I wrote something in this blog last year about a guy in our office, who stayed late one night when I was on a late shift. I can't remember where it is. It's not important really. Anyway, he's one of the higher management types, but seems different from the sneery tossers that inhabit management roles at BAe.
I just bumped into him in the kitchen and he seemed to be fascinated about my Super Furry Animals cup, and that it changes colour when you put hot liquid into it.
Jesus, that was such a Karl-esque anecdote.
I just saw a big billboard down Brook Street, which said something like "It's about time we put a limit on immigration". It was an election advert for the Conservative party. Even though I wrote that lengthy blog entry a couple of weeks ago about how the political parties would pander to the bigotries and prejudices of the ignorant, I was still slightly shocked by seeing it in on a wall.
Is this what people care about? Is this the most important thing in peoples lives? This country frightens me sometimes. Then again, I think most countries frighten me in similar ways.
At the bottom of this poster was written what I assume is the slogan the Conservatives will be using this year; "Are you thinking what we're thinking?"
I doubt that the people in the Conservative party are thinking what I'm thinking. I wish they were though, I'm thinking they should kill themselves in a painful way. ARE YOU THINKING WHAT I'M THINKING?
I'm guessing that there are a series of slogans which will be popped up around the country up until the Election Day. Hmm, here are some Conservative slogans that you may spot around the country…
"It's about time we gassed poor people."
"It's about time the working class were prevented from voting."
"It's about time we stopped people from freely following their own religion and culture, and made them take up traditional British pursuits such as fighting outside pubs."
"It's about time we stopped people coming to our country, even though our own party leaders father wouldn't have been allowed into this country if our proposed immigration laws were in place back then."
Hmm, those last two may not fit on the billboard.
I expect the Labour posters will probably contain a picture of Tony Blair cutting down some Iraqi children with a sub-machine gun, with the words "Aren't you proud?" written at the bottom in a nice font, maybe 14 point News Gothic.
Probably not. A simple "Look, I know we're shit but the other lot are downright fucking frightening" would probably work for a lot of people.
In the seventies and eighties, football in the UK (and large parts of Europe) was being torn apart by hooliganism. It even feels strange to look back at the days of my childhood now, when a story made the news every couple of weeks about a set of fans rioting in a stadium or town centre. Attendances were dropping and football was in danger of falling apart at the seams.
Even though 1989 saw the Hillsborough disaster, that was borne out of terrible policing and inadequate organisation; the low point for hooliganism came in 1985.
May 1985 saw the Bradford City disaster, when the rickety wooden stand at Bradford's Valley Parade ground caught light and was then consumed by fire horrifically quickly. About 50 people died, most trapped by locked turnstiles when trying to escape. On that same day, a young fan was killed in Birmingham (I think), when a wall collapsed during rioting by fans.
Just weeks later, Liverpool played Juventus in the European Cup Final in Brussels. It was probably inevitable that there would be trouble of some sort, but not to the level that actually occurred. There was rioting in the ground and fighting between the two sets of supporters. I won't go into the detail but Juventus fans fleeing from the trouble were pressed up against a wall, which then collapsed. 39 people were killed as people were crushed in their desire to escape the fighting.
The game was played (to prevent further trouble), but English clubs were banned from playing in European competitions indefinitely (the ban ended for the 1991 season).
Tomorrow sees the first meeting of Liverpool and Juventus since that day and I'll be there at Anfield for the home leg. The game has brought up a lot of feelings about what happened 20 years ago.
Even though I was only 10 when I watched the tragedy unfold at home on TV, I still remember the shock of what happened. I couldn't really watch the game, I was full of confused feelings. I was a 10 year old boy who was obsessed in Liverpool FC, yet I found it odd that I didn't really care about the game. That had never happened before.
Bridges were built between the two football clubs after what happened, but it never fully involved the fans. A lot of Juventus fans still hate Liverpool for what happened, and I'm expecting that there will be some trouble in Turin next week for the return game. I'd love for it to pass peacefully, but human nature probably won't allow it. Even though the people who died weren't directly killed by the hands of any fan, they died whilst trying to flee Liverpool supporters. I perfectly understand that they'll hate us. I'm also aware that I just used that particular pronoun.Us.
I wasn't there that night, and I'm guessing that in a crowd of over 40 thousand that only a handful of people will be there who were involved in the trouble on that night. Yet I feel it is time that the supporters of Liverpool football club actually just said 'sorry'.
Liverpool supporters felt guilt afterwards, but it was mixed up with the other feelings that usually come with the shame of guilt - denial and attributing blame to others.
It is true that the Heysel stadium was a wreck and shouldn't have held the continents premiere football spectacle. It is true that Juventus fans were also rioting on that night, and that Liverpool fans still held grudges from the treatment given to them by Rome police the year before (and I know all about the police of Rome). Yes, it's also true that the Belgian police that night were wholly incompetent, but these are just reasons which added to the likelihood for disaster. Nobody would have died if Liverpool fans hadn't have charged the small Juve contingent in Section Z that night. It wasn't the Juventus hooligans who fought back that died, it was those escaping the trouble.
Whatever the reasons, it is important that tomorrow night is about friendship and repentance. I'm excited about the game tomorrow and really hope we win but it is not the most important thing.
We are sorry for what happened, and hope that some of the pain and grievances held over from that night can be eased tomorrow.