SHEFFIELD CELTIC FRINGE PUBS by Ron Clayton

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In these days of Weatherspoons, trendy bars for the ”hipster’ generation and watering holes for the anonymous and anodyne there is a part of Sheffield city centre that has three individual and special locals for those of a discerning nature. All of those are known to the Brave Porquos and are reviewing their security precautions and the current state of chastity of their womenfolk for when the Galicians ride into town later this year.

They are conviently sited in the city centre’s Celtic Fringe of Trippet Lane and Broad Lane in a location not far from St Maries Cathedral, St Vincents and at one time the Cop Shop. Seeing as we haven’t got any Bobbies these days that particular establishment has gone by the board -don’t blame me I didn’t vote for Reverend Billings as Police Commissioner- I wanted Dirty Harry.

Anyhow one of the one time drinking establishments for the Sheffield Force [remember we caught the Yorkshire Ripper not those gormless chuffs in Leeds] was Fagans -formerly The Barrel in Broad Lane and named after one of the lads in Bomber Command who put paid to a twat called Adolf Hitler.

Its run by a Sheffield Legend called Tom Boulding, his petite but feisty lady wife Barbara and an affable brown labrador called Twix -actually the only running Twix does is to the door when the lead appears.What can you say about Tom that’s not been said before? The most erudite pub landlord in Sheffield -the place is a cornicupia of memorabilia [do not search too closely my old friend Argie -you might find a Falklands Island Flag placed diplomatically after you buggers left the last time- Fagan’s that is not Port Stanley] including the Parachute Regiment and the Anti Terrorist Branch [Bell Book and Candle] as well the Poppy. Its a multifaceted place run by a ‘Man for All Seasons’. See him and me on ‘Human’s of Sheffield’.

But Fagans is a place for people from all over this shrinking globe where politics and football goes out of the window -actually they don’t enter in the first place. Its a place for music, beer and friendship with a group photo of ‘we happy few we band of brothers’ already on file.

But this interval before the Galicians latest World Tour the Celtic Fringe is gearing up for the wearing of the Green -St Patrick’s Day- like its neighbouring pubs Flynns-The Grapes and the Dog and Partridge. Be there or be square.

Dame Vera Lynn is 100 on the 20th March.

And There’s More.

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St Patrick’s Day is looming and its timely that we finish this particular piece before the wearing of the Green. Sadly long gone are the days of the Red House on Solly Street of blessed memory with its Fine Wards Malt Ales run by Eileen Shannon with hair as red as Maureen O’Hara’s and where the Father’s from St Vincents would drop in for a drop of the hard stuff. Little wonder it was named the Irish Embassy- nowadays its an ‘Open All Hours Shop’ without the characters. No Arkwright or Granville or buxom Nurse Gladys Emmanuel here nor desirable milk lady for brief trysts in the dark mornings.

But the world moves on and on Trippet Lane we have the Dog and Partridge run by Connor and where the Porquos feasted on tapas and said goodbye to Sheffield the last time and to the focus of the Celtic or perhaps the Hibernian Fringe -the Grapes or Flynn’s. Ann Flynn who formerly ran the Dog and Partridge with her late husband Frank -a legend himself in his lifetime- is an icon of the Irish Community in Sheffield and together with Brendan Ingle -well Sheffielders of a certain age and outlook will know what I mean. Ann never looks any older and is a lovely, lovely woman and a shrewd businesswoman -she has established a dynasty with Frank Jnr, Lliam [Wednesday through and through’ ]and P J. The pub spotless, fresh flowers, Guinness that is Ambrosia and doorstop sandwiches and Scotch Eggs [well I did say the Celtic Fringe] like Mills Bombs. Ann is remarkably -shall we say- a little retiring -I recollect when we got her  to have a photo taken with the Porquos but not when one of our out of touch Councillors once suggested  that Trippet Lane and its vicinity be a  zone of tolerance for the working girls!

