Monday, 24 October 2011

Jurassic Park!

Alan Partridge: a God amongst men.


Once again, this is quite embarrassing.

There's nothing quite as shameful as having reneged on a promise. I feel completely ashamed. I feel ashen-faced, like I'm barely able to make eye contact with you. After a long and lonesome delay in adding anything of note to Who The Hell is Akabusi?, I've come slinking in through the back door with my tail tucked firmly between my legs, pleading with you for some sort of forgiveness, like a pathetic philanderer begging to be let back into the marital bed.

Once is a misfortune; twice is careless. I promised in my very first post that when it came to the showdown, I'd be there for you. I'd be there with you fighting in the last garrison. I'd be there with you as we waded through the shit and the sick in a Venice sewer trying to locate the Holy Grail. I said I'd be there... Then nothing. And this is not the first time it's happened.

But, let's put that to one side. I'll offer up another explanation, another fruitless pledge, and then we'll get on with it like the last two months were some sort of bad dream.

I've rediscovered my mojo. I feel like Bob Dylan writing and recording Oh Mercy, like Rocky Bilboa finding the strength to floor Ivan Drago. If you're not listening to Eminem's Without Me while you're reading this, then I suggest you remove that Toploader album from the CD tray and put that in instead.

There were mitigating circumstances when I ceased writing Who The Hell is Akabusi?. Sometime before the Arbroath game back in mid-August, my laptop charger packed in. I won't go into the technical details (mainly because I have no idea what happened myself), but the whole seedy debacle was recorded in my last post on this blog. I had used my step-father's charger intermittently but the whole situation was hopeless. I had to wait about three weeks to buy a universal adaptor of my own. The most robust model I could find cost £60 from PC World. It's the best deal you're going to get, the teenager at the counter told me. This one's the business. This is the one I use at home. Imagine my consternation when, after telling my workmates about my travails, one of them piped up and told me that she could have got me one for £10. I was appalled.

By this point, to me anyway, it seemed almost pointless to continue with the blog. I had failed to write reports on several games (the matches against Forfar, Falkirk and Cowdenbeath, I think) and rather than write apologetic, half-hearted articles, I abandoned the project altogether and turned my attention to preparing for post-graduate diploma in Multimedia Journalism.

Shorthand: fucking complicated.

The workload for the course is quite astonishing. I fully expected to face an avalanche of work, but it certainly wasn't with this ferocity. I could list you everything I'm expected to work on over the next few weeks but that would be tedious and unnecessary. All you need to know is that I'm expected to learn to write shorthand at the rate of fifty words per minute before Christmas. It looks like hieroglyphics.

There's a combination of factors that have encouraged me to start writing again. My PDP advisor (I'm not entirely sure what PDP stands for) warned me that no one's likely to employ a journalist who isn't writing anything current. He cautioned that editors will want to see something fresh and up-to-date - a blog post from July about the best Stenhousemuir players in the last seven years is unlikely to tempt them to hire me, no matter how good it is.

Secondly, a number of people have asked me why I'm not writing anymore. I don't think I can fathom a reasonable explanation - despite my increased workload, there's still time I can find to write articles - the spare moments in bed on a Wednesday night could be better spent writing and reporting than watching videos of sleeping cats on YouTube, no matter how sugary they are. When people like John Maxwell of the excellent Ross County Tactics website are offering their encouragement, it's exceptionally flattering. It might be a chore, but you can look back at pride in your work, he told me.

Finally - I miss it. I miss writing about Stenhousemuir FC. I miss writing about the Second Division, the smell of the muck and mire of the basement leagues of Scottish football, the kick and the rush, Eric Paton's gorgeous fifty yard switches, wretched Dumbarton teams, Stewart Kean "working the channels", Forfar Athletic's astonishing physical presence... I miss all that. Why on earth would you want to read a thirty-word column in the Scotland on Sunday about Saturday's match when you can write a 2000 one of your own instead?

Before things ground to a halt, a friend and fellow Stenhousemuir supporter told me that there was no need for match reports to be included on the blog. I've been at the games, he said to me. I've seen the same things you've seen. I don't want to read about things I've already seen, I want to read something different. He may have had a point but despite this, I will still attempt to write up succinct and analytical match reports of no more than a thousand words from the games. The last time I tried to write a match report was in the aftermath of the 2-0 victory over Arbroath and it took almost a week to have the report typed up onto the blog. That sort of thing will not happen again.

I won't be able to attend as many away matches as I would like to anymore. I don't really think I can afford the time or the money for jaunts in Angus or out into the West of Scotland. Instead I'll have to make do with Jeff Stelling and a bag of crisps every second Saturday afternoon. I can't promise that I'm going to be able to update this every week, but I'll do my best. I'm fed up seeing the Second and Third Divisions ignored in the quality papers, relegated to a footnote on the middle pages like some sort of dirty secret. The club and the leagues deserve better. You deserve better.

So let's put on our stockings, baby, because the night's getting cold. Let's sit back and let's try and enjoy some quality insight about Stenhousemuir Football Club.

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