Friday, 17 August 2018

Spiteful Spike (part one)

There’s a boy ten feet tall from his head to his toes
And he sleeps in the bath because each night he grows
But he shrinks in the day and gets lost in his clothes
Til all you can see is his bulbous red nose

His best mate is Paul but his mum calls him Mark
And he’s brilliant in lessons, a really bright spark
He’s a hit in the evening on walks in the park
Because Paul is a person who glows in the dark

Then there’s Jen, who likes playing and watching all sport
She’s a wizard of basketball when she’s on court
But  her feet look like fish – just imagine the thought -
When she swims she wears shoes just in case she gets caught

And her sister, Jemima, knows every song sung
And every word written, and every rap done
She’s a genius also when she does her sums -
She’s got seventeen fingers and twenty-four thumbs

But the other kids laughed at the friends in their school:
They thought Jen was a misfit, and Paul was uncool,
Said Jemima was freaky, the tall boy a fool
In the playground they teased them with shouting so cruel

That it made the friends sad; I mean, what had they done?
They’d never think of hurting anyone;
But bullies are stupid, they think it is fun
To make people feel bad, feel horrid or dumb.

And one little boy, let’s call him Spike,
Was naughty, vindictive, a real nasty tyke.
One day he told teacher that Paul took a hike
And instead of his lessons was riding a bike

Well the teacher liked Spike and believed what he said
And told Paul he had to report to the head
The headmaster, a bumbling man called Fat Fred
Told Paul that he was to be suspended

But Spike was not happy; his work was not done,
So he turned his attention to the sporty one
He told all the teachers that Jen, just for fun
Had covered the blackboards in used chewing gum

Again, though it was lies, Jen was hauled to the head
(Who you might remember is named Fatty Fred)
Though Jen pleaded innocence, the head shook his head
And said, with some dread: Jen, go home instead

Next, Spike told the teachers of very tall lad
Who’d shrunk in the sun to just taller than dad
Spikes words were a secret, but be sure they were bad,
Because as we mentioned – Spike was rather a cad

And so, the tall boy found that his cheeks were red
As he stood at the desk of the headmaster, Fat Fred,
Who looked up at the ceiling and doomily said
‘You’re a naughty boy – go home and go straight to bed’

And Jemima, who’d always been friendly and happy
Soon crossed paths with Spike, who’d become rather snappy
So he made up a story about his grandpappy
And said that Jemima was hitting the chappy

So Jemima too was called to the head
At lunchtime, so rather than her jam and bread
She received quite a lecture from Fatty Fat Fred
Who told her to go home and sit in her shed

And so when lunchtime came
Spiteful Spike's little game
Meant he ate on his own
And he felt quite alone.

In the Land of a Thousand Bastards (Lyrics)

Intro: In the land of a thousand bastards
We supply the staff for the Hotel California
We’re dead from the neck up
And we keep our kids in cages
We make the world turn
We turn it worse

We’re computer-assisted, badly-twisted, double-fisted, dark web-listed, instant-access, pay no taxes, doxing dastards, utter bastards

We’re bent and blistered, grubby grifters, little Hitlers, wallet lifters, narcissistic, turn a cheap trick, punch-your-fathers, utter bastards

We’re biting midges, wizened witches, don’t like snitches - give you stitches, half-demented, pay-no-rented, molten lava, utter bastards

We’re lager-swilling, puppy-killing, dirty-pilling, over-billing, crooks and chancers, private dancers, arson-artists, utter bastards

We’re penny-pinching, scabies-itching, flat-evicting, punch yer tits in, racist wankers, pay the bankers, kings of falsehoods, utter bastards

We’re cracked and crazy, lying, lazy, fans of Jay-Z, skunk-smoke hazy, project fear, drool and leer, start the carjack, utter bastards

We’ll do you over, for a tenner, hobnail boots, you think you’re clever? Rip your new suit, rip your new shoes, we’re just classless utter bastards

We’ll burn your school down, burn the whole town, it’s all fucked now we’re the guvnors, a thousand sweaty ballsacks dangle, winnits tangle, utter bastards

We’re red from sleeping in the heatwave, rich from thieving cash that you saved, we’re collectors, you elect us, politicians, utter bastards

We’re on the gravy train to nowhere, what do we care if it ain’t fair? Subsidise our second homes, Cause we’re your masters, utter bastards

