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.