Anger is an Energy

9 04 2010

The title of this post is a lyric written by John Lydon for Public Image Limited, but then you know that don’t you? Today this lyric came to mind for two reasons. Firstly, yesterday saw the unfortunate death of Malcolm McLaren.

As you know Malcolm was the manager of the Sex Pistols, a band that Lydon, under his stage name of Johnny Rotten, was an integral part of. Now Malcolm wasn’t universally popular but you can’t deny that in the ’70s and ’80s he helped to push popular music in certain ways. Without Malcolm’s ideas popular culture would be different, it could have turned out worse for example. Without the example of Punk Prog rock may still reign supreme? Now there’s nothing wrong with  20 minute guitar solos per se but sometimes you just want something short, sharp and straight to the point.

You could say that the Sex Pistols shocked a nation and encouraged “the kids” to take up music but this may be stretching the truth a little. What you can say with some certainty is that they had a definite effect on some people. Take one gig in Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall for example. In the audience was another idiosyncratic music mover and shaker, Tony Wilson (who sadly also passed on recently). There were also people who would were already, or would become, the Fall, Joy Division, the Buzzcocks and even Mick Hucknall (to believe 24 hour party people), so the effect of the Sex Pistols was cemented by one gig.

If you can argue that the Sex Pistols weren’t as important as they were painted, the idea that they helped to  plant certainly was. The existence of the Sex Pistol was mainly due to one man Malcolm McLaren, therefore Malcolm should be cherished.

When you consider the movers and shakers in the music biz nowadays (Simon Cowell) you see a business first attitude. The passing of people like McLaren and Wilson reminds you that the Music business is a creative void, less interested in style, gesture and art for art’s sake than the bottom line. If course it’s not that simple as there’s always been an element of that, but can you honestly see Cowell and his ilk taking a chance on something different? Someone as esoteric as Gruff Rhys would be voted off any of these glorified talent shows before he could pause for breath, Elvis would be considered ridiculous, John Lydon would be considered tuneless, John Lennon would have a weak voice, Bob Dylan would be a mumbler, etc etc etc.

So thanks Malcolm for all you did, the Jet Set salutes you!!

The second time that we thought about John Lydon’s line was while reading the WSC Messageboard. Someone posed the Question, “When did you fall out of love with football?” After a while I remembered the precise moment that I did. It’s chronicled in these pages as well;


So there we all were, the day the world has been waiting for since creation. The day which will mark a new beginning for the Human Race. The day upon which the Rubicon will be crossed. The day when the big four collide and matter will spew forth creating a new existence.
How did I know this was the day? There were bouncers on the doors of one Llandudno bar and you couldn’t get served at the bar for four hours. As soon as you were in the bar you could feel the atmosphere, taste it, smell it (or was that the freely flowing alcoholic beverages?). There were that many people in the bar that you couldn’t pirouette without spilling drinks onto 20 replica shirts.
I found my way to some familiar faces and thought I’d be safe, how wrong that presumption would turn out to be. There must be conditions upon the granting of licences for pubs and bars but today gave me reason to believe that those conditions aren’t stringent enough. There should be a restriction on the number of men that speak above a certain decibel level whilst wearing a replica shirt.
Just in front of me one young man, proudly wearing his United replica shirt and periodically texting when the action became too much to bare, shouted “SNAP HIM!!!!” every time a Liverpool player ran at the United defence. Now I realise that I should have questioned this lover of beautiful football to ascertain exactly how a defender would accomplish snapping a human torso in two because trying to figure out an answer will be like a splinter in my mind for ages.
Just to my right there was a table full of alcohol-fuelled philosophers. They alternated between shouting outlandish theories, shouting tall tales, shouting jokes they’ve read in FHM and shouting crudities at Liverpool Football Club. I wished I was at their table as they seemed to be enjoying themselves plus I haven’t had a good debate about ethics for a few months. Over yonder there was another group who slightly less refined. They just shouted obscenities at the TV screen whenever Liverpool players came into view.
All of the disparate groups continued with their differing behaviours until United scored. Then the United fans rose in unison. “SNAP HIM” and 2 of the philosophers sprang out of their seats and began cavorting together. “SNAP HIM” then decided to try to fornicate with a pool table, the 2 philosophers took to abusing the Scousers around them.
I gazed around this room and I was filled with an overpowering emotion. We live in a world riven by so many social problems yet in this small section of this medium-sized bar there was sense of oneness. Everyone could join together in their hatred for the dreaded “Scousers”. This is, of course, the overriding emotion of all ethnic Mancunians or “Mancs”. What made this oneness even more remarkable was the fact that none of these Manchester United fans were “Mancs” and only a few of the Liverpool fans were hated “Scousers”. It was a real feeling of transcendence on this very holy of days.
In the second half the room became relatively quiet as Liverpool came more into the match but when United scored two the same behaviour was exhibited. Maybe Sky was right all along, this was a historical day. If you were to look at the United fans’ celebrations you would certainly say so; this is what VJ Day 1945 must have looked like.
To put the day into a nutshell, it will be a very, very, very, very, very long time before I contemplate spending another 2 hours like this again. 2 hours in the company of cunts who know nothing about football, cunts who shout crap at one another, cunts who think they’re funny when they’re just boorish, cunts who think buying a replica shirt and sitting in a pub is enough to make them a fan, cunts who think that by wearing that replica shirt they also have to take on the ersatz emotions of hating the “other”, cunts who think going to see their team play 3 times a season is enough. Days like today are the reason why I detest the Premiership.
Ouch! Somebody got out of bed on the wrong side that day! So has this changed? Well let’s just say, I have been to watch roughly 10 matches in a pub since this day.
But you’re still not safe, they’re still here. Last week I saw the bovine herd in their matching polyester on the horizon. They came closer, and closer, and closer, inexorably closer, with every second. Eventually I was close enough to  hear them chewing the cud. I kept my head down in case one recognised me. I was worried that they would regain the power of lucidity; “Goin’ to watch the match then?”. I didn’t want to hear the derision in their voices when I said “No, sorry”. I didn’t want to fight adding the rejoinder; “Don’t you get it la!!! I can’t stand pricks like you. When was the last time you went to a game eh?”; I didn’t want to hear the their simple theory either; “Why? Is it ’cause Liverpool are crap now?”
In the end it was a lucky escape, they didn’t notice me. I was free to go to Bangor without explanation! But the fear never leaves you. The fear that the world may end up like this recurring dream; 
(another Jet Set blast from the past! – February 2008).

