Tag Archives: Manchester United




Early Sunday morning, Slim and I head down to “The Post-Coital Beetle” to watch Manchester United play Spurs; early because of the 8 hour time difference and because neither of us subscribe to the sports channel showing the game so we can’t PVR it, plus The Beetle is open and we get to watch the game and shout abuse and/or encouragement at the screen in the company of like-minded people. We both order the all day breakfast; it’s called that because it’s available all day, not because it takes all day to eat it. I ask for the eggs over easy, Slim, in an outbreak of irony, orders sunny side up.

It’s nearing the end of the season and the United manager, Jose Mourinho, the surly one, is showing signs of cracking. In a game during the week, he tried to hold onto a one goal lead by switching a to 4 defensive central midfielders and nearly lost the game to a very average Spanish team. Today, he starts with 3 central defenders, and 2 full backs;  one of the central defenders is playing in the full back position and one of the full backs is playing in midfield. Ten minutes in and United’s French striker, Anthony Martial, is sulking around in a state of Gallic pique, because there’s no one to pass the fucking ball to him, which is what I shout at the screen:

“There’s no one to pass the fucking ball to him!”

Plus, there’s something seriously wrong with Wayne Rooney’s hair, he seems to be going bald again, despite his much publicised hair implants.

Predictably, United lose. I turn to Slim for a comment, my nose streaming and my eyes watering because I put too much hot sauce on the hash browns, and he goes all tri-syllabic on me. “Doldrums”, he intones:


end of the

season and


look like a


team about

to put on

a fucking

garage sale.

And he’s not finished, “I have a bone to pick with you”, he growls. He is wearing a white T shirt stretched over the helmet of his pot belly. The T shirt says: “The end is nigh, and not a moment too soon”. Apparently he’s pissed off because I removed one of his poems from this blog. The poem was called “Moab- an Obituary” and it was his response to the dropping  of very large bomb (The Mother Of All Bombs) on Syria by the US.

MOAB – An Obituary

A sad day,

the Mother

Of All Bombs

is gone, she


is sorely

missed by the

bombs she has

left behind.

I explained to him that I had seen Hasan Minhaj on The Daily Show doing  a piece on how serious journalists like Jake Tapper of CNN had started making snarky comments about Donald Trump. His point was that this is a bad thing because we need serious journalists to be serious and snark undermines that seriousness. I thought the last verse of the poem was too snarky.

“Well’, Slim says, “here’s some snark for you, go fuck yourself!”

I point out that this is technically not snark, but he has already stormed out of the pub, leaving behind a sausage which I finish. High point of the morning, really.


April – Month of Slim 1 (2 poems)

Yes, as promised, April  just got a bit crueler. In response to Slim’s recent complaints about being ignored, we kick off with 2 poems – a slimverse and a slimverse lite (12 syllables, 4 lines, 3 syllables per line, utilizing only 6 letters).

Names (a slimverse)

those that can

stand alone

those that can’t



(Inspired by Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlaine )


Too Many Questions (a slimverse lite)

 U is at?

Is u at?

At issue?

Is it u?

Poet’s Corner 9 – Slim’s Advice Part 1

I ‘m talking to Slim, or I should say, he’s talking to me about Manchester United and their new Dutch coach, Louis Van Gaal. Slim is disappointed in the team’s progress since Van Gaal’s appointment at the beginning of the season. He is convinced that their problems are due to the coach’s stubborn insistence on playing three centre-backs.

“It’s just too much inertia, too much plod, no team can take the weight of three centre backs plus a slow holding midfielder like Michael Carrick. Also, wing backs?? Who knows how to play that position? Antonio Valencia, maybe, but who else, certainly not Danny Blind…he doesn’t have the speed.”

Slim has the bit between his teeth and from my experience, it can stay there a long time. I look past Slim along the bar and out through the window, there’s a construction crew outside working on a hole in the road. It’s a sunny day. I need to interrupt or this will turn into a rant that lasts the whole lunch.

“Talking about games” (awkward, I know) “have you any advice for people starting out in the poetry game”

“It’s not a f***king game”.

“Business, then, the poetry business”

“It’s certainly not a business, you hardly ever get paid and when you do, it would be barely enough to pay for this lunch”

“Why do you write, then? Slim looks thoughtful.

“I write poetry for the same reason that a dog licks his balls.”

“And that is?”

“Because I can and because I like to.”

“Wait a minute”, I said,” you can…”

“For Chrissake’, Slim roared, and banged his glass on the bar,

”I’m outta here!”

A guy in a business suit at the other end of the bar looks up from his newspaper. I stare at the full pitcher of pale ale and the mound of nachos covered in melted cheese, jalapeno peppers, diced olives, tomatoes, onions and topped off with something called shredded beef although it looks suspiciously like cat food sitting on the bar in front of me. I have an image in my head that I would really like to erase. The door to the bar opens and a lady wearing a hard hat and a high vis vest enters. Her hair is bleached blond and her face is red and weather beaten, she’s carrying a sign that says “Stop” on one side and “Slow” on the other. The “Slow” side faces towards me. I take this as a sign.

“Would you like some nachos,” I say “I’ve got guacamole”.

To be continued.