Sucking heartily on life's half-time oranges

Friday, 10 December 2010

Boyz in the Snood

There's been a lot of posturing machismo steaming up the studios and interview rooms with its musk-reeking, nostril-flaring harrumphing in the last two weeks. The ones who consider themselves Men rather than Boys are collectively scoffing at the latest Premiership fashion: the snood. A winner in the cross-breeding of winterwear where glarfs and balaclamuffs have failed, the scarf-hood combo (last seen about my neck in the year of 1988, when I sported a bottle-green one whilst skipping to primary school) has taken off bigstyle. This has caused the Proper Men to (whilst holding a pint of ale, scratching their virile bollocks and doing some bare-chested bricklaying, I expect) declare things like:

'You won't catch Man United players wearing a snood' - Rio Ferdinand
'Real men don't wear things like that. They're for powder puffs' Alex Ferguson

Elsewhere Lawro and Alan Shearer gamely tested them out on Football Focus, whilst declaring they felt like 'right nancies' and Roy Keane has threatened to tear the throat of any Ipswich player who wears one with own his slavering gnashers, whilst he stands proudly naked in the snow because he can TAKE IT. Probably.

Hhm. Mefears a little bit of metrosexual-phobia amongst the great and good... are they feeling a bit threatened by some players' unabashed accessory-adornments ('powder puffs'? I ask you)? What's it to them if some players, being a wee bit chilly in the quite genuinely hibernal conditions, cover their necks with a bit of all-in-one wool? Fair play, I say. The sponsors should leap on the chance to emblazon more merch - next up: fur-lined over-short thongs proudly displaying 'Le coq sportif'.

Elsewhere: was this the best FA Cup match in terms of incidents ever? Two hat-tricks, a last-gasp equaliser, four sendings-off after brutal fouls, a penalty, and six goals in extra-time. Brilliant!

Monday, 1 November 2010

MOTD2 Does Arthouse Horror Pastiche!

Best tv football moment of the season so far: the BBC's rather brilliant pastiche of the opening of 'Psycho', all Hermann's stabbing strings and sliced monochrome graphics to introduce the match between striped-shirted bitter rivals, Newcastle and Sunderland. Some Hitchcock-loving studio grunt was obviously having a bit of fun on his or her overtime... genius! It almost makes up for Lawro's 'drunken pessimist uncle' sneers and terrible shirt. Almost.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The Goal-den Section

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this may not be the league of high earnings a la Rooney* but at the moment, it is the League of Plenty in the goal-scoring stakes. I admit I've been off the ball on the footballing front but that's not to say I haven't been around for the final scores, and my jaw darned dropped to the ground on seeing a recent score of Accrington Stanley 7 Gillingham 4, on the same day there was also a 5-5 draw between Chesterfield and Crewe. When do you ever see those scores in the Premiership? Whilst not matching that impressive level of goalmouth flurry, keeping up appearances on Saturday was Wycombe with a bouncy 4-3 defeat of Rotherham. WWFC seem to have a rudely healthy glow about them at the moment; I note with happiness that Peter Jackson lauded us team of the week in his Football League Blog, though see with some confusion that our proud unbeaten away record so far this season proves the team 'has metal'. What, steel pins in the legs? That would explain a few things, frankly. I also slightly miffed at his assertion that Wycombe have 'always been regarded as a footballing side'; I was under the impression that I'd been supporting Buckinghamshire's best-regarded bog-snorkelling champions for the last 18 years.

*I chatted to Dad and Richie, chief armchair experts, on the sour-toned exploits of Wayne Rooney last week. No-one in my family is impressed by the adulterous potato-head's rabidly slavering thirst for money, particularly in a climate where most of his team's fans are examining their savings and worrying about the grey economic future. Sir Alex really should have remembered that Manchester United are bigger than one man, even Rooney (especially when there's that lovely Little Pea gambolling around) and thrown him to the Chelsea/Man City dogs. Boo hiss!

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea...

Hurrah! Wycombe have started as I'm SURE they mean to go on in this deep underwater League where players loom out of the darkness gnashing their impossibly fearsome teeth and flailing their luminous mutant fins, with a solid two-nil-er against Morecambe. The scorer of our second goal, the oft-fairweather Jon-Paul Pittman was the hat-trick hero of our drubbing of Chelsea in a friendly last week, prompting this from Mum's man Barry:

Kerry: Wycombe played Chelsea this week and beat them 5-1.
Barry: (spitting out his tea) What, Chelsea Pensioners?