We’ll tell you what you want to hear, tell you you’re in charge of here, it’s all bollocks, but you swallow all our bullshit, utter bastards

We’re in the game, we’re not the same, we’re innocent, and you’re to blame, we’re multi-taskers, backwards-maskers, nasty-party utter bastards

We raise the flag, we chainsmoke fags, we call you slags, we run in packs, we’re sharp-suit, ill-repute, drunk on darkness, utter bastards

We walk amongst you, look just like you, what we won’t do is provoke you, stay asleep, now not a peep, we’re busy being utter bastards

We’ve got no morals, got some brass balls, make the tough calls, tweak your nipples, push you under, fart like thunder, dirty arses, utter bastards

We’ll snort your coke, we like a smoke, we’ll make you broke, devoid of hope, squash your brain, pull your chain, everlasting utter bastards

Outro: There ain’t half been some utter bastards
Fucking wankers, fucking wankers
There ain’t half been some utter bastards
Try and kill one and just hope that there’s no more to come

Thursday, 16 August 2018

A Man Without A Team: Week 2

Too excited to wait to post - my Bangor Comrades 1919 shirt just came in the post.

This is a replica shirt of a forerunner to Bangor City; the comrades are the fans, the people, the ones who will mostly only go now to away games. It is outselling the official replica by miles (though to be fair, the official shirts aren't in stock yet). The small profit on each shirt is going to a local mental health charity, too. I mean, this really is what we are about. I am proud to be part of it.

This is my club. No team yet, but a club, or maybe the very first green shoots toward one.

The tagline on the badge reads Hanes a balchder (History and pride).

Now tell me that's not fucking cool and I'll eat my own dinner.

Some home-printed stickers arrived with it with ace slogans:

We Built Our Past, We'll Build Our Future

Match, Mates, Moider

It is a package of hope through the post. If and when it all goes tits up, we will indeed be here, and we can do fucking awesome stuff like this.

Meanwhile my former club beat Ruthin 2-1 away, in an earlyish evening kick off cause the hosts didn't have floodlights, or ones that weren't good enough at least. The club said 'it is a hard place to go.'

I mean, fuck off. Just fuck off.

 It's bad enough that our reserves used to play most of the teams in the LoW - this is just taking the piss. We should be in Europe, remember, and going for the league title with an exciting young team and great young manager/s.

Tough place to go. Haha. Fucking hell.


Their next game is away at Guilsfeld on Saturday. I'm working so can't go. I might have considered it otherwise. But I'm not that arsed either.

There are a few lads - comrades at that - who are still going to the home games. They go to support the players and the shirt. I fully support their decision. They're walking their own path, which is up to them. They're comrades too - some of the best, in fact. There won't be a schism there. It's a personal decision. When things get tough, as they will, we'll be here standing together to secure a future.

There are some supporters that are still taken in by the bluster and lies of the board, though. They've reconciled themselves to it, somehow. I spose it's like those people who vote Tory and don't tell anyone about it isn't it. It's cognitive dissonance at its worst, that is. And this is going to be a problem at some stage.

Maybe already it is: legitimising the regime. Well, when it all goes to shit who will be there to pick up the pieces?

Comrades forever.

We're Bangor Comrades and we rock and roll.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

(I Am The) Rock n Roll Librarian

Woe to you, O Earth and Sea
For the Devil sends the Beast with wrath.
Let him who hath understanding
Reckon the number of the Beast
For it is a Dewey Number
Its number is 666
(Ceramic and Allied Technologies)

(I am the) rock n roll librarian
I get my metal where I can
I put requests out on the van

You’ll know me by the trail of books
You’ll see me giving furtive looks
At people lurking in the nooks

Rapaciously I cover-bind
Undress the pages of your mind
A million stories to unwind

I am the power, am the law
I’ll search until my eyes are raw
I’ll find the words you’re yearning for

Bring your query, bring your query
To the counter
Let me know, let me know, let me know

You’ll find me weeding DVDs
You’ll find me right down on my knees
I’m tidying the loose CDs

I’m fingering the catalogue
A laser-beam cut through the fog
Updating my attendance log

A word to you who enter here:
There's knowledge to admire and fear
A dark, deep magic may appear

Our deviant, delicious den
Will help you find your inner zen
Will strip you of your innocence

Bring your query, bring your query
To the counter
Let me know, let me know, let me know

