Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Joel Rookwood perspective following this weeks Derby

Excellent piece by Joel Rookwood, written following the October 2012 Everton vs Liverpool derby. Some fine points for both sides to consider

to read the full article visit

Two Tribes: The Merseyside Derby

Liverpool: a city that clings to the Mersey, drenched in historical significance – infamous for its slave trading, renowned for its political activism, popularised by its comedy, celebrated for its music, and famous for its football. A city of uncertain national standing, yet certain of itself; a worthy European Capital of Culture, in its own eyes at least. Conversely, neighbours bestow the label ‘self-pity city’, a reference to the legacy scars of troubled histories which linger below Liverpool’s surface. The depths of this misery were mined by Thatcherite conservatism: a heroine to some, heroin to others. When surviving Scousers reminisce, football is framed as an outlet, an anchor, a source of hope and pride. Two decades later, parts of the city bear only a passing resemblance to its past; yet football threatens our renovated city with decay. When the giant European Capital of Culture billboard facing Lime Street station was unveiled in 2006, proclaiming: “Red or Blue, we’re all on the same side” – my pride in this city for receiving the award veered into unfamiliar territory, where the civic unity we once took for granted now required public appeal.

A civil war is brewing on Merseyside (a place referred to by many primarily to denote a footballing umbrella). I’m not trying to overstate the city’s tribalism or the importance of football for dramatic effect; and I’m not about to legitimise borrowing from Dr King in exclaiming: ‘I have a dream that my children will one day live in a city where they will not be judged on the colour of their shirt, but the content of their character.’ If you remove text from context, all that remains is a con. In truth, rather than a synonym for war, most Scousers consider football to rank somewhere between significant and crucial. Local lives are generally consumed by additional interests, and tested by bigger challenges. Yet in our context, football is becoming increasingly divisive between followers of the city’s two teams, as attending a Merseyside derby would testify.
Most of us still consider the derby to be relatively friendly, particularly when the frame of reference is Glasgow, or Buenos Aires, or Istanbul. Yet Liverpool’s cultural wheels are in motion, travelling at a comparatively high speed. Culture is as static as language, it won’t sit still. It’s a fluid entity, shaped by conditions and experiences. Yesterday’s trainers are today’s regret and tomorrow’s resurgence. You only need to be old enough to remember Everton’s last title triumph to realise the degree and rate of change on Merseyside. ‘Friendly’ is no longer a fitting adjective. If the derby continues its descent into poisonous animosity, the venom will grow in toxicity, the antidote will prove more remote, and the determination to apply it will fade. We the people have a finite time frame in which to salvage the derby we inherited, to prevent its once ‘friendly’ nature from being consigned to history, and maybe even mythology – if as a collective, we want to.
In a time where organised social movements were alien to Scouse football fandom, a group convened to Reclaim the Kop, intent on rescuing and reinstating Kopite culture. When confronted by even more pressing issues, namely the club’s ownership, this collective evolved into Spirit of Shankly, the country’s first football supporters’ union. Faced with mediocrity, humiliation and eventually extinction, vital collective action followed. The role of SOS in helping wrestle Liverpool from the poisonous custodianship of Hicks and Gillett should not be underestimated. It led Brian Reade to dedicate his insightful account to “The Noise that refused to be dealt with.” Liverpool’s case is not an isolated one. Everton’s economic predicament could also be considered representative of a growing undercurrent of tension in English football, between the fans and various key participants in the increasingly financially-driven football ‘industry’. Evertonians have also reacted, with protests against the club’s stagnation. Although few blues would recognise let alone cite inspiration, Liverpool’s situation must have partly galvanised Everton’s response. If we want to re-direct the trajectory of our derby therefore, recent history on both sides of the park strongly suggests we can. There is a precedent for likeminded individuals producing effective collective action. It takes two to tango, but Liverpool must create half of The Noise. We might have to get the singing going too. I’ve had related conversations with lads on both sides of the divide, who seem to think I’m an idealist. Apparently we’re too entrenched in a bitter feud to rectify the damage now. A proud, football-rich city of socio-political significance, calved into red and blue, cannot recover once it has descended into enmity, I’m told.
The day before our daunting first post-Heysel trip to Juventus in 2005, my detour involved another European quarterfinal, in neighbouring Milan. AC were the globe’s finest team, Inter shuffled in their shadow. The footballing outcome of that second leg was inevitable. To my surprise however, the pre-match atmosphere lacked any tension. A Milan fan told me of the fan pact agreed around 1990 between influential parties, which halted petty violence between Inter and Milan. It wasn’t imposed by the clubs, it was an organic response from the heart of Milanese fandom – and it filtered out amongst the masses, who endorsed and upheld it. Milan v Inter is a different derby as a result. That San Siro clash is remembered for the Curva Nord flare protest, which eventually saw the game abandoned. (Their voice was heard, as Inter won the next five titles). I spent a half in each end that night amongst fans who taunted each other incessantly, but knew their limits. Despite the protest, it was the friendliest derby I have ever seen. I exited the Curva Sud to a triumphant Italian version of You’ll Never Walk Alone, dreaming of Scouse solidarity.
When former Everton director John Houlding established Liverpool FC, with a name that would have city-wide appeal, maybe then the seeds of division were sown. Yet elements of subsequent generations swapped Everton’s new home for its old on a weekly basis, before the structure of the working week and the advance of leisure time and money enabled fans to attend away games. Liverpool and Everton fans were accustomed to watching football together. There were operational interactions too: thirty-three players have played for both teams (the greatest number of transfers between Liverpool and any other club). For all Britain’s football rivalries, only eleven towns and cities have more than one team. Football enmity is typically an inter-city phenomenon in these isles. Spearheading the weighty minority, Liverpool is not a city split by postcodes like Manchester, or religion like Glasgow, or ‘success’ like parts of London. Even families contain footballing divisions – maybe that helps explain why limits have been intuitively imposed on rivalries in Liverpool, because families share experiences characterised by extremes that transcend and outweigh football. Perspective has been infused.

