Jane Stuart – Writer

Writer on beer, football culture and Blackpool FC.

Blackpool v Swansea City

After a night on the lash in Manchester – completing the Good Beer Guide pubs – I wasn’t overly keen to get out of bed this morning. But that was ok as Blackpool were at home and I live in Blackpool these days. I spent two hours lying in bed, scrolling through social media and my emails.

There was an email inviting me to sign up for the F**k It Revolution course, which I duly did. This course should keep reminding me that things that might worry me really don’t matter so much. This is part of my mental health management, which is pretty much a full time job – but an important one if I’m to keep the black dog at bay. This also is why I go to SlimmingWorld meetings, why I’ve recently started going to classes at the gym, why I read and write a lot, why I make little tweaks to everyday life to remove little annoyances, why I cut abusive people out of my life and do not engage with trolls – and why I always try to find joy everywhere I go. Who actually wants to be one of those people spouting vitriol and hating everything about life? I can’t think of anything worse.

I realised time was ticking on – and I had fanzines to sell – so I crawled out of bed around 1100 and selected Duke Special as my shower music of choice. Here’s my fave of his songs.

I’m not a huge fan of eating when I’ve not long got up, but I knew I needed to force something down to have the energy to stand in the 32C sunshine selling fanzines this afternoon. Cereal and fruit weren’t going to help me today so, after contemplating the fridge, I ended up making a double egg pitta. That should do the job nicely, even if I couldn’t quite finish it.

Right now it was time to head down to Bloomfield Road. What did I need? Fanzines, card machine, season ticket? Ah but we’ve got DIGITAL SEASON TICKETS now, haven’t we? I downloaded mine to my Apple Wallet before I got out of bed this morning but decided to take my physical card with me just in case.

Lee dropped me in my traditional fanzine selling spot outside Arcade Club on Bloomfield Road. And boy was it hot today! Whilst the rain is traditionally the worst weather for a fanzine seller (as it wets the fanzines – I actually think there’s something therapeutic about being out in the rain), this blistering heat was most unpleasant. My sales time today was scheduled to be 1330-1450 and that was a long time to be exposed to the hot sun. I had a couple of bottles of water with me to help me cope with the heat (we were given special dispensation to take bottles WITH LIDS ON into the ground today – indeed they were even giving them out for free). I also had my hair in a ponytail, was wearing a dress to enable my body to breathe – and had covered my exposed flesh in Factor 30 before I’d left the house.

Dear reader, it was hot. It was fucking hot. Within around half an hour I began to black out so switched to a seated position on the little wall. I was also beginning to feel quite sick. As explained in my previous blog (when I was eating curry and drinking stout in similar temperatures), my body does not react well to heat. It’s not that I’m one of these miserable people who moans about the weather for the sake of moaning – my body simply cannot cope with it. The cold I can counter (apart from at Birmingham City) with layers of clothes and hot drinks; the heat is unavoidable. I suppose technically I COULD have found a more sheltered spot to stand – and I will absolutely do this next time. However, today, I was really suffering and, whilst I was shouting ‘FANZINE! GET YOUR BLACKPOOL FANZINE! LOOK – YOU CAN USE IT AS A FAN!’, what I really wanted to shout was ‘HELP ME! IT’S TOO FUCKING HOT FOR THIS!’

The weather also seemed to bring out extreme and contrasting emotions in the passing Seasiders today:

‘You look beautiful today.’

‘Here – take this tenner. No – I don’t want anything for it. I watch all your videos on a Sunday morning in New Zealand. You’re a godsend to us exiles.’

‘You’ve lost weight.’ (I always get this when I’m not wearing my big coat, although it’s not necessarily true.)

‘Fuck that shit.’ (I almost shouted this one down and begged him to write a piece for the next issue, I was so impressed with his eloquence.)

‘I’ve got a bit of a teenage crush on you.’

And then, around 1450, just as I was losing the will to live in the heat, I was approached by a man who was standing that little bit too close to me, in my personal space. He muttered something incoherent and may or may not have been under the influence of something. I’m a bit deaf at the best of times and often find myself nodding and agreeing and trying to make a non-committal reply to a question I haven’t quite heard. He seemed to be rejecting my offer of a fanzine and I thought he’d said he wasn’t a Blackpool fan. I replied with something I thought appropriate.