“It came to me in a dream

Everybody and their third cousin knows that our beloved Premiership has reached saturation point in this market, or country as it used to be known. Because we want “our” clubs to prosper we know that it’s imperative that they branch out in search of new markets.
We all know this because we appreciate that it‘s vital they attempt to generate more income than a small country. We all know that the future of human civilisation rests on all of “our” clubs becoming major players on to the world stage. The logic behind all of this is undeniable, I mean how will Derby County and Portsmouth cope in future when the only things they have to rely on are the markets of Derby and Portsmouth. They need to expand!!!!
However, I don’t know whether we’ve realised the potential dangers in the move highlighted by the Premier League a couple of weeks ago. I’ve had a revelation!!! Let’s all imagine the clubs play once in their new location and like it so much that they decide to visit again and again. This location will then become a base, a second home.
After so long in the backwaters of world history, their new base finds all of their new-found attention to be absolutely fantastic. (Visit Cairo and watch Blackburn Rovers, don’t forget to visit the pyramids on the way home) They find it so fantastic that incentives are offered to encourage the clubs to stay. The chief execs like these overtures so much they decide to accept them. The new location seems to have bought into the vision of these visionaries. “Our” clubs now also become “their” clubs as well.
Over time the clubs prefer their new location to their old one, “Oh my god you should see it. The location is absolutely perfect. There are at least 200 days of sun. And the tax incentives, well all I’ll say is Tax, schmax!!!!” The CEOs, or chairmen as they used to be known, decide to relocate the clubs. They like their new home, all goes swimmingly; The natives adopt the team, David Bentley, Steven Warnock and Brad Friedel become world renowned personalities.
However after a couple of years thorns appear in their new rose garden. The inhabitants of their old areas begin to make dissatisfied noises as some fans begin to remember that they once went to football matches. To quell the unrest and to prove that they haven’t forgotten their old core support, their bread and butter, the clubs begin to play exhibition games in their old locations.
Meanwhile a few more years passes and the clubs have saturated their second base. They move into the hinterland, to maximise revenue streams and civilise the savages. The race for territory intensifies as every two-bit world statesmen, or CEOs as they used to be known, wants a piece of the action. The clubs become hostile. The blood lust of the statesmen cannot be satisfied within the forum of football so an arms race begins. Sabre-rattling, mainly through tabloid exclusives, inflames passions.
Before we know it these superpowers are using brinkmanship. Final attempts to prevent escalation through mediation fail as arguments over market share cannot be settled. The phoney war becomes a real war. It soon becomes an attritional conflict. After a few months even behemoths such as the Johannesburg Giants (formerly Fulham) and the Saskatchewan Colossuses (formerly Wigan) struggle to cope. An alliance system becomes the only way forward. The alliances crystallise around the five most powerful franchises. The situation gradually evolves into a perpetual conflict between these franchises for the rest of human history.
If you want a vision of the future imagine John Terry’s foot stamping on a human face for eternity.”
Beware the bovine hordes, their actions could lead to JT taking over the world!



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