My brothers, husband and I have welcomed the new season in up at our Ma's with cups of tea, Final Score and Leeds vs Derby. Contented sighs all round. The bros, both fervently addicted to the footer, are optimistic about their seasons. Daniel* says Wycombe are one of the favourites to go straight back up; Richie** has conservative hopes for '4th or 5th place' and 'maybe a cup' for Liverpool. Talk this afternoon has been of the new rules about homegrown players in the Prem (good), Lee Dixon (good), the return of The Football League Show (very, very bad). Ah, all is right with the world...

Daniel: little bro, 25, likes 'cider and Peter Sellers'
Place of birth: High Wycombe
Team supported: Wycombe Wanderers
First football match ever seen live: 'WWFC vs Runcorn in the FA Trophy Final at Wembley, 4-1'.

Richie: big bro, 34, lives in Brixton, into 'pancakes for breakfast and the love of a good woman'
Place of birth: High Wycombe
Team supported: Liverpool
First football match ever seen live: A game at Loakes Park!

Monday, 26 July 2010

A New Starlet Is Born!

Catching some BBC sports report the other day, it was great to see the England Under-19s do rather better in the Fisher Price My First European Championships than our so-called Internationals, walking hangovers that they were. And who should pop up as a sub to score the goal to send the boys into the semis but Matt Phillips, a young WWFC player? He's a local boy and by far the lowest-ranked of the squad. Bless. I expect it won't be long before cashwad-totin' Big Guns come calling; surely we can't keep hold of a leggy, nippy England starlet for long can we?
I hope Matt's career has more glamorous longevity than my hero of yore, Keith 'Keithy' Ryan (I never called him Rhino; how could you term the then-blond-bombshelled one after a lumbering knobble-skinned pachyderm? Or so I thought then in my teenage rose-tints, erk), who, it announces with rather odd trumpeting on Wycombe's website, is developing a carpet and flooring business. Erm, congrats?

Saturday, 3 July 2010

World Cup Review (Tat)Two

I thank God* that England puttered out in the second round, given the excitement of subsequent games. I'm not sure my heart could have stood the hysteria...

New awards:

Crimes against footy-feminism #1: A joint award to the BBC and ITV. The BBC for Lawro's casually flung-out remark, following the shot of a pretty blonde Naomi Watts-lookalike in the stands at Germany vs Argentina: 'I don't know who she is but I bet she's a WAG'. Didn't you mean 'I bet she's a fully-formed, individually valid and coincidentally attractive human being', Mark? Slip of the tongue was it, oh ye Ex-Footballer Most Famous For No Longer Having A Moustache?

Crimes against footy-feminism #2: Over to ITV for Clive Tyldesley's locker-room joshing 'Phone the wife and tell her you won't be back from the pub for a bit longer' at the end of full-time in Ghana vs Uruguay. No need Clive, I was at home, glued to the match with THE HUSBAND as MY happy co-viewer, you prehistoric numpty.

Tattoowatch: This World Cup has been a wondrous feast of skin-griffonage, as black ink continues to scrawl amok up the biceps of the globe's players.
Australia's Tim Cahill has the best of the arms but they're a little commonplace now.

Kevin Prince Boateng merits credit for his quite hilariously silly neck simulacra of crowns and cards.

Finally Cisse, the coolest-looking man in football, wins some kudos for his clean and simple heaven-bound look.
Though thinking about this award has sucked me into a very
dark and dangerous world from which there is no escape...):

Most dramatic triple-moment #1: The Ghana vs Uruguay quarter-final's a) last-gasp goalmouth melodrama b) Suarez handball and c) crossbar-thwacked penalty misskick by poor, blubbing Gyan. Had England been involved in this feverpitch moment, my brain might have gone into meltdown with the sheer terror. As it was, the Ghanaian reactions filmed by ITV in Accra was the sweetest thing ever.

Most dramatic triple moment #2: The unbelievable trio of penalties in the Spain vs Paraguay quarter-final, watched in a lovely Hackney kebab joint full of old Turkish men and Ghanaian families raw from the night before. We tried to decipher the action on the silent big screen, our open mouths full of
chicken beyhtis as Paraguay missed theirs, Alsonso scored his and then missed his second go when it had to be re-taken. Hilarious stuff.

Most overused words of the tournament: 'Humbling, yet inspiring', uttered by Gary Lineker after a every single small feature on a shanty town which now lives in the shadow of a hulking, totally inappropriate uber-stadium. 'Rainbow nation' comes a close second.


