A not entirely serious Slog examination of our culture

Now is the winter of our discontent succeeded by the late Spring – and the arrival of The Flies that Look up Human Noses. Later in the year they will be replaced in turn by The Flies that Devour Human ankles, The Flies that Block the Pool filtration, The Flies addicted to Human Sweat, and – by early Autumn – The Flies that Cling to pc screens for They are too Knackered to Do Much else. All flies in southern Europe having now gained an immunity to the branded sprays so mendaciously marketed by pharmcos, thinking people down here have returned to the good old fashioned gum-covered fly papers – which cost about 50 centimes a bucket. At the height of the Summer, within a week of installation the papers look like alien elderberry fruit; but they are totally eco-chummy and 100% effective.

Name me another pestilence pulveriser that can say that. Use both sides of the paper, and remember to put your name at the top in black ink.

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Tomorrow, the FA Cup Final will be played between Arsenal and Aston Villa. From the hour of 17:30 to 20:00 BST, your correspondent will be occupying a midfield position on the sofa, using easy access to a beer crate outside the box while slotting passes via the TV channels into key striker positions with the use of such classic Coach advice as “Stop farting about and just pass the bloody thing”.

As a neutral in this encounter, I must confess to having not so much divided loyalties as a United distaste for both sides. Being a lifelong Red Devil (albeit rapidly converting to FCUM’s mutual voyage of glory) I of course deplore the appearance of any Arsenal side in any Final of anything – up to and including the final straw.

But as a man who forgives without forgetting, like all the older Manyoo nutters I will always hear the name ‘Aston Villa’ and think ‘Peter McParland’.

As the whistle blew for the end of the 1957 Cup Final, my then incomparable Man United team should have become the first Twentieth Century football team to win the Cup and League Double. That they didn’t is down to the unspeakable and premeditated foul committed upon United goalkeeper Ray Wood by the deranged Irish assassin McParland six minutes after the start of the game. What’s worse, the Nutter from Newry is still alive at the age of 81. What’s even worse, the UK Midlands Express & Star newspaper referred to him as ‘FA Cup Final hero McParland’. And what’s worst of all – while substitutions were not allowed then, so United had to put Jackie Blanchflower in goal and play with ten men – the Villa striker stayed on the field and went on to score both the goals that defeated the better team.

Name me a greater soccer injustice than that. Use both sides of the paper, and remember to put your name at the top in black ink.

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In the continuing commentary here on Why getting old sucks, I offer this observation: you can set a timer to remind you about something you need to remember, but you can’t set an ageing brain to remember what the f**k the timer is asking that brain to remember in the first place.

I have a timer clock these days. I set it to remind me about pipes filling pools, garden hoses watering aubergines, pies still in shoddy Italian ovens whose timers have died, phone calls I have to make after America wakes up, and phone calls I need to make before Australia goes to sleep. But the sad truth is that there are days when a brrring could mean anything from “It’s time to water Australia” to “the pipes are calling America to wake the f**k up”.

On the whole, I’ve decided that what all of us need – young or old – is a regularly recurring brrriinng that encourages us to forget all things, people and events since 1979. There are billions of people alive today who’ve been so shabbily educated, they don’t know anything about events before 1979: and while those events were often shameful, on the whole they were rarely shameless. Which is a shame…if you follow.

Things, people and events to forget would include Sepp Blatter, The X Factor, Sepp Blatter, Blind Date, Sepp Blatter, German reunification, Sepp Blatter, New Labour, Sepp Blatter, Camerlot, Sepp Blatter, Newscorp, Sepp Blatter, The Leveson Enquiry, Sepp Blatter, the Troika, Sepp Blatter, Jihadism, Sepp Blatter, Barack Obama, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Jeremy Hunt, Rupert Murdoch, the Barclay Twins, Grant Shapps, Fox News, and of course, last but not least, Sepp Blatter.

Discuss. Use both sides of the paper, and remember to put your name at the top in black ink.

Earlier at The Slog: The vapourisation of Wolfgang Schäuble assailant Dieter Kaufmann