read more here

Friday, 19 October 2012

Topflight Mfs- Radio show 121

Topflight FMS Show 121


My favourite internet radio show has a new show up and running.
Where else would you hear  an abomination like gangham style in amongst stuff like Prince fatty and Mungo jerry?

A summary of the show;
My Dick
New Madonna girl???? Lady gaga SMACK “they’ve been having a toot”
I didn’t know ringo was in a band before the Beatles
Who is not a shit house….what a minge..big nosed bastard
Bang up for that
Your putting sheckle in some tight arses pocket
Phils gonna kill me
Tales of Williamson square shop lifters
Canny farm/Stockbridge village
Rory storm-master tape mystery
Then we have a weird interlude where me daughter was in stitches when Erik played  “Start wearing purple” by “Go Go Bordello” and starts telling Andy how he found this song on his I tunes….and I’m talking back to the show, going “yeah cos I sent it to you two years ago”..then as Andy starts getting into it…and you can feel Erik beaming with pride talking about this song by Gypsy Punk..which is and I’m going, “Erik! That’s the name of the album ..not the band! I sent you it!!” and Erik is like, “yeah…I just found it on my itunes..i have no idea where it came from, Gypsey punk hey”
Pink floyyd mash up.
We never play pink floyd on the show
Tuebrook uncovered
Canny farm
Shaving me pubes
I’m moist listening to it
Tea cosy reggae
Duck eggs
(Phils) Popping a trip now
Roxy music mash up
Doseki Beer
Norris Green uncovered
If you’re a neck end don’t bother
Gangham style reprised……………oh nooooo
Phil’s skinning up…he’s got 5 skins together and has got the roach in
Then we get rockabilly stuff from Johnny and the hurricanes
The Police
It finishes off with relatively obsure uk indie(nearly made it on the back of Orange juice and Aztec camera) The Railway Children……and then we get The CLASH , WHITE RIOT………what a hoot! won’t like it all..but I bet you like the show…….
phils seven skinner moment

There’s bit of everything , it won’t always be to your taste…but believe me..this stuff is a lot more listenable and adventurous than this,stuck in the mud, old fucker would  ever play……however…I’ll happily say that no show I may be involved in would feature gangham style  / nikki MINGE….even with black betty mashed in…Erik…I am coming  to sort your head out feller!

Have a listen to the show here;-


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Potters tales Pt. 279. Suggs' One man show

Potters Tales – Sugg’s One man show

So there I was in Newtown….. no I haven’t gone back in time to a fictitious northern town, where gruff Lancastrian scuffers and a softly spoken Irishmen cross swords with the local hoods with alleged connections to the Merseyside area ?..No, Newtown mid Wales, home to a boozer / cum hotel called the Elephant and Castle, a nightclub named Crystals, and the splendid theatre Hafren. My task, to see Suggs Mc Pherson (him of 80,s an onwards radical pop combo Madness) perform his one man show.

I half expected /hoped to see a shifty del boy type polishing glasses in the ol’ elephant and castle with his missus playing the ol’ Joanna,  tales of the Richardson’s, looking after their own, jellied eels, naww, just some very polite aussie girl dishing out local fare.

