostrils were shaking with the thrill of it. I laughed until it was a cough and I had to drink a long pull of tepid water. After a while, the laughter subsided.
“You ever think about fucking your momma, Cormac? I mean, I figure psychology’s got to be pretty universal and that’s Freud. Am I right? You ever listen at her door when she was balling the neighbors?”
I put my hand to my ear in an exaggerated signal that I was waiting for him to speak. Smile still wide, although my lips were beginning to chap, I prepared my next retort.
Cormac’s face opened. Somewhere near the middle of his head.
“Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuckkkkkkkk…” it had all the force of a whisper. All the calm of the eye of a storm. If I weren’t such a prick, I wouldn’t have been pulling my pants down even as he spoke. If I weren’t such an asshole, I might have stood there, moved by the first word ever spoken by a being not of this world, instead of taking a shit.
“Yoooooooooooouuuuuuuuu…” I picked up my own shit, quick as a could, and threw it in the open place in Cormac’s head. I picked up the bits of sand where some of it had escaped me, not caring for how filthy my hands were. Not caring that it was barbaric.
“Eat shit, Cormac!” I screamed, not even trying to be coolly disconnected. Not even trying to be funny. “Eat shit and die!”
It tore my voice box so bad I wasn’t able to speak for the rest of the day.
Neither did Cormac.
I had some cough syrup at my next camp site, and some sanitary wipes which I used on my hands. I even managed to eat a bit, but I hadn’t run so far ahead of Cormac that I had time for anything elaborate.
A weak part of me. The part of me that had taken Bryci’s sister into the back of the car and stuck my penis inside of her, thought about taking the tent and jogging ahead and catching a few hours of sleep. I swallowed hard, feeling the cough syrup lubricating my throat. I’d packed it in case it rained and I took a cold.
I ate some half-warm hot dogs, and another plate of beans. I hadn’t planned on all the beans, until I’d got to the store and they’d been on sale. It’s funny the way life works out.
I raised my right hand in a one finger salute to Cormac and kept eating. I made sure to hide the gun in the back of my shorts.
I’d been very careful that Cormac should not see me pick it up. That might have been a useless gesture, as Cormac seemed capable of knowing to the millimeter how to get to what he wanted to destroy, but on the off-chance that he couldn’t see, then I wanted it to be a surprise.
Back to Cormac, I looked down at the gun, and made sure all the chambers were loaded.
“My dad got Alzheimer’s. That’s a disease you get where you get to be rude as fuck and no one can get mad at you for it. So one day, I go into the home to visit him. Not that I did it all the time, I’m a dick, remember? But I got up there every year or so. So what do I see?
“Some fucking little redhead devil is there, lookin’ a bit like me. My dad has got him by the shirt, telling him to watch himself. Telling him that he’d wanted his mother to have the abortion, but she’d demanded they go through with it, and that they’ve both spent their whole life regretting the decision.”
I felt like I’d run out of things to say, and I couldn’t think up anything more creative than bouncing rocks off Cormac’s head. The most original thing I’d thought to think of that day was walking behind Cormac. Sometimes stopping.
That seemed to really burn his biscuit. He wanted me to kill me. Wanted to tear me apart worse than anything else on this ant-heap, and when I stopped behind him, when I made a move like I might get up and leave and never see him again, I could tell that pissed him off the most. I didn’t do it too much, because I didn’t want it to lose his effect, but I did it enough that he had to change speed.
Whatever it was they’d done to him. Whatever the terms of his punishment, changing his speed hurt Cormac. It hurt him like giving birth or being born, or who the fuck knew what.
“It was like going back in time and reading my dad’s mind when I was still a child. Can you even imagine? And there wasn’t even any cheesy Hallmark moment, where he made it clear he really loved me. Nothing but the shit.
“I figure that’s the way your parents feel about you. Except worse.”
“Ran into Bryci after all that happened. She was that goth weirdo from high school. She was a waitress. No wait, I’m sorry. A hostess. I got drunk, and we got to talking, but not about how I fucked her sister twenty years back. About her life. She got married, had a couple of kids. Still fat, but better looking. She wanted to know how life was in the big city, so I told her to come back to my room if she wanted to know.
“I’d washed out of comedy by then and I was doing insurance adjustments, but when she looked at me she saw a star. Anyhow, I fucked her. I fucked her good and hard and long, and I came right in her. Then I sent her on home to her husband and took a shower.”
