Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Fog on the Tyne is all mine, all mine

Scotland has jointly hosted the Rugby World Cup on no fewer than three occasions over the last quarter-of-a-century (1991, 1999 and 2007).  With my customary perversity, I didn't bother going to any of those, but instead waited until it was necessary to go down to Newcastle this year.  I bought the ticket an eternity ago, and almost forgot all about it - meaning that by the time I got myself organised, it was far too late to book accommodation, leaving me with no choice but to get there and back in one day.  I did the whole thing by public transport, and it was a hell of a trip - I walked out of my front door at 5.30am and didn't get back until almost midnight.  The fact that I only got three hours' sleep the previous night didn't help much either.

As I was travelling such a long way, I was determined to squeeze a bit of sight-seeing in while I was there.  So as soon as I arrived at the train station, I popped over to the Black Gate and Castle Keep, as you can see from these frankly life-affirming photos in which I strike classic tourist poses while sporting a variety of fetching hats.




But all too soon, it was time to head over to St James' Park for the afternoon's exquisite torture, as you can see from this frankly thrilling photo in which I strike a classic rugby supporter's pose while sporting just one fetching hat.


This blog's resident troll asked me if I encountered any anti-Scottish sentiment in Newcastle, of the sort I had to endure on my shambolic trip to Arran the other week.  The answer is no, although there was an intriguing incident when I got back on the train to Edinburgh.  The people getting off the train were presumably Newcastle locals who were coming back up from London, or Birmingham, or wherever, and they greeted the waiting Scotland supporters like old friends.  "Oh, congratulations!"  "How much did you win by?"  "Did you win?  Woo-hoo!"  An English chap standing behind me (and who I think possibly lives in Edinburgh) rather bitterly muttered : "You see, Scotland?  That's how it's done.  No need to take pleasure in others' defeats."

Hmmm.  I couldn't help wondering how he'd explain the row of English people sitting behind me at the game, who were shrieking with delight every time Samoa scored.  And they weren't alone - I got the impression that about 25-30% of the crowd were firmly behind Samoa.  (OK, there were some actual Samoans there, but not that many.)  I have no complaints at all about that - Samoa were the underdogs, and they were playing a fearless and attractive brand of rugby, so it was entirely natural for neutrals to support them.  But I can't help feeling that if Scottish people supported an opponent of England's for any reason whatever, that would be classed as "bigotry" or something.

Here are some more photos from the day.  As you can see, I wasn't short of reminders of home...




















33 comments:

  1. Bloody hell James, you're up in the gods there!
    An absolutely fantastic game of rugby with the right result thankfully.
    A couple of my English friends paid £500 for 2 tickets for England's last group game.

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  3. "But I can't help feeling that if Scottish people supported an opponent of England's for any reason whatever, that would be classed as "bigotry" or something."

    The old identity politics "double standard". I've heard English nationalists say the exact opposite about people wanting England to lose at football. Neither perspective is correct, but that's how identity politics tends to function - 5% of people on either side bitterly arguing over the top of one another while the rest of us couldn't care less.

    Anecdotally I'd say English people are far more likely to support Scotland at football/rugby than vice versa (from a Scot who has lived a fair percentage of my life in England) but in all honesty it's completely irrelevant to broader attitudes. You can tell that because the same person who cheers wildly when England lose at football (I'm one of them) will be blindly loyal to an English boxer/golfer, or support the English cricket team, or whatever else. It's about sport primarily and if we leave it at that, rather than dragging politics and wider grievances into the equation, we'd all be better off.

    Other than that, I liked the part about the rugby and the hats. The Samoa game was certainly far more entertaining than the catastrophe at Hampden.

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    1. I'm not entirely sure you understood the point I was making, Kenny. Your response doesn't seem to have any direct relevance to what I said.

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  4. Wow great photos of my home town there James, nice to see the keep, the bagpipe museum used to be there as well, but they moved it to Morpeth, not sure where it is now now, London? Like the Lindisfarne gospels, in London.

