Wednesday 16 January 2013

The Ballad Of The Child Of Prague

Once upon a time in the Eastern Bloc
There lived a child most hallowed
Who brought light where there was darkness
Who grew crops where fields were fallow.

His face smooth and angelic
Sweetened by his rosy cheeks
But don’t be fooled by his appearance
For the child was far from meek.

He was small but he was mighty
Yes, the child packed quite a punch
While two raised fingers brought peace and love
Five clenched did make a bunch.

Woe betide any man who scorned him
For the child was well-connected
His devotees were heaped with blessings
Grief consumed men who rejected.

He was sitting all alone one night
When the world was fast asleep
His ears perked up when his iPhone 5
Began to buzz and beep.

A text from his boss Benedict
On his holy throne in Rome
Said “pack your bags for Ireland,
You’re heading off across the foam”.

A cynic might have objected
But he knew how his bread was buttered
The order came from on high, away he did fly –
Not a word did the child mutter.

Life can be so cruel at times
And innocents get slaughtered
Yet with a happy heart he made a start
And headed west across the water.

Yes, a handsome holy chappy
Came west from his native east
A credit to his species
More sacred than a priest

An infant coming from the east
With a cute angelic smile
I thought my eyes deceived me
I was swimming in denial

Getting off the bus in Galway
Half-starved and mute with thirst
The child rambled down to Naughton’s
where his blessed life got worse

He sunk a pint of Guinness
Then another - and many more
His eyes rolled around their sockets
He could barely see the floor

That is until he staggered off
His belly for to fill
He did justice to a snackbox
But soon felt a little ill

Down an alleyway he took a piss
But fell into the lion’s den
Attacked by a gang of hoodlums
Out-numbered one to ten.

In the wrong place at the wrong time
the child fell in the dirt
Covered head to toe in blood and guts
Like a baby after birth.

It was then The Big Man intervened,
the assailants quickly fled
but the poor Child Of Prague lay prone on the ground
as his wounds they ached and bled.

Then stumbling towards a taxi rank
His robes in disarray
Blood upon his collar
In the breeze the child did sway

In the queue he met a happy chap
A disciple most devoted
Dressed to kill in multicolour,
Accessorised and sequin-coated.

A Raphaelite angel
Head full of luscious curls
A lad to all the fellas
A gent to all the girls

Even the Gods need help at times
Yes, this saintly human crutch
Took pity on the Child of Prague
And saved him with his touch.

I always try to be objective
But maybe now I’m biased
Never once in this cruel world of ours
Has there been a child as pious.

Once upon a time in the Eastern Bloc
There lived a child most hallowed
Who brought love to the cold-hearted
Who brought depth to waters shallow.

Wednesday 9 January 2013

Poet Wanted: Enquire Within

Poetry is bollocks.
Self-indulgent shite.
I, Myself and Me,
Me, Myself and I,
I'm so lonesome I could cry.

Analysing life with fatal persistence,
Straightening branches that look better twisted.
You sentence yourself to misery to pay for your crimes,
tying thoughts together with imperfect strands of rhyme.

Trying to fight your way out
of this braindead herd of cattle.
Afraid of uniformity,
lacking stomach for the battle.

Well, I'll tell you a little secret,
you might thank me when you're older
when you rise above your sorrow
and the solace of the shoulder:
no-one wants to listen to your ego-centric shite
about the tears you cry into your pillow in the night.

Ah, but I'm up there with the worst of them
a word-whirling wizard
who couldn't make a snowball
in the midst of a blizzard.

Tuesday 8 January 2013


Whoever said that “the meek shall inherit the earth” has clearly never set foot inside St. James’ Park because Demba Ba throwing his toys out of the pram after being dropped for the trip to Everton back in September was clearly the catalyst for him wrestling ‘top dog’ status back from Papiss Cissé and ensuring that he would not be the one shoe-horned into the wide role that neither of them are truly happy in.

Despite his spectacular fall from grace and the fruitless frustration that has characterised his performances this season, it is very difficult not to feel for Cissé. If anything, he settled in too well last year and he has become the unfortunate victim of his own stunning success. However, as we all know, Cissé’s heroics came at a price – Demba Ba took a back seat as his goal-scoring exploits came to a shuddering halt after the 2-1 victory over Aston Villa on Cissé’s debut. Similarly, this season has again seen both men unable to excel in tandem and Cissé has suffered.

Being loud, greedy and petulant helped Ba get exactly what he wanted and while he once again hit a rich vein of scoring form, it came at the overall expense of the team. While his colleagues flapped about hopelessly and completely failed to get any sort of momentum going, Ba stole the limelight and used his central striking role to showcase his talents and ensure that he would finally get his big money move away from us. So, credit to Ba for his stellar performances and for being the one shining light in an increasingly dull and dispirited side but I will not be sorry to see him leave.

Team morale has clearly suffered as a result of his behaviour in the last couple of months and the happy, upbeat mood that characterised last season has been replaced with a muted and miserable silence. There have been whispers of discontent from within the dressing room and if Ba’s departure can nip that in the bud, then it may well be a blessing in disguise. The constant media speculation about his future has undermined the feel-good factor created by last season’s success and it has almost certainly contributed to the team’s below-par performances and subsequent slide into mediocrity.

Ironically, Ba may have stolen the headlines in recent times but it turns out that Cissé has won the war despite losing the private battle and the time has come for him to take centre stage once more – he has remained the consummate professional and silently sacrificed himself for the good of the team, despite his obvious unhappiness and frustration at times and now, hopefully, he can reap the rewards.

So, good night and good luck, Demba and thanks for the memories but it’s time once again to focus on those who actually want to play for the club and who are willing to pull together and work for the good of the team, not just to enhance their own reputations and bank balances. Collective success brings individual rewards but the opposite is rarely the case (we need look no further than the example of our very own Alan Shearer to prove that point) and that is the lesson that Newcastle’s players must take from the Ba saga.