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The Absolute Game

My friend Almax, who occasionally comments on posts here, was for many years a contributor to The Absolute Game, which was in those far off pre-internet chat board days, a ‘fanzine’. Recently I re-read one of his articles and found myself laughing out loud. So with Al’s permission (granted) I can share it with you. The article is from 1992 and concerns Al’s status as a season ticket holder at Brockville (Falkirk FC).

Here it is (language warning!!):

In TAG 23 Mad Mac pointed out that one of the hazards of having a season ticket for a numbered seat in the stand of your local team is that you’re stuck with the same people round about you for the duration. While this can lead to the forging of new friendships, it can equally result in less pleasant acquaintanceships. Mac himself was burdened with a bore of the year at McDiarmid Park. At Brockville meanwhile, I found myself locked up for the season with a demented madman. While, during the week he was probably gainfully employed as a clerk in a respectable Insurance company, come Saturday the mild-mannered disguise was put off along with the pin-striped suit, to be replaced by a Falkirk scarf and the persona of Neanderthal Man. Name a prejudice, any prejudice – he had it. Being a liberal, new-age type of thingie myself, I could hardly agree with some of the sentiments, but I have to say, in all honesty, that by the end of the season I genuinely liked the guy, and looked forward to each new outrage to my sensibilities with some pleasure. I note below some of his outbursts, but those who are offended by racism, sexism, homophobia, religious bigotry, industrial language etc please read no further.

Let ‘s start with some Face/Jason Donovan type homophobic smearing. Against Motherwell, ‘Well were preparing to make a substitution. Piltdown man is on his feet yelling insanely, “Hands over your bums boys, here comes Ian Ferguson“. Fancy some blasphemy? He was a dab hand at that as well. In the game with Aberdeen, Brian Irvine crudely fouled a Falkirk player. Our man is beside himself, eyes bulging, vocal chords straining to their limit, “Irvine, you think because you’re a Christian you can do what the fuck you like….you’re mair corrupt than me ya bastard“.

Moving along from homophobia to out-and-out racism we turn to Falkirk’s match with Dundee United when the United line-up featured talented Argentinian striker, Victor Ferreyra. Ferreyra was dark-skinned and had caused some controversy a week or two earlier by apparently spitting on Jim Duffy in the local derby against Dundee. As soon as he appeared out of the tunnel our man was on his feet yelling, “C’mon Bairns, get intae that fuckin’ Paki“. Apart from the fact that this was grotesquely racist per se, it set me musing on whether there were any two countries on the entire globe that were geographically further apart from each other than Argentina and Pakistan.

Fans of the Old Firm attracted our man’s particular attention, and it has to be said that his utterings on these subjects contained grains of truth hidden away in the enraged venom of his delivery. Against Rangers, the Billy Boys launched into their first rendition of The Sash. El Loco’s on his feet, screaming, “Can youse no sing aboot fitba boys? It’s a fitba match you’re at, it’s fuck all to do wae religion“. I’m sitting there thinking that he must be mellowing, but he immediately ruins the effect by following this up with, “Ya dirty Masonic Orange bastards“. Later, when the bluenoses adapt the English National Anthem to sing God Save Our Team he turns to me and says, “These c**ts think they’re at the Last Night o’ the fucking Proms“.

In the first match with Celtic, the Bhoys took an early lead and then inexplicably began to practice a half-witted offside trap. Mr Psychotic’s analysis hit the nail firmly on the head, “Jesus Christ, if Jock Stein could see you crowd he be turning in his fucking grave” (note – the offside trap ultimately proved so successful that Falkirk scored four goals). In the second match with the Parkhead men, the ref awarded a free kick for a foul by a Falkirk player. Senor Fruitcake’s assessment was that the free kick had been awarded for ‘cruelty to animals‘.

In the game with Airdrie he managed to surpass himself. Owen Coyle scored and celebrated in a provocative manner by running along the pitch at the front of the stand where he made some rude gestures to the few thousand Bairns fans assembled there. Did I say that these gestures were made to the occupants of the stand in general? Sorry. They were clearly directed to our man in particular. At least, in his demented state, he obviously thought so. He leapt to his feet in a phenomenal rage, shrieking, “Coyle, ya bastard, if you ever do that to me again, I’ll come down there and boot your fucking held in“.

