Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pack Men by Alan Bissett (Hachette Scotland 2011)




Let us blame nostalgia. I was born in 1984, two years before Graeme Souness took over Rangers and caused a sea-change in Scottish football. Rangers were thinking big and spending big, and the rest of the Scottish league trailed in their red, white and blue wake for well over a decade. I had a phase of Rangers-supporting, which lasted from about the ages of eleven to fifteen (until I grew out of it, y'know, like proper adults should) coming just at the end of the Nine In A Row era, when Rangers won the league year-upon-year and the only thing Celtic fans had to cheer was Ireland winning Eurovision, and when they were still challenging to be a major European club. That kind of thing leaves a mark on a boy, which even the deep mental cleansing of an arts degree can't quite wash away.

Let us blame: Colin 'Frannie' Franton.

WhoHasBeenwaitingForThisDayAllofHisRangersSupportingLife

AndWhoHadtheBusBookedtheMinuteNachoNovoScoredThePenaltytoPutRangersintotheFinal

That'sRightAlvin

TheUEFA!

C U P!

F I N A L!

Let us blame: Wee Jack. Neil took Jack to a game at Ibrox last month, and Dolby, incensed, demanded of Leanne that he, as the boy's own father, should be the only one permitted to take Jack to a football match. This is despite the fact that Dolby can't even stand football, let alone Rangers, and that Jack described his Ibrox experience with Neil as both 'boring' and 'weird'. So how does Dolby top Ibrox? Manchester. All to get back at some other fucker.
Aye well that's men for ye, son.

Leanne only let Dolby on the condition that Jack wasn't going to be subjected to drunk men pishing against buildings. 'Never mind the songs,' she'd said. 'He cannay understand whit they're about anyway. It's the pishin in public I cannot abide. Dirty.'

Let us blame: given Dolby's a father, I've been working like a pharoah's slave on the pyramids of books at the front of Potterstone's, and Frannie's out spinning discs in Falkirk bars most weekends - fuelling his dream of swapping the early-morning shifts in Tesco for the Radio 1 Breakfast Show, ignoring the playlist with a crisp wink and a thumbs-up to the webcam - we just hardly ever see each other any more. Trying to get the bastards twenty miles from Falkirk to Edinburgh requires the summoning powers of the One Ring. We have to take an opportunity for Lads' action where we can, especially with Brian gone, the same way everyone rushes outside when there's sunshine. I didn't want Dolby being the only poor, lone, not-that-fussed-about-the-Gers-refusenik on the bus, so I came with him. Why not? It's the sort of thing we would've done, way back, when both Brian and I were still in Falkirk and all four of us were presuming our eternal presence in each other's lives.