Monday, 28 June 2010

World Cup Review One

Cor blimey, what a balls-up. Having been rooting for England to top their group so I could watch their second-round match on Saturday night, I was gutted to see the USA's last-gasp goal mean England faced Germany at about the time I was rehearsing and performing in an 'exploded opera' at the Whistable Biennale. CURSES! In the end, it was surprisingly liberating to be given updates by text under my stage desk from a frantic Andy, stationed round the corner in a beachside pub. I made a furtive break for it to the nearest, rather sedate football pub, for five minutes of the second half in which the Redshirted Lions (Andy's now deceased cat, the limping, disturbingly glue-eyed bag of bones Stripe could frighten more savannah-based ruminants) kicked the ball, mostly to each other and EVERYTHING - this, seemingly, was England's purple patch as I saw on the funereal ITV highlights later. Hur hur, what a load of old embarrassing tosh. Fabio really should make a swift exit, methinks; I've always held a candle for Martin 'Gnomic God' O'Neill as a future manager, but now I reckon it's got Harry or Roy's name all over it.

Have been hugely enjoying the World Cup, and can now look forward to a colourful, joyously non-tense rest of tournament. Here's some awards so far:

Most disturbing injury: Gerard Pique looking like an extra from Twilight, thick gloopy blood pouring from his mouth in Spain vs Honduras, then returning to the pitch, mouth gobstopped with tissue in some sort of escape-from-killer-dentist scenario:

Cutest team: The nimbly nippy, bonny lads of Mexico when bouncing all over those French pensioners. Confirmed by my juice-mates when watching the game together on a farm in Worksop.

Dodgiest ref: Until Sunday's games, I thought it was the ref at Brazil vs Ivory Coast, who ASKED Fabiano gigglingly whether he had handballed his 2nd goal or not, live on camera. How was this man not immediately sacked?!

Most notable haircut: Torres' new lopped-off look. Makes me waver in my opinion that short hair is always an improvement. I will have to watch him VERY closely in order to make up my mind.

Disappointment: Wayne Rooney. Andy and I had, probably very unreasonably, pinned all our hopes on Rooners being the Lion King rather than the lumbering Pimba we helplessly watched.

Underdogs: OK, they didn't get past the group stage, but the plucky New Zealanders holding the Italians to a draw was hilarious, and my Kiwi bandmate Lucy's reaction, as I held up my fingers at 1-0 through the recording studio glass, utterly priceless.

Shirtwatch special: Adrian Chiles does make ITV slightly bearable. Gareth Southgate is surprisingly good, though his pink-shirt-with-white-collar-and-cuffs makes Alan Shearer look like a Shoreditch fashionista. Lee Dixon says the most sensible things every time.

Sunday, 20 June 2010


The blending of two of my chief passions doesn't come around very often, so it was down to the Royal Opera House's Linbury Studio last night to see 'OperaShots': three nimble operas by feisty, accessible composers, the final piece being Jocelyn Pook's In-ger-land, with my pals Mikhail and Laura Moody performing, plus experimental vocal acquaintances Lore Lixenberg and Olivia Chaney. The opera was a punchily-directed celebration of football chants and songs, vignettes about father-son relationships in football, football as religion, the pervading influence of WAGS on the UK's celebrity culture, and much more. Seven marvellously diverse singers (one mostly performs as rotund sub-bass drag artist Le Gateau Chocolat; YES!) and an instrumental ensemble fling themselves at each other, over bright red sofas, draw chalk pitches and 4-4-2 formations on the stage, whilst films of real fans punctuate the whole thing.

When it began, I had a moment of wondering whether the opera was on the murky side of the fine line between joyously bringing low art ideas in high art contexts and piss-taking. Could this be the stage version of the sort of horrors that spring up from warbling opera divas singing pop? Would I, both a football-lover and an experimental musician cut from the same cloth be up in arms about the portrayal of fans? Thankfully, very soon enough I was easily won over by the very believable passion of the singers, who nailed the teeth-gnashing fervour we all work ourselves up into during a match. Jocelyn got it just right: if you listen really hard sometimes at grounds, you experience this wondrous polytonal, polyrhythmic, polyEVERYTHING mix of vocal sounds, mostly male, with a touch of brass and drums. It takes just a little spit, polish and hot dog juice to fashion it into something credibly artistic which transports that crazedly animal devotion into the theatre.

