Location : The Gorbals

Date : October 24th 2010

The bright yellow canopy strained and struggled in its role as a barricade. The rain strafed the overhead canvas like a firing squad’s unending fusillade. The unnatural and irresistible gale, aided in its seemingly apocalyptic task by the banshee scream of the patio-heater’s white-hot blast almost ripped trees up by the roots

“Is Armageddon jist roon the corner?” Spartacus wondered aloud.

“If yer talking about the new shop next to the chippy, it’s a tanning parlour. Don’t know whit it’s called but I don’t think it’s Armageddon” interjected Hoachy-Min.

Spartacus shook his head.

“Ffs …Armageddon…the end of the ….ach never mind”

Things may not have been quite that final yet but as the gazebo’s supports bent to breaking point and the loosened flaps threatened to be torn off, in a “carefree-granny-like-discarding-her-corset-on-a-dash-to-the-sea-on-a-day-doon-the-water” fashion, he surveyed the scene inside the protective awning.

“The feckin day has been depressing enough” he thought but then with a glance at the heavens pregnant with anger, he challenged the gods… “Where the hell is yer climate change now eh?  Thanks for another feckin beautiful Glasgow autumn evening to follow on from another beautiful Glasgow Football experience…..Whose effin side are ye on? Ya bunch o’ diddies! ”.

His wee trusty band of revolutionary comrades shuffled in their chairs or rested their cupped chins, their elbows on the tasteful green and white tiled outdoor table.

Calgacus, Spartacus’ self-appointed ‘number two’ (or wee jobby as everyone else affectionately called him) knew when to avoid big S and being the ‘green’ conscience of the group and obviously half-pished had for the past hour been engaged in a worryingly aggressive and one-sided exchange with the patio-heater. Breaking off for a few seconds from whispering unveiled threats at this dangerous agent for climate-change, he quickly but deeply took another puff from the circulating long and dangly foul-smelling roll-up, and then returned to further harangue the wee blaster by producing more hot air than his hapless opponent.

 “I know ye are far mair than just any old patio-heater” he whispered “I know that ye’r at the vanguard of the plan for a cunning counter-environmental triumph. You cannae fool me; I know that yer hopes and dreams lie in witnessing wan day soon, penguins and polar bears adapting to being tropical animals and Greenock becoming the centre of the vine growing and wine production industry.”

He waited on a reply. Nothing! In a battle of hot air, once again he was victor. His inanimate though intellectually-equal opponent seemed to recognise defeat and its thermostat cut out. In sympathy the wind and rain seemed to abate.

The waning of the storm allowed the group-depression to regain a hold on the atmosphere. Less of a depression and more of despair after not only the earlier result, but the revelation on an all-knowing all-seeing blog about the insidious plan currently in motion to seemingly undermine all that was good and just in the world of football. And it was sod all to do with polar bears, penguins, Greenock and vineyards.

‘Spartacus’ coughed them to order, his eyes demanding attention, the back of his left hand in true ceremonial recognition asking for a ritual slapping.

Six slaps later the seven left hands, wrists decoratively adorned with the green white and orange tennis sweat bands, created one suspended deck over the centre of the table.

The traditional Musketeerial 30 seconds silent stasis now in play, Spartacus scanned the the bunch of slappers looking deeply in turn into each of their eyes searching for weakness, sifting falsehood, testing for treachery.

And then he softly spoke.

“The sixth convention of the honourable co-operative of the ‘Green Jungle Comrades’ is now in session”!

Each hand in turn was withdrawn and the assembly sat back, attentive waiting for ….waiting for….anything…but hopefully another rasper.

Big S spoke again.

“From this moment on we not only swear to total secrecy and acceptance of the penalties for breaking that vow, we also when in session – and only in session – refer to each other by our adopted revolutionary names, mine being Spartacus. Do we so swear?”

“Aye, we so swear” came back the unified response.

“Good, and so to start business let us take a wee swally in honour of those who have sacrificed their virtue to consort with the ‘un’ and determine the true nature of the plans underway across the devil’s lands.”

Each of those present picked up the wee sherry glass from the table in front of them, some affecting sophistication, their wee pinkie sticking out, sipping genteelly from the nectar. Others grasped the glass like a navvy taking his first drink and gulped the liquid down. It was sweet, intoxicating, and smelt nostalgically of Vimto and Scotsmac.

A cold darkness and silence seemed to fall as thoughts of the fate of those who had ventured to strange environs triggered shivers, shakes and the desperate need for another deep drag on their dangly doofers.

Hoachy-Min shattered the frozen silence.

“Like a funeral cortege it was. The biggest mourning queue I’ve ever seen. All the way from the Forge to Glesga Cross….” her voice tailed off “What are we to do? Surely this must be a watershed in our association with Celtic and Scottish football.”

