Saturday 3 May

The Periscopes’ end-of-season award ceremony invariably falls into the category of organized chaos, and this year it is my turn to manipulate the various overweight, bi-polarising atoms that make up our beloved footerball team into some semblance of seated order, at a table of like-minded elements, so they can all get drunk and fizz about. The Gaffer uses his vast experience of the Manchester ‘scene’ (almost inevitable at his age) to lure in two local ensembles, while I mobilize the group for which my brother Barton tub-thumps and – at last – have the Lively Postcards on stage in the Northwest’s only genuine city of culture. The venue is Chorlton’s notoriously laid-back Iraqi Club and all begins peaceably enough with our compere Jacques Le Parrot receiving only ripe fruit and frozen veg from the lads as he announces our player of the season. Last year an innocent glance at his cue card saw personal meltdown on an immense scale - Jacques smashing his microphone to bits when in disagreement with the democratic vote. This year he emerges from proceedings with dignity restored; reputation refreshed and with at least three of his five-a-day sliding down his tux.

Biff’s arrival from the Midlands, as ever, signals trouble. Before I know it I am staring into the small mirror in the venue's small WC proclaiming myself ‘the best manager and assistant compere the world has ever seen,’ never for a moment wondering why such a beast would reside in Chorlton and not Theatreland. More strong beers follow and while I am grateful to all those who turn up I am also resentful that they have failed to arrive earlier, when they could have got more sense out of me. I think it is the Gaffer – organizing a raffle that may yet keep the club afloat – who points out that this would have to have been very early in the day; maybe even before that very first header, that very first pint, undertaken in the name of the ‘scopes.

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