Best bits were: a chordal version of the reaction to an almost-goal, descending 'ohhh!'s as the singers sank back into their sofas; the chorus-sung narration of England's matches against Argentina in 1998 and 2002, culminating in the men's repeated outbursts of 'THE RE-FER-EE'S A WANKER!!'; and a madrigal based on the Liverpool chant 'Oh, Gerrard, Gerrard, he's big and he's foo-kin' 'ard'. Genius! It was SUCH fun, marred only by the fact that we'd seen only the night before the most lamentable England performance imaginable, and celebrating the triumphs of our then top-form David Beckham, Michael Owen and David Seaman highlighted everything we're missing this year.

An article about the opera lives here.

Inspiring stuff. Makes me think I should really check out Michael Nyman's 'Beckham Crosses, Nyman Scores'. I can see next year's broadsheet culture sections now: 'Renowned composer Kerry Andrew writes experimental musical-theatre work around her devotion to lowly League Two whipping boys, Wycombe Wanderers!'

Friday, 14 May 2010

One Night in Turin

'One Night in Turin', a documentary about England at the 1990 World Cup, was shown for one night only in a few cinemas across the country this week, so we went along, not least because our mate Stuart Hancock had composed the score. It wasn't bad, though I think a sharper, more highbrow film could have emerged - close-ups of Chris Waddle's face as he took his hoofed penalty and the aftermath as West German players celebrated around him, the freeze-frames just before dramatic goals etc were great, but it kept sliding into jingoistic rhapsodies. The slightly grubby, rough-edged play and depiction of the fag-end of English hooliganism seemed a world away from the rainbowish, pan-global glamour of the Premiership, or so I thought: more used to watching 'Looking for Eric' or 'The Damned United' among polite, art-going members of the public, I found myself surrounded by the worst sort of stereotypical fan. Almost all entirely male, oafish, skin the colour of uncooked pastry, aggressively bull-headed, plastic sloshing cup of lager held aloft, they depressingly lived up to the football fan of yore depicted onscreen: jeering whenever someone non-white/male/thin/straight appeared, making derogatory comments about the Minister for Sport for being a bit lispy and ginger, about the girl that the tabloids suggested had spent the night with a few players apparently not looking shaggable enough. They did calm down as the film went on, and as Gary Oldman's ludicrously rapturous narration became loftier, but it was a dispiriting experience. In the age of quid-for-kid days, all-seaters, a female ref and commentator or two, the old order hasn't quite gone away.

Wycombe are, of course, down, but at least did it with serious bloodthirstiness, dragging poor Gillingham down kicking and screaming with them by putting a third goal past them. OUCH; that has to hurt. Unlike the gasping Gills fans, ripped off the fish hook and into the bottom of the boat, it seems WWFC fans had a great time, making our Big Drop into something of a party atmosphere. Ah, the gallows humour. WWFC have always had that 'it was better in the Conference' mentality, at least amongst the 'ole gits I used to stand betwixt; I think a lot of fans are confident we'll do much better at a lower level, and with Gary Waddock given a wee bit of spending money. Roll on, next season.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain*

The last time I walked down Leyton High Road towards the Matchroom Stadium was in November 2004, on my second date with a lovely young rake who, apart from watching England on the telly occasionally, had no interest in the footer. I, on the other hand, being a girl with lower league blue blood bubbling in my veins, noticed how close said date-ee lived to the ground and worked my magic... We sat shivering in the away stand giggling at Leyton Orient's half-ground with two sides of the ground mere rubble. As I recall, the match contained the rather unprecedented event of the ref getting clattered and stretchered off, and that Keith Ryan's boys (YES! Post Tony Adams, my old heartthrob was briefly player-caretaker-manager) eventually won 2-1. Had WWFC lost, who knows what my fate might have entailed: maybe my date might have thought I was a deluded weirdo and galloped hurriedly off in the other direction, possibly into the arms of some cricket-obsessed Sloane or something.

In May 2010, I was back on the high street towards the ground, with the same chap, now my rather smashing husband, who though not affiliated to one team, does keep tabs on Wycombe for me and shares many a happy MOTD-watching evening on the sofa. The ground's changed too, now with a whole FOUR ends, amusingly with new flats poking through at each corner, which can only have been sold to hardened Orient fans gagging for a view of the match from their sofa.

This date had been in my diary all season, as it's one of the few I can make what with me teaching on Saturdays, but I didn't know then how crucial it would be. If we won this and our final game, and the two teams above us lost, we'd be home and dry, escaping relegation by the skin of our rattly teeth.

