Jane Stuart – Writer

Writer on beer, football culture and Blackpool FC.

Blackpool v Watford

Another home game, another trip to the pub for the blog…

Waterloo Music Bar

On Friday night I’d been excited to learn of Liverpool’s successful bid to host Eurovision. It’s on my bucket list to go (only that and the World’s Strongest Man final left) and it seems that next year will be the year.

But tonight was all about a different celebration of music…the Rockmantic rock festival at the Waterloo.

My lifestyle guru Paddington had a plan in place to keep me on track tonight.

My trip to the gym had been kiboshed by Radio Lancashire, who invited me on at gym o’clock.

This proved an enlightening show, with Alan Nixon making a good point about early-season form hanging over from the previous season. That’s not something I’d previously considered outside of the context of a losing play-off finalist (hello Lincoln). But we had ended last season pathetically – and that woeful 5-0 defeat to already-relegated Peterborough could well have stuck in the heads of the players all summer, with no further games to erase that memory. It’s their job, their livelihood and they may not have been able to wipe it out of their minds like I did pretty much straight away with a couple of beers on the barge.

Anyway, back to tonight and Paddington’s plan to limit my beer intake. The first band I wanted to see wasn’t on until 2110, so Paddington suggested I aim to arrive at 2100. Heading out late was a great idea in principle but, when it got to 2030, I started getting excited about going out and when that happens it’s time to leave. I couldn’t even make it to the end of the last ever episode of Star Trek: The Original Series.

And thus I found myself guzzling a pint of this while A’Priori completed their set.

This beer was also on.

Ooh where had THIS come from?

I tried to find a spot to stand that wasn’t in anyone’s way (impossible) and, in doing so, was amused by this sign.

So customers aren’t allowed drugs but…

I ordered a second pint in short order and made my way down the front. I was pleased to find ample space at the railing right at the front so got into position just right of the middle, taking care not to stand too close to the speakers, as I’d come away from here with partial deafness before now.

Saints of Sin

I’d strategically designed my night to arrive in time to see this band. I hadn’t heard of (let alone seen) them before, but I’d researched them online ahead of tonight’s gig and liked what I’d heard. Their songs were already stuck in my head and their singer sounded like Axl Rose. I was looking forward to seeing them perform live tonight.

The band that took to the stage looked nothing like I’d expected. The singer looked like my mate Ant from Tangerines In Manchester (TIM). And he was wearing shorts and bouncing round the stage in a hip hop stylee. And his voice sounded so different live than recorded. Was this Saints of Sin?

Yes, seemingly so. I double-checked the setlist and there were songs I knew on there.

Closer inspection revealed the band all had painted nails. I made a mental note to compliment them on their nails and photograph them for you after the gig, but promptly forgot.

A man I recognised as the singer from South of Salem (tonight’s headline act) took a position at the front next to me. To make room for him, I found myself perilously close to the right hand speakers. Uh-oh – I may regret this later.

The set was great and the band were such a bundle of energy, bouncing around the stage, that I couldn’t help but smile throughout. That’s a sign of a good live act.

I was surprised and delighted with their rendition of Uptown Funk. And I soon had Nasty Love firmly implanted back in my brain (as it had been all week – catchy little number).

At the end of their set, I headed off to do my half-time admin (loo and drink).

As I queued for the Ladies (there were lots of ladies here tonight), I picked up from conversation that Saints of Sin had a new singer tonight (that explained a lot) but they weren’t convinced by his shorts.

Wall art from Trap 3.

Second pint in hand, I headed back down the front. It was busier now but I managed to squeeze in towards the left – a safe distance from the speakers.

I became aware of someone trying to reach the front – despite there being really no room. I turned around to see a woman even shorter than me (and there aren’t many of those around). I felt compelled to make space for her (which I wouldn’t have done for a taller person – call me heightist, I don’t care, but I think ‘down the front’ should be reserved for short people). Anyway, she was shouting to get the attention of the South of Salem guitarist, who had his head down tuning his guitar (or whatever they do during warm up).

‘Throw something at him!’ suggested someone. I had thought that but hadn’t said it, as you can’t go round throwing things at people.

At length she drew his attention. I cocked my (remaining working) ear to find out what she wanted with him so urgently.

‘Can I have your setlist please?’

Wouldn’t he be needing that? Oh she meant AFTER the gig. Was that a thing? Is this the gig equivalent of ‘CHARLIE PATINO CAN I HAVE YOUR SHIRT PLEASE?’

South of Salem

Anyway here were South of Salem.

I’d first seen them here earlier this year supporting The Treatment and been blown away by them. I listen to them more than I listen to Buckcherry or pretty much anyone else these days.

I’d had to put my ‘Fuck It Therapy’ skills to the test during this set, as there was a tall (grr) man blocking my view with his phone permanently held aloft in front of him (further blocking my view).

Fuck it. This is what it is. It doesn’t matter so much. I’m lucky to have a spot at the front and can see better than I could if I was any further back.

Ah that’s better.

Midway through the gig, someone else appeared in the same spot, apologising in advance for being ‘drunk and sweaty.’ I said that was absolutely fine as it was an improvement on the previous occupant.