Never was the Tricolour flourished so fittingly and proudly and nowhere so fitting for the wearing of the green but Flynn’s is much more than that -its a place where on Remembrance Sunday you wear your Poppy with as much pride after the Captains and Kings have departed,  as the Irish Wolfhound will lead the parade from St Maries Cathedral tomorrow on St Patricks Day. You are happy in the knowledge that there is more that unites us than divides us in these rainy, storm lashed Isles and raise your glass to that aye and to the characters who you have known in these premises over the years. As Maurice Malone said ‘don’t let the music die’. It didn’t Maurice and neither did the craic -whether you are from Cork or not. In fact where you come from is irrelevant.

Join us again Porquos -in Fagans- Flynn’s and the Dog and Partridge. Beyond the Fringe isn’t the place to be.

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Carros De Peltre, Tractores De Fuego. Una Navegación Atlántica.

Hagamos memoria.

En 1873, el Eco Republicano de Compostela del 26 de junio hablaba del “juego que realizan con un balón impulsado con los pies los marineros de los barcos ingleses fondeados en el puerto de Vilagarcía de Arousa (Pontevedra): Estos marineros en sus ratos libres volvieron a practicar el foot-ball como lo hicieran la tripulación del  Go-Go (hay que joderse con el nombre) en junio, pero empleando mejor técnica con un ‘balón casi reglamentario’ y ‘porterías’. Traen con ellos un reglamento de este deporte editado por la reciente creada Foot-ball Asociation”. En la edición del 10 de diciembre de 1873, dice: “Da la impresión por la algarabía de nuestras gentes, que este deporte ha calado hondo entre nosotros”. 

Este acontecimiento no fue un hecho aislado. En O Ferrol, por ejemplo, hay noticias de la disputa de algunos partidos de foot-ball entre los marinos de los acorazados ingleses. Según La Iberia del 22 de noviembre de 1892, “los marineros que jugaban con una pelota en los pies fueron sorprendidos por una pareja de la Guardia Civil de la citada población que se acercaron para hacer algunas objeciones, pero que, al fin y al cabo, observaron que se trataba de un pasatiempo sin futuro y dejaron a los hijos de la nebulosa Albión entregados a los ejercicios higiénicos”.

En 2007, galaicos y sajones con mentes ilustres, ideas excelsas y espacios inciertos, mejoran la Tradición portuaria y nace The AngloGalician Cup. 

En 2017,  trece partidos de leyenda después y  con una envidiable cosmogonía propia, celebramos los 10 primeros años de una competición regada con  sangre, cerveza y épica.

Continuará.

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Under A Foreign Clod ( Part IV): Farewell And Adeus To You, Ladies of Galiza

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The last day dawned bright and sunny which was more than could be said of the Stags. The flight from Porto was thankfully in the afternoon. I’m not sure the extra hour or twos kip made much difference judging by the bedraggled crew. We were sent on our way by Fran  (Main Porco) and a number of heroic Porcos who were clearly going straight to bed once we had left. We were joined on the return leg by Serge heading to his new home in Sheffield. Ever the gent he made little of the Porcos victory, though I’m sure I heard the occasional “4-2” under his breath ha ha. The trip to the airport was very quiet. The opposite of the beer fuelled sing along of a few days earlier. Breakfast was eagerly taken to try and absorb the alcohol still in everyone’s bloodstream then we were off. The bus was late picking us up from Liverpool. I think the driver muttered “losers” under his breath – must have been a Geordie. The journey home was interminable. To avoid traffic the driver decided to take every back road up hill and down dale. It took about three hours longer than it should. We were able to refect on the weekend with everyone agreeing what a great experience it had been. This was just as true for those of us who were regular tourists as it was to the rookies. For me the weekend was one of the best. Yes there was a little controversy in the game but that in no way deminished my enjoyment of the while adventure. I want to say thanks to all of the Porcos family for their passion and friendship. It’s a fine and rare thing we have and should be nurtured. It’s great that we are attracting new members to the group though it’s always a bit special to meet up again with the originals. Next year, of course, is our 10th anniversary and I’m sure we will celebrate appropriately. I guarantee a warm and hearty welcome next March and April. Come on the Stags and long live the Anglo Galician Cup.