As it was, we were fair to middling in the first half, piled on ridiculous amounts of pressure in the second (Gareth Ainsworth particularly steaming down the right wing) but didn't possess a single man capable of sticking the darned thing in the net. Then the O's scored a pretty fine goal, the home fans found their Eyjafjallajoekull-like voices, we couldn't recover, and they finished the job with another towards the end. To be honest, I had already, months ago really, resigned myself to our sad fate. Depending on others losing is never helpful. Instead, the weather painted our inexorable path: I watched as the sky deepened to a bruising grey, and the air thickened to mist, then quiet, prickling drizzle, and finally sad, fat raindrops, deluging by the end as the boys stoutly played their way into League Two. It was really rather beautiful.
It was still great. Who cares if we're down? I was proud to be a part of the lustily-baying masses, (even though my musician's ear was constantly analysing the exact pitch-slippage throughout a chant of 'Wycombe 'til I die' - a slip of at least a minor 3rd! - and the accidental pushing of the classic footy rhythm from a 4/4 time signature to 15/16 - brilliant!), staying resolutely until the end to applaud the soaked lads, to prove our love was not unabated, that we would be there in League Two just the same. I wouldn't have been anywhere else but there, picking Cornish pasty-gristle out of my teeth and drinking THE worst hot chocolate ever (rubbing my face into a dead cat would have been more pleasurable) and chuckling at the frustrated old geezers next to me politely heckle our subs ('Harrold, you plonker! Take him back off!'). I collected a sky-blue balloon and took it all the way home to Bethnal Green, where it will stay until it wilts, loses its last breaths, and sags to nothing. There are always more balloons.

* Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain by Fred Rose, 1945

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Last Gasp

Urgh, I can hardly bear it. Whilst I was away in Sweden and subsequently trying VERY hard to return to England via a gazillion trains, buses, boats and cars, Andy sent me little nuggety texts: 'Wycombe 2 Hartlepool 0 '; 'Tranmere 0 Wycombe 3'; 'MK Dons 2 Wycombe 3'. These have made my heart feel a little like a flopping guppy who thinks it can still make it back to the ocean from the restaurant filleting board. It's very irritating really, that, being 2nd bottom ALL SEASON, the lads have suddenly decided to toy with my tender and fragile feelings. I was all ready at the basement door, listening to the childlike thumps of Dagenham and Barnet, imagining the simple, unchallenging pleasures of League Two, and suddenly it seems there's a chink of light upstairs from the big boys' room. Damn that Kevin Betsy and Alex Revell, suddenly all shimmering runs and pounding goals. Damn you to hell.

Head To Head With The Godfather: When Kerry Met Steve

In one of my more surreal encounters with the good and great, I went for a drink last night with The Man Who Owns Wycombe Wanderers. Yes. The Boss. Steve Hayes, a very rich and successful man who also owns London Wasps. The Godfather! Having come across this blog, he suggested we meet in my manor, so we hooked up at the Eagle in Shoreditch. Ha ha!

Not being entirely sure why he would want to meet me, I was a little apprehensive that, displeased with my naughty slap-downs of the Blues, he was luring me into a trap. I'd be bundled into a car, and if not actually killed, then at least made to promise to only wax lyrical in future blogs, whilst having a gun pressed to my sweating temples. So I took along my own trusty henchman* for security, giggled at the impassive, sleekly black car outside the pub with the number-plate 'Blues' and waited, slightly nervously, inside.

Turns out he's a rather a nice chap. I had a comedy moment of half-offering to buy the multi-millionaire a drink before he plied us with chips (hhm, my henchman seemed fatally distracted at this point) and, well, just chatted, about Wycombe, and about the future of the club. Hilarious! Rather impressively, Steve likes to get down and dirty with the hoi polloi, and is frequently to be found buying fans drinks, going to supporter's club meetings, and showing old moaners he is keen to lend an ear and be open to ideas. He told me his plans for a new stadium, divulged how much (and how little) some players earn, and who he thought were cloth-eared.