The atmosphere crackled with tension and other things that crackle, like a third of Rice Crispies.

“I have just returned from the depths of Mordoric Hades. The truth is worse than we thought.” announced Jean d’Arc “This is no simple but pernicious world-wide masonic conspiracy which has infiltrated every known echelon of government, sport, media and industry. This is not simply a Masonic And Orange – codenamed ‘’MAO’  – conspiracy to ensure that the four horsemen ride roughshod over Afghanistan, Iraq, South America and all points of the compass visiting plague, famine, pestilence and death on the unwary, and installing the illuminati across the biosphere.

“Oh naw….Trust me the truth is even more frightening and try as they might with their imperialistic ‘red herrings’ I have uncovered a pit of vipers.”

“Ffs, what could actually be worse than what you outlined?” demanded Trotsky “What could possibly be worse than world domination by a Masonic orange cabal. Wait a minute I’ve got it…a genetic agent placed in Guinness to alter DNA so as you and all your offspring are born with the inherited desire to sing God save the queen”

“Listen oh ye of little faith and doubting Thomas tenedencies” responded Jean d’Arc “…in a crayon book found in the bowels of an escaped goat, was scrawled …I translate for those who can’t undertand what comes out of a goat’s erse….. ‘We now have everything in place to ensure Rangers win the league every year possible and that referees are properly briefed to ensure that this state of affairs – with the occasional table crumb thrown the Tim’s way for balance – continues into the foreseeable future…..We have agreement of the sharp suited man on this matter’….There was no more after that as the goat had eaten the last pages.”

“Have you any more evidence for this?” asked somebody who by this time had actually forgotten their revolutionary name and simply called himself ‘yersel’.

“Naw” said Jean d’Arc

“Disnae matter” interrupted Spartacus “Evidence is a weak way of making decisions. We need passion and planning here.” He took another wee toke.

“Right time for a plan…..and not just any plan….a cunning artful and unstoppable plan that will see this little pilot light in the back-garden of this Gorbals’ suburban pied a terre develop into a mass conflagration that will reduce the world of the devious to clinker.”

Spartacus had a quick check to make sure that they were not being overheard and that sufficient drinks and munchies were available for the undoubtedly intellectually stressful hours that lay ahead.  He handed round all his skins, tobacco and a little bit more of highly rated Leb black that he had accidently fallen into his hands.

“Let the thinking commence” he ordained and everyone lit their over weighted spliff.

An hour or two of giggling paranoia later, Spartacus rapped the table with a metaphorical gavel and, steeling himself to remember exactly why they were there and why he was standing on his feet, he opened the covert session.

“Calgacus. Time to man up and show us all why you are indeed our favourite wee jobby.”

Calgacus, surprised as he was, nevertheless knew that this was the moment he had long awaited. This would possibly be even more important than trying to talk to a patio hot air blaster.  Composing himself for the most important oration in his life he took a double drag and then he was off. The words at first tombolaed inside his head, slalomed down his tongue and finally reached his lips in a chilling but possibly cryptic reminder that will live long in the memory of anyone who wisnae stoned.

“Remember this….my  friends in Celtic, It IS the right thing to do. We have had chances in the past , glimmers perhaps, half-chances maybe, but …….I wouldn’t have minded a half chance at a younger Goldie Hawn I’ll tell you that” …his mind was wandering now. He swallowed and stared at the faces around the table for a clue to what the hell he had been talking about…..There was no inspiration there as they licked the pattern off the plates and headed off to raid whatever was still in the fridge/freezer.

“CHANCE CHANCE” Calgacus suddenly shouted.

He grabbed a hold of it and repeated it a few times more solidifying it into the heart of a sentence.

“As I was saying…chances have been wasted but as the horned suppurating homunculus passed briefly into the cross-hairs of our rapier-like condemnation we hesitated to slip the hair-trigger. In that instant it was gone.

“But this time it is different. We have a plan….and what a plan to be revealed at the end of tonight.  After all” he continued sombrely, “The black beast of the blue lagoon survives as a parasite on the berries of the smallest trees, the weakest of the animals in a herd, the youngest of the plants in a land’s natural orchard. We must cut off its supply from Mother Nature’s bounty and not only will it be weakened and slowed but as it struggles for survival it will undoubtedly either limp wailing into the path of a thousand eager pursuers, or it will fail, fall and perish where it stands, releasing our land from its tyranny forever.

“And so we must venture forth and cut down the trees, cull the herd of their runts and pluck Herod like the new sweetest fruit from the orchards.

“It will be soon enough that the monster will succumb and the land ring out in righteous praise and thanksgiving for these wonderful deeds carried out so selfishly…I mean selflessly on their behalf by we avengers of injustice.”

He looked around at the obvious adoration and rapture in which his audience had found itself totally absorbed.

“Are you with me comrades, are you with me?”.