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Under A Foreign Clod (part III): Forza Celta

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After the high jinks of Saturday it was good to look forward to a day of some other football players kicking lumps off each other plus some beer and music. As usual getting everyone to assemble in time for transport was proving problematic. Last nights excess had left a few casualties so the number of passengers on the bus to Vigo was smaller than usual. Col wanted to stay in Pontevedra to watch Man Utd on the telly later. Maybe he had taken a knock to the head during his heroic stint in the Stags goal. Who knows. Bry had attempted to personally drink Pontevedra dry the previous evening so was “resting” Serge and Sir Larry said they would show them round the town later. It appeared the number of Porcos coming to the game had been affected by the revelries of the previous evening too. Glad to see it wasn’t just the Brits who were struggling to keep up the pace. We had been promised heavy rain so it was a surprise when we set off from a sunny Pontevedra. It wasn’t a surprise that a couple of the lads thought we were leaving later so missed the bus. They did follow us in a cab and met us in Vigo so no damage done. It was, of course, the Galician derby. Celta v Deportivo promised passion by the bucket load. Given the circumstances it was decided that us Brits would not wear our own teams colours what with the Owls blue n white stripes too closely resembling Depors home kit. This was met with calls of “chicken” from the Bladey Boys amongst us but nothing was gonna stop Dave the Blonde Cat Miller from showing his allegiance to the mighty Rotherham Utd though he did wear the away kit so as not to make it too obvious. The bus got us safely through the Police surrounding Vigo. Would have been interesting if Van Damme had been driving, we’d have probably blasted through the police cordon at 90 miles an hour.  We arrived outside the ground with the atmosphere at Fever Pitch. After a couple of beers in Stags usual haunt when at the match, Mundial ’82 Bar, those who were willing to pay double for tickets for this match (another Galician ambush methinks) made their way into the ground. Me, Fenners, Ray and Blonde Cat, hosted by a visibly nervous Fernando, cousin of Fran (Main Porco)  and Celta fanatic, took our seats in the bar next door to watch the game on the telly. It was weird when we discovered the picture on the screen was delayed by about five seconds from the real events we could hear outside. Fenners became particularly adept at anticipating what had happened on the pitch by the crowd noise five seconds before we saw it happen on the screen. Free kick to Depor, throw in to Celta, Penalty to Celta and Gooooooaaaaaal. He got them all right. Though the last one was pretty easy. As a neutral the game was closer than the final score – 4-1 to Celta, suggested but the home side gave their supporters one of those days we all, as footie fans love to experience and it was great to watch the Celta fans get more and more “relaxed”. Fernando sang the Galician Anthem and waved his Celta scarf around in unbridled joy at the end. And he got his round in. What a gentleman. A quick pint in the Mundial ’82 and we were off for lunch at the rather excellent Casa Galeguesa. To call it a burger restaurant did scant justice to the high quality food on offer and they were particularly taken with the English/Celta Vigo flag the Stags had brought so it was displayed on the wall of the restaurant for the period of our stay. I also got to meet Willy Sifones. A shadowy figure but one integral to the Anglo Galician Cup and it’s many communications strands. He was, of course, an excellent chap with a very keen intellect slightly masked by an easy manner and a penchant for Estrella Galicia. I hope he comes to Sheffield some time soon.

 

We arrived back in Pontevedra and Fenners and I made our way to the soundcheck for the evenings gig at the Sala Karma Club. Col and Bry were there as were Ponte’s answer to Townes Van Zandt: Arturo and those dissolute rock n roll outlaws Gog and the Telepathic Hyenas’ in the form of Luis, Jose and the Snake. Flip Chorale drummer extraordinaire Julie was there too.  It was great to meet up again with my musical hombres. The Sala Karma seems like home nowadays, what a great little venue. Later that evening Arturo and his bass playing compadre  would open proceedings followed by a set from the mighty Gog and the Telepathic Hyenas’ then some of us would get up for a couple of numbers at the encore. We had time to talk all things music with our friends and have a couple of beers before the club started to fill up and the rest of the Stags waltzed in looking up for another night of fun and frolics. 

