A Tale of Rock Steady: Unsociable Socialising

The following is a fictional tale inspired around a series of events that took place on various trips while working for Rock Steady.

The bus is jumping with border line retards and psychopaths, with small balding older men with inferiority complexes running the show from the front, the feeling of responsibility and power soaring through their blood streams. The cavalcade of reprobates is punctuated by the flogging of fake DVDs that have been burned enmass on a laptop, the swapping of tales of bevvying on a night out, and the smell of a second hand decade old leather jacket that have been taken to too many Status Quo gigs in its life time. There is a diamond in the rough, a group of people who are not like the others and they stick out like black paint on a white rug.

What helps them stand out is not their accent. They, having had lived in Glasgow for a large part of their life, have adapted the ability to turn on and off convincing working class Glaswegian accents. They know the patter, understand the slang and can give as much poorly grammaticised sentences as the next Steward, but once that fluorescent jacket is off, once the clip-on tie is removed, they return to being middle class, intelligent students, who are here because it is easy money and not the only job offer the Jobcentre could get them. They stand out because they are able to talk to each other about things outside of football, shagging or crime. They are conversing, listening to each other, responding to subtle hints in body language and are actually enjoying the conversation.

A glance across the bus and our hero notices the parity between the tribes in the coach. There are distinct racial borders, unspoken and unwritten, but everyone in the coach can feel the sharply divided classes. It is not racism, but thinly veiled "Fuck You"'s to the groups that exist. It doesn't bother our Hero; living in the city and having gone to a non-denomination school where Religious Education is taught by an ex-Reverend and where atheism was not discussed he knows of the divisions surnames can cause. He knows that underneath the advertising campaigns, the political speeches and the Scotland As One campaigns, anyone can find racism in almost everything, but it is not racism as we are told it. It is jealously, envious eyes; glancing over at a culture that people feel they should get or know about and are affronted by the alienation is causes people.

Our hero is not phased by this, and is neither intimidated nor surprised.

Suddenly there is a shift in the dynamics of the bus. A member of the other tribe turns around and asks our hero and the collected parties a question. Initially, the change from intellectual conversation to slightly bewildering, barely coherent Glaswegian catches our hero out.

"What?" is simply ventured without thinking, without a thought to the wind.

"Ahahahah" the tribes reply, laughing heartily at a joke that only they know has taken place.

Our hero blushes but asks again, standing firmly "What did you say? Didn't quite catch that."

The joke is building in momentum, slowly dawning realisation occurs. Our hero think that they are playing a prank but an outsider knows what has happened. Does he dare to explain to our hero the joke and the fool that has been made. No, he doesn't. He decides to keep silent.

The climax is coming and the bus can feel it. The big reveal will take place in a couple of seconds and the captive audience, of which have no stopped talking about buckfast, bookies, odds and the barras, and are intently waiting on the big joke to be made aware, to see the face of an unsuspecting passenger.

The question is will our hero survive the onslaught?

"It's awright hen" the joke master explains, "We are just playing. Ah asked ye if ye'd seen that movie last night "Cunts say "What"."

The reveal is there, and in this moment three things happen. The tribe of gargoyles erupt in witless laughter catching the rabbit in the headlights, finding nothing but humour out of the public humiliation of a lesser being, someone they know will not raise a hand to them. The second is the embarrassment of our hero, who, in her shock, will not say a word for the next few seconds. This moment is accompanied by a third action, and this is of the collected friends of our hero. Do they stand up to the brutes or do they laugh along? Some laugh, to hide the pain of being cleverly caught out, others simply look away, ignoring that minutes before they were flirting outrageously. One of the crowd that watched from afar is readying himself to act though.

He gears himself up to tear into these bullies, the tribal fury of his own kind being destroyed building like a rising chorus. He feels hundreds of years of fighting in his blood, his ancestors who fought at Bannockburn, in the Great War, in the Second War, they fought for him and they survived for him, and this is his moment to stand up for what is good and great. He readies himself and opens his mouth.

"What the fuck?" he hears, but he has not said them. Our saviour, adrenaline firing his every sense to maximum capacity, is stunned by the sound.

The tribe turn around. "Eh?" says the Joke master, still grinning like a Cheshire cat in a toothpaste commercial, the stains of tears from the joviality tracking his cheeks.