I took a long swallow of water. My voice was scratchy, but I figured Cormac could suss it all out.
“Came back a couple of month’s later, on account of my dad had a stroke and was on life support. It said right in his will to pull the plug, so I did, but I also felt good about it, and I knew that wasn’t right. Fucking old man, talking about me that way.
“I went to the bar needing a fuck, found Bryci, and guess who was pregnant!?! I knew it was mine because of the way all the color ran out of her face. Wondering if I’d say something. Wondering if I’d tattle to her husband.
“So I ordered a drink. Then I took another, and next thing I know I’m shouting ‘Because your sister is fucking hotter than you!’ at the top of my lungs. Some guys took me outside and roughed me up. Small town. People have friends, and all that.
“Bryci comes out, looks at me and says ‘You’re not funny, Sean.’ Then she spits right in my face.
“So I’m laying there, blood all over my face, and I can’t quit laughing. I had a girlfriend back in the city. Well, a fuck buddy. And that’s when I realized, here I was, going to have a kid. Going to have a kid that I probably wasn’t ever going to be allowed to know, and the most significant emotional relation I’d ever had with anyone, was with a waitress whose sister I had fucked twenty years ago.
“Then I saw some piece about you on the news. Would you believe, except for things like building projects, no one ever thinks about you anymore? You’re just a consideration like earthquakes or volcanoes. No one actually cares about you. We’re not even terrified anymore. And that’s what I realized about myself. I was just someone people planned around. No one actually cared.
“So I figured I was going to have a kid, might one day find out who pops was, I might as well do something good. Went to the gym, learned to run. Made up a plan.”
I drank another deep pull.
“We’re a lot alike, Cormac. That’s why I fucking hate you so much.”
I took out all the bullets in the chambers but one, spun it faster than I could see, and with one flick of the wrist snapped the chamber back into place.
“In my plan, the big one I had for killing you, there were supposed to be news choppers here. There were supposed to be reporters, and big-titty college school girls getting wet between the legs. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to be a hero. I only wanted to get laid a couple of times before the ending.”
I was sitting on a rock, thirty or so yards ahead of Cormac, and he was aimed right at me. The hole in his head was open. Like the son of a bitch wanted to eat me.
“No one knows you’ve changed course, old buddy. No one knows your walking faster. No one even cares. Especially not your momma. I bet that time they knocked you into space, you didn’t even get something so personal as a swat to send you back. It was automated, I bet. No alarms or anything.”
I took aim at the hole in Cormac’s head and pulled the trigger. The gun fired and glanced off. Well, so much for last chances. I’d figured it wouldn’t work anyway.
“That wasn’t very dramatic.” I sighed, and loaded another bullet then repeated the process. This time I put the gun to my own temple and pulled the trigger. There was only a hollow click.
“My mother used to tell me I could frustrate someone to death.” I jumped down from the rock and shot at Cormac. There was another empty report. Three chambers left.
I stood directly in front of him and stopped. I put the gun to my temple and squeezed. Nothing.
“Do you want to kill me Cormac? Do you want to kill me so you don’t have to hear about your momma no more?”
I could feel the effort from him as he struggled to increase his speed by the smallest margins. “Yeeeeeesssssssssss….”
I walked toward Cormac and stayed a few tantalizing inches out of his reach.
“Do you want to kill me so bad you can’t think about anything else?” I asked.
I could see some sort of strange redness inside of Cormac’s mouth. I wondered if that meant he was damaging himself trying to get to me. “Diiiiiieeeeee….”
Cormac’s hand, slowly began to ascend. I leaned forward so my neck was the easiest thing to grab.
“The only relationship you have in the entire world, is with an ant.” I pulled the trigger at Cormac. Nothing. One left.
I could feel the warmth of Cormac’s blue light on my neck as his fingers prepared for a slow squeeze. I waited for the last possible moment.
“Nope, Cormac. Your mother told me last night you weren’t even good enough for this. Do the world a favor and kill yourself.”
I put the gun to my temple.
Two circles of white appeared on Cormac’s head. I supposed they were his eyes. They seemed full of horror. Of agony without end. Of denial and loss.
I smiled. Then I squeezed the trigger.
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2018.03.13 15:05 RAID_Husker RAID 2018 - Gaming & Esport Event - March 30th to April 1st

