Poetry Corner: snip

Very nice lady matched me online
And we got to chatting. We
Spoke online all day, all night until,
Eventually, I plucked up the courage to ask her out. We met up, had a
Couple of drinks, talked and
Talked for hours. It was great. Wind it
On a couple of years, we’re getting married, but neither of us want
More kids. Anyway, how’s
Your day going?

Recognising privilege

On the back of the awful (not the word, but I don’t have the words) case of Sarah Everard, the stories every woman has been sharing in the aftermath, I got to thinking.

Some years ago, I was walking home from the pub. It was late. Very late. Walking in the same direction but faster than a young woman, as my shadow drew into alongside hers she turned and launched a furious tirade at me, exact details of which are lost in time. In short, I was intimidating her by my presence and I should cross the road. It being six lanes, I said I wasn’t going to do that, asked her to wait in the brightly lit spot while I passed as wide as I could on a reasonably wide piece of pavement, then we could both continue on our way. And it angered me. I know I’m a big soft lump, and while she couldn’t possibly know that, it seemed grossly unfair to be labelled as a danger. I really didn’t understand.

Some years later, but still some years ago, I was accosted by two lads on my road. It was an attempt at a mugging. I told them to fuck off. I know I’m a big soft lump, but they couldn’t possibly know that. What they did do was attempt to rob someone standing over six feet tall and of reasonably large build. ‘Pick your battles, lads’, I thought. They fucked off. Then the penny dropped.

I – you, us (as men) – can’t have it both ways. I can’t congratulate myself on seeing off two muggers merely because I’m a sizeable bloke and not appreciate how I may look to a woman on her own. I can’t say to myself ‘they don’t know I’m a soft sack of shite’ regarding those muggers without the self-awareness to also say ‘she doesn’t know I’m a soft sack of shite’ regarding that lass who bawled me out.

I haven’t got answers. I guess that all I’m saying is be aware. And be better. Learn. This is on us, men, far more than it is anyone else. We have to be better.

Poetry Corner: Shove it

Committing Britain to austerity in perpetuity
For the sake of an ideology
You didn’t agree with until recently.
Cower to those with power,
beg for crumbs thrown from ivory towers.
Cut our throats to beggar the European bloc.
Sod ‘em off but to us they’ll flock… 
For what? innovative jam and a war-time obsession?
For ten German bombers and twisted history lessons?
Isolated backward island built on phoney nostalgia,
A failed idea of exceptionalism
Of Anglo-supremacism.
No conviction.
Your conviction is fiction.
You project yourself as ready, willing and able
By parroting the myth of being strong and stable.
Your profession of stability masks your obvious inability.
Fathead Boris Walter Mitty in high office sitting pretty.
Scruffy twat blue, go brush your hair,
Use general taxation to hide an affair.
Reward for previous misdemeanours
Is to destroy our rights on behalf of the leavers.
Line well-lined pockets is your one mission,
Let centenarians fund basic provision,
Let your mates set the rates,
The proles can’t even eat cake,
Pockets emptied by your mates on the take.
Call you out, you cry “uncivil debate!”

Well you can shove that up your arse.

Poetry Corner: More In Common

One I started ages back after the murder of Jo Cox MP. Still relevant, sadly.

I do not give you permission to divide my community.
You will not turn me against my neighbour.
No-one can instil fear of the other in me
On the basis that they’re foreign.
We will always have more in common.

You will not make statements on my behalf
Simply because our skin is of similar hue.
You will not assume I agree with you on the same basis.
Your beliefs are utterly rotten.
We will always have more in common.

And I say this to you
From the very heart of my bottom;
We will always have more in common.

Dobbo’s House of Games

Since the start of lockdown 1, a bunch of us – largely from the old, Socrates-era football blogging community – have been doing a weekly football quiz on our slack channel. Open to all. Join in if you fancy. It was my turn last week, so I shamefully nicked all the rounds from Richard Osman’s House of Games. Thought I’d share.

Round 1: Correction centre
One word is wrong in these statements. Which word are you changing to what to make it correct?

