I’m a bit worried about Scunthorpe United now, I have to tell you. They had two unfortunate draws in the last couple of weeks, throwing away four good points, and now they’re only two points clear of Bristol City at the top of the table. I hope they don’t falter at the last hurdle. After all, there’s still seven games left and our boys face a few tough assignments. Yeovil will be a hard one and Tranmere are no push-overs either.

I must confess, I was getting a little slack in reporting Scunny progress, but this post by Cap’n Purplehead spurred me back into action.

Thankee Cap’n!


Oh Yes, He’s the Great Zucchini


Wha — ?




I shook myself awake. What the – ?

Had I been dreaming? No. It was Philip, my electric sheep-butler. It opened its jaw parts, revealing an old Mark Seven voice synthesiser, which was all I could afford when I bought it.

How’s it goin, Boss? I knew that voice, though I could barely hear it above the din of the Bullet’s manic guitar-playing.

Bullet! Turn down that fuckin amp, I screamed lovingly. Zucchini? That you?

Yeah. Who’d you think it was – Mother Teresa?

All right. All right. Sorry – I was asleep, and the Bullet was playing Pantera covers very loud.

Listen, he said. I have a bit of news for ya.

If it’s about the Paisley – Adams thing, I know. It was all over the telly.

Never mind that shite, he dismissed me.

Well, I continued, if it’s about the guy with the magnet up his arse –

No, said Zucchini, though I heard he wasn’t charged.

Not even assault and battery?

No, said Zucchini. Anyway, that isn’t why I called you.

Then why – ?

Rugby, he announced.

Ah fuck it, Zucchini, I protested. That was two weeks ago.

Not that fuckin rugby, I could distantly hear Zucchini pounding his fist on the table. I’m talkin about the real rugby!

You mean – ?

Exactly, he said. Munster versus Llanelli. I have news for you.

I knew it, I sighed. It was too good to be true. The trip’s off, right?

Eh, no, actually.

Well what then?

We have a place for the Bullet.

You what?

The Bullet. We have a ticket for him, and a seat in the bus.

Excellent, I said. Bullet, come down you fucker.

What’s up? Zucchini sounded worried

Nothing, I said. It’s just Bullet stuck to the ceiling. I’ll have to scrape him off.


Related : Off Again

Humour Politics

For a few rupees more

What’s with all this effigy-burning in the Indian sub-continent?

The last controversy I mentioned here was the Shilpa Shetty outcry in India which, you might remember, involved the famous Bollywood actress being verbally attacked by Jade Goody, a lard-monster. Well, on that occasion, there were villagers in the remotest mountain redoubts setting fire to effigies of everybody involved. Amazing.

And then, at the weekend, we saw the incredible spectacle of riots in the streets because Ireland beat Pakistan at cricket. Riots! Death-threats! More effigies!

Even more incredible is the fact that, wherever an effigy is burned, there you will find a Sky News tv crew. Isn’t it amazing how Sky is able to find out that a crowd of viillagers are about to burn an effigy, half way up the side of the Himalayas? What’s more, they’re able to find out weeks in advance because it’s no easy thing, I imagine, to get a tv crew up the side of a mountain.

Oh yes. Effigies and India. You can’t have one without the other.

I just had an idea, and it’s going to make us all rich.

I’m going to open a chain of effigy shops right across India and Pakistan. Forget the silly scarecrows you see on television. These effigies are going to of a high-class sort, yaar. Indeed. I’m going to offer the discerning effigy-burner such a range of choice that he won’t know where to turn.

What to protest next? he’ll be asking himself. All these possibilities.

I’ll start with your basic mannikin, suited to the villagers’ limited resources, but make no mistake: the quality will be the same right across the range. Your basic effigy will be anatomically correct, in case the villagers want to castrate it, or fuck it, depending on the direction their anger takes them. For a few rupees more, you can have a life-like latex mask and of course that opens up other possibilities. You might remember my idea for sex aids which continues to bring in vast quantities of money. Well, if you’re particularly enraged, you might opt for the embedded tongue-vibrator so that you can humiliate your new effigy before you set fire to it.

