Flags at Half Mast


I live in a funny old town, well I think it’s funny though at the moment the general mood of the place is not one of the traditional ‘jovial, light-hearted and care-free’ sense of the word.
No it’s more funny ‘peculiar’, if I’m being honest.
The town is decked out in bunting, allegedly erected in poignant for some Royal occasion or another at the beginning of the month(…nah I don’t quite recall it either!) though in volume it shows no signs of abatement, nor of culture or taste.
The spirit of goodwill which apparently prompted the union jacks, flags of Ulster and of an occasional monarch inspired depiction, after all it’s pomp and fervour, seemed a little short of sincerity and of intensity when compared against the actual participatory rate during the festivities.
This is, as I said it to be earlier, all rather ‘peculiar’
Let’s get this straight; they chose to hoist so much red, white and of blue material onto each and every item of street furniture or of property that appeared capable of supporting it’s lofty position of vantage.
And so there it yet remains, a constant feature (though to be honest it is generally, a semi permanent landmark most days of the year anyway) of pride and of affection, yet given an extended bank holiday weekend bathed in glorious sunshine…it felt rather damp in terms of its grandeur as so far a spectacle goes.
I perhaps shouldn’t have expected much else really, indeed for every year of my life, I had already observed the bizarre ritualistic behaviour of ‘insincerity’ so far as devotion to a culture would normally entail.
For the very fact that the ‘summer bunting’ yet remains a feature adorning each upright standard, each window and each ‘above the front doorway’ flag hanging bracket in town, would appear testament to a devoted race of person…either that or an organised and methodical bunch.
You see the union jacks may be remaining there to add some splendour to the towns annual gala day, or perhaps it may be left proudly flapping in our gentle summer breeze as a sign of support for the many local athletes set to compete in the forth-coming Olympic Games, or indeed as an ultimate in organisational efficiency…it maybe left there to absolve some council chappies spending untold hours doing so in future when for talking’s sake ‘Betty’ does another ten years at the helm(…oh that’s right, that’s what the royal do-dah was all about! DOH!!).
Truth be told, now prepare yourself cause I know this may a shock many of you, in fact could the infirm please be seated…it is actually all an elaborate and rather cunning plan to re-affirm their devotion, their pride and their allegiance to an all important cause.
Now remain seated until I gently break the news to you, the cause of such importance and of such fervent militancy is none other than…’THE’, now extinct Rangers Football Club!
What?! Did you actually think I would slander my own town, to sink so low, to show such utter disregard for te good spirit of it populous, as to demean their true agenda and to tar it with sectarian connotations?
Truth is, and I jest at length with others about it, but I’m right…their devotion to bigotry was no more than as sincere as their devotion to dear Betty.
In my home town, it’s all about THE Rangers, the bile is but a by-product of ignorance and of lowered moral standards.
The decent people, the over-whelming majority of this town, accept me as I am, for who I am and for what I believe in and support.
I proudly call them friends and I will drink in ‘most’ of their establishments, I have little to fear after near 34 years of being brutally, un-ashamedly ‘different’ to them.
Indeed I attribute my significant ability to handle aggression, by physical means or by my much preferred route; through effective and charming (perhaps disarmingly so?!) communication.
Perhaps in a ‘peculiar’ way this town has truly shaped the decent and kind, capable and unwavering, quick witted and quick footed individual I am today.
I may very well be the best thing this town ever produced…well only by my own admission, if you discount one of my very few heroes in life, the revered and cultured Mr Paul McStay.
Anyway, I digress, the people, the many, many good people who I count as friends, acquaintances or indeed as pleasurable and friendly strangers, are more than capable of disowning, denouncing ad ridiculing the bitter brigade.
Where however, and with very little exemption, they do remain so obviously alike to the ‘other’ more sinister and outrageously foolish members of clan Larkhall (despite my oft exaggerative narrative-an absolute minority I hasten to add) is that they were blinded by a sense of omnipotence.
They failed to heed the many warning signs, they failed, for all their grand militancy, at least so far as bunting erection went, to act, they failed to comprehend the sincerity of the disease which afflicted their ‘institution’ of choice. Indeed they for want of a better description, well…FAILED!!
The overwhelming majority of this as I always describe it “peculiar wee town” are Ranger, or the former club known as Rangers, failed to mobilise, failed to step up to the plate, they flat out failed.
They choked on responsibility, the choked on hypocrisy, they no doubt choked on the volume of debt involved and they choked on their often vocalised affections and devotions to ‘the cause’.
When strong will, words and yet stronger action was the only route to recovery…they choked, meekly and mildly, without as much as a whimper of their famous resistance…their no surrender attitude, their defiance and their unity was evident only in it’s absence.
I deviate away from purely being critical of my towns folks in this respect…the majority, in fact – it’s near entirety, chose through whatever illogical, ill-considered and ill advised sense of omnipotence to leave it to ‘the people’, the people in charge, of what transpired to be a train wreck of an organisation.
A train wreck, hopelessly off the rails and heading over the edge of a terminally steep cliff top.
That is of their choosing, that was their greatest mistake…their now greatest regret.
I tool regret, I regret that so many decent people have lost the altar at which they worshipped, the culture of which they truly belonged and the institute that provided them with joy…of course the good ones will also be welcome at our theatre, our place of worship, our institute of choice…won’t they?!
Anyway, I have now waxed lyrically about everything ‘Larky’ for way too long…you bhoys and ghirls ought to have lives more fulfilling than mine to return to.
I will leave you though, if you do not mind, with this little thought.
From the club “who don’t do walking away”, when the potential saviour of a corpse, Sir Walter Smith, today ended his thoughts of recovery, it appeared the ultimate embarrassment, the ultimate hypocrisy, the ultimate surrender.
That club has gone…never to return.
The newco may well fill that void, but I hear assuredly, that their reincarnation as a new creature is also doomed to potentially humiliating failure.
Some count their chances of surviving as year or two, to be a remote one, others (and I do not know quite why so) believe their survival ranks only in months, perhaps of very precious few months…I am not sold on much more grief being directed there though.
I have pals who are hurting, my gloating must unlike the Larkhall ‘summer’ bunting abate, normality must be returned.
The club should be publicly denounced, a new club must eventually rise ‘phoenix like’ from the smouldering wreckage which so mercilessly sits just out of reach of the would be salvage merchants.
The fate of ‘The Rangers’ must soon be announced, the entire belief system that’s benefited from a sense of immortality in the past, must be left there, firmly in the past.
The grieving process must be encouraged, the friendly faces I once know must be given hope of closure if ever to return.
I am now hurting for them…but wish there to have been no other result.
I too am but a hypocrite, one of a harmless variety but that will be of no assurance, of comfort to my desperately sad friends right now…my club survives!
On the very last note…was it telling that the proposed ‘Anti-SPL/SFA/Celtic/UEFA/FIFA and I jest here, PAPAL demo’ set to have marched in an now altogether more honest procession towards Hampden, was cancelled?
I dunno…maybe they just ‘don’t do walking’ that way anymore…maybe the acceptance of their fate is now belatedly sinking in.
They must however be kicking themselves…when the dull minds amongst their support, heard of the Fighting Fund, they refused to back it, refused to contribute and refused to hear anything of it…they miss understood, payments were being accepted by PAYPAL…the catholic church had nothing to gain.
It’s perhaps the first official diagnosis of illiteracy being fatal.
God speed you all!! 😉

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