Enero 09, 2003

Last Saturday, I found myself in a fascinating scene. I spent the Christ mass period in old Blighty, the Mother Country, the Sceptred Isle, known colloquially and popularily as "England". And what a fine time I had, let me tell you. Anyway, Saturday I decided to leave my base of London town and bolt North to the former manufacturing centres of the universe, in this case the centre of the steel universe, Sheffield, South Yorkshire. My train left at 7.55 p.m. and I arrived at the gloriously gothic station of St. Pancras about fifteen minutes beforehand. I climbed up the stairs from the tube, bent over by the weight of my ludicrously heavy backpack, towards the train platforms. As I reached the top of the staircase, I looked up into the cavernous concourse and was confronted by the sight of seventy-odd policemen blocking my way. Curious, I thought. After a brief explanation of just where the hell I thought I was going, the local conbstabulary let me through their impressive cordon and I headed, as is only right, to the station pub. My way, however, was barred by a locked door. Peering through the window, I saw the landlord standing on the other side of two heavy glass doors, arms folded with a grim look on his face, shaking his head, confirming that no pre-train bevvie was on the cards for me. Looking around, I noticed a tabloid paper on a nearby bench. Flipping it over to the sports section, I soon deduced what all the fuss was about: FA Cup. This is the oldest football competition around and includes teams from every single level of English football. Massive stuff. Saturday is football day in England but this Saturday was made all the more important by that damn silver cup. St. Pancras is the station that links the Midlands and the Central North to London: Leicester, Derby, Nottingham, Sheffield, Leeds, all are served by this immense railway hub. Looking at the day's matches, I saw that Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest, and Leicester were all playing teams from the London area. The train scehdule indicated that my train was going to Sheffield via Leicester and another train was going to Nottingham five minutes later. Extreme violence was imminent. Sure enough, a couple of minutes later a group of about fifty Nottingham fans came charging up the stairs I had just climbed, held back by the police cordon. The dogs went mad, barking like hell, causing the old station with its cathedral-like accoustics to reverberate with canine mayhem. Shortly after, a group of Wednesday fans came waltzing into the station, heading towards the train, but passing directly by the cordon. A surge was seen from the mass behind the police, insults were hurled, fingers were wagged, general rage was evident, but the police held them apart. The Wednesday lads (my fellow passengers for the next three hours) hopped onto their train, laughing away contentedly. I looked around me, taking in the marvellous building, erected some 140 years ago, symmetrical, ordered, gothic, and looked at the still seething mass of humanity behind a line of fluorescent yellow-jacketed policemen, their dogs jumping and barking, and thought how strange this scene is. Life in England is a most polar experience.

Posted by Sting at Enero 09, 2003 01:06 PM

A beautifully written commentary Sting. Maybe there's a song in there somewhere?

Posted by: king on Enero 10, 2003 06:44 AM .

You may be right there Monsieur King, and what a song it would be. Another Anthem for the Ages, like "One World" by New Order perhaps or my personal favourite "Vindaloo" by Fat Les. You may remember that one from those halcyon days of 1998. Nothing like a football anthem to get the blood a-boiling.

Posted by: Sting on Enero 10, 2003 02:20 PM .
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