I mean, imagine forcing your George W Bush effigy to suck your dick before you set fire to him. If you really wanted a buzz, you could set fire to the effigy and then try to fuck it, but we’d have to print a disclaimer on the back of its neck. Fucking this dummy while on fire could lead to severe injuries. That kind of thing, you know, but these are mere details. What enraged villager would not want to have such a fine effigy?

Another step up involves implanting a voice-box so that your effigy can plead for mercy. Oh Jesus, no, not that, please, oh Jesus please not that nooooooooo! That kind of thing. It’ll cost a bit extra but it will be worth it. You can have any voice you want. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Mother Teresa. Bambi. Frodo Baggins. The Rolling Stones. Gandhi.

This is going to make us all so wealthy.

I’m preparing a special Spielberg effigy for the rich movie fuckers in Bombay. It’ll be fireproof so they can burn it over and over again every time he wins an Oscar.

kick it on


Pakistan vs Ireland

Well, it’s hard to know where to go from here. You see, originally I was going to write about the reaction in Pakistan to the defeat of their cricket team by Ireland, but in the circumstances that seems a bit insensitive. After all, a man has died and despite what you might hear about me, I’m not a complete monster.

Ok. Explanations are necessary for our transatlantic cousins. These days I’m conscious that – for whatever reason – Bock seems to have developed a substantial American readership. God knows why this is. Perhaps they recognise a fellow lunatic. A future president. No really, I’m not going to invade anywhere, I promise, but the reason I mention it is simply because of the need to explain.

So. For our American readers, here’s what’s going on. Ireland are in the Cricket World Cup. You didn’t know that? Good. Neither did I until yesterday. You’ll have gathered that cricket is not a majority sport in Ireland. Neither is [tag]rugby[/tag], except in Munster, and especially here in Limerick where it isn’t so much a [tag]sport[/tag] as a religion. Everywhere else in Ireland, rugby is a form of ritual followed by the more successful thieving classes who can afford to send their children to private schools. Thus we have a ready-made class divide. Dublin middle-class gobshites versus Limerick working-class thugs who win everything and are much better at rugby. Hahahahahaha.

Enough puerile sneering. Ireland are in the cricket world cup, and yesterday they beat Pakistan.

Now, how could I make a comparison? Well, it’s like Jamaica winning the skiing competition. It’s like Saudi Arabia winning the cross-country race. It’s like Mexico winning the World Series. Well, it isn’t but you know what I mean. It’s like Ireland beating Pakistan. In rugby terms, it’s like Pakistan beating Ireland. It’s ridiculous.

People who never heard of cricket are so excited by this that they’re saying things like Really?

Now, all this would have been great – especially on a day when we should have, but didn’t, win the six nations, except for the awful news today, that the Pakistan coach died. Appalling news, and we don’t have the full details yet, but it takes much of the gloss off the victory.

What I was originally going to write about was the reaction in Pakistan to the defeat. I thought it was great that they came out on the streets burning effigies and demanding the execution of the team captain and the management. Great, I said. that’s the kind of spirit we need in Ireland. Fuck it, if we had that kind of support for our soccer team, we wouldn’t be hammered by the likes of Cyprus, for fucksake. But then, when I heard that a man had actually died as a result of all the maledictions, I began to revise my view.

I began to think, what if? The thought occurred to me, how could we build a following in Pakistan? It just seems obvious to me that this is the future of Irish soccer. I mean, what a great thing it would be if, every time we get beaten by some unknown tiny European island team of barbers and postmen, our supporters would start to focus. And they would beam evil thoughts at the Football Association of Ireland. And the FAI would all drop dead.


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Trevor Brennan 3

Well there you have it. Trev’s been banned for life.

Personally, I don’t see why it’s such a terrible thing to be thumping unpleasant little prats who scream sectarian abuse at you. Let’s not forget that rugby followers in these islands are overwhelmingly peaceful people. You will not see a fight at a rugby game (except, perhaps, on the field). But Ulster, unfortunately, has a very unpleasant minority within it, who are both sectarian and racist. This is a pity.