  

Arturo and  Pedro Berbel under their alter ego Querido Extrano opened proceedings with some beautifully realised acoustic “Horror Folk”. Wonderful stuff.  Next up the Gog machine was firing on all cylinders from the off. Clearly road tuned from a series of gigs, they were simply magnificent in presenting their new album “Choke/Drown”, a sublimely existential piece of punk/country/garage/rock/blues/prog every discerning music lover should own. Next up was Galician legend and all round good guy Oscar Avendaño weaving a magical web with just driving acoustic guitar and vocals. Give this man a Nobel prize. Then our very own “Killer” sang a superb rendition of Tom McRae’s “Lately “, which went down a storm. Following his heroics in goal the lad was having an exceptional weekend. Next up the Anglo Galician All-Stars hit the stage (ambled would be a better description). Fenners on drums, Luis B on Bass, Serge on acoustic, Jose and Boroman on electric and Bry, Col, and Arturo on vocals. The version of “I Shall Be Released” gave new meaning to the word “ramshackle” but we redeemed ourselves with a 10 plus minute romp through “Cortez the Killer”. It may have sent the punters to the bar but we enjoyed it anyway. Oscar then sang a great version of Bob’s “You Ain’t Going Nowhere” backed by the “Rusty Buckets”, Art, Bill and Col with some well timed harp from Arturo to give it that Dylan seal of approval. If you thought that musical extravaganza was as good as it gets nothing could prepare us for the final act of the night. Steve “Enrique” Hambling, complete with mirror shades, gave a stunning performance of the Enrique Iglesias classic “Hero” that brought the house down. Another AGCup legend was born. An amazing night ended as the group split up to various watering holes to re-live their triumphs over more Estrella and Nasa.

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Under A Foreign Clod (part II): Saturday’s Alright for Fighting

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Saturday dawned 8 hours too early for most of the Stags. The full extent of their revels the night before became obvious when they assembled in the bar of the Hotel De Barca prior to the short journey to Bueu for the big game. It looked like an audition for the Walking Dead though frankly some of those Zombies had more life in them than some of our lads. Victor Frankenstein would have trouble getting anything out of these lads but hey ho. It’s all part of growing up and being British I suppose. It was slightly overcast as we arrived at the beautiful village of Beau and made our way to the ground. It was an excellent little stadium, built into the side of a hill with commanding views of the surrounding countryside. It was also well attended as some very young players were showing off their considerable talents on the pitch opposite the AG Cup battleground. For those not partaking of the game it was welcoming to be able to sit under cover and a positive boon when we discovered the bar was open. So with a couple of cans of Estrella Galicia’s and a liqueur coffee in place we sat down to await the XIII. I shall draw a discreet veil on proceedings from here as the Main Porco will provide an actual match report. Suffice to say the match had just about everything a top quality game of footie and WWF Death Match could hope for.

 

As the dust settled on the plains of Thermopylae, we boarded the coach for lunch and a few ales at the Leña Verde in town. Of course Rich and Gordon would be able to catch the Barcelona game on TV so they were made up.  The usual excellent repast was supplemented with a ready supply of top quality beer from NASA Brewery which was very well received. The more observant will have noticed the Police call into the bar a couple of times. Some wag said they were looking for the Porcos Bravos to arrest them for daylight robbery but they left empty handed, just like the Stags…..We returned to Pontevedra where the parties spilt up. I went on to the Grifón with Col, Bry and Fenners where we were joined by Sir Larry, Jose and Arturo who was manning the bar. A convivial evening was had by all as the prophesised rain finally hit and a few of the Stags and Porcos came and went into the Grifón. A few of the locals sang the only English they knew with a rousing chorus of “English Go Home”. It wasn’t the first time I’d heard that in Europe to be honest. So we responded with “I Was Robbed Last Night” by the Electric Flag, which seemed appropriate after the days proceedings. It was at this point that the very Heavens opened. The Sky was indeed crying for the Stags loss or was it just a passing weather front. Who could tell. Anyway we stopped for a ham n cheese sandwich on the way then something very odd happened. Colin came to the conclusion that the best way of avoiding getting his clothes soaking wet was to take them off and put them in a bag and walk back to the Hotel in only his shreddies. I suppose there was method in the lads madness as the rest of us got royally soaked but if he had done that in England he would have been drying off in the local Jailhouse. I hope he didn’t take a kick in the head during the game. Anyway it was a wet end to a memorable day. Whatever happens during the game, spending time with the Porcos lads in Pontevedra, chillin’ and drinking beer is always one of life’s pleasures.

