Alloa Athletic 1-2 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Recreation Park,* 20/11/21

Well.

A win.

Very welcome.

We needed it; especially as the two teams directly below us both won today as well.

And at last a better result in the second quarter than we had against that team in the first.

How much the win depended on them having a man sent off just after their equaliser I don’t know but we had taken the lead (a Stuart Carswell penalty no less) which suggests we were doing okay.

Then Eoghan Stokes pops up with the winner. He’s making a habit of making vital contributions off the bench.

A bit of a break from the league next week since we play Sauchie at home in the Third Round of the Scottish Cup. (When, I wonder, was the last time we played two Clackmannanshire based teams in a row?)

I’m not expecting an easy game. They beat Highland League leaders Fraserburgh – away – in round one.

Hexham Abbey and Other Old Buildings, Hexham

Hexham Abbey:-

Hexham Abbey, Hexham

The Abbey, Hexham

Moot Hall from the Market Square. The Archbishop’s Hall used for administrative purposes in the Middle Ages:-

Old Building, Hexham

The Shambles, old Market Square Hexham:-

Old Market Place, Hexham

Reelin’ in the Years 196: After You Came

Though he contributed spoken word pieces to the previous five albums plus an instrumental in Beyond from To Our Children’s Children’s Children only six Moody Blues songs were credited to their late drummer Graeme Edge as sole writer. This rocker, the last track on side one of Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, was one of them.

The Moody Blues: After You Came

Graeme Charles Edge: 30/3/1941 – 11/11/2021. So it goes.

Not Friday on my Mind 69: Late Lament – RIP Graeme Edge

I was saddened to read in the Guardian of the death of Graeme Edge of the Moody Blues on Armistice Day.

As a drummer he perhaps wasn’t spectacular but he did the job. He was one of the group’s original members (in the days of Denny Laine, Clint Warwick and Go Now) and continued on to the glory days of the late 60s and early 70s. His contribution to the group’s œuvre was not initially musical but spoken word (poetry if you will) starting with the Morning Glory sequence from Days of Future Passed whose first verse,

“Cold hearted orb that rules the night,
Removes the colours from our sight,
Red is grey and yellow white,
But we decide which is right,
And which is an illusion,”

is returned to in Late Lament, the spoken coda which comes after the final song, Nights in White Satin. Unfortunately this clip omits the gong right at the end.

The Moody Blues: Late Lament

Graeme Charles Edge: 30/3/1941 – 11/11/2021. So it goes.

Art Deco Former Cinema, Hexham

The Forum. Stepped roof-line, streamlining, rule of three in windows (disappointingly eyes poked out.)

Sadly no longer a cinema.

Art Deco Former Cinema, Hexham

Boer War Statue, Hexham

In July we visited the Northumberland town of Hexham for the first time.

I spotted this statue to Lieutenant Colonel George Elliott Benson, Royal Regiment of Artillery, who died at the Second Boer War Battle of Braakenlagte, 30/10/1901.

Boer War Statue, Hexham

Dedication:-

Boer War Commemoration, Hexham

Scandal by Shūsaku Endō

Penguin, 1989, 235 p. Translated from the Japanese (スキャンダル) by Van C Gessel

At an award ceremony, famous writer Suguro, known for his Christianity and clean living, is accosted by a woman who claims to recognise him from his sojourns in Sakura Street in Shinjuku – an area known for its peep-shows and porn shops. Suguro indignantly denies such behaviour, any wider revelation of which would undoubtedly lead to a scandal.

A reporter named Kobari, who was present at the accusation, instinctively believes the woman and, shocked at Suguro’s apparent double standards (at one time frequenting vice dens, at the other portraying the exact opposite in his fiction,) makes it his mission to uncover what he sees as Suguro’s duplicity. The discovery of a portrait apparently of Suguro, painted by one of the women of Sakura Street, confirms Kobari in his pursuit. In one of Kubari’s interviews there a sex-worker tells him, “Sex is awfully deep, sir. All kinds of sensations come bubbling up from the bottom-most part of your body. It’s like a strange new music.” She reveals to him the bizarre enthusiasms and fetishes of the clients of the establishments in Sakura Street, by which Kobari is appalled.

In the meantime Suguro engages a young girl, Mitsu, whose family is in straitened circumstances, to help his (like Suguro himself, ageing) wife with the housework. Mitsu eventually turns out to be untrustworthy but Suguro has by this time, in a first intimation that he may have a darker side, dreamt of her half-naked.

As an exploration of the dark recesses of sexuality the novel is heightened when Suguro strikes up a conversational relationship with Madame Naruse. Her stories of her late husband’s complicity in, indeed instigation of, a wartime atrocity and the erotic charge it gave her trouble Suguro in its contrast with his own staid (it is strongly implied now non-existent) sex life.

