The lack of joy - the self-importance - the money - the lies - the suits - the kits - the boots - the sponsors - the throw-in coaches - the agents - the transfer deadline day - the journalists - the pundits - the bloody pundits - the lego stadia - the fixtures - the relentless fixtures - the pointless tournaments - the international breaks - the re-writing of history - the hyper-legacy culture - FIFA - UEFA - the backhanders - the TV rights - the ex-players harping on about when they were playing they could stab the opposition centre forward with a stiletto knife, bury his body in a trench behind the away dug-out and marry his bereaved wife and still have a pint with him in the players bar afterwards - the contrived commentary convincingly concocted by an alliterative allegory addict - the perfect pitches - the crisis club in complete chaos - the conmen - the chairmen - the ever changing kick-off times - the club ambassadors - the corporate hostility - The...... etc etc you get the picture...
Monday, 8 November 2021
Wednesday, 27 October 2021
You can catch it live on the previous link or simply by heading over to Mixcloud by clicking on this link here...
Tuesday, 26 October 2021
Scritti Politti - Lions after slumber
My diplomacy, my security, my hope and my ice-cream
My cigarette, my uncertainty, my penetration
My notebook and my limit, my importance and my glycerine
My customer, my function, my lawlessness, my charm
My hunger, my refusal, my tissue and my vodka
My ommission, my ability, my telephone and my holler
My relaxing, my distress, my bedroom, my cassette
My dictation and my pulse, my fortune and my death
My flake and my restlessness, my headache and my dirt
My paper and my charity, my rose and my pallor
My guess and my closet, my light 'n my time
My worry, my perversity, my transgression
My temptation and my polythene, my gunshot [click]
My jealousy and my water
My demands 'n my angels 'n my waiting 'n my distance
My death, my curtness, my insulin, my memory
My partner 'n my sadness, my story, my wantoness
My wish, my despair, my erasure, my plantation
My white chocolate, my thoughtlessness, my gracelessness
My courage and my crying, my pockets 'n my mistakes
My body and my sex, my gaze and my helplessness
My letter, my sugar, my homework, my walk
My records, my smile and my struggle
My reflection, my eyelid, my fragility, my discretion
My hair, my austerity, my tattoo, my demise
My fooling and my terror, my problem and my judgement
Oh my disguise, my tongue
My ownership, my formula, my property, my thought, my razor
My blessing and my silence, my lust and my practice
My sincerity, my penicillin, my window and my androgyny
My mother, my recorder, my pity and my posing
My light, my carelessness, my drummer, my drummer, my drummer, my drummer
My tenderness 'n my car, my undoing and my history
My bottle and my drugs, my drugs, my drugs
Tomorrow, my temperature, my lips and my selfishness
My cigarette, my uncertainty, my penetration, my notebook
My lawlessness, my charm and my hunger
My refusal, my tissue, my vodka, my admission
My distress and my bedroom, my restlessness, my headache
My dirt, my paper, charity, my rose
My pallor, my guess and my closet,
My light 'n my time, my worry, my perversity
My transgression honey, my temptation honey
My polythene, my jealousy
My water, my demands, my angels
My waiting, my distance, my death, my curtness, my insulin
My memory, my partner, my refrigerator
My sadness, my story, my wantoness, my skipping
My wish and my despair, my erasure, my plantation, my chocolate
My thoughtlessness, my gracelessness, my courage and my crying
My pockets, my homework
Like lions after slumber in unvanquishable number
Thursday, 21 October 2021
This time, I've spent more time playing guitar and less time hovering over this keyboard (complete with sticky G). Anyway, the purpose of this post is to remind myself to write, write, write.
In the meantime, the anniversary of Jack Kerouac's passing lead me to seek out some words on writing:
So until tomorrow...
Monday, 12 July 2021
- "We are the best in the world! We are the best in the world! We have beaten England 2-1 in football!! It is completely unbelievable! We have beaten England! England, birthplace of giants. Lord Nelson, Lord Beaverbrook, Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Anthony Eden, Clement Attlee, Henry Cooper, Lady Diana--we have beaten them all. We have beaten them all.