(I am the) rock n roll librarian
A shelving ninja, seventh dan
Eat chips in here, you’ll get a ban

I walk in silent catacombs
Where old ones go to face their dooms
Where unloved pages find their tombs

A haven here for tales of crime
Disgusting deeds and depraved minds:
Return them late and face a fine

Beware the final chain-locked door
Unwary souls have fouled before:
We close on Saturdays at four
(don’t get locked in, seriously, we'll have to reset all the alarms and it's a fucking pain in the arse, plus the caretaker will go mental)

Bring your query, bring your query
To the counter
Let me know, let me know, let me know
Bring your query, bring your query
To the counter
Let me know, let me know, let me know
Bring your query, bring your query
To the counter
Let me know, let me know, let me know
Bring your query, bring your query
To the counter
Let me know, let me know, let me know

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

A Man Without A Team: Week One

I feel like it’s the start of a song, or a short story theme: I am a Man Without a Team. And, ya know, maybe it is something creative. Maybe it is a chance to spend all those Saturdays (and Tuesdays and Wednesdays and Thursdays and Fridays and Sundays and not-that-often Mondays) doing something else; to claim back those two hours from updating Flashscores, or watching games in person, or watching them on telly, or just thinking about the permutations of a draw.

And think of all the words I could write if my head wasn’t full of late tackles, ropey offsides, shit refs, Welsh Cup runs, possible European opponents, arguing on message boards about Damien Allen, arguing in my head about whether I am going next week, wondering which games fall on working Saturdays for me, seeing if the new kit is gonna be a stonker or a piece of shit, or both. Think of that. And of all the millions of words I’ve already written about all those things and more, about Frank Mottram and Jiws and Carl Dale and well, I mean, Lee Harley even. It’s not easy being a Bangor City fan, is it. It never has been really.

There was the bloke who wanted to sell the floodlights, and then fucked off to Spain to hide from creditors; there was the going-bust-and-reforming that meant a new company was now in charge, with all the same players, same ground, but nobody owing; the madcap antics of Major Maund, whoever the fuck that was, whose most prominent act was to sack a manager before a Welsh Cup Semi-Final (we won, and Ish was on the bench organising the team); there was Steve Bleasdale, who resigned because Haverfordwest was too far away. I mean, we’ve had some fucking whoppers there over the years.

Like the board that sacked Nigel Adkins, the October after he’d just won two LoW titles on the trot. That one still makes me laugh nervously. Like the time Graeme Sharp got us into Europe, and promptly got his budget cut and left. I got sacked from my columnist job after that, cos I hid a rude message about cofis in that week’s effort for a laugh. Yep. Lots of nobheads, lots of idiots, lots of shenanigans.

But I had my team. And they played at Farrar Road, which was a proper ground and one manager said once it ‘smelled of football’, which was a great way to put it.

Farrar Road’s gone; not before hosting a triumphant league win, the last time anyone other than a franchise that doesn’t deserve being named has done so. There’s Asda there now. I boycotted for a bit but fucking hell. A cheap bottle of wine is a cheap bottle of wine. It wasn’t Asda’s fault, not really. Mismanagement, lies, covenant-breakers and general council bullshit did for the Arena of Aspiration. You can’t get valuable town centre real estate like that anymore for any reason.

A shiny new ground at Nantporth, not the same of course, but better parking and way better facilities. All of that, of course, helped only our opponents. I remember Lee Noble chuckling to himself mid-game when his right full-back gave up on a ball ostensibly headed for the touchline, down near the Farrar End and by the garage windows. Noble knew, like a good golfer would know, that there was a bump there that’d hold the ball up and keep it in play. So he chased it, it slowed, he crossed it in and we scored. This is the sort of thing you miss when you have a billiard-table pitch.

Ay, and the mud, and the pissy stink of the brick barely-urinal, and the sweat and the wintergreen and the steam from the players mingling with the crispness of the night, under floodlights that you could spy from a mile away. A mile to walk, a mile of excitement and anticipation. And when it chucked it down (this is North Wales) the huddling-together under the rapidly-diminishing areas of cover. And that only upped the atmosphere. The Farrar Road roar, the chants, the magic.

It takes a special kind of stupid to let all that go, but the pressures were always there. So be it. When we had to sell the ground to the council to pay a tax bill in the late 1980s the future fate was sealed.
But goddamnit I still had my club.
Now? For the first time in 35 seasons?