1. Billy Wright, the first footballer to make 100 appearances for his country, played his entire club career at Bolton Wanderers.
2. The last champions of the Simod Cup were Genoa.
3. The first champions of England were Glossop North End.
4. Naming rights to Huddersfield’s new ground were first sold to Alfred Hitchcock.
5. Shrewsbury Town provided most of the footballers in Escape To Victory.
6. Playing at Estadio Monumental, River Ouse are the big rivals to Boca Juniors.
7. Vinnie Jones made his acting debut in Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels, directed by Andy Ritchie.
8. England’s 1966 World Cup winning captain was Roger Moore.
9. Dave Whelan broke his shoulder in the 1960 FA Cup final.
10. Nottingham Forest’s and Notts County’s grounds lie either side of the River Mersey.

Show/hide answers

1. Bolton -> Wolverhampton
2. Simod -> Anglo-Italian
3. Glossop -> Preston
4. Hitchcock -> McAlpine
5. Shrewsbury -> Ipswich
6. Ouse -> Plate
7. Andy -> Guy
8. Roger -> Bobby
9. Shoulder -> leg
10. Mersey -> Trent

Round 2: Rhyme time
Two clues, the answers rhyme with one another. Yes you need both for a point

1. England winger in the 1990 World Cup. England manager who hates disableds.
2. Scotland manager at the 1998 World Cup. Club known as The Mariners who play in Cleethorpes.
3. Stockport County’s ground lies closest to this river. Graeme Le Saux was born on which Channel Island?
4. Commentator noted for his sheepskin coat. Everton captain when they won the FA Cup in 1995.
5. Long-legged Sheffield Wednesday and England midfielder of the Graham Taylor days. ‘El Pibe’.
6. Dutch defender sold by Alex Ferguson after writing his autobiography. Home city of Feyenoord and Excelsior.
7. Pundit fired by Sky for being a massive creep. 118-cap Irish international defender who played for Man Utd and Sunderland.
8. Scottish-born Ireland international who played for and managed Bolton. Sherlock Holmes creator who played in goal for amateur side Portsmouth.
9. Crystal Palace’s nickname. Brighton’s nickname.
10. Manager of Leeds for 44 days. Scottish goalkeeper at the 1978 and 82 World Cup.

Show/hide answers

1. Chris Waddle, Glenn Hoddle
2. Craig Brown, Grimsby Town
3. Mersey, Jersey
4. John Motson, Dave Watson
5. Carlton Palmer, Carlos Valderrama
6. Jaap Stam, Rotterdam
7. Andy Gray, John O’Shea
8. Owen Coyle, Arthur Conan Doyle
9. Eagles, Seagulls
10. Brian Clough, Alan Rough

Round 3: This round is in code.
I give you the answers here, but they’re all in code where A=1, B=2 etc 
These first five are ‘Pot 4’ countries at the 2018 World Cup

1. 19-15-21-20-8  11-15-18-5-1
2. 16-1-14-1-13-1
3. 10-1-16-1-14
4. 19-5-18-2-9-1
5. 13-15-18-15-3-3-15
And these five clubs are all one-time winners of the English championship
6. 19-8-5-6-6-9-5-12-4  21-14-9-20-5-4
7. 9-16-19-23-9-3-8  20-15-23-14
8. 12-5-9-3-5-19-20-5-18  3-9-20-25
9. 14-15-20-20-9-14-7-8-1-13  6-15-18-5-19-20
10. 23-5-19-20  2-18-15-13-23-9-3-8   1-12-2-9-15-14

Show/hide answers

1. South Korea
2. Panama
3. Japan
4. Serbia
5. Morocco
6. Shffield United
7. Ipswich Town
8. Leicester City
9. Nottingham Forest
10. West Bromwich Albion

Round 4: Games House Of
General trivia, but you must give me the answer in alphabetical order. So if the answer was my name, you put Dobson John

1. Which Dutch striker won the Ballon d’Or in 1988, 89 and 92?
2. Which Scottish side contest the Highland Derby with Ross County?
3. Davide Gualtieri scored a famous goal against England playing for which national side?
4. David Beckham, Ashley Cole and Steven Gerrard have all played for which MLS side?
5. Which club were the first to crack 100 points in a season in English football?
6. Which Italian nutjob’s career high/lowlights include flinging a Nazi salute, shoving a referee over and a spectacular flying volley for West Ham?
7. Arsene Wenger joined Arsenal from which J-League side?
8. Which Dutch striker played for Celtic, Hull and Rapid Vienna in between spells at PSV?
9. What was the official mascot of the 1966 World Cup?
10. Bradley Wright-Phillips scored 125 goals in MLS for which team?

