Saturday, 15 October 2011

To Liverpool

To celebrate Matt Simpson and Michael Murphy. The sun very bright, slanting across the keyboard. Sky clear cerulean fading at the bottom to translucent cloud. Now moving north from Ely on long long ride with much to read. Three Japanese girls ahead of me across the aisle, all plugged into their music, the one nearest strikingly beautiful in an absent way, her mind buried in the music. Sheep grazing to the right of us, the country absolutely flat as far as the eye can see. March station. Post-war estates either side, eighties with two colours of brick for ornament. Not the kind of thing the seventies did much. Windows with mock-leading. An industrial site, clean lines. A vast Tesco warehouse, a silo. Marsh-prairie land, every so often a properly surfaced lane leading off east or west.

If a train were to stop unwontedly here at some tiny station the air would be autumn with a warm edge, but it would be no different from moving. The same flatness, the same sense of hesitation and being nowhere in particular but not too far from town or village.

Received the CD of the Liszt programme through the post. It is due for broadcast next Sunday evening. I just had time to listen to it - it's a rather beautiful job of editing, from ten hours down to forty minutes, the sound quality varying with the location, the music always shifting us on. I wrote a commissioned poem for it, for the very end. It's a piece of very clear verse, no room there for complications. I'll put it up nearer the time.

Hen yesterday suggesting a collaboration. A very attractive proposition. Let's see what comes up.

Now past a wind turbine, close to the tracks, past marshy ponds,the canal with a dense row of weeping willows as we approach Peterborough.


Rather later, near Manchester, a bunch of young Man City fans get on. The team has won, are top of the league and they have drunk a bit. Naturally, they are loud. They cry out that someone's a Jew, but this isn't the main theme. It's just a side dish. They sing. All their songs are about the loathed Manchester United. Forty minutes of Munichs! Munichs! Munichs!, songs about Ryan Giggs and the rest, coming and going. They are not aggressive towards anyone in particular, they just want to feel they have taken control of the carriage. There are no songs of celebration. Everything is about United. They don't realise what a compliment this is. Their humiliation is long and deep, their curses a relief.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was in a pub in Manchester the day before the 2008 UEFA Cup Final between Rangers and Zenit St Petersburg (which ended up with a great deal of violence in the city centre).

Sitting in a pub packed with Rangers fans, I too was struck by how directed towards someone else the chants and songs are - virulently anti-Catholic of course, in Rangers' case. Strange, how these "pure" identities or senses of belonging amongst football fans seem to depend on the image of the other so much.

Reading the Wikpedia article about the ensuing riots has made me realise now that I got out of Manchester that day in the nick of time. And in general, why I care less and less about football nowadays.