South of Salem were epic once again and I was so pleased I’d decided to come here tonight. Can you see me down the front?

Credit: Louise Newiss & John Pickford.

Here’s the official video to Pretty Little Nightmare for your enjoyment.

Post-gig I spotted this poster.

Good job I’m in Cov that day at a safe distance from the burning.

I had enjoyed the gig so much I felt the need to show my appreciation in terms of merch. I’m always buying CDs and NEVER play them, so opted for a tee tonight.

I waited around for the singer of South of Salem because I’d been so impressed with his tattoo sleeves that I simply HAD to show you, dear reader.

Before I had chance to ask if that was a tattoo on his face, the short(er than me) woman from earlier thrust her setlist and a pen in his face so I mooched off to call Lee, whose call I’d just rudely cancelled because I was mid-photo. He was outside waiting for me. I’d asked Alexa to remind him to pick me up at 2330.

Back home I was (partially deaf and) too buzzing to sleep so we watched the end of Star Trek. Which didn’t have a proper ending (i.e. it was just a regular episode and nothing was tied up, as if they were carrying on for another series). I suppose I shouldn’t complain, as I’ve been livid about the ending to Deep Space Nine since 1999.

Saturday Pre Match

I was up at 0900 and immediately set to work on my Football Tourist Guide To Sunderland, which was fast turning into an epic.

Paddington prepared a healthy pre-match lunch.

At 1330 I was in situ outside Arcade Club on Bloomfield Road selling fanzines. I made a fair few sales to Watford fans – and even got a kiss off one of them (nb I don’t encourage this sort of behaviour).

If you enjoy reading these (free) blogs I’d appreciate your support with a subscription to the zine. For just £15 you’ll get four issues of this fine football publication delivered to your door. It’s packed with Blackpool memories, memorabilia and commentary on current events, including musings from fans of other clubs about their memories of Blackpool, stories about their clubs and wider cultural issues. The link to subscribe is below.

Blackpool v Watford

At 1450 I headed into the ground. I can’t remember which turnstile I used but I’d decided they were all unlucky so it didn’t matter.

Almost before I’d had chance to take my seat, David (from the row in front) turned round and handed me the customary sweet (Werthers Original). Pickle observed with consternation.

‘Where’s mine? He can’t just give you one and leave us out.’

‘Here – take it. I’m convinced they’re unlucky.’

That had to be it. I’d ruled out the turnstiles and toilet cubicles and coal as being lucky/unlucky. It had to be David’s Werthers that were unlucky.

Now on to the match. Well Blackpool dominated from the off (no change there)…but then we only went and bloody SCORED. Gary Goals ‘Stampy’ Madine Goal Machine. Boom!

Watford had been looking distinctly ropey at the back and I felt confident of a win. I had done all day.

Then Watford woke up and turned up the gas and equalised after half an hour. This sent Lee into rant mode and I began to wish I’d stood closer to that speaker on the left hand side at last night’s gig. That said, I had taken a couple of paracetamol and ibuprofen before leaving the house (for the slight headache and weird pain in my shoulder) and they allowed me to drift off for much of the rest of the first half.

Hmm what should I make for tea? I’d got a SlimmingWorld King Prawn Bhuna in, so just needed to put some rice on the hob to go with that. Lee doesn’t eat curries so what could I do him to go with rice? Well there’s some tuna steaks in the freezer. I could do Sticky Tuna. Nah that’s too much faff, standing over the hob. Ooh what if I drizzled the tuna with honey, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce…and sprinkled it with those sesame seeds that aren’t getting eaten. I could just wrap that in foil and bung it in the oven. Yeah that would do.

The whistle blew for half time. I had no idea what had happened in the last 15 minutes of that half. It’s true that humans cannot multi-task. It’s like my eyes switch off when I’m deep in thought. That’s a very handy skill to have as a football fan and I’ve been successfully retreating like this for years.

Liam Bridcutt came on at half time to make his debut – and immediately set about organising the team, shouting and pointing. We’ve been missing that. And the team blossomed as the half progressed.

Jerry Yates scored two sensational goals to give us a 3-1 win – and invite a chant of ‘you’re getting sacked in the morning’ to Watford’s newly-appointed 11th manager in three years. Check out Jerry’s goals here (you’ll want to watch them over and over again).

And here’s Lee’s match vlog.

We left the ground beaming. I couldn’t remember our last win – and this felt so good. Looking back now at our previous wins this season, it’s little wonder I couldn’t recall. Our last home win had been on the opening day of the season against Reading back in July. And our two away wins had come at QPR (didn’t go) and Huddersfield (where I was still very much in mourning for Joshy).

I have been impressed with this team’s progress under Michael Appleton. It was always going to take time for the players to get used to playing a completely new system (especially the ‘passing forwards’ as opposed to ‘passing sideways and backwards’, let alone shooting).

Check out these stats from the beeb.


Now can we build on that with a little run? Let’s find out…

Next Up: Sheffield Pubs & Sheffield United v Blackpool.

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