- "Maggie Thatcher can you hear me? Maggie Thatcher, I have a message for you in the middle of the election campaign. I have a message for you: We have knocked England out of the football World Cup. Maggie Thatcher, as they say in your language in the boxing bars around Madison Square Garden in New York: Your boys took a hell of a beating! Your boys took a hell of a beating!"
- Bjørge Lillelien - Norway v England Oslo 9th September 1981
Whilst Chelsea bounced around between the top two divisions barely threatening to win anything, England had plumped for mediocrity: Ron Greenwood replaced the despicable Revie and Brian Clough was left to rot in a bottle at the City Ground. Greenwood in turn was replaced by the affable Bobby Robson (who like Sir Alf Ramsey had had the misfortune to manage Ipswich Town prior to the England job). I on the other hand had missed the formative months of punk rock, embraced a Modernist lifestyle, swerved the New Romantic scene and settled on a Mod/Post-Punk/Funk/Jazz vision of the future!
Occasional trips to The Shed were accompanied by visits to Kensington Market & Carnaby Street. Fred Perry & a Chelsea pin badge - nice!
Thankfully, England managed to qualify for Mexico 1986. We even had a decent couple of players, the mercurial John Barnes and the clinical Gary Lineker. We managed to escape the group stage in no part due to Lineker (Line-acre according to Mick Channon). "It's finally happened in Monterey..." courtesy of the magnificent Barry Davies. Next stop Argentina in the quarter-finals, what could possibly go wrong?
Sunday, 11 July 2021
I have been a fully fledged football fan since 22nd February 1970 around about 2:30pm. The trigger for what became a lifelong affliction was the transmission on ITV of 'The Big Match' featuring QPR v Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter final. The specific incident that then changed my life was the decision of the referee Mr K.Howley to demand that a QPR penalty be retaken. The reason being that Chelsea keeper Peter Bonetti had supposedly moved before the kick was taken and smothered the shot by Rangers skipper Terry Venables. So incensed was I, by this blatant anti-Chelsea bias, I immediately and irrevocably threw my support behind The Mighty Blues. Although to be honest I didn't know they were blue at the time, not least because we were wearing our yellow away shirts but because our family only got a colour tv in 1975!
The reason I mention this is simply because, it was my choice, my decision alone and all these years later the fact that I am a season ticket holder (East Upper), despite living in Sydney, Australia is a direct result of that decision. The fact that I put on 'Three Lions' an hour ago and immediately dissolved into tears is something else all together. I did not choose my country of birth. I am English, despite myself. Therefore, I support the England team, I have to, not necessarily because I want to, just simply because.
I had been aware of the England team prior to my Loftuscene conversion in 1970. Any kid growing up in England knew of the holy trinity of Moore, Hurst & Peters - in fact I'd even flirted with becoming a West Ham fan but it didn't feel quite right. In a perfect storm of falling in love with Chelsea, them subsequently beating 'Dirty Leeds' in the FA Cup Final and the World Cup being played in Mexico that summer, I was being groomed for a lifetime of success and... failure.
England crashed out against the dreaded West Germans and what's more, one of my Chelsea heroes Peter Bonetti (aka The Cat) was widely blamed (though not by me) for his part in the defeat - although Gerd Muller's shot from about 4 years out also had something to do with it. The heartbreak that particular defeat inflicted is still surprisingly raw. Surely, the reason to like football is because my team would always win. This losing malarkey was not what I signed up for.
The tale of Chelsea's travails and subsequent redemption will no doubt be covered at another date (the joy of lockdown). This article however, is about my relationship with the England team. After Mexico, things got steadily worse for Sir Alf & his boys. Gunter Netzer demolished our Euro 1972 hopes and Poland had made qualification for the 1974 World Cup a little harder than anticipated. However, all we had to do was beat them at Wembley - easy!
Expectations both at school and home were ridiculously high. Special plans had been made and I could even watch the game: A) live and B) in colour - thanks to the next door neighbour. Anyway, history shows that England only managed to draw 1-1 and that Norman Hunter should have smashed the ball into row Z before Shilton had the chance to dive over Domarski's shot. We were out and not going to the World Cup. The upside was being able to revel in the joy of Holland's total football and that bloody Muller again. Perhaps England were not the team I'd been led to believe...