A dear friend of us all died a few years back. Jock Hunter was born in the Western Isles of Scotland and was one of the great raconteurs: a man whose stories were so good, you didn’t care if they were true. Anyway, Jock blundered into Limerick in his late fifties. He was a bit of an oddity. Jock had what the Brits confusingly call a “public school” education, meaning an extremely expensive education, and he was the son of some Scottish lord. Though he sprang from their ruling classes, he was also a wild man, a chancer, and a thoroughly decent fellow, loved by everyone. Though he grew up in a Free Presbyterian household, he ended his days a true Munsterman, and his proudest boast was of an incident that happened when Ulster came to Thomond Park to play Munster.

I’ve finally made it, he used to laugh. I’m finally a real Munsterman.

And then he’d break into his great wheezing bellowing laugh before flinging back another gulp of Guinness.

D’you know what they shouted at me? They said Fuck off you Fenian Bastard!! Me! A black Prod!!

Unfortunately, that isn’t the only kind of black they tend to abuse.

Back to Trevor. Many are wondering why he got such a savage sentence, but I think there’s little enough mystery in it. Trevor is from the wrong side of the tracks as far as the alickadoos are concerned, and they’re delighted to put him back in his rightful place. Here’s what Zucchini says:

I have been present [in Thomond Park] when he played for Leinster against Munster and the abuse that he got from his own supporters was actually a lot worse than anything we could throw at him. Saying things along the lines of “Go back to your working class roots Brennan where you belong” were hurled at him by a crowd of D4 gobshites one night in T.P. fuckit did they not know where they were for fucks sake.

You think that’s not true? Here’s something I wrote last year. I didn’t make it up.

True Story


Trevor Brennan 2

Trevor Brennan

kick it on


Off again

I had just fired my final Magnum 44 round at the last surviving critter and drained the last of the Wild Turkey when the phone rang.

ring ring ring crash!


How’s it goin Boss?

It was the Great Zucchini.

Do you want to go to Wales?


Wales. Do you want to go?

Yeah. It’s nice there. I might go some time.

No Bock. You’re not understanding me. Do you want to go to Wales?

I was beginning to sober up. Apart from anything else, it isn’t easy to sit stark naked on your patio in March, in the Irish climate, even if you are full of Wild Turkey and brown acid. Even if you’re oscillating gently in your rocking chair and firing occasional revolver rounds at your stupid neighbour. Blam! Blam!

Wales? I repeated. You mean – ?

Yeah. Zucchini said. That’s exactly what I mean.


Munster, he confirmed. It’s all arranged. You, me and four of the boys. In an eight-seater. On the ferry. Two nights in Wales.

Um, great, I managed. Count me in.

OK, Zucchini went on. What I want to know is this. Munster play Llanelli on the Friday night. How do you feel about goin to see Cardiff playing Sunderland on the Saturday? We got tickets.

Um, I said. Let me think about it.


Ireland 19 – Scotland 18

I was chatting to The Great Zucchini yesterday after the match.

The Scots fucked us up, I said. We should have scored a bag of tries today.

Yeah, he replied. I hate that kind of negative cynical destructive kind of rugby. Holding up the ball. Slowing the game down. Beating the shit out of our players in the ruck. Playing the ball on the floor. Offside the whole time. Horrible.

Unless Munster are doing it? I ventured.

Yeah, he said, but then we call it ten-man never-say-die up-the-jumper rugby with a great fighting team spirit dogging it out to the bitter end.


Yeah, he said. It’s different.

kick it on




In case you missed it, Scunthorpe United are at present eight points clear of their nearest rivals, Bristol City, at the top of League One, and ten clear of Nottingham Forest. What’s more, they’re at home to Forest tomorrow in what could well be the decider. Right now, it looks as though Scunthorpe might well qualify for promotion automatically.

It’s ludicrous. If Scunthorpe go up, they’ll be playing against the likes of Sheffield Wednesday, Southampton and Crystal Palace. Not to mention Mick McCarthy’s Wolves, though probably not Roy Keane’s Sunderland, who will probably be promoted, a fact which gives me quiet satisfaction and which also tells you where I stood in the Second Civil War.