"I said, what the fuck you fat sadistic pig." The joke master's smile falls faster than Galileo allows. "You think that is funny? I think it is pathetic." Our saviours heartbeat is racing, his eyes dart left and right. Our hero is fuming, she is going red, but not form being embarrased but from her rage. This is the last straw.

"You sit their thinking that you are the fucking king of this coach, whilst all the while you are breed contempt for myself and the other who are a decade younger than you who have not made the choices you have made and will be further on the way to a career greater than 6 hours on a Saturday in the cold rain for £40 than you will ever be. You are jealous, and I can see it, now grow up and stop taking the piss out of little girls."

The tribe are stunned, the bus is stunned. The road rumbles in the back ground and the radio pipes in some football scores. The red lights of the cars on the other side of the motorway blurred in the huff on the window light the faces of those shock ed by the outburst. Our hero places into her ears her iPod earphones and turns to look out the window.

The tribe slowly turn around, not sure what to do. The joke master is confused, not familiar with this tirade against him. In other circumstances he might have continued the battle, but here he has lost the war. This exchange is over, and he can sense it.

Our saviour, who is still rilled up for a confrontation stares at our hero, as she watches the road, her thoughts unknown. In his mind she is a god, a David of Goliath, an Inverness Caledonian Thistle to Celtic, and she is sitting there brave and ready for anything. He thinks of her as a warrior, and envious of her position commits the whole exchange to memory. He idly wonders what she is listening to on her iPod, as he inserts his headphones into his ears.

Our hero is sitting with no music on, shaking. She will never work for this company again.

The Tale of Rock Steady 12: Burger Vans and Bigger Fans

The Untold Tales of Rock Steady: Bigger Fans Means More Broken Lifts.

Pies and Bovril are the staple diet of any keen football supporter, and at all costs should at lest be ate once a weekend, no matter what ground you go to or what the score line is. The lucky thing is that inside the stadium there are no shortage of over priced middens that take extortionate amounts of momeny from your hand in exchange for horrible food and over heated drinks. When working for Rock Steady, your options are fairly limited to albeit a few choices, some of which I can stomach, others, not so.

The advantage I have, obviously, is that whilst I am working I am above the law, so to speak - I can leave the stadium. Not beacause I get special treatment, but when you are opening and closing doors on Rangers fans faces you do get a chance to slip out of the door, smirking as you walk past all the grimy Glaswegian faces while they wait to get in. The problem is that around Ibrox there is almost no amnemities, like a sandwich shop or even a McDonalds.

While I was working for Rock Steady every penny counted, as I was really skint most of the time I lived in that flat and worked there. I managed to just stay above the line, despite heavy handed efforts by the Banks to really screw me up, but in fairness, I brought a few bits on it my self.

Anyway, this particular afternoon I felt flushing have a few quid in my pocket, buring a large hole, just shouting "I Need to be Spent!", and who am I to aruge with entropy?

So outside I head, to the Rock Steady van that gave us fair discounts on the shitty burger and, well, I can't complain too much about the coke - I suppose it could have been colder. The burger (and I am a sort of expert on these things) was awful - no taste, only the feeling of slimy fried onions and cheese that is so rubber it should be attached to the bottom of my car. The bun was stale, and probably had just been defrosted that morning.

So I am standing there, eating the burger, when an asian fellow comes up to the van. He works for Rock Steady, and speaks very little english, like a few of the crowd of misfits. I worked in the hospitality area, so I don't wear a yellow jacket, so I am standing there, munching on the worst food I have eaten in a long time, as he asks the most incredible question:

"Do you serve Halal burgers?"

The asian man who is dishing the burgers out looks back. I stop putting the garbage to my mouth - this will make a good blog later on. The owner just looks at him, and says, straight faced, "This ain't fucking Parkhead mate!".

I don't know what that means instantly, but I smile. The steward turns to me, sees me smiling, and shouts at me "You fucking racist, just cause I can't eat the shit you are eating!" and I start to go red, as suddenly I am in one of those situations that I have no social training for dealing with. I shurg apologetically, and start to make back for the safety of the stadium, as he shouts after me "You hospitality pricks are all the fucking same inint*". As I jump into the stand, my colleague asks me "Whit wis that aw aboot?"
"He asked for Halal burger." I say, panting, half laughing.
"Aye they have one when we work out at Parkhead."
"Seriously?" I ask.
"Yeah, best burgers too."