The book’s emphasis on human frailty is at times tempered by reflections on writing. In a conversation Suguro is told writers can be divided into two groups, the biophilous (life-loving) and the necrophilous (self-destructive, degenerate, decadent.) Suguro’s work lies in the former category.

Suguro’s certainty that he must be being impersonated (even though he reflects that “Deep in the hearts of men lay a blackness they themselves knew nothing about”) leads him to try to confront his double.

Madame Naruse sets up a meeting in Sakura Street so that Suguro might meet the impostor, during which she tells him people delight in inflicting pain, that perhaps Jesus was murdered because he was too innocent. As he carried his cross the crowd reviled him and threw stones because of the pleasure it gave them. She adds, “… all you’ve written about are men who have betrayed Jesus but then weep tears of regret after the cock crows three times. You’ve always avoided writing about the mob, intoxicated with pleasure as they hurled stones at him.” The only other person present in the love hotel, however, is a comatose Mitsu, upon whom Suguro spies through a peep-hole.

The döppelganger/split personality has long been a wellspring of Scottish fiction. To see the dichotomy examined in a Japanese context was unusual but Endō treats it subtly and convincingly.

Pedant’s corner:- “A magazine reported named Kubari” (reporter.) “He was assigned to a regiment in Chiba” (China, I assume,) a missing comma before a piece of direct speech, “a silver rhinestone broach” (brooch,) “Madame Nearuse” (Naruse.)

Bertie Auld

I see from the club website that ex-player and manager Bertie Auld has died.

He played for us in the ‘C’ division days of 1954-55 scoring three times and again in Division 2 in 1956-57 (eight goals.) His spell as manager came in 1988 – not the most successful in our history but by no means the worst.

Bertie’s time with the Sons was not his most famous nor long-lasting football achievement. He is among that select band of immortals known as the Lisbon Lions who won the European Cup in 1967 in that annus mirabilis for Glasgow Celtic. For that alone he will be remembered in Scotland as a giant of the game.

In all as a player he won that European Cup (and had another appearance in the final in 1970,) 5 Scottish League Championships, 3 Scottish Cups and 4 Scottish League Cups. With Birmingham City he was in an Inter-Cities Fairs Cup final and won the football League Cup in 1962-3. Despite that pedigree he only ever gained three caps for Scotland (plus two more for the Scottish League.) As a manager he won the Scottish First Division twice; with Partick Thistle in 1975-6 and Hibernian in 1980-1.

His is a sad loss to Scottish football.

Robert (Bertie) Auld: 23/3/1938 – 14/11/2021. So it goes.

Hill 62 Canadian (Sanctuary Wood) Memorial near Ypres

This memorial lies at the end of Canadalaan (see here) and commemorates the efforts of the Candian Corps in defending the southern parts of the Ypres salient during 1916. Information about the memorial and the battles fought there is here.

The memorial garden lies on a small plateau hidden as you walk up to it by a wall on which is situated this plaque:-

Canada Plaque on Wall Below Hill 62 Canadian Memorial

The memorial:-

Hill 62 Canadian Memorial, near Ypres

Approach steps, here seen from the memorial side:-

Hill 62 Canadian Memorial, near Ypres

The inscription round the memorial’s base reads, “HONOUR TO THE CANADIANS WHO ON THE FIELDS OF FLANDERS AND FRANCE FOUGHT IN THE CAUSE OF THE ALLIES WITH SACRIFICE AND DEVOTION.”

Carving on Hill 62 Canadian Memorial

The dedication reads, “HERE AT MOUNT SORREL AND ON THE LINE FROM HOOGE TO ST. ELOI THE CANADIAN CORPS FOUGHT IN THE DEFENCE OF YPRES APRIL – AUGUST 1916.”
The memorial lies on Hill 62, though, not on Mount Sorrel:-

Dedication Hill 62 Canadian Memorial

Looking east from the memorial:-

Looking East from Canadian Hill 62 Memorial

Looking south. Such peaceful countryside now:-

Looking South from Hill 62 Canadian Memorial, near Ypres

Dumbarton 0-3 Falkirk

SPFL Tier 3, The Rock, 13/11/21.

From the moment Stuart Carswell, standing in at centre half for the injured Ryan McGeever, misjudged the bounce of the ball and handed Falkirk an easy chance I watched this with an air of resignation.

Nothing went right.

Our deliveries into the area were poor, we were never first to any loose balls, we created nothing. If not for Sam Ramsbottom in goal this could have been a cricket score.

Not that Falkirk were really good: they didn’t have to be. Competence was enough.

Sure, Ryan Schiavone up front made life a bit uncomfortable for their centre backs but to no avail, he was on his own for the most part.

We are now nine points worse off in the second quarter of the season than we were against the same teams in the first. It’s seven games since we last won.

Our next seven league games are against sides above us in the table. That’s not good reading.

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