Show/hide answers

1. Basten Marco van
2. Caledonian Inverness Thistle
3. Marino San
4. Angeles Galaxy Los
5. City York
6. Canio di Paolo
7. Eight Grampus Nagoya
8. Hesselink Jan of Vennegoor
9. Cup Willie World
10. Bulls New Red York

Final round: ANSWERSMASH
A picture, a clue beneath, smash the answers together
First five are pictures of players, smash them into the clues

1.
34-time champions of Spain
2.
Scottish club known as The Accies
3.
Hampshire club founded in 1992 after the previous club folded and resigned from the Football League
4.
Scottish team from Perth, the only league club in the UK with a J in the name
5.
Only French team to win the European Cup
And vice versa, pictures of club badges, smash them into the clues
6.
Scored Manchester United’s first in the 1999 Champions League final
7.
Arsenal stalwart, wrote the autobiography ‘Addicted’
8.
26 caps for Italy and current Everton manager
9.
Rangers and Blackpool defender, once got injured by a poached egg
10.
Norwegian striker who is ‘at the wheel’

Show/hide answers

1. Nacho Monreal Madrid
2. David Beckhamilton Academical
3. Steve Archibaldershot Town
4. Iain St Johnstone
5. Marc Overmarseille
6. Scunthorpe Uniteddy Sheringham
7. Portony Adams
8. Benficarlo Ancelotti
9. Falkirk Broadfoot
10. Espanyole Gunnar Solskjaer

The ballad of Danny Allinson

Something I wrote years ago and got to thinking about this morning. 

 

The day always started like this. He never intended it to, but it always did. Let’s face it, All-Bran tastes like shit – he wouldn’t even give the budgie that crap – and the well-intentioned cup of tea just never seemed as appealing as the four-pack of cheap unbranded lager from the local offy. And so Danny Allinson cracked open his first can of the day. It was half past eight.

It wasn’t always like this. The faded poster on the wall of the bedsit spoke of a British heavyweight title fight. He was 23 at the time, four years a pro, but it was a step too far and too soon. His opponent that night, Carl Lonergan, was nearly ten years his senior with twice the number of fights under his belt and gave him the mother of all beatings. Sure, Danny had tried to come back, but he was always ‘that lad that got his head woven into the canvas against Lonergan’. After that, he was just a stepping stone for any other young fighter on the way up. He wanted to advise them, let them know what they were getting into. Tell them not to go anywhere near his manager when they’d beaten him.

His manager, Alan Crossley, was a grade A twat. Said he’d put all his prize money in a trust fund. What the fuck did Danny know about trust funds? Apart from the lack of trust that is, which he found out when Crossley legged it to Barmouth with the whole lot, leaving Danny penniless. He’d had an aversion to Wales since then.

He’d squeaked out a living on the doors in town, but once people got to know who he was, they’d all fancy a crack at him after ten pints. “Take him on his left Dave”, he’d heard one bloke say. “He always drops his left, that’s how Lonergan got him”. The fury washed over him and seven months in Armley for ABH was the result. That was his door security career finished.

The benefits paid for the bedsit, a few cans of beer and the occasional packet of Old Holborn. He wasn’t a big smoker, never had been, but a roll-up once in a while took the edge off that first drink of the day. Now and then, he’d have enough for some millet for the budgie. He could never work out how he came by that thing. Pointless bloody bird. He’d called it Adam Faith. It was his idea of irony.

The loss of the money was the start of it – the drinking. By that time, his legs had gone. He was no use as a fighter any more, not that he wanted to carry on. He’d had enough years before, but just kept going. One more. Just one more. It became a mantra to him, he’d said it so often to the wife. The wife… There’s another story. Once the gravy train had stopped calling at Allinson Junction, she’d soon buggered off. She took the boy. No idea where he is now. Probably university age these days. Danny would have liked university. A different crowd to the lowlives he mixed with at that age. And he was smart, but that didn’t matter much when his dad got ill. Money. That was what mattered and Danny knew that a lad who could punch could earn some, much more than the coal board were going to cough up. That was his dad’s pun.

