Art of Brian Jones

Saturday Afternoon
I’m standing next to an old lady who smells. I move along a bit and hear some lads talking.

“Comin’ down the match Johnno?”.

“Who’re we playin t’day?”.

“Swansea City. Bastards! I'm goin’, I got fuckin’ battered at deir ground. I’ll get one o’dem Welsh twats.

You comin’ den Johnno, eh, are yer? Go ed, we’ll gerra Swansea scarf after de match. Come ed, I’ll lend yer dimoney til yer dole cheque comes”.

“Oh oright, bur I want de first scarf we geh, OK?”.

“S’pose so, bur if we gerra wallet I want first pick of wot’s init”.

Town is really chocker, you just can’t move anywhere. Old bags with shopping trollies, screaming kids, mams and dads shoplifting in Woolies, and dog shit outside George’s Hall.

It’s dead predictable, I must meet Lee.

The Swansea ‘special’ should be pulling in at Lime Street at half twelve. Shit! I bet some have got off at Edge Hill. Oh well, not many pigs knockin’ ‘round, that's one good thing I suppose. I’m always getting searched. I can hear people talking.

“Norra bad little crew hangin’ ‘round t’day. Let’s see, dere’s 20 outside de Empire, another 20 by dibbusstops, 150 in St.John‘s Market, and the usual crowd up by Gerard Gardens.

Bleedin’ typical, it’s quarter to one, an it’s still isn’ 'ere, but dat’s British Rail I suppose”.

I move on, “Hang on, I can hear a buzzin’, the pigs are really moving. Hah, fancy dah, the Anney Rd. have come down as well, probably coz Swansea battered Liverpool at deir ground too.

Ten to one an it’s still, oh hang on, here it is” I decide to stand and listen for a while, “Come on. Move yer bastards, we'll fuckin’ kill dem Welsh cunts!”.

A group of about 200 raced towards the station.

“Swansea, Swansea, Swansea, Swan.....”.

“EV-ER-TON, EV-ER-TON, EV-ERTON, EV-ERTON!”.

“THE PARK END, THE PARK END!”.

“Scousers ‘ere, Scousers dere, Scousers every fuckin’ where, na na na na, na na na, na na”.

“Are yous from d’Road End?”.

“Yeah, we want deir fuckin’ blood. Our Billy got stabbed at Swansea in de FA Cup”.

“Come ed den, we’ll go down by d’Walker an’ wait fer de escort. ‘as anyone gorrany darts or golf balls”.

“Yeah, e’s gorra load o’dem.”.

“OK, when dey pass de Empire lob yer darts ‘n’ golfies. Doesn’ matter oo dee ‘it”.

The Swansea fans passed us with a police escort. Great, look at all them darts flying over. It’s like the Battle of Hastings all over again. One, two, three.....six Swansea fans have been hit by darts. God, there’s some pig who’s been hit about a dozen times, he’s like me mam’s pin cushion.

“Now!” I hear someone shout. Bottles, hammers, bricks and knives,

“ Gerrin t’de bastards!”.

“Come ed lads. Fuck de escort!”.

The mob had now swelled to about 400. They were walking on the other side of Commutation Row. Just wait til they‘re by the New Union building, there’ll be murder.

“One, two, three, go!”.

Everyone charged at the escort. They don't stand a chance, I can see about 20 lads wading into some pig on the floor. It's horrible, I don't want to be part of this. It’s senseless, they’ll regret it, I’ve just got a feeling they will.

There’s nothing I can do but watch. Everything’s starting to slow down. I can see Lee waiting by the museum, I should have met her ages ago, then I probably wouldn’t have got caught up in this mess. I’ll have to break away from the mob, they’re all surging forward, fists and boots flying everywhere. It’s like a latterday Western brawl.

“Hiya Sun, sorry I’m late, but I got caught up in the crowd, and moved along by the coppers”.

“Hmm, do you know how long I’ve been waiting here?”.

“I said that I’m sorry. I'm here now anyway”.

“I'll let you off just this once”.

We tried to go around the mob, but got caught up in the middle of it.

What usually happened, was that the visiting fans were coaxed into chasing a small group into Gerard Gardens. Then, when they were in the main square, dozens of youth would appear along the various balconies and bombarded them from four sides, with everything from bricks and bottles, to bags of dog shit. As the escort approached everything went as planned. The Swansea fans poured into the square, but a small group of the broke away, and chased the Everton fans who led them in.

All hell was let loose, flying glass, fists and agonising cries filled the whole ‘arena’ with an ancient Roman feeling.

All movement and speech became slurred and fragmented, yet the fighting was still raging all around. The sky became a bright orange, time stuttered for an instant. I turned to Lee, and was horrified to see her crying, not tears, but blood. She murmered and I took her by the hand. We both knew it was the beginning of the end.

I can now smell the sweet odour of blood filling my nostrils. A high pitched wail is filling my ears. The cloud formations are changing as though speeded-up a thousand times. We can sense impending doom. It’s our personal experience.

The fighting has now stopped in the square. The hunters are now the hunted, hunted by worldwide conflicts, hunted by political frustrations. Caught by time and the inevitable.

‘Yea though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil’. That quote kept running through my mind, God knows why. God? Oh Her? She’s black.

When I was four, I fell and cracked one of my teeth on a metal grid. I can see my great nana sitting in that big white ward.

My first meeting with Lee is flashing through my memory. Time can change me, but I can’t change time.

I feel anger and sadness, sad because it is such a tragic loss, and anger because we have no choice. I can feel my face heating beyond human duration. Lee is frightened; and so am I. Have we come this far for it all to end?

The sky is violet, with orange overtones. Spontaneous human combustion occurs as a police seargant bursts into flames before our eyes. The ground begins to tremble violently. It will all be over soon.

Rival supporters are crawling together, clamouring for shelter, dogs are howling in agony. I squeeze Lee’s hand and we become one as the heat penetrates skin, causing a glue like solution with our flesh. A young child is tearing her skin, and flesh from her torso. She’s too young to understand.

A tenement door is ajar, so we enter, and, almost as if it’s Springtime, we smile. Our lips are blistered and our hair is smouldering. I close the door behind us, and we crouch between the door and the table. The heat is becoming too intense. We get up and peer through a window. Destruction reigns supreme, cars are flaming and people are being incinerated by the now unimaginable heat.

Grey, black tarmacadam roads are bubbling and sizzling like eggs in a frying pan.

There are no clouds now. The sky is white, the golden Sun which gave the earth life is moving closer. The Moon appears and then disintegrates. A shower of fragmented rock is hurtled through the air.

Our skin is blistering, and literally falling off in sheets. Our synthetic clothing has melted and formed ‘new skin’ on our pathetic charring bodies.

I take Lee into the tenement’s kitchen. She looks up with innocence. I open the door of the fridge, and again, we stoop down, this time huddling together by the cooler sanctuary of the fridge. A violent tremble shatters the few remaining windows. Beneath our bodies a pool of blood is sizzling, but we don’t move. Is everbody else dead? We no longer care. Somehow death seems like a reward. We are not afraid. The last two minutes have seemed like an eternity.

“I love you” says Lee.

I smile.

“I'll see you eternally, but eternity is a long time to wait for a bus”.

I think John Lennon said that once. Everything is going dark now.

Silence.

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