by Ben McCausland
Best thing Wembley the other week?
Without question, the best sight at Wembley last week was the fantastically home-made “JAY SPEARING FTM” flag.
Moving away from the vast, shiny, vinyl flags with 3 long paragraphs, part written in Latin, this spray-painted bedsheet was a return to simpler times. In my head, the curators of this flag went to the final in a self-decorated butchers coat, topped off with a magnificent giant red rosette. Either that or head to toe North Face.
I love this flag because, for a start, it doesn’t make any sense. It is just daft and brilliant. Secondly though, as with the superb “PURPLE BINS” effort from a few years ago, it is an in-joke, a knowing nod to all the Scousers there. There is the fantastic paradox of something dead Scouse (FTM) combined with something, well, not dead Scouse (Wallasey’s favourite son).
This got me to thinking about sayings and mannerisms that are undeniably dead Scouse. I have a long standing belief that I can spot a Scouser from 20 paces no matter where I am in the World.
Whether it is the brand spanking new trabs, the cocky, quick walk, or even the facial expressions, to the trained eye we are an easy breed to spot.
The Anfield Wrap’s own John Gibbons and I were in a small town in Laos last year, and walking towards us was another two lads – immediately we both turned and said to each other “Scousers”, and as we crossed paths we heard the soft, dulcet tones of the North End being spewed out at a rapid pace. It was comforting.
Without question, one of the Scousest things I have ever been privy to was my old gym partners Facebook status early one Saturday night. Its beauty was in its simplicity, its honesty, its rawness, its Scouseness.
It read, verbatim:
“IF UR NOT ON DA LEMO UR A BIZZIE”
It has the lot – passion, honesty, excitement and some dead Scouse slang
Another orgy of Scouseness can be found on my favourite reference point – The Kop video. Three people featured really stand out. Professional Scouser Stan Boardman is one, but I covered him in a previous TAW piece, and he requires no further enrichment of his Scouseness from me.
The video starts with an old Scouse Kopite, who describes the early days on the uncovered Kop. His memories of Elisha Scott giving his fullback “Parson” Jackson an earful, or of how the tram drivers (or trrrram droivers as he says it) shouted up from Breck Road asking the score, are made all the more captivating for the pure, old school Scouse accent in which they are delivered. This strong Scouse accent, much like The Beatles accent of the 1960’s, sadly does not seem to exist anymore.
The third red featured in the video is the famous Liverpool fan Lenny Woods, who details the night Celtic came to Anfield in the cup, as well as his journey to Rome in 1977. The stories are delivered in a low, guttural growl straight from the docks, and his sentences are punctuated with the dead scouse lines of “what d’yer call it like” and “yer know”.
Possibly the Scousest fella I know is another red, an Irregular by the name of Maga, who has the widest range of super-quick one liners and put downs. When he sees or hears something that he likes, it isn’t “sound” or “boss”, its “beeeeeyewtafull”. He also very rarely answers a question with a simple yes or a no. For example;
“Alright Mags, staying out for a bevy?”
“Eh lad, does a big dog fart?”
“You going the match next week Maga?”
“Fuckin ell, is a fish’s head waterproof?”
My personal all-time favourite dead scouse Maga-ism came whilst we were discussing Steve Bruce and the Sunderland “Beach Ball” goal. Maga walked over mid conversation;
“Alright lads, what we talking about here?”
“Steve Bruce mate”
“Steve Bruce? I tell yer what boys, I wouldn’t mind his ‘ed full of pound coins”
What. A. Line. A dead scouse line from a dead scouse fella. This is how scouse this man is – who was number one the day he was born?
Scotty Road’s finest, Cilla Black!
The final dead scouse line that immediately sprung to mind was delivered to me during my time as a cabbie. One sunny afternoon I picked up an elderly couple, resplendent in their Sunday best, from the Legion on Rose Lane. The fare was all the way up to Norris Green and the usual taxi conversation was flowing.