‘Oh, you’re not?’

‘What?! How can you say I’m not a Blackpool fan? I am a Blackpool fan!’

He was right in my face now and I was feeling quite vulnerable.

‘Who says I’m not a Blackpool fan? You ask him – he’ll tell you.’

Mercifully this other man (who didn’t know my accuser) was wanting to buy a fanzine and talk about the beers I’d had last night, so I focussed my attention on him and that transaction before hastily packing my bag away and walking with him towards the ground. Phew! That was a lucky escape.

To save me from the perils of selling fanzines in future weeks you can HELP ME by subscribing online so I can sell them from the relative comfort of my own home. Just £15 will get you four issues delivered to your door. It’s a damn fine read if I say so myself, with articles from Blackpool fans and the wider football community. Just click this big tangerine button below please.

There was a short queue at my lucky turnstile (16) while a woman was faffing trying to find her family’s tickets in her bag. A steward attempted to usher me through a neighbouring turnstile but I wasn’t having any of it because I needed to go through my lucky turnstile. Oh hang on – was it still lucky? Yes, we’d won the last time I’d used it – but lost last week when I’d used a different turnstile because we were in a different stand. I waited patiently before waving my digital season ticket at the reader – and wahey it worked! After a quick chat with the steward inside the turnstile (who asked after my Lucky Orange Aero which of course I didn’t have again today), I popped to the Ladies and then headed up to my seat in the South Stand.

Unusually, Lee had arrived before me and was sitting in my seat (next door but one to Derek). So as not to be antisocial, I seated myself in between Lee and Derek, even though this wasn’t my seat – and might prove unlucky. Perhaps I should have mentioned this to Lee, but I was still a little shaken after the scary man episode, so was just grateful to be back in a safe place (and a nice breeze).

The match was a frustrating one, with our keeper and defenders exposing us to constant danger by not getting rid of the ball at the back. What happened to the hoofing we’d seen pre-season? I like hoofing. The ref didn’t seem to be handling the game too well, allowing one of their lads to get away with raising his hands (more than once) to Dom Thompson. Indeed it was rather a feisty match. It was probably too hot to play (our players are used to training on Squires Gate, a blowy and exposed plot of land by the airport) and the fans were getting tetchy.

The Swansea players were wearing black and at times I did wonder if they were deliberately gathering in the shaded areas of the pitch.

There were good chances at both ends. Blackpool won a penalty (possibly the only way we were going to actually score). But Jerry Yates’s effort was saved. Then Swansea scored at the death and won 1-0.

But f**k it – it is what it is and it doesn’t matter so much.

The Red Arrows flew over Bloomfield Road as the final whistle blew. It was the Blackpool Airshow this weekend and we’d heard jets flying overhead all afternoon. I caught glimpses of their display in the sky as I made my way to the bus stop.

The busy bus was boiling (and aromatic) but happily I managed to secure a seat. Indeed, when I stepped off the bus at the other end, the outside felt cool in comparison, so the walk home was a breeze. And I spotted this kitten along the way.

I spent the walk contemplating what I was going to have for tea because I was STARVING now. Hmm I could stop off and buy some chicken and an onion and make a curry? Nope – there was no way I was going to stand over a hob in a hot kitchen in this heat. It would have to be a microwave job. Ooh what had I cooked and frozen earlier in the week? Naked Steak Burrito – yes, that would do nicely.

For pudding I had a home made lolly (made from vanilla yoghurt and blueberries) which I enjoyed whilst sitting in front of a fan in my pants.

I then drafted out the skeletons of this blog and the last one while the details were still fresh in my mind – with no intention of spending hours writing them up tonight, as my body was telling me ‘f**k it – you can relax now.’ So instead I referred to the movies on My List on Netflix – and settled back to watch Bee Movie.

So that was my Saturday. Next up was the long and expensive midweek trip to QPR which was televised and I really don’t want to get back into the shackles of not missing a game (I once went 13 years without missing) so ‘f**k it’ we stayed home and did a live watchalong, which you can watch here:

Next Up: A Football Tourist’s Guide To East Lancashire.