Anorak News | Boyce & Men

Boyce & Men

by | 7th, September 2005

‘ANYONE seen Max Boyce? Not in concert, obviously; no-one would want to do that, much less admit to it. No, we mean has anyone seen his spirit?

Where’s Max?

There was a time when Wales-England matches were heralded by the curly-topped Welshman tossing around a massive leek or a huge demented daffodil and entertaining the masses with his hybrid music and comedy act.

No Max on Saturday’s Wales v England World Cup qualifier meant an altogether different approach to kick-off. The good men and women of the Welsh terraces were left to make their own entertainment. So deprived of the big leek and several bouts of “Oggy! Oggy! Oggy!” they booed the English national anthem.

Of course, there was a time when God Save The Queen was all the home nations’ anthem of choice. It now only counts when Team Great Britain is winning gold medals for rowing and hockey or someone’s driving in circles really fast in F1. At all other times, it’s every anthem for itself.

The only country to have stuck with the tried and tested dirge is England. And it will only change when Queen Liz dribbles off and “our gracious Queen” becomes “our gracious king”, or Prince William ascends to the throne to the strains of “Let’s All ‘Ave a Disco” and “Two World Wars And One World Cup”.

But in any case, it was hard to hear the tune above the din created by thousands of Welsh people giving full throat to their inferiority complex.

And don’t think it’s anything but that. Until Wales is granted its own Eurovision Song Contest entry, that landmark of nationhood, it remains part of Great Britain. And membership of that entity requires a rather touching and slightly pathetic love of the underdog.

The Welsh, like the English, will cheer and clap smaller, less powerful nation’s than themselves and boo the big well-oiled machines. So England fans boo the Germans and cheer on the Bulgarians, and Wales’s supporters boo the English and cheer on San Marino.

In any case, booing is so quaint. It’s contains an element of the pantomime about it. (And with that we’re back to Max Boyce – according to his official website, “In 1990 Max was persuaded to enter the magical world of pantomime in the title role of ‘Jack’ in Jack and the Beanstalk at the Alhambra Theatre, Bradford. Anyone go?)

Much better and more poisonous is the European habit of the high-pitched whistle. And then there’s the toxic shriek. It’s the din that gets right inside your head, sounding like the slashing strings of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho when young Norman Bates showers the place in blood. The southern Europeans are very good at it.

But maybe the Welsh can practice. They like close harmony singing, so why not close harmony shrieking?

And we mean to encourage the Welsh voices because we are repeatedly told how they loathe the English and crave for the old enemy’s utter failure in every walk of life. We do not want them to forgo this enjoyable part of their lives.

If they seek incentive, Welsh sports fans should consider the following: England beat them; by a single jammy goal; in Cardiff; by a ball deflected into the home side’s net by a Welshman’s jutting forehead. That must hurt.

The chip that sits on the nation’s shoulder must have turned into a gigantic baked potato.

Which is a vegetable which could just give Max Boyce an entirely new lease of life…’

Posted: 7th, September 2005 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink