The Ballad of Paul ‘Gazza’ Gascoigne.

 
Daft as Instinct, tracksuited loon, long
in upper body, broad in chest and shoulder, strong
in thigh and Calf
Innocent as a Lamb.
Turn on a sixpence, Cruyff, or cut
Inwards, then outwards, oh MAURAUDING
oh BARRELING straight up the guts
oh AUDACIOUS oh MERCURIAL and oh
CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?
English-Angloid Sentimentality and lachrymose alcoholism
He liked to sink a few, no place for a genius, perhaps
CELTIC or LATIN nation could have accommodated him
But ALAS we have a tradition of EMPIRICISM and what
Can only be described as a NATIVE PHILISTINISM.
He wore his heart on his sleeve didn’t he?
He fooled Jimmy ‘Five Bellies’ into
scoffing cat shit,
sneaked it
into
a
mince
pie,
DIDN’T HE
THAT WAS FUNNY
A TRICKSTER GOD, a Jungian Archetype,
Too large to be contained within the strictures
And conventions of Bourgeois English Life,
Market towns and men in quilted jackets,
Bakewell tarts and women who wear headscarves.
Modern Football took root, seeded from his fertile tears
The whole billion £ circus, everybody knows it
Which is why we all repeat it
Mopping up salt tears with a shirt
white
as the cliffs of Dover.
ARCHETYPAL TOO, in Tragedy,
His Downfall mirroring that of BEST
One might say, our only other
Genius, our Dour, Utilitarian temperament,
rarely giving rise to such
Prodigies of Nature,
Unicorns
of muddy field
and studded
boot.
WHERE DID IT ALL GO WRONG?
REMEMBER, I know you do,
That goal against Scotland,
That last flaring of instinctual magic
Ball hoisted over Hendry’s
PLATINUM MANE
And volleyed
WITH AN INSOUSIANT
SENSE
OF DESTINY
Goalwards!
BISH BASH BOSH AND
how do you like them onions?
Or remember too,
In that fateful year
1996, when football came home
A can of lager thrust into its hand
And ushered towards the sofa,
By matey, new lad comedians
David Baddiel and Frank Skinner.
England were garbed in grey,
Strangers to themselves and yet,
that desperate sliding lunge,
that might have been
deep
into
EXTRA
TIME
a
FOOT
just
INCHES
away from
Glory and a
Profoundly
different England.
We had dared to dreamed and watched,
With familiar angst,
As that dream was wrenched from our grasp.
One might reflect, RUEFULLY, on how thin is
The line separating
What is, from What Might Have Been
Laurelled Triumph from Defeat
(DE FEET get it?)
This is for you
Paul ‘Gazza’ Gascoigne
In your Innocence
And your beauty.
Your Failings
Are
Our Failings
But your
Magic
Was
Yours
Alone.

Luke Davis
Illustration Nick Victor


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