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Under A Foreign Clod (part I): Friday On My Mind

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On the Friday morning the Stags assembled in the Bankers Draft pub at 9.30am. As our flight from Liverpool was at 5pm we were taking no chances in being late. I expected the pub to be empty at this ungodly hour but was surprised to see it packed. Bloody hell some of these piss artists take their job seriously I mused.  We were missing some big guns inc Thomo himself, still on “the longest holiday ever” and Shabba our defensive rock but this was the biggest squad we had sent abroad since the very first foray some 9 years ago so hopes were high. The squad comprised Lee Gordon, Mark Hayman, Ste Hambling, Ollie Rae, Steve Boyle, Rob Walker, Rob Southwell, Andy Marriott, Colin Whaley, Andrew Phelan, Paul Fenwick, Bill McCartney, Dave Moxon, Bryan Whitfield, Ray Cundy, Richard Burgin and Gordon Burgin. It was a good mixture of youth, experience and madness. We were met in the pub by AG Cup legend Duncan who was unable to make the trip but gave a generous donation to the Stags Beer Kitty all the same – what a hero. Whilst most of us tucked into an English breakfast or just a couple of pints,  Ollie and Lee, befitting their status as the Stags own Style Council, breakfasted on salmon and quails eggs (probably). On being presented with our tour Polo shirts, a nifty little powder pink number, resplendent with a design of a reclining “man about town” Stag we had to leave the pub in a hurry as the early morning alcoholics and ne’er do wells in the pub began to eye us suspiciously. It was like being in the “Slaughtered Lamb”. We boarded the bus to be waved off by Dunc and Judy Moxon, wife of the Blonde Cat, mother of Thomo and passionate Sheff Weds fan. With all that to contend with I’m surprised she looked so chipper. Before the bus had left the car park I could hear the reassuring crack of a can of beer being opened. We were on our way. After several “piss stops” included one literally 100 yards from our destination, we arrived at John Lennon Airport. Quite apt they named it after him. As soon as the Beatles became famous he couldn’t get out of Liverpool quick enough. We had a long wait until the flight so how to kill time? Read a book, listen to some groovy sounds on your i-pod, discuss Byzantine architecture or go to the bar and drink your own body weight in Lager? There was only one winner. The Stags poured onto the plane, literally and as soon as they were sat down hit the drinks trolly hard. We landed at Porto in what seemed to be only minutes later to be met by some of the Porcos lads with the Main Porco and Sir Larry Bowles in the vanguard. It was great to be back. It was at this point that we used Dunc’s contribution to get a stack of cans for the bus trip to Pontevedra. Sorry Dunc – your cash didn’t make it out of Portugal but cheers mate. Amongst the Stags on the bus, between a never ending chorus of “Nathan Eubanks Big Unit” or something (You better ask a Blade to explain) all talk was of the need to be a little circumspect in drinking the night before the big match. A little late given we’d been boozing since 9.30am but an honourable intent all the same. We hit Pontevedra and in record time were in the rather excellent Bassett Hound Pub being greeted by a number of Porcos legends. About an hour in I looked down the bar and saw the young Turks of the Stags team dancing and singing loudly whilst holding up what looked like glass buckets filled with assorted spirits and cordials. Oh dear. A Galician ambush. It wasn’t to be the only one of the weekend but more of that later. I left for the Hotel at an entirely reasonable 1.00am. Would that more of the Stags had not followed suit. On a day when the Stags managed to drink heavily in three different countries, reports slowing came in via Whatsapp on the various “High Jinks” our lads were getting up to. To prevent an International incident in one bar Ollie had to be escorted back to the hotel by the skipper. A picture appeared of Mark behind bars. It appears he had not been banged up by the local Peelers but this was taken in nightclub with a cage in it. Oh that’s OK then. On the cocks crow there would be a reckoning…

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I Bare Him On Eagles’ Wings And Brought Him Unto Me

