The Jet Set used to own a Manic Street Preachers T-Shirt that bore a quote from Jean-Paul Sartre on the back – “Hell is Other People”. They were less cynical times, the t-shirt looked good but we didn’t truly believe the words. We knew nice people, we went to Blast Off in Wolverhampton and Le Bateau in Liverpool, we generally had a good time. Nowadays Sartre’s quote seems apt most of the time.
We hear few people saying agreeable things, politicians bullshit, shrill celebrities clog digital TV, xenophobic bell-ends are everywhere, inconsiderate morons plague ASDA, twenty-something showboating footballers see you as a canvas for their art etc etc etc. We usually count to three and exhale but then you’ll see another one…..
Yesterday we were in Llandudno’s premier shopping arcade and we noticed a bloke wearing a Manchester United replica shirt, a common sight in North Wales especially as the season has just started. When the bloke turned around we noticed he had printed a slogan on the back of his shirt, in bold white text (letters and numbers were the same size) it said;
“WE 8 SCOUSERS”
Of course everybody knows that there’s a rivalry between Man United and Liverpool. Of course Liverpool‘s supporters and Man United‘s supporters see things differently. There are theories and positions about it and even icons (John Peel and Tony Wilson) weren’t above the rivalry.
You may also know that this rivalry has gone past the natural consequence of two different teams existing, in the last decade it has become very poisonous, a poison displayed from both Liverpool and Man United directions. From our detached position there are similarities between the two places, their location, their role in radical politics, their role in shaping our cultural heritage, therefore the intense rivalry seems a little out of touch. Even Scousers like the Smiths and even Mancs like the Beatles. Then there was this Man United shirt;
That someone went to the trouble of glorying the suffering of 96 people in the name of football rivalry, well it makes you speechless.
When thinking about this rivalry even at the mostcharitable level, you might understand that those from the north west feel the rivalry strongly; the clubs are an extension of their home areas, they are institutions of civic pride etc etc, but understanding it is as far as it goes, the poison is never justified. When it comes to our friend from Llandudno it’s a different matter.
Unfortunately what the metropolises of the North West do today, the woolybacks of north Wales do 9 months later. Therefore the bloke with the shirt, who seems to think that Llandudno is part of Greater Manchester, is only doing what come naturally to the easily led. Here’s why it’s wrong;
This slogan printing is not even a particularly novel idea anyway. People have been doing it since the advent of squad numbering – a period that coincided roughly with the time that football developed into the most important thing in the world – and the humour faded with ubiquity.
The nub of our problem with the moron from yesterday is not really the fact he had the slogan printed so much his execution is the problem; he hadn’t gone to a shop that’s an authorised premier league printer (he could have gone to sports direct, as you can see from the above photo they’ll print anything). The moron had gone to one of those t-shirt printing establishments because the 8 was the same size as the letters. He couldn’t even be bothered to do the job properly.
This particular joke relied on the fact that player sized numbers and letters were used. Hence the 8 was always much bigger than the letters. At first the slogan was regarded as funny, or even “slightly clever” because the act required a bit of thought. Yesterday’s example was wrong from every conceivable angle.
Firstly, the size of the letters. Second he has ruined a shirt that costs £40. Thirdly what the hell is all this “we” crap.
Watch the video again to see what’s wrong with all this “We” crap. The slightly overweight fan seems to think he speaks for everybody, as if it’s impossible for humans to put aside the choice of football clubs and get on like civilised human beings. The fact that we’re talking about someone from Llandudno (58 miles from Liverpool and 84 miles from Manchester) highlights the problems in contemporary fandom for those that care about football, it is also another example of the corrosive effect of SKY TV on football. Why doesn’t the moron care enough about local football in north Wales to do this?
Imagine this guy walking around Llandudno, a holiday resort, why the hell would we want some people to know that he hates Scousers? This might be the only thing that people will want to bother finding out about him. Let’s hope he thinks the £2.50 was worth.
Hell is definitely some other people.