The pub came alive during a televised Man U Spurs one half supporting the team playing Man U (Time to polish me monocle and get up to that there theatre) Now I’m not a regular theatre goer but when I spied the polo mints  on the punter side of the counter, I knew I was with trusting folk, or was it a cunning plan to see if......
Anyway the lights dimmed, let the show begin! Suggs appeared, dapper as ever, accompanied by Deano an ivory tinkering,  guitar strumming Yiddo (*more about him later). Its true to say Potter and McPherson have shared the odd dram over the years but did he put me on the guest list? Did he fuck! So, enough of this name dropping bollocks, let the hatchet Job begin. What followed was, at times, a moving account (or did I have something in my eye) of his life, delivered in some style. (Tommy Cooper meets Dave Allen and its not over yet). If Suggs ever does decide to hang up his pork pie hat, a stand up jaunt would be worth a blast. At the very least this one man deserves a good run, and is truly worthy of your attention.

* Deano reminded me of  legendary scouse roadie “Davo”, the type of dude who can make a snare drum ready for studio use from a couple of ash trays a packet of rizlas and some very pliable gaffa tape.

The after show lig, if you can call it that, didn’t get off too famously. Suggs informed me he could’nt show for a drink cos at that present time he was standing in his bills,......time to meet the locals. One young punter whose baptism of Madness occurred at Cardiff when he was a wee boy, (a gig I incidentally attended as page boy to scouse pranksters The Farm who supported), froze in time as McPhearson, trousered up and made his understated entrance. .

A POINT OF INFORMATION, regarding the aforementioned gig; I / WE (my loyal roommate and I ) did not steal LEE THOMPSONS (sax player extraordinaire) Mersey-style bubble jacket! So he really didn’t have to kick our room door in looking for it! Why was I on the roof when the raid happened ??........Too many questions which need the mind of a good brief before they can legally be crossed..

Anyway,  so me, the missus, Suggs,  Deano and co-writer, Toby made our way back to a creepy hotel…. which was only lacking  a ghostly figure shouting “go baaaaaaaack”!  as Scooby hid under a sleeping bag and shaggys teeth chattered, ....... (keep up plebs).

Deano (who had 50 snots on his team to beat Man U 3-1, Hence the non anti sematic remark. Earlier, at odds of 50-1,… the final score being 3-2), was in full swing with ghostly tales fueled by drink and the odd Hamlet cigar, (apt I thought). I Responded with the escapades of  spring heeled jack,who they say ran along the rooftops of Great Homer  Street Liverpool. The candles flickered in the earthy chill. The night ended to soon after. And, o.k,  I admit I slept with the light on!......,those ghosts can walk through walls yer know.
 "Oi oi Potter old bean! great to see ya, but are you fuck getting in on the guest list!
Now hang on while i get me kecks on"

You can still buy The END BOOK and see more of Mick Potters brilliant musings, some  lns & Outs, mad letters, good poems, shite poems ..and fuckin millions of spelling mistakes and bad grammar, as the book reviewers (poncy southern, ex student types) keep pointing out.

There’s a limited amount of signed copies in Waterstones on Bold Street and in the Liverpool 1 as well as a few remaining copies in the Ormskirk Waterstones store... and of course you can still get it on line here.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

you can retire....but you can't hide

You can retire.....but you can't hide. 

The truth will out. Justice will be ours. Justice For the 96 is coming.  The Families of those lost, along with the official campaign groups like the HJC have shown such dedication in the face of scorn from people who didn’t know better and downright lies and cover ups from the people who did know what went on and decided to use their political nous and media cronies to try to blame the innocent fans who were actually heroes trying to save lives, while the people, we entrusted to serve and protect, looked on or even hindered those who could have saved lives. This city, (that I sometimes despair of) stood together for over 23 years and just would not shut up or be told to shut up.

The events  in the last month, and the revelations this week that there is “clear evidence of potential misconduct and criminality” by the police shows, at last, that we are not a city of whingers. We will not be shat on, we will not be lie down and accept the disgraceful accusations levelled at us over the last 23 years.

We will fucking fight till we win if we know we are right….get in our way and we’ll fuckin destroy you. Billy Braggs superb song,  (the scousers) Never buy the S*n, sums it up brilliantly.

I hope now that the guilty are punished and pray that no poor scapegoats take all the shit for those that instigated the cover up.

Never give in, never give up.  Justice…… Nothing less, will shut us up.

For all our sins and all our faults….there is no city like this in England when it comes to standing up for its rights.