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Gavin Bell is an award-winning travel writer whose wanderings from Antarctica to Zanzibar have failed to diminish his passion for football and Motherwell FC. He is probably the only person who has cheered during heavy fighting in Beirut on hearing his team had beaten Celtic. Gavin is a former foreign correspondent of Reuters and The Times. This is his third book.
Written with all the dynamism and fluidity of a total football team, Gavin Bell’s Because It’s Saturday is essential reading for anyone who’s fallen for the Beautiful Game. Witty, warm-hearted and propelled by passion, the book’s overarching aim is to “take readers on a season ticket to sparsely filled grounds where managers and fans are on first-name terms and players join them for a pint after the game.” Here the author gives voice to the unsung heroes of lower league clubs, with plenty of personal anecdotes alongside interviews with devoted fans, players and staff, from local Roy of the Rovers type players, to the backroom heroes who freely give their time and skills to keep struggling clubs afloat. The contrast between Premier League clubs and the teams Bell surveys (among them Accrington, Blackpool, Grimsby and Plymouth) reveals the extent to which modern football is a game of two halves: “If the stadia of glamour clubs are like gladiatorial arenas, those in the lower leagues are more like community playing fields where matches are social occasions for friends to catch up on local news and gossip over a pie and a pint.” At the same time, teams in the lower leagues “provide fields of dreams for the stars of tomorrow to hone their skills and attract big-club scouts. It is they who conjure the romance of cup ties in homespun grounds against giants of the Premiership, and fairy tales when they win.” What’s more, these teams provide fans with so much more than on-pitch entertainment. They’re the lifeblood of communities who “support their clubs and in return the clubs support their communities with extensive social welfare programmes.” It’s a beautiful, inspirational symbiotic relationship, much like this book is a beautiful, inspirational testament to the enduring enriching role played by the clubs it covers.
Building a social web application that attracts and retains regular visitors, and gets them to interact, isn't easy to do. This book walks you through the tough questions you'll face if you're to create a truly effective community site - one that makes visitors feel like they've found a new home on the Web. Whether you're creating a new site from scratch or embracing an existing audience Building Social Web Applications helps you and your fellow web developers, designers, and project managers make difficult decisions, such as choosing the appropriate interaction tools for your audience, and building an infrastructure to help the community gel.With this book, you'll learn to: understand who will be drawn to your site, why they'll stay, and who they'll interact with; build the software you need versus plugging in off-the-shelf apps; create visual design that clearly communicates what your site will do; manage the identities of your visitors and determine how to manage their interaction; watch for demand from the community to guide your choice of new functions; and, plan the launch of your site and get the message out. Building Social Web Applications includes examples of different application types - member-driven, customer service-driven, contributor-driven, and more - and discusses different business models. If your company's ready to move into the world of social web applications, this book will help you make it a reality.
Near the southern tip of Africa, there is a mountain that does a conjuring trick with the biggest tablecloth on earth. In a sacred forest near the Limpopo river, there is a bird that flies on wings of thunder, flashing lightning from its eyes and bearing rain in its beak. In between, there is a hauntingly beautiful land and millions of confused people. When Archbishop Desmond Tutu dubbed his native South Africa the 'Rainbow Nation', he conjured a vision of ethnic diversity and harmony in a country with eleven official languages, two national anthems, and a parliament that shuttled between two cities. As a foreign correspondent reporting on the last days of apartheid, Gavin Bell thought it was a brave image and wondered how long it would endure. A few years later, he returned to find out what had happened to Tutu's rainbow. In his travels he found a country at odds with itself, swinging between hope and despair, buoyed by a sense of freedom and haunted by a fear of violent crime. SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW is not only a fine travel book by an award-winning writer, it is a compelling portrait of a country in search of an identity. The leopard stories are good too.