Surely the appointment of Don Revie from 'Dirty Leeds' would change our fortunes. In hindsight, it was as misguided as appointing Sam Allardyce decades later. Revie's Leeds team were a talented bunch of players, managed by a negative and dubious individual (to say the least). Brian Clough was right:
"Well, I might as well tell you now. You lot may all be internationals and have won all the domestic honours there are to win under Don Revie. But as far as I'm concerned, the first thing you can do for me is to chuck all your medals and all your caps and all your pots and all your pans into the biggest f***ing dustbin you can find, because you've never won any of them fairly. You've done it all by bloody cheating."
Brian Clough - To Leeds players on first day of training.
Revie failed to get any decent results (or even bribe any opponents) and he ended up bunking off to the UAE for a sackful of cash (always his ultimate motive). World Cup 1978 was off the cards and by now I was firmly of the opinion that we were bloody useless. I'd find myself going to Stamford Bridge every week and quietly tolerating the rubbish on the windswept and distant pitch from the confines of the hotbed of congeniality and ready wit that was The Shed End. However, the thought of watching England, despite their swanky new fancy pants Admiral kits (courtesy of Don Revie?), was not so appealing. I'd much rather spend my money on going to gigs or on the brand new 7" single 'In the city'from a little known trio from Woking who I subsequently realised were called The Jam.
Monday, 22 March 2021
Tuesday, 2 March 2021
Monday, 1 March 2021
Stood at the top of the long world
chalk cliffs plummeting into the grasp of the relentless
Aspidochelone in the depths
the gorse leaning towards life at 45°
rainbows plucked from other hemispheres
Wednesday, 20 January 2021
Tuesday, 19 January 2021
I remember when I suppose I was about 10 and beginning to take note of the music and the charts. This burgeoning interest was fuelled in part by an awakening driven by two things: Top of the Pops & Girls. Girls liked music, I liked girls; ergo I like music. Simple.
Things were complicated by the fact that the chart stars of the day were androgynous and confusing chaps(?) like Marc Bolan & David Bowie. Even grown up bovver boys Slade dressed a bit bloody weird. Anyway, girls liked musicians more than they liked footballers. So, whilst not turning my back on 'the beautiful game', I needed to become a musician. No problem.
All you need is a tennis racket, some cardboard, sellotape, marker pen and some string. Within an hour I had knocked up a 'Fender Slazengercaster' - it was mint! Of course, it didn't make a sound, at least nothing like Bolan's riff to 20th Century Boy. More of a dull pfft - but hey I'm only interested in miming, like they do on 'Top of the Pops'.
Guitar - done!
What to wear next? And this is where the wheels started to come off. I enlisted my mum in this tricky transformation from 10 year-old sporty schoolboy to POPSTAR. Unfortunately, I chose to style myself on the front man out of 'Wizzard', Roy Wood. Even now I cringe at the ham-fisted attempts to make myself look like Mr Wood - who much later I came to realise was a very talented musician (especially in The Move). A combination of make-up, back combing, assorted dressing gowns and other odd bits and pieces and the look was complete. I took one look in the upstairs full length mirror and was horrified!
What is the point of music?
I flung the Slazengercaster down, scraped the make-up off and put my Chelsea kit back on. If dressing up like a right berk was what being a popstar was all about, then count me out. I think it took a full three and a half years for me to even listen to music again....
And then The Jam came to town!
Monday, 18 January 2021
The End of Days
Friday, 1 January 2021
Thursday, 31 December 2020
the sound of a late
Sunday, 20 December 2020
Thursday, 17 December 2020
Tuesday, 15 December 2020
Sunday, 6 December 2020
Friday, 4 December 2020
Wednesday, 2 December 2020
Tuesday, 1 December 2020
He is neither innocent or guilty. He is Billy Childish (amongst other names).
Today is his birthday.
