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By Andrew Vaughan
Used to know this kid called Stevie G – got cut to fuck in Amsterdam in 81. Spurs had a go at Ajax. Got a bit messy.
Great lad wouldn’t hurt a fly unless it was football. Also used to play a bit. Had the best fucking shot I’ve ever seen. Used to play in his specs. Used to call him Bins cos of it – well some people did. Used to play on Hackney Marshes. Opposing players would see this kid in glasses and think: “Fucking hell were in here” – took ‘em ten minutes to realise they weren’t! And then we’d get a free kick and it would be in the back of the net. Or half way to Bethnal Green if it missed!
Ah, Bethnal Green. Went down there, regular like. The Carpenters and Green Man are two I can remember. Always fighting. Always Spurs.
Fuck knows – used to go The Lyceum on a Sunday and they were always fighting. Always Spurs. Soul and scraps. Chelsea and Spurs and Arsenal and QPR battling away. Wood Green versus Wanstead all to the sound of Lonnie Liston Smith.
And we’d mooch west to Stuarts or over the river to Moda. All Lois cords and Diadora Borgs. Fila and Forest Hills.
Football in Regent’s Park with trackie tops for goal posts and beers in Fitzrovia. Prince of Wales Feathers for strong continental lagers to go with our continental clothes. And daft fucking places like the Room at the Top and the Royalty and Crackers on a Friday afternoon watching the boys and girls dance. Oh and even dafter fucking places like some roller skating place at Ponders End. All to a soundtrack of Roy Ayers and Incognito and Junior Giscombe and Doctor Buzzard's Savannah Band. Oh and Spurs fighting. Always fighting.
Weekends in Caister and Canvey Island and Wembley and dim-lit pubs around the flats at Kings Cross, back of Saddler’s Wells where the posh go the ballet and the plebs drink in fucked-up pubs with fucked-up people like us. And we’d eat roast potatoes from the bar on Sundays. Jellied eels and cheese and biscuits. Putting us on until the Kentucky called late on Sunday night. When we’d wash it down with a can of brew and a bong.
Then Saturdays we’d go the football . Go our separate ways. White Hart Lane, Highbury, Loftus Road, Stamford Bridge. Me I’d go where Wigan were playing or if it weren’t possible I’d go down the Bush to watch the R’s. Then when Spurs were down there it would go off. Huge fucking mob – taking the piss. Went to Wembley with QPR against Spurs in 81. Sat in Wembley car park for hours after a dull, dull game. Back to Southgate for Pizza Hut and beers. Got up Sunday queued half way around the White City for a ticket for the replay. Then queuing for the turnstiles on the Thursday and Spurs came and kicked it off! Always fighting. Always Spurs. Hoddle won it with a penalty – both games were shit.
And White Hart Lane and the fear. As soon as you got off at Seven Sisters it was on . No hiding place there. No nipping up back streets or jibbing into a local pub. One long walk. Walking on Nike Wimbledons soles that were made in the USA and not China. Zip up the Tacchini get your head down. And West Ham are on the Shelf and Spurs try to move them and it’s bad. It was always bad. Bad and mad. KR’s coaches. Taking big firms up north. Set-to’s and Stanley knives. Moss Side and machetes.
The fucked-up eighties and Margaret Hilda Fucking Thatcher. Yuppies and brokers and jazz funk and Spurs. Nasty nights in dark alleys. A nasty decade in a nasty North London. And Spurs always fighting.
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