Not 39 Forever: No.4 - Preparez Le Rouge

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I saw a ref today oh boy. It was in the Co-Op in Shevy and this ref in particular once sent me off in the Soccerdome. Let's call him Ken, for that was his name (ish) if I told you he looked like Phil Leotardo I'd be telling you too much. But by now his hair was mad and wiry like a vagrant and he was buying ale, I like to think his alcohol dependency had been honed out of guilt for sending off the wrong man all those years ago.

I was never a dirty player but on the rare occasions I did attempt to tackle I was awful at it. There were only two occasions when I received a red card sandwiching the beginning and end of my illustrious career.

Not 39 Forever: No.3 – The last proper gig

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It was Summer 2006 when I encountered the latest in a long line of events which convinced me I couldn’t drink. New Order were playing the Summerpops in Liverpool and me and a load of idiots from Springfield were going. I used to be a huge music fan but now time prevents me from taking any more than a passing interest. I employ the same level of snobbery to my music like I do with my football. You can wear the t-shirt, watch on the telly or listen on your ipod but unless you physically turn out and support a band, you’re just an uneducated armchair pleb and not a real fan.

Not 39 Forever: No.2 Bohemian Swinley

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I keep having recurring dreams about Bohemian Swinley, they've been happening a good ten years or so. It's a very different Swinley to the one which exists now. I'm walking around Upper Dicconson Street and Wrightington Street and it's dark and the tree lined avenues are only lit by a pale gaslight. But where terraced houses and small offices currently are back in the real world, it is replaced by wide windowed bars and bistros where the well-heeled sit on backless stools clicking their fingers to jazz music whilst drinking continental lager. There's literally one of these bars on every street corner and I never go in, just peer through the window enviously. There's the odd pub as well, built into the brick terraced houses with a small entrance, that familiar smell of hops wafting up from the cellar and I can hear a fiddle playing and the sound of Celtic bonhomie. It feels Victorian but also affluent, way more affluent than I imagine Victorian Wigan was reputed to be.

Not 39 forever: No.1 A new blog right here

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Let me tell you what this is about. You see I’m 40 in…hang on….around 70 days and whereas I would love the event to pass quietly with no mid crisis I can’t see it happening somehow. I’m something of a lightweight of Lena Zavaroni proportions in the drinking stakes but will of course be encouraged to participate multiple times closer to the event whether I like it or not.

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