RAID 2018 is happening this March 30th through April 1st and is Ireland's only dedicated esport event!

Descending on the Ballsbridge hotel for 3 full days of esport and gaming action, RAID promises to deliver the most fun and energising gaming experience for young adults, whether you're coming to compete, watch or enjoy casual games!
 

Here's a run down on some of what's happening!

 
Esport & Casual BYOC LAN  
Irish Collegiate Esport Finals  
Free to Play VR  
Free to Play retro consoles  
Gaming Pub quiz  
Red Bull Player One Qualifier  
Panels & Workshops  
Cosplay Competition  
 

Bring Your Own Console/Computer LAN

We're running a 3 day LAN event, the likes of which Ireland has never seen before, with 4 major competitive titles in play, world-class production and plenty of cash prizes up for grabs! To enter any of our tournaments, you need a BYOC or CoD LAN pass (CoD is the same as BYOC, but we've added a dedicated area for our console players)
 
League of Legends  
Sign up at: lol.raid.gg  
Prize Pool: Up to €3,000
 
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive  
Sign up at: csgo.raid.gg  
Prize Pool: Up to €3,000  
 
Call of Duty: World War II  
Sign up at: cod.raid.gg  
Prize Pool: €1,600  
(Maximum 8 teams, 4 teams confirmed at this point)  
 
Hearthstone  
Sign up on the day  
Prize Pool: Up to €400  
 
Not one for competing? No worries! You'll have a great seat near the main stage to be right in on all the action, while at the comfort of your own console or pc, gaming the weekend away with your pals, setting scores and taking part any other other aspects of the event that you wish!  

Irish Collegiate Esport Finals

We've partnered with ICE who host the national collegiate esport championships throughout the academic year. This year, they're bringing their finals live to RAID where we'll crown the champions of League of Legends and Counter-strike: Global Offensive respectively and see what college has the strongest teams. All games will be played on our main stage, with full broadcast production!  

Free To Plays

With huge thanks to FutureShock VR Arcade in Smithfield Dublin, we'll have a bunch of free to use VR stations throughout the weekend at RAID. They're open to all our guests who have any valid ticket (i.e. day pass, weekend pass, LAN pass etc.  
Additionally, we'll have a bunch of PCs setup with League of Legends, Fortnite and Overwatch that are all free to play for our guests who want to chill with friends for a bit or try out a new game.  
On top of all that, we've got a room dedicated solely to retro consoles and games, featuring all your old time favourite!

Red Bull Player One

Red Bull Player One is looking for Ireland's best League of Legends player. The 1 vs 1 tournament is the ultimate test of skill and speed in the gaming arena. To make it to the Final, you must battle through one of the three qualifiers in Limerick, Belfast and Dublin. The National Champion will represent Ireland in the World Final and receive pro-gamer coaching.  
The first qualifier will be at RAID, on Saturday the 31st of March and is open to any guest with a valid pass for that day! You could be in to win the trip of a lifetime to Brazil to represent Ireland as the best League of Legends player in the country!  
Oh and there's lots more too! Just head over to our website where you can see a large list, with much more detail on what's going on at RAID.  
You can also follow us on Facebook & Twitter to keep up to date with the action.  

Tickets can be purchased online here! BYOC ticket sales end on March 23rd.

submitted by RAID_Husker to ireland [link] [comments]


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