This is not funny. It’s no longer ridiculous to support Scunthorpe, and there have been ugly mutterings in the Wrinkly camp about finding another team of losers to follow. Accrington Stanley, or maybe Workington.

What next? Scunthorpe to top the Premiership? Scunthorpe into Europe? Can you imagine it? Those legendary heart-stopping clashes between Scunthorpe and Barcelona.

No. Neither can I.



Just to bring you up to date on the Scunthorpe United situation.

Scunthorpe are now 9 points (that’s right: nine) clear of their nearest rivals at the top of the table. Nine points – what the hell?

Oh, there’s going to be a lot of sleepless nights, let me tell you. Many a bare midnight spent pacing the creaky floor with nightcap and sconce.

Oh yes indeed.

Favourites Humour Religion Technology

My Plan for Ireland vs England

I was in my study, contemplating the beingness of nothingness and slugging back a quiet whiskey when a powerful rumbling shook the Bockschloss to its foundations.

What the- I ejaculated as I sprang upright and dashed to the window.

Outside, on the rolling lawn, I could see a familiar little figure gesticulating at me. He seemed agitated and as I flung open the casement, the little tyke leapt into my arms, trembling.

Good God, Ratzo, I gasped. What’s happened to you? You’ve never behaved like this before.

Ach, I have the rounding-ups barely escaped, mein Bockfreund. Die polizei, they are arresting alles hunden in den Strasse und them up are locking! I only the miraculous evasion make by into a paper bag jumping und mit mein kopf only peeping out, you see, and so they are gedenken that I only a midget am.

And not a bull pontiff, I finished for him.


Ja, he gasped. Was ist los mit den Welt, mein Bockfreund?

I don’t know, Ratzo. I think they’re arresting everybody who knows any secrets, and the dogs in the street are the obvious target.

As I spoke, something outside in the grounds of the Bockschloss caught my eye.

Ratzo, I said. That terrible rumbling I heard?

Ja? Ratzo looked shifty.

Was that you driving the giant military transporter I see parked on my lawn?

Ratzo said nothing.

Well – was it?

Ratzo rolled on his back and panted.

Don’t give me that crap Ratzo. You aren’t a dog. For Christ’s sake, you’re half Pope.

I only it to try out vanted, he pleaded pathetically.

That was when the penny dropped. You took the Desecrator again, didn’t you, Ratzo, damn you?

You might remember my design for a mobile Consecrator. The idea came to me when I heard that Mayo County Council were going to bless the roads to cut down road deaths. I felt it could be done more efficiently by machine, and all it would take was a County Council driver instead of a highly-trained killer-priest.

Then, the other possibilities started to take shape. Graves. Multi-denominational graveyards. There you are with your priest or mullah or whatever, and he’s blessing the grave of your loved-one, but he can’t spray this sanctity stuff in an exact right-angled shape, so he accidentally blesses his neighbour with the wrong flavour of religion. Not a nice notion. So I thought, maybe the lads from the Council could just back the Consecrator over the grave, turn the knob to whatever religion you need and just switch it on. Let it run for a few minutes while they’re having their tea, and the whole thing is done.

It was a short step from there to the military version. The Desecrator, capable of cursing your enemy in all known religions simultaneously, would be towed behind an armoured personnel carrier and fire curses horizontally at your opponent, at approximately knee height. No soldier with cursed legs would be able to fight you properly.

So that’s what the little Pontiff-dog was up to!

You were going to launch an attack, weren’t you? Ratzo, you little hound.

No. I promise, I was only to Croke Park mit it going, the earth to bless before the grosse rugger fussball match tomorrow. For the Peace in alles der Weld.

What?? I had an idea. Damn Ratzo. Maybe you’re onto something after all.

Forgetting about the little Papahund, I raced outside to where my Desecrator was housed.

Quick, Ratzo, I said. We must work all night at this. If we can re-balance the sanctity-malevolence matrix generator and reverse the polarity on the inertial prayer-curse dampers, we could fire an evil Delaney-seeking version of Faith of Our Fathers straight through the walls of Croke Park. Take out Delaney with the world’s first military Smart-Curse, and the whole rotten FAI edifice will crumble. Mwoo-ha-ha-ha-haaaa!

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