This is the first of five new Rock Steady posts, some that have lain in the drafts for a while as sketches, and have been rewritten partly, or are stories that I have not told previously.

*I though for a while I would leave "init" out as it might be racist, but I have decided it might be more racist to edit what was say to not be racist than just leaving it in.

1 Year - The Tale of Rock Steady 11: The Famous Two

365 Days, or there about, and whoosh, a year is passed. It is quite funny to think that a year ago I, on a whim, decided to start writing to this blog. I have no idea where the name came from, or even what I planned to write on it, but Rock Steady sorted all that out. I have no idea how many people read this, or anyone who reads it enjoys it, but all I really want it to enjoy writing it, and I do. So, a few days ago I asked the few that read this to let me know what posts they have enjoyed while reading the blog. I said I would do a sort of commentary about it, but when I tried to I got sucked into reading every post I did, and think it is almost like a diary. A few of the posts I remember writing and could almost tell you what I had written of by heart, but a few I surprised by. So, what will I write about? How about a Tale of Rock Steady?

The Tale of Rock Steady 11: The Famous Two

When trying to find something to talk to about people who are far more removed from anyone I have worked with, the tales that I wrote about last year whilst I worked for Rock Steady are always good ice breakers, and also I can get some nice raport with a football fan when I start talking about the players I have met, and the stadiums I have worked in. Also, mentioning that I worked at Murrayfield has helped me get some success with English and Welsh members of the team. It is a good thing to have in the locker.

Retreading old stories have helped me hone my story telling skills, but one story I have told to a few while ambling through my mind is one that I never wrote on this blog, for reasons that I cannot remember or rhyme.

It takes place during a football match between Rangers and someone, the other team's name I can't recall. In various versions of the story I replace the unknown team with Falkirk or Motherwell, a team that not only is normally neutral, but rarely is there anyone who can put holes into the story. Does this make me a bad person? I am working the hospitality area and within a few minutes of standing around doing nothing I am shoved into a lift.

The lift is the small one, and is in the centre of the stadium. Fans call it the David Murray lift. It has already featured in a post, with the one where I devilshly mess about with the code that has to be entered in to start it working. On this very day I am sitting on the top floor of the stand, at the Club Deck. This lift is for hospitality memebers to use, and not normally for fans. Hence the code entering.

But for some reason, these two men in their suits call the lift. Either they get lucky or they knew the code. The doors open and I am powerless to stop them from getting into the lift. I suppose once you are past the physcial barrier of a few inches of steel, using words and politeness to stave off the persons is a bit silly.

They ask to go to the bottom floor, which is the dressing room area. Who am I to question it? They knew the code and the also knew the floor the dressing room was on, so why not let them go? We trundle down the lift shaft, with the two suits continuing their conversation from before the go into the lift. I only remember on phrase from their conversation "I can't believe we managed it."

Suspicions are rising with every breath they take. Should I ask them?

So, the doors open as the lift reaches the bottom. I let them out and my supervisor is stadning there. She smiles at the suits, and then walks into the lift.

"Who were they?"
"Eh, I don't know" I reply.
"Did you not check who they were?"
"I didn't, they knew the code to get in."
"Hmmm" she wonders. I am getting more and more worried by the second. "Let me find out who they are."

Minutes later she returns.

"I know who they were." she says.
I breathe a sigh of relief, "Who were they?"
"Alan McGregor and Alex Rae" she explains.
"Ah" I say. "Who?" I think. I recognise the names but I can't for the life of me remember who they work for. I am racking my brains - were they on the list I was given? Should I know them from the brief?

"They play for Rangers" she confirms, smiling, walking away.

So they were nobodies then.

The Tale of Rock Steady 10: It Has It's Ups and Downs...

I was swithering over what to blog about this post, and have decided that my fellowship require a heathly dose of Rock Steadyisms, as it has been a long time since our last dable in the inane world of the Steadies. I had decided that my last shift would have been the UEFA Cup Final (UEFA'd Enough), but I went back last Tuesday for a shift at the friendly between Rangers and Ajax, and then on Sturday there for another friendly against Chelsea.