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On 9th July the Concord Sports Centre in Sheffield will witness Batigol 16. A game between Sheffield Wednesday and United fans in memory of Sheffield Stag, Julian “Smoking” Batty who sadly passed away in January 2015 aged 38. Julian was a real character and a nicer chap you couldn’t wish to meet though ferocious on the footie pitch. At the last Anglo Galician Cup in Sheffield, his widow Helen presented the trophy to the victorious Stags (6-1 wasn’t it?) after the teams had stood in respectful silence for two minutes to honour both Julian and fellow Stag Steve “John Terry” who had also tragically passed on a few months previously. The Batigol Cup is now an annual event and will continue the amazing Charity fundraising Julian did, in his remembrance. So it seems a good time to give a thought to those of the Anglogalician Cup family we have lost.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

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Para nosotros, que tuvimos el enorme privilegio de compartir con él la VII, la VIII, la IX y la X, Julian Batty era Batty Smoker.
Un hombre con una apariencia más gallega que inglesa, de negro cabello, con un búho tatuado en el corazón, un cigarro siempre encendido y una sonrisa perenne.
Porque Batty reía siempre, como si todo fuese un chiste que sólo él entendía.
Por eso se hizo tan popular entre nosotros, por eso nos jode tanto su ausencia.
Recuerdo que hubo noches de borrachera, no es un secreto que en la Anglogalician bebemos mucho, que cualquier barrera idiomática era derribada a golpe de carcajadas.
Podría seguir así: Batty era afable, predispuesto, simpático, buen rival, mejor compañero… pero, ¿qué os voy a contar?, vosotros tuvisteis la suerte de conocerlo mucho mejor que nosotros.
Cuando supimos de su muerte, con solo 38 años, la incredulidad fue la nota predominante. Creo que aún no nos lo creemos del todo, que un año y medio después aún no lo hemos asimilado.
Pero no queremos ponernos tristes en el tributo a un hombre risueño. Nos negamos. A él no le gustaría.
Por eso, os porcos bravos te mandamos la mejor de nuestras sonrisas desde Galicia.
Es nuestra forma de decir: Batty, donde quiera que estés, te echamos de menos.

Es nuestro sincero homenaje.

S·T·T·L.

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Choke/Drown. Las Hienas Salen de Caza en el Último Tren

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Los bushwhackers sónicos de Gog y la Hienas Telepáticas han vuelto para quemar un granero de ideas preconcebidas.
Con Choke/Drown, exhibición nihilista de punk-grog pendenciero y arrogante, vomitan a quemarropa una obra maestra de buskerismo sangriento.
Boroman, con su pericia habitual, destripa todos y cada uno de los temas para el mundo de la Anglogalician Cup.
-Incluye Hope’s Hero, himno oficial del porcobravismo feniano desde nuestras incursiones galesas-

 

Gog and the Telepathic Hyenas – Choke/Drown

The Servant

Wallop. In this 11 round title fight the band come straight out of their corner swinging hard. They introduce themselves one by one. A short chopped guitar intro is followed by an imposing, sinuous bass line before the drums come thundering in. The lyrics read like a Gog manifesto: “I aint your fucking servant” Damn right. There’s punk attitude in spades here. I’ve mentioned the “P” word but this three piece bring more attitude, depth and sheer musicality to the party than anything an army of spiky haired, snotty, spit-bastards could muster. Call them punk at your peril.

The Hustler

Garage rock is a bit of a Galician tradition so no surprise that Gog are fine purveyors of that genre (shit, sorry, rock snob alert – I’d promised myself I wouldn’t use the term genre) This garage contains a pitch black hearse but the engine’s running fine. Your mother may not like this slice of prime sleaze but it’s as satisfying as a $100 trick. Yea baby.

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The Line

Powerful instrumental opening leads onto a vocal that moves from the laconic to cries of “Why don’t you hate me?” How could you hate this? The thunderous bass lines confirm Einstien’s ripple effect theory. Somewhere on Alpha Centauri some cool dude of an alien has heard that bass sound emanating from another part of the Cosmos and is thinking “sweet, man, there is intelligent life in the rest of the Universe after all.”

City of Knockout

Ladies and gentlemen I give you the Snake. The drumming is consistently immense on this album but particularly on this track, a lively thrasher, with a tricky two step rhythm that drives it along nicely. The track explodes with a guitar solo like Dick Dale on Ecstasy. Hang 10 on that you motherfuckers.