    Had I known you were stuck for a place to stay, I could have pointed you to a couple of people with spare rooms, next time just say!

    I was down in Newcastle, Gateshead last weekend. I am afraid I did come across anti Scottishness from friends and negativity from acquaintances.
    I was quite shocked not having been there for a while and not having seen some friends at length, since before the referendum, when we did encounter ridicule and animosity.
    I naively thought that they would have moved away from all of the ignorant stuff what with me sending them articles and videos etc in the lead up to the Indy ref, but no. The avid Graun reading, bbc watching had taken it's toll.

    Scotland is joined by a land mass, (to them), and 'unity is always a better thing than separation'. 'Aye, you lot let the tories in' and, ' I have lost all respect for the Scots for voting no'.

    Apparently we are living in 'cloud cuckoo land' to think that we can have 'any influence against the tories in westminster'. We want an unattainable 'utopia' the world is not fair etc etc.

    Then, 'Scotland has no culture or language of it's own'. Also, the ' Scots were taken and sided with the English' against the Irish, sometime back. I pointed out the word, 'taken', and that sounded like a lack of choice, then they changed it to 'chose to go'.

    A popular one was that Scotland (and me !) was very 'emotional' about Independence.
    In other words, not rational and the reasons for wanting Independence are not rational either, or realistic. We are 'idiots'.

    All of that after being told that to go back into history and how the Scottish people have and are oppressed was unacceptable and 'irrelevant'. I was shouted at, 'if you feel oppressed why don't you move back here then!'. ( I have lived in Edinburgh for 26 years and have two children here). No thanks, I said.

    Oh and, we as independence supporters are brainwashed and exposed to 'propaganda' from the yes side!

    So I am afraid I came home to Scotland with a very heavy heart this time. I had encountered at least verging on, if not actual anti Scottish from more than one person, in fact pretty much everyone I met, in one way or another. Including the usual hatred for the SNP and ridiculing of them as a political party. They did not express the same anti, regards Nicola Sturgeon, as much as they did A Salmond. 'I don't like that A Salmond mind'. Me, why not? 'I don't know, I just dinnee trust him', that was a couple of years ago.

    I Was desperate to return to Scotland. Before I caught my train home, I had a wee wander around some old familiar streets where I worked years ago, near to the station.

    It was dirty, and run down, really noticeably so, with more than an unacceptable amount of shops opposite the station closed down. When I had been driving with my bro through the outer areas, all I saw were Mcdonalds, chain hotels, and chain pubs, and a few ugly industrial estates, huge ones. All quite depressing. It seems the people really have been brain washed and are now zombies.


    I won't be back there for a while. Hopefully it is just the people I met, who felt able to express their frustrations about their miserable situation from another tory government, on Scotland.

    One last thing, they kept asking what about J Corbyn, hoping I would say fantastic! I said I thought his leadership would make little difference in Scotland, but he is their only hope.
    I guess it was a tad insensitive of me to be less than enthusiastic about him.

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    1. Glasgow Working ClassOctober 13, 2015 at 9:31 PM

      Hetty if you cover your eyes and walk around you will not know where you are.

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    2. Eat your cereal.

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  5. You kinda look a wee bit like Dec from Ant and Dec fame in the second photo! Apt seeing as you were in their hometown.

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  6. Accepting the earlier comments as the writers' own experiences, my times at both the Scotland v SA and Samoa games in Newcastle were completely different. There were numerous Geordies around me at both games and all were very much supporting Scotland wholeheartedly.

    From many years of observation, it seems to me that Scots and Geordies feel much more in common with each other than those from much further south, and the sense of goodwill towards us Scots was really heart-warming.

    I might also add that, unlike James, I wasn't too well organised on the day trip front. After the SA game, stayed to watch the England v Australia game in a pub full of Scots and Bokkies, missing the last train to Edinburgh by 5 minutes!

    Could have been a disaster but Geordie hospitality ensued!