The abuse which he directed towards match officials was pretty much your standard fare – questioning their parentage, sexual orientation, eyesight, religious beliefs, place of origin, intellectual capabilities, integrity, sobriety, partiality, and fitness to take their place in decent society. His favourite one-liner was “Get your black jersey off ref, and let’s see your (insert name of opposition) strip that you’re wearing underneath“. He was also keen to advise every referee who awarded a decision against Falkirk that “folk have been locked up in Bellsdyke for less“.

Can your stomach take some lavatorial language? Against St Mirren, Mr Mental disappeared for a few minutes during which period the Bairns scored. When he returned, he helpfully informed those around him that that was “the last time I go for a shite during the game“. On one occasion an elderely gentleman in front of him asked him politely to “tone it down a wee bit, son“. This was the opportunity for him to publicly announce his credo, “Fuck off you old bastard. I’ve paid my money so I’ll shout what the fuck I like“.

And that’s just what he proceeded to do for the entire season. I’ve now got to decide whether to renew my season ticket for this season. The funny thing is that on the one or two occasions when he wasn’t there, things seemed strangely quiet and less exciting. I think I’ve got so used to him wailing like a banshee. So, yes please, gimme another year of vicarious mindlessness, obscene abuse, barking madness and sheer downright nastiness. And if the man himself is reading this remember, chum, that I’m the young woman in the red and white anorak sitting about six rows behind you beside my husband, the heavyweight champion of Scotland.

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Neil Down

I see that Rangers defeated Dundee United 2-0 last night, thus putting the pressure back on Celtic to achieve a win on their tricky trip to Tynecastle this evening. A defeat hands the title to Rangers, and it would seem that with Kilmarnock’s poor recent form, even a draw would only delay the agony for a few days.

I simply cannot understand Neil Lennon’s comments (which he’s now trying to claim were mis-quotes) which seemed to imply that Hearts didn’t put up a fight against Rangers on Saturday. If the Hearts players weren’t fired up for tonight’s game then they will be now! There is no need at all for Jim Jeffries to give his team a pre match talk. All he needs to do is to pin up the newspaper articles, accusing his players of not trying, in the dressing room.

I also noted with amusement that Celtic were awarded their seventeenth penalty of the season last midweek in their defeat by Inverness Caley. This is by all accounts, either a European or World record.

How IS the alleged refereeing bias against Celtic manifesting itself?

Press Freedom?

There’s been much talk about it recently. What with the super injunctions, Twitter and all that.

Yesterday Max Mosley failed in his bid to have the press inform people in advance that they were about to publish a story about them in order that the subject of the story could then seek a super injunction.

I tend not to read articles which relate to peoples private lives. Whatever Max Mosley or a footballer, be it Ryan Giggs or whoever wants to do in their private lives and it’s with another consenting adult or adults, then it’s none of my or anyone else’s business.

I’ve always been a bit puzzled by the ‘public interest’ line. Just why should the sex lives of well known figures be of any interest at all, except perhaps as in the Profumo case in the 60s, national security is at stake?

On the other hand, why should the rich and famous have a veto on what is published about them?

In that respect the decision against Mosley was correct, and as has been seen, super injunctions can’t stop people publishing tittle tattle on Twitter anyway.

Perhaps the answer to all this lies in the proposal of a prominent 20th century British politician who said:

As for controversy in the press, I would suggest a completely free press subject to one new condition; any individual or institution – including the government – which was attacked in a newspaper, should be given, by law, the right to equal space in that paper for reply. This would in most cases reduce time-wasting and de­structive controversy in the press to a minimum, as few newspaper owners would care very often to open their columns for their victims to say anything they liked in reply. In the case of an able and open-minded proprietor, who felt capable of coping with, and enjoying, such a situation, it might lead to much brighter news­papers; but on the whole it would tend to squeeze the nonsense, unfairness, and untruth out of the press very quickly.

Seems fair enough?

Who do you think said this?