“Bugger this”, he said to Adam Faith, swilling down the dregs of the can and heading for the bookies. Two hours and four races later, he’d done all his remaining money and was back within the four walls of the bedsit. He was sick in the sink. Grab another can. That should take the taste away. “How the fuck did this happen?”. Adam Faith didn’t reply, merely headbutting the small mirror Danny had found round by the chippy. “I looked after meself” Danny continued, scarcely noticing Adam Faith’s indifference. “I liked school. I getting good marks until… well, you know”. Adam Faith didn’t know, or if he did, he wasn’t letting on. Danny threw the can across the room. “It’s all that bastard’s fault!” he yelled. He could hear them downstairs, perturbed by the noise.

He went next door. Little Marco was about the closest thing he had to a friend. Marco was six and loved Adam Faith – the bird, that is – and would pop round sometimes to see him. “Look after him Marco”, Danny told the young lad as he handed the cage over. He went back to the flat. He packed a bag. A change of clothes, a train timetable, an emergency can of lager and his dad’s old hunting knife – the only thing he’d left Danny.

Tomorrow wouldn’t start the same way. Tomorrow, he was off to Barmouth.

The Rules

  1. Never drink owt you can’t see through
  2. Never eat anything bigger than your head
  3. Never have a pet that does bigger shits than you do (courtesy @sugwindfire)
  4. Wear socks, you prick
  5. And while you’re at it, you might as well make them good socks, and matching ones at that
  6. You don’t need wheeled luggage; you need to carry less stuff
  7. Be less Morrissey, be more Johnny Marr
  8. Never joke about someone else’s shed (courtesy @NorthernWrites)

Poetry corner: The Notts County Linesman

I have a lot of sympathy for linesmen. Assistant referees my arse though. Especially at non-league level where the voices are easier to pick out and, as opposed to a wall of sound, I imagine harder to blot out. They shuffle sideways through mud, get piss wet through and for what? £40 and their mileage? Anyway, this.

I am the linesman at Notts County
And I wave the yellow flag
I hear all the abuse from the Derek Pavis stand.
I hear you calling me a bastard
Because your striker was offside.
But the Notts County linesman’s still running the line.

I get pelters for my fitness,
I hear you calling me big-boned.
I passed the bleep and fat tests I will have you know.
I hear you calling me a wanker
Cos your left-back’s a niggly shite.
But the Notts County linesman’s still running the line.

I barely cover my expenses,
I get just 40p a mile,
But the Notts County linesman’s still running the line.

Poetry corner: Screws!

The other day, I put a TV stand together. The kit came with absolutely bloody loads of screws. Two-thirds of them were totally not useful as well, so why they were in the pack I don’t know. Did I throw them away? Of course I didn’t and now my toolbox has even more loose screws in it than before. Along with the random washers, clips, pins, nails, fasteners and sundry other items that ‘might be useful one day’. And that prompted this.

 

I open my toolbox; it’s full of loose screws.
Screws! Screws that I’ll never use –
I’ll never use but I dare not lose.
‘Is it some sort of madness?’ I’m oft prone to muse.
‘Have I a screw loose?’ No, I’ve loose screws.

They may come in handy, I always say.
They haven’t as yet, but they may do some day.
‘How?’ you may ask. ‘Handy in what way?’
That question I cannot answer today,
But in my toolbox they’ll all have to stay.

Poetry Corner: Shopping In A Different Aldi

My regular is shut for a refit or something,
Or they’ve got new staff to train,
So I’ve to go and shop at a different spot
And it’s about to break my brain

I’m shopping in a different Aldi
And my blood is starting to boil.
I’m shopping in a different Aldi;
Where the fuck’s the fucking cooking oil?

When I come down here in my usual one
I find pizzas – Hawaiian, margherita.
But what do I find in this strange place?
A workbench and a patio heater.

I’m shopping in a different Aldi.
I can’t find the bloody pies.
I’m shopping in a different Aldi.
Is there any falafel in this house of lies?

There’s couscous where the crisps go,
Everything’s different and yet just the same.
Crisps have replaced the cat food,
I can’t find the bog rolls. I’m going insane

I’m shopping in a different Aldi.
Garden furniture and a welcome mat.
I’m shopping in a different Aldi.
There’s a whole extra aisle of pointless tat.

The parking bays are bigger here,
I swear there’s room for a tank.
The layout is different but familiar,
Like using your wrong hand for a wank.

I’m shopping in a different Aldi.
Getting carried out and bundled into a van.
I’m shopping in a different Aldi.
Screaming ‘Instead of cheese it were frying pans’.