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  7. I've been following the rugby via the NZHerald, which provides good depth and background to its stories. One journalist pointed out last week that the biggest cheer went up with England's defeat by Wales and was asking why this would be, given the lack of animosity or "colonial" angst from the New Zealanders. The article concluded that it was the sense of arrogance from England over a period of years.
    I would concur with that, though its largely the English media to blame.

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  8. I must admit to wanting England to be beaten at football. There really is no malice in it, it is the oldest international derby in the world if that's not an excuse for rivalry then im not sure what is. I don't think the English see it quite the same way, I reckon they get more fired up and see games against Germany and Argentina as more of a rivalry. I am a Rangers fan ( not a orangeman and a definate yessers ) and I am the same with Celtic, I love to see them getting cuffed as well. Obviously not so much lately but it was always good banter between all my mates from both sides. Other sports quite frankly I'm not to bothered but I do hope Scotland can beat England at rugby. A quick point about Newcastle. I was working in Barrow in Cumbria and Newcastle on the run up to the Indy ref and although I found a lot of people understanding why I was voting yes in the north of England, it was in Newcastle many more were actually willing us on and hoping we,d be brave enough to do it. I even seen a programme on BBC north where members of the audience actually wanted the border extended south if we broke loose. I have worked all over England and have always been welcomed and I couldn't stress enough I didn't have a hatred for the normal Joe on the street, I was voting yes because I thought Westminster rule was unbearable.

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  9. I put it quite simply. If my country Scotland are out of a competition. I don't care who wins or loses. I have no real interest in supporting Wales or Northern Ireland at the euros either. I usually support Germany because I like their football and the people. It's a stupid notion to think your closest neighbour should command your support. This is an English disease where they think they are the centre of the universe. Who Cares!

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    1. It's a stupid notion to think your closest neighbour should command your support.

      Isn't it just as stupid to think your own country should command your support in sport? The whole thing is arbitrary and daft.

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  10. Glasgow Working ClassOctober 13, 2015 at 8:52 PM

    Well you should support NI because George Best was the Best. The only British player that was near to him was Jimmy Johnstone. Aye.

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  11. Beckenbar,Klose,Walter Mateus, Klinsman..and that's just a few.

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  12. Glasgow Working ClassOctober 13, 2015 at 9:26 PM

    That looks like the German team in Escape to Victory.

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  13. Mr McGibbon : As thousands of people can testify, I have been incredibly tolerant of you, but you surely must have realised by this advanced stage of your trolling career that you're not going to get away with saying things like that about the owner of the site you're posting on.

    Two comments deleted.

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    1. Glasgow Working ClassOctober 14, 2015 at 9:39 PM

      Thousands James! Rather PC of you to delete. Ok I accept you may have had a sense of humour failure.

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    2. Eat your cereal.

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  14. *claps in support*

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    1. Glasgow Working ClassOctober 15, 2015 at 12:09 AM

      Oh Aye showing your Nat si credentials Anon.

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    2. Eat your cereal.

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  15. Fog on the Tyne is all mine,all mine....high time it was brought into public ownership.

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  16. Looks good fun, James.

    I can see the Dec lookalike. You must have had that a few times

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  17. Glasgow Working ClassOctober 14, 2015 at 10:24 PM

    The PM summed up the Nat sis at PMQ'S today. They invent a grievance before it exists. This was in answer to what was one of the most stupid ever questions from Calum MCCaig SNP re- Apprenticeship Levy.

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  18. James, there is a new Yougov poll

    https://twitter.com/theSNP/status/654573051896549376

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  19. SHUT UP FATTY YOU TWAT

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  20. Glasgow Working ClassOctober 15, 2015 at 9:37 PM

    A Geordie Is a Scotsman with a six inch nail throo his heid.

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  21. James are you sure the people behind you weren't Kiwis? As a Scots born Kiwi I will more than happily support both Samoa and Tonga. I was at school in Auckland with a lot of Samoans and Tongans. Talofa!

    If I were at that game I would have been very conflicted, very conflicted indeed.

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  22. James, you have nice happy eyes and a friendly smile.

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