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Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom
I'm a director of Maidenhead United Football Club. For ten seasons one of my roles at the club was to produce the match programme. The aim of this blog was to write football related articles for publication in the match programme. In particular I like to write about the representation of football in popular culture, specifically music, film/TV and literature. I also write about matches I attend which generally feature Maidenhead United.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

I Ludicrous

Football is a dangerous topic for songwriters, with the aura of parody always lurking round the corner. New Order just about maintained respectability with World In Motion, although the John Barnes rap element was pretty near the knuckle. In my view only one musical act has treated the beautiful game with the right balance of levity and realism, south London duet William Hung and John Procter, better known as I Ludicrous.
Meeting at work in the early 80s the pair discovered a shared passion for Crystal Palace and The Fall, and began to record songs which reflected their love of a wry take on the life’s everyday trials and tribulations set to a post punk backing track.
Naturally much of their subject matter concerned football, their first single “Preposterous Tales in the Life of Ken McKenzie” referring to such unlikely events as “the Palace score 4 goals away from home”. Follow up “Quite Extraordinary” was a damning verdict on the work of David Coleman “It gets worse in the winter with the god-damn videprinter, That's Stenhousemuir's 13th game without a scoring draw, Incredible, Remarkable, Quite Extraordinary”.
However this was just the tip of the iceberg. Flip over to the B side of “Ken” and you would find “3 English Football Grounds” a simple guide to what you could find at The Den, Craven Cottage and Burnden Park. The fact that two of these grounds no longer exist (indeed the third was almost abandoned) reveals that this song was written in a different age, 1987 in fact. A time prior to the embourgeoisification of football post Italia 90 and Sky, when revealing yourself to be a supporter put you firmly in the gutter. Including vital statistics such as the cost of entry and a pint, “Fulham - £4 to get in and the beer is mediocre “, there was also a guide to the nature of the locals with Millwall summed up as “We are not animals, we are human beings, Whose fans only resort to violence in the face of immense provocation”.
More football was to follow in the paean to cliché “At The End of The Day”, musings on the fate of the bench warmers “Bring On The Substitute”, the state of the game in the Premiership era “English Football 2003”, and most recently an investigation of Scottish Non League Football in “The Highland League”.
However all this stands in the shadow of the pair’s awesome summary of the lot of a supporter, “We Stand Around” which I make no apology for reproducing in unabridged form here:

“We stand around in wind and rain, locked in voluntary,
All ages, all male, all swearing, all cold.
We sing and sway we punch the air,
We chant out names, we seek a wave,
In pens we huddle in corners too,
We shout out names we shout abuse.

We travel every Saturday,
We go wherever we play and pay,
Spending money we can’t afford,
We are the fans we go everywhere.

In groups of two we punch the air,
We sing and sway and dance and swear
We taunt the home fans humorously
The policemen eye us with ill disguised contempt.

Our best players all get sold,
Their replacements old and slow
The manager raids the Sunday leagues,
We have no youth team anymore.
The team defends most of the game
We cheer every breakaway, three in the box
In goes the cross, we hold our breath
Goal kick.

The keeper does his level best
He's overworked and overdressed
The shots rain in we hold our breath
No offside flag the bulging net.
No time to restart

We turn up every Saturday
We know every motorway
We travel miles we don't complain
We stand around in wind and rain."

Read on: www.iludicrous.co.uk
Listen up: The compilation “20 years in Show Business” is available on iTunes and at all musical retailers of distinction

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