Photo by Anna Huix/Contour by Getty Images
Saturday, 28 November 2020
I had the pleasure to chat with Rob Milton (The co-founder and original DJ) of The Dirt Box on Wednesday 25th Novemberon my weekly radio show London Calling on Sydney station 2RRR (88.5FM and www.2rrr.org.au). If you'd like to hear some fine music and funny memories. Why not click the link below.
Friday, 27 November 2020
Thursday, 26 November 2020
-- In an out
spirals of smoke
curried goat and Sensi
The 10 o’clock
from the coast
to the shadow
of the Westway
-- Red Stripe
The long fringe,
-- Gin, Bitter lemon
Wednesday, 18 November 2020
Tuesday, 17 November 2020
Saturday, 14 November 2020
Tuesday, 10 November 2020
You shall find love (for T.Emin)
Sunday, 8 November 2020
Thursday, 5 November 2020
Wednesday, 4 November 2020
Tuesday, 27 October 2020
My wish, my despair, my erasure, my plantation
My white chocolate, my thoughtlessness, my gracelessness
My courage and my crying, my pockets 'n my mistakes
Serendipity swings through the door, sunshine trailing in it's wake...
The cricket is going well. Time for me to do some serious watching, accompanied by a cheeky Sancerre (the other half of Tattinger had seemingly gone the way of the first) and The Guardian's sports quiz of the year (held over from December for the purpose of fictional construct). Joined by Slim, breezing in all Hawaian 40's shirt and dangerous wit. He sits at the table and a pint appears (they know him here). We dash through the hundred questions and score a very passable 92 (we were never going to get the equestrian sports but I should have remembered that David Wilkie won the 200m breastroke, not 100m).
Another flurry of Aussie wickets means we'll be batting before tea! Not quite Trent Bridge but certainly reminiscent of Melbourne 2010. The Sancerre evaporates, as does Slim's Stella Artois. We cover off key topics: the new book about Samuel Beckett, the potential British Lions starting XV against RSA and uncovering the truth behind what happened to the girl we used to go to school with who became a stripper and glamour model.
I get more drinks and manage to place a bet with David Jenkins & Sons "traditional bookmakers to gentlemen of a literary persuasion". Fingers crossed for 'Bottle of Smoke'...
A nice 10 minute interview with Michael Holding fills the break between innings. I remember, in the nick of time, that we (Slim & I) always have Cheesy Wotsits when watching England bat together (it's a luck thing). Thankfully the barman was two steps ahead of me.
A bowl appears along with an ashtray, a selection of Gitanes, Gauloises, Marlboro (soft-pack), Camel and Lucky Strike, as well as a 1965 Zippo that had seen action at La Drang. They know Slim here...
Monday, 26 October 2020
Wednesday, 21 October 2020
Tuesday, 6 October 2020
-- A glass of champagne nestles
Saturday, 3 October 2020
Some writers declare that the reason they write is because they are searching for the absolute. They are committed to being as raw and as honest as possible and hang the consequences. Others write simply to entertain, to obfuscate or to build an alternative world.
After a moment of confusion, bought on by writing something that was (in hindsight) easily misconstrued. I had to stop an ask myself: What sort of writer am I? Inconsistent? Yes. An autodidact? Yes. Confused? Undoubtedly. Wilfully obtuse? It would seem so. Does it matter? No, of course not. The joy of being all of the above, means it most probably doesn't matter one iota to anyone but me. But of course, when somebody reads something I've written and translates the meaning to be something completely different and possibly hurtful, then maybe I should pay more attention.
Especially the next time that I sit down to write something without a plan!
Thursday, 1 October 2020
They are just hastily composed polaroids that will fade in the glare of the ever brightening sun. They will become bleached and distant until they completely disappear from view. A series of unread suicide notes, football commentaries, record reviews and postcards from the edge of the Tasman Sea. A handful of uncoded Enigma messages, a hidden cache of cassette tapes, badly recorded demos, morse-code transcripts from a ghost ship. They slipped under the radar, got lost in the traffic, flew south for winter and managed to lie low for the duration.
They mean nothing.
Unless they mean something to you...