Over the summer Ibrox had been given a bit of spruce up. The Cooper Suite, a part of the Hospitality area that I have never been in, has been moved from the West Tower to the East Tower, and as such so has the players lougne. This means that anyone wanting to get autographs from the players should be at the East Tower door always, as there is no chance they will leave the West Gate.

They have also overhauled the lifts entirely, and this is where my rant begins. They have been given a voice. The voice is of a braw Glaswegian lass, probably one of the owners of the lift companies daughters, who pronounces floor like "Flair" and down as "Doon". The quality of the recording is worse than a Gameboy trying to play Vagner, and third floor sonds closer to "Thissshck FLAIR". Also, she tells you when you are going doon, up, and when the doors are closing and opening. Very helpful, you might think.

Until you realise that over the last two shifts, I spent close to five hours inside them, and have heard "doon" and "claesing" more times than my mind will comfortably fit. I have heard "Take me to lingeire" and "Queen Street please" from smug bastards who think that it is the first time I have heard that today.

I wish the lift could say more interesting things like;

"There are too many sectarian abusers in the lift"
"Nobody gives a midges baw if you thought the game was gash"
"You are too fat to be alive. Go into a corner and die slowly."

I was the first person to stay in the lift since the overhauling, and encountered all of this for the first tome, and in particular one feature of the lift which was pretty alarming. If the lift is not used for a while, the lights inside go off. Total, complete, utter blackness. I could not see a thing; it was as if my eyes had been painted shut with black paint. It was dark. To make matters worse, I had forgot my phone, and in my search for the button to get the lift to move somewhere, the alarm was set off, and the security rushed to my help ten minutes later.

In other news, blogs should appear about Paris, Buachaille Etive Mor and Alto Towers in the near to late future.


The Tale of (Rock Steady 9: UEFA'd Enough?) PolitiX

The UEFA Cup Final, has been hailed by many as a great spectacle, where the eyes of Spain were focused on a small part of Glasgow for period of time similar to 90 minutes, but which became over 130minutes. And I was there. I always expected this to be a large blog post about the fantastic and brilliant night, but really it was just work. I met some real famous people, and saw some fantastically beautiful models who were walking about, but overall it was pretty underwhelming. In fact, it was rather disappointing. I worked from 2pm to close to 1am, standing, not eating, and generally getting less and less excited to be there, and more and more wishing that I was asleep, or at the very least, in a pants playing Football Manager. Ironically enough, I have just got West Ham to the Semi Finals of the UEFA Cup.

This post will concentrate on what I think I can do the most justice, and this is my ranting about something that has rather got me all hot and bothered.

Gordon Brown.

The new leader of the Labour party has been announced, and as he had no competition, he, by default, becomes the new leader and the new Prime Minister. I have heard many things that have really annoyed me about this, and I feel compelled to make another long winded post about my opinions on such a turn of events.

The first position I heard that was incredible was that the Liberal Democrats of Britain were asking for the Queen to announce a General Election, to elect a government. Now, I could understand that if the Labour party it self is finishing, but it is just the leader. We do not elect a leader, we elect a member of parliament that represents our local area in parliament, and this is for lobbying and bringing attention to local issues, and to vote on parliamentary decisions on our behalf. We did not elect Tony Blair, he was elected by the very people we elect our selves.

I am annoyed at the Liberal Democrats for saying this, when they know this to be entirely incorrect, and the method of which this has transpired is exactly how it should be.

My example for this argument is when Michael Howard stepped down, and David Cameron became the leader of the official opposition. He is the man closet to the government, and in the best position to block any movement in government by the Labour government by way of a parliamentary vote. If he can be elected to represent, as a leader, all those who disagree with the Labour rule, by those who are his peers, why does Gordon Brown not get the same treatment? Those who we entrust with the power of policy should have our trust in choosing the correct man.

Another problem is that some say Labour should have to be elected into power again. This is not a Republic, where we elect a leader, and a single party to rule. Our government is supposed to be the best suited for our country, and I think it does the job perfectly well, and better in some respects than other, certain unmentioned, countries that have a more single power weighting that others. Our system requires a democratic vote throughout a government filled with opposing members, and the more parties involved in that process the better. By announcing an election after Tony Blair stands down, gives the appearance of a leader based country, with little respect for all the other MPs that have worked hard to get their voice for their constituency.