There are a lot of fans who are not keen on Steve. In the summer last year, he took over WWFC good and proper, wresting supporter control from the club with something of an aggressive ultimatum. He's been criticised as a bully and a bit of a control freak. It's a tricky one, but it's a fact as bald as Pierluigi Collina that WWFC has a lamentable lack of support, given its catchement area, and no matter what the old codgers think, the club needs refreshing in order to start tempting the slack-eyed masses in Bucks and make some money. There's surely a few more thousand residents who are ripe for the plucking - where else do they think they can go to watch half-decent live football? It's rather fascinating to consider how a club could suffuse and enrich a community, which is exactly what Steve wants to do, even if he will be bringing the dastardly rugger-buggers along with him. His plans for an eye-catching, totally sustainable new ground, prioritising community and the environment, fashion him as one of the better sort of businessman, albeit maybe a rather brutal one. It's perhaps all to be taken with a pinch of salt, especially after reminding myself of this article. But it's done, and you might as well look at the positives of his takeover.

So, we discussed the economic ins and outs mano a girlo, as if I was freakin' Alan Sugar or something. And I actually felt that I was being USEFUL! As if I had some insight both into the world of education and today's YOOF, being, y'know, 31 and all, ahem. Even though Andy and I are arty-farty East Londoners and Steve is a pinstripe suit-wearing, wodges-of-£100s-coming-out-of-his ears sort of fellow, the blessed common denominator of le football levels all.

We left with kisses on the cheeks and him telling me to let him know when I'm next at an away match. I'm going to email him some thoughts, especially for how to get a bunch of young keen fans involved online, as hysterically he thinks I'm some sort of IT whizzkid. I'll probably become his omnipresent, svengali-like adviser a la Yoko to John, or slightly more demoniacally like Mandelson to Blair. Watch this space.

In a cross between a slightly sleazier Viggo Mortensen (hair) and Sean Bean (voice), WWFC's Gareth Ainsworth, sitting with his knees just a little too lothario-angled apart, wore a safe fitted stripey number as he talked about his caretaker manager job at QPR and about his sending-off against Millwall last weekend and the ensuing 21-man brawl. Whoops!

I also practically bawled at the wee retrospective featuring WWFC's Wembley play-off win to take us into the then League Two (now One) back in 1994, and especially at Dave Carroll's wandering wonder-goal. Sob!

* Also known as Andy

Saturday, 13 February 2010

(Not Quite) The Bees' Knees

brentford v wycombe on Twitpic

I made the most of my Saturday off by visiting Griffin Park for the Wycombe game against Brentford. Wycombe are frankly standing trepidatiously on the gallows' trapdoor now, just waiting for the snappity-necked welcome back to League Two; I got so excited by the BBC's website updates when we'd drawn level with Yeovil last week, only to blink and see the darn thing refresh to a 4-1 loss. Argh! But a free Saturday with a London game is a lucky thing indeed, so off Andy and I traipsed to the deepest south-west, wrapped up to the nines, drinking as much peatboggy tea as we could bear to keep our minds and toes from numbing.

We were perched in a rather benign corner of the knock-kneed ground, with the hardcore WWFC elite sounding sonorous, and possibly bearing thunder sheets and timpani, given the impressive noise, in a terrace underneath us; up on the seated level we just had a chap querulously crooning 'we're winning away...' and a row of flat-cappers leaning over the front rail to heckle the lino with crotchety gusto like the two old codgers in the Muppet Show.

It started badly, with both Brentford and WWFC sliding about on the filthy scrap of a pitch, which looked enjoyably 'Damned Utd'-era in muddiness levels. I haven't seen Wycombe live since the Millwall away game, and was a bit disheartened to watch them looking as confused as if they'd just been beamed in from some distant dimension and had no clue who they were or, indeed, what this leather globe was trundling at their feet. But it picked up, and whilst the Bees looked mostly like bumbling drones, fat on honey, Wycombe - keeping the ball in their attacking half for much of the time - were like buzzing, hungry workers. In particular, Keates (though he's about as big as a Subbuteo figure), GI Joe-a-like Oliver and Chris Westwood looked lively. It's a bit confusing having Kevin McLeod playing in midfield and not serenely but forcefully questioning some bonkers-rich couple about their plans for building a lighthouse-cum-windmill in the middle of Shoreditch, but I went with it. It's really only the extremely unkingly Harrold who seems like a total lubbock to me. The only excuse for his lumberish behaviour - running with his head down, generally falling over at every opportunity - WOULD be if he had a freakin' arrow in his eye.

Aaanyway, we needled at the home side until Betsy popped home a cross missed by most of the rest of the team, and kept at them until half time and for much of the second half. Then on 75 minutes, the Bees unstuck themselves from their honey-induced stupor enough to score a rather good goal, deflate both away fans and team, and see the match through to a probably fair draw. So we stay second bottom which is very likely where we'll stay until that hangman's drum comes a-rollin'....