Wee Pancho Villa stood up.

“Always big man, you know that, always……but whit the feck were you talking about?”

Spartacus harrumphed as he wondered at the cross he had to bear leading the band of eejits.

He pandered to their opacity.

“Did you no’ listen to whit Calgacus jist said?. Did you no listen to his plan?”

Marcus Aurelius stood up. “Could you jist gee us it again wan mair time. Jist so as we’ve got all the details right. It wis the bit aboot pluckin ‘Herod like’ that got me.”

“A friggin boycott fhellow bhoys. A friggen bhoycott of all away games, Scottish Cup games and Hampden Extravaganzas between here and the day that they finally admit to our accusations. That’s what I read into Calgacus’ wise words. Isn’t that right my peerless sidekick?”

Wolfe Tone had been listening intently to the whole thing, but his head had swum a few times as the joint had been unevenly loaded and he had got the full force of the cannabinoids.

He took a deep breath and started on his views.

“Ah actually understood everything you said Calgacus and ah huv tae congratulate you on your perspicacity……although I would suggest that Cheryl Gillespie would be a better option than Goldie Hawn. Ah always had a thing for Pan’s People masel…….”

Pancho Villa grabbed the floor again and started a wee song “I got my first real six-string….
Bought it at the five-and-dime…..Played it till my fingers bled….”

 “ It was the summer of sixty-nine….” joined the others

Marcus  pulled on another fresh dooby and then said with a unheard of degree of authority, to a table rocking by now to “We all live in a yellow submarine…”.

“But suppose it disnae work; suppose something goes wrong and that though the monster frae the blue lagoon does perish, it is only after the trees, the herds and the orchards rebel and destroy us – the hunters of truth and justice. Suppose it is us who breathe our last!! Or even worse suppose we are the only living organisms left and are reduced to drawing lots to decide which of us get to eat another one of us.”

Marcus had a wee sniffle at the thought of their early demise and possible last supper.

Jean d’Arc put a consoling arm around his shoulders and hugged him, whispering a wee bit louder than she intended….”Maybe we’ll get to draw and eat each other big man…eh ….eh?”

“That wid be brill” said Marcus at the thought of mutual mastication.

The table once again burst into “….It was the summer of sixty nine”!

“Whit dae ye mean?” took up Spartacus “Whit dae ye mean.. ‘suppose it disnae work’? How can it no work, ya wee shite?”

“Nae need fur that big man. Jist trying metaphorically speaking of course tae be the black crow of doubt who sits owl-like on yer shoulder like a banshee of impartiality and advocate of the devil.”  He drew breath marvelling at his own invention of a new language that only he understood.

“Ah suppose ye think there’s a better way then?”

“Well Ah might no’…. but before we even look at that possibility mibbe we need to look at where your master-plan might lead. Boycott fair enough. But whit’s the end game? That CANNAE BE THE END GAME….Whit happens then? That’s where the weaknesses lie.”

He leaned back in his chair his mind and language now subsumed by the personality of his named hero Marcus Aurelius and his O-Grade Latin. “Good gear this stuff ”  he pondered.

“I mean…” he continued “…. frinstanceo that perhapseo we should considerateo thateo yer planeo isnaeo quiteaeo whateo ye really wanteao ….Well mibbeo it is whiteo ye wanteao…. butteo its noeo whiteo youeo thinkeo it isaeo, …. causeeo mibbeo it is exacteo whiteo the huneo wanteo us tae daeio….thinkeo o thateo…et cum spiritu tueo!”

Spartacus slumped back in his chair. He’d let Marcus ramble on. No wan else was listening. Even Jean d’Arc was preoccupied in tasting Marcus’s earlobe to see if she would need a bit of salt to make him palatable.

“Aye damn right, I’ll have my boycott and if there’s a delay well..there’s always Goldie Hawn, …..a Goldie Hawn made of ice cream and fudge ……and toasted cheese…..”

Suddenly the roar of a Harley Davison could be heard and the side of the tent burst open and three people daein a wheelie tumbled their wilkies frae the crashing bike.

“Well hello there big bhoys, I am Countess Constance Georgine Markievicz,” said the Countess Constance Georgine Markievicz “A wee burd in the boardroom just tipped me the wink that  youse are planning a boycott. Well it won’t work….and anyway my pals here, let me introduce Ghandi and Ghengis….have a better idea….here all of youse….listen to this….Oh whit’s that….Ah’ll jist huv a wee drag first.”

The Countess pulled her chair up to the table took another four deep drags, puffed her cheeks and wiped her watering eyes quickly consuming four beefburgers and chicken legs … . “Prefer them cooked masel…or at least defrosted” she observed “But needs must”.

The others waited and waited, their attention rapt…

“Right” she said……..“Jist wait till you hear this…”



“…..Imagine fur the moment that you are a sheep……….”



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