I am an admirer of Tony Blair for his achievements as a Prime Minister. He has made our country more wealthy, has spent more money on health and education (at least in the south), gave Scotland it's Parliament, guided the country through rather interesting world developments, such as The World Trade Center Attacks, and the July Tube Bombings, and managed to create, then restore, the Northern Ireland Assembly. In 10 years, there has been a lot of change, but his rule will be forever marred by the Iraq war. He may have made a judgement error, but it is done now, and we need to see it through.

I think that Gordon Brown could be a great leader, and should be treated as his own man, which I am sure he will be. Guilty by association is very single minded.

At least, we will have a Scottish Prime Minister. Or one who is seen to be from Scotland, not like Mr Blair...

The Tale of Rock Steady 8: Prso, Rae, Klos, Shields...

Working at Rock Steady has both been exasperating, and also a whirlwind of fun and sometimes can be a really good laugh. Like this Sunday, I was tasked with working in the Members Lounge. This meant that at my (possible) last shift at Ibrox, I managed to fit in all the areas within hospitality into my short period of time I have worked there, Members being the last area.

It was both a good laugh and a easy shift.

The Members area is much better than the subject of my last rant, Bar72. Members is the poshest area within the stadium, being only one step (and a doorway) away from the chairman's room. This area of the stadium is by invite only; you will not find a ticket for this area on the website. Most of the old players and people connected with the club are here, such as commercial directors and others. And, due to it's proximity to the chairman's room, all the players.* See Appendix.

Ah the lifts, an endless stream of anecdotes from the lifts in Ibrox. The lift in question this week is rather different from the rest of the lifts in the stadium, as it does not break down (though likes to hide on the 2nd floor for some reason, I think it must get bullied by the staircases or something). For other reasons though, there can be special notability attached to it, as it is "David Murray's lift". He is the chairman of Rangers, for those who do not know. It was placed there, because the tunnel area is below the members lounge and the chairman's club, meaning that if he wants to go down to the team, he must go down a floor, and specially asked for this lift to be built. It is small, approximately just small enough to disallow any swing whatsoever, never mind a cat. It can fit 5 people comfortably, 6 at a squeeze, 8 at London Underground comfort levels, and trying to fit 10 into it would be similar to trying to squeeze Johnny Vegas into one the small Postman Pat kiddy rides outside your local Morrison's.

It is also special as it requires, out of this capacity of 5, a member of Rock Steady, which this Saturday, on rotation was me. To gain access to the lift, you must key in a secret password (which I know) into a keypad, where the traditional button would be. The key pad makes a beeping noise, akin to an alarm panel, or an old Nokia phone. This means, if someone forgets the code, they are heard from within the lift pressing a ritualistic 4, 8, or 12 and even 16 keys before giving up, or getting it right. Humuorously, this took place one time after the lift doors shut on a floor, but the lift did not move. I then heard someone enter a set of 4 keys. And nothing. They then entered another 4 keys after waiting around 30 seconds, which must have seemed to them a regular amount of time to be patient before become irate with the slow lift. Nothing doing. I realised they were entering the wrong code, but did not realise as such; there is a little green light and turns on if you get right. I smiled, and made the decision to not open the doors for the customer, enjoying my small Führer moment of power.

Someone then came along, and they said to this unknown party "The fucking lift's stuck". I thought this would be the perfect time to open the doors. The look on the member of staffs face was of total annoyance. I have to make the time pass somehow.

I am not one to drop names, so here is a list of all the famous people I have met since I started working with Rock Steady.
Walter Smith
Ally McCoist
Ian Durrant
Andy Goram
Lorenzo Amorouso
Micheal Micheal Mols
Dado Prso
Kris Boyd
Gavin Rae
Ugo Ehiogu
Chris Burke
Kaspar Schemichael
Gordon Strachan
Neil Lennon
Thomas Graveson
Jan Venegoor of Hesselink
Gareth Southgate
Jim White
Charlie Nicholas
Pat Nevin
Dougie Donnelly
One of the Proclaimers
Darren Jackson

Actually, are any of the above really famous, outside of Heterosexual male footballing fans? I think the only real famous person was Paolo Coelho, who has sold over 90million books, and I did not even know who he was, for the shame of it.

NOTE: I notice I have posted this before part III of the Final Exams, but fuck it, I can do what I want.