The wife was telling me how they had just been to a reunion with her husband’s old Army friends from WWII. The husband remained virtually silent as his wife gabbed the ear off me, telling me all about their day, occasionally offering the odd “uh huh” to confirm his wife’s stories.
She went on to tell me about how they had recently visited Arnhem, as that is where he parachuted into all those years ago. The former soldier had worn his old brigade’s beret and had all his medals proudly on display across his chest.
She was painting a story about how they were sat on a train in Arnhem, when a large gang of Dutch punks got on board, acting rowdy. “You know love, they had all the leather and funny hair, tattoos and spikes everywhere, then they see us, I say us, they see him, with all his Army gear on, and the whole gang start to walk towards us…”
Just as she was building up to the crescendo of the story, the previously silent elderly man reaches forward and grabs my shoulder, and in a dead scouse voice says to me “I tell you what lad, I nearly shit a blue light”.
I nearly exploded with delight at that absolute gem of a line, and to make things even sweeter, the story had a happy ending – the Dutch punks just wanted to shake his hand and offer their thanks to this top Scouser.
So when I think of famous Scousers – the ones who make Liverpool special – I think of the everyday people such as the ones mentioned above. I don’t think about the celebrity Scousers who ride on the back of their hometown when it suits them, but wouldn’t give it the steam off their Home Counties piss when it matters. They only help perpetuate the myth, we help create the legend.
Brilliant! Thats all that can be said really.
Is a fishes head waterproof is such a good line
Thanks, utterly hilarious, it had me choking on my baked beans on toast!
Belter piece Ben. I was just saying to someone last week that no one talks in that boss Beatles-esque 60’s Scouse accent.
Close your eyes and stick “said Thomas” at the end of any sentence and you could almost be listening to Thomas the Tank Engine…
Home counties piss
My favourite Scouse came from my cousin to his son who was giving him cheek
“Behave lad or I’ll bladder your nan”
He’s not a fan of his mother in law like
Excellent as per
OK, so can someone explain the whole Blue Light thing to me?
It’s a fact the old accent is dying…the old hard K sound as in milkkkkkk,walkkkkk…you don’t hear that know. I blame the student population with the interrogative at the end of everything…I’m doing English ??? at Uni ???. What ! don’t you know ???
The most un-Scouse thing ever said was probably me the first day of Poly in 87 when I emerged from Lime Street, climbed into a taxi and asked the driver to take me to “Ayborough”. We were driving around for 20 minutes before he finally twigged I meant Aigburth.
best thing abar visiting the pool is the chat just cant get enough of it , sadly though it’s old school love listening to the arl arse’s , used to be boss in the kop yrs back now your pushed to hear any chat with wit and humour but when you do it is a godsend
Very funny as per usual!!
very funny as per
you cant beat the north end for the slang and the stick
Joe_Singh, a blue light is a cop/policeman or as they otherwise call them in Liverpool a bizzie. Not scouse myself (just your average Irish LFC supporter)so if i’m wrong some one please correct my error
got into a cab at lime st station after spending a couple of months in oz.after getting the family on board with all the luggage the driver asked where had we been.when i told him oz he asked was it hot there. i told him that the day before we left it had been 32 degrees he came back with classic scouse ” fucking hell our microwave does,nt get that hot” .
Brilliant article Ben!!
“Fuckin ell, is a fish’s head waterproof?” – has to be one of the best one-liners I’ve ever heard. Awesome.
Another couple of true ‘dead scouse’ expressions are the classic: “come ed” or “go ed” and are we the only people who use the expression “knob-head” – I can’t think I’ve heard it anywhere outside of here….
Sorry mate, knob head is used all over! I remember one of my first trips to anfield when I was about 12 and we were waiting after the game near the players entrance and I felt some one putting their hand in my coat pocket. I turned round and this kid who was trying to rob me just said “F*ck off balloon head!” and walked off…never heard balloon head before or since!
Thank you for making me cry laughing – not a scouse expression but this is a wonderful article.