No more.

Here is a list:

·         Club avoids relegation twice in two seasons by skin of their teeth. The European money had all gone, spent on chasing Europe again. One penalty kick miss later, a Welsh Cup Final loss, and it’s the beginning of the end. But still my club; still my Bangor.

·         A 30k tax bill; paid for with money earmarked for a behind-the-goals shelter, to try and recreate some kind of Farrar Road-y roar. Not the first time this kind of stuff happened. I still had my team. It hurt, that we had to do this again, from money raised by fans, but it wasn’t the first time. This is the reality of an expensive new ground.

·         Suddenly: Incredible news. “A consortium” has taken over! Promises to invest hundreds of thousands of quid ‘til the coffers run dry.’ Exciting news, weird news, as we ponder what is in it for them.

·         And then a picture is released featuring the only person banned from running a football club in the UK.

·         But goddamnit Andy Legg came in, bringing in some properly excellent players and sheer hope. This might even work.

·         Legg lasted til October. Word was he wasn’t able to commit full-time. The bubble popped.

·         Head of Shrewsbury youth sides comes in as manager to steady the ship. A young manager, he grows into his post; maybe he could be the one.

·         He’s gone by April. He didn’t have the Pro Licence. Gary Taylor-Fletcher, still a player, eases the club to the end of the season and qualifies for Europe.

·         We get battered by a good Danish side; G T-F misses a great chance to add an European goal to his collection. Working alongside him is Kevin Nicholson, another excellent young coach and this time one with that Pro Licence.

·         We batter the franchise in the first game of the season. On the pitch, things look great: young players, excellent players, an experienced back four and a goalkeeper better than even Conor Roberts, who’d saved us from relegation. (that new keeper, Matt Hall, is now at Cardiff, and Brayden Shaw has trialled there too.)

·         And then.

·         Our licensing officer departs. Rumours abound about confusion as to where the money to pay for all of this comes from.

·         On the eve of a Welsh Cup Semi-Final, very strong rumours that we’re going to fail the license. We lose the game 6-1. The players look shellshocked. They don’t want to play; maybe unconsciously, the reason to give it all has gone.

·         We finish second. We fail the license. We fail the appeal.

·         The board say they’ll take it to the High Court. They do not. We knew they wouldn’t.

·         We are relegated to the lowest level in the club’s history. Instead of looking to Europe, and the Scottish Irn Bru cup, we’re facing villages without bus stops.

·         The regime, which has converted loans into shares possibly without following due procedure, takes over the clubhouse, the souvenirs, the 4G bookings. A Fun Day is promised. A fun day! Fuck me, the brass balls of it.

·         A new manager, a new team. Money spunked on wages; what is in it for them? It is not clear.

·         A fundraiser for the club – a racist comedian in the clubhouse. The final straw. Not my club. This is not what we’re about.

·         Bills not paid; local suppliers of booze out of pocket; a Tote that goes directly into the coffers of a PayPal address; two HMRC petitions to wind up (thrown out, after being paid, but even so…)

And so, the season started last Saturday with Bangor winning 5-1. Hooray! Or not. I can’t bring myself to cheer for a game that shouldn’t even be happening. What the hell am I going to do now?

This club, this part of my life, has been wrenched away from me by what is at best incompetence and at worst… well. We’ll see when it all is exposed in a rash of admonitions, finger-pointing, shadow directors, strangely-absent members of the board, shell companies and whatever else is lurking beneath the ever-thinner surface.

I can’t do it. I can’t attend and cheer and feel what I have felt. It’s gone for me. No. It’s still there; but I won’t let it out until…


What does A Man Without A Team do?

Ruthin tonight, I think. Away; I’m working anyway. It’s not the players’ fault, is it?

Maybe I’ll be able to get to an away game. I think I can square that one with myself. I hope I can.

But I see nothing ahead but blank Saturdays (and Tuesdays and Wednesdays and Thursdays and Fridays and Sundays and not-that-often Mondays), until the whole sorry mess implodes.

Imagine this for a second: I am a man who wants the club to go bust. To enter administration, and then wind up, and be put out of its misery.

I am not the only one who wants this.

It has a reason. And that is this:

Maybe, just maybe, when the dust clears and the coast is clear cause they are gone for good: maybe, maybe then we can regroup and reform and comrades can be transparent and run things for the fans by the fans until we run out of money and then…