Moon of the Parking Lot

The Gog collective get a great riffy groove going on this one. Another tale of a down at heal ne’er do well sitting in his bedroom while the real world revolves around him. It’s not going to end well….. .

Ten Days (Driving through the Valley of Death)

Featuring the haunting backing vocals of Gogs equivalent of Nico this one powers along with a deathly swagger and another great guitar solo. Twangtastic stuff.

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Fucking Desierto

If Dario Argento did Westerns this would be the soundtrack. Another desperate tale of a person struggling to come to terms with life. It bounces along nicely until the breakdown slows down the pace to magisterial lope then the bass reintroduces the main theme and we’re off again to complete this mini opera. A musical highlight.

Buddah on TV

A bass figure introduces spiky guitars and in your face drums to tell the tale of Buddah on the TV (no shit Sherlock). Another slice of fine garage rock that wouldn’t sound out of place in CGCB’S back in the day..

The Ballad of James Flour and the Wonderman

A cautionary tale of the Wonderman, a perennial cell warming no hoper, set against a jangly riff monster and underpinned by a rampant bass and drum combo. You did a good shit indeed.

Leaving Train

I love this track. Is it blues? It’s certainly not your usual My baby done left me 12 bar, though left she undoubtedly has. Is it country? In some twisted Jim Jarmusch wind blasted, god forsaken hell hole it could be. Is it an ethereal paean to lost love? Yes it is. Does it sound like the last lonesome whistle before the Apocalypse and swing like a fucker? oh yes indeed it does. Just sublime.

Hope’s Hero

Yes this is a sea shanty but being Gog it’s a twisted ghostly siren call to the displaced souls of some alternative Flying Dutchman. It’s a rousing sing along, faces to the wind, rollicking deck swabber, sung by a crew of the damned. Featuring a siren call of a backing vocal, drawing us onto Promethean rocks of despair (sorry about that I got carried away there). Anyway, HMS Pinafore it is not. Another highlight on an album packed with subtle lyrical twists, Gothic tales of lost souls and outsiders and in your face exhortations, backed by a dominant yet supple bass, switchblade guitars, tearaway drums and the occasional shiver up the spine backing vocal. Is it Punk, Prog, Garage, Psych? Who gives a fuck, it’s just damn fine music. Do yourself a favour and give yourself up to Gog.

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Mydilsburgh Gutun Bat. La Hoz y la Anglogalician

[En fechas recientes hemos tenido noticia de la filiación anglogaliciosa del conocido Aitor Karanka. Boroman, nuestro hombre en las islas, nos ha enviado esta carta del actual entrenador del Middlesbrough destinada a todos los miembros de la Anglogalician. Lo que sigue es el contenido literal de dicha misiva]

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16th February 2016

Bill McCartney

Dear Bill

Just a quick note to wish all those taking part in the AngloGalician Cup all the very best for this year.

I understand that the Cup game is very popular and is thoroughlu enjoyed by all involved.

I hope it continues to be a success for many more years to come and that the Spanish boys take it easy on you!

Yours sincerely

Aitor Karanka


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The Only Trophy We Won This Day, Was The Blood And Sweat We Left On The Ground…. And It Was Enough.

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The 6 Nations.
After a massively enjoyable but as an England fan frankly traumatic Rugby World Cup we have the second best rugby tournament in the world now taking place. As a pundit I thought I’d wait until the first round of games were over to give myself a better chance of getting some of this right (no chance). So after week 1 here is my state of play:

England
It was supposed to be our World Cup – Semi finals at least but it all went pear shaped and the team seemed to freeze under the pressure like Boro at Wembley. I suppose it all boiled down to that decision against Wales but to be honest up to that point England had been predictable, sterile and mechanical. It was as if Van Gaal was manager. Anyway, from the wreckage we are hoping for a new look England. Eddie Jones is now manager – a man who knows how to win in style. It was clear from the performance of all of the European teams that to compete with the Southern Hemisphere sides you need to play their brand of rugby that is technically sound, rock solid in the tight, quick to the breakdown and able to show real flair when the opportunity arises. The superb performance of the Argentineans and to some extent Japan showed this can be achieved. So what did we learn from the Calcutta Cup victory on Saturday? It was the first game but there were still too many errors and silly penalties given away. The scrum looked much more solid than of late and this has always been the strength of England’s best teams. Bill Beaumont looked on appreciatively from the crowd. Still not sure about the half back paring. Farrell is a world class dead ball kicker but he lacks flair in the open. We have some excellent backs who will expect to get quicker ball under Jones so I expect the flair side to be more in evidence as the tournament progresses. I think England may win this time round (I say that every year) but it will take time to produce the sort of Rugby to worry a Wallaby.

Ireland
Despite winning the past two 6 Nations expectations are low for this years battle. The team have lost some talismanic players and the team is generally knocking on a bit. The first game in Dublin was a big test. So what was the verdict? You will always get the passion – they ran their hearts out and defending valiantly for long periods. There was flair in the open too but they just seemed to lack the killer touch of old. After the usual furious start and getting a lead they were pegged back and by the end were lucky to hang on for a draw. I think they will struggle away from the Liffey and another rebuilding programme will be needed, though I’m not sure there are a host of younger player knocking on the door. It will be interesting if we see a decline in the next few years.

Wales
Terrible injuries to key players blighted their World Cup campaign but on Sunday, after the initial Irish surge they dominated the game for long periods and in the end were just denied by heroic Irish defending. They showed all of the elements are still in place for a real tilt at the crown. They played with power and flair when the ball was open and tackled ferociously all day in a bruising encounter. They will be bitterly disappointed that they didn’t win the game in the end having come back from a deficit. Barring more injuries they will be in the mix at then end of the competition and if England don’t win, the Taffs will be victorious.

Scotland
Scotland clearly passed all expectations in the World Cup and should have made the semi’s but for an incompetent referee. That’s all past now. Would that level of performance finally be translated to the 6 Nations where they have been woeful in recent years? The simple answer was no. All the same problems showed themselves against the old enemy. Decent possession and a few breaks into the open failed to result in a try. They just cannot score against England at Murryfield. I think it’s only two trys against England there in 16 years, an abysmal return. By the end of the game England looked comfortable and the Scots fire had been extinguished. So back to square one for the Jocks. The question remains when will the promise of occasional great performances be realised? Not this time round. If they play like that against the rest of the teams here they will be battling for the wooden spoon with Italy once again but I think they will recover and it will be the same story, some promising displays but no consistency. Gavin Hastings must be wishing he was Welsh…

France
Things haven’t been right in the French camp for some time. Very poor performances in the recent 6 Nations were finally, after a brief resurgence in the early stages of the Wold Cup, shown to reflect the current state of French rugby when they were embarrassed by a rampant New Zealand. So who would bring back the brand of open rugby so part of French rugby? Who will return the power of élan of the great teams of the past? They have gone for a man highly successful at club level with Toulouse. All lovers of the rugby art home he succeeds to some extent as we need a buoyant French side playing with that Gallic flair (like the Stags in full effect) but at 60 odd years old his time to be tested at International level may have passed. Given the expectations the game at the Parc on Saturday was a bitter disappointment. The team, though trying to open the game up on occasion was flat, lacking any sort of direction or leadership. The fact they won in the end was down to poor kicking by the Italians who frankly deserved the victory and they weren’t that great. The French place kicking was poor too. The French commentator said after the game this performance was worse that recent one’s which means the only way is up I suppose but if they play like this in the rest of the competition they are in for a long hard roads. Even Scotland will beat them…. I expect massive improvement in the next game but if it’s not there it’s back to square one.

Italy
A poor World Cup followed some very weak performances in recent 6 Nations. The Italians seemed to be going backwards after briefly threatening the big boys once they had dispensed with their forward dominated style of old. On Saturday they surprised many a pundit with a performance of control, power and some belief. They were let down badly by some very sub standard place kicking. Canna, the young fly-half had a superb game in the open but you cannot miss that number of place kicks at this level and the team suffered for it. So, much optimism in that performance, as long as you have the wonderful Parisse in the side you have a chance, but all too often excellent performances are followed by them not turning up for the next match. They play England next so the test couldn’t be tougher. That game will give a truer indication of where Italy are and I though I expect them to lose it will be the manner of the loss that decrees.

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So my predictions are as follows:

England

Wales

Ireland

Scotland

France

Italy