You looking at my ale?

You looking at my ale?

Barry picks-up on two ovf Forum posts, dated 12/01 & 13/01/2003, in which a young o’Treason shares with ovf his days as a smart dresser, Chawners in Hanley, the physical attributes of the Bycars loo, the old Vale Park scoreboard, and of conning his then not so keen on football girlfriend to go to Vale Park to watch Man U in action.


You Looking at My Ale?

He left school in the early seventies
In the year of the decimal pound,
And has fond memories of the nightlife
In the clubs around Burslem Town,
But to make his own impression
That he was a well-dressed toff
He needed a pot of money
To buy quality tailor’s cloth.

For a range of top-notch clobber
To set him from the rest,
Chawners was ‘the place’ he’d go
To buy the very best,
Plus the fashions that he wore
Were fab and all the rage,
But would cost a pretty penny
Almost two-thirds of his wage.

Now Chawners was in Hanley,
Hope Street to be exact,
Where he bought those threads to help him
Make a statement of the fact
That he was a classy dresser
Of true quality and style
To make him look a man of mark
With a ‘million dollar smile’.

He could buy a two-tone suit
Or a Prince of Wales check,
And with Sherman shirts and Crombie coats
His wardrobe was ‘top deck’,
Then later there were baggy jeans
Which looked a hideous sight,
Followed by those Oxford bags
With platform shoes for extra height.

According to o’Treason
Chawners was very posh
Because its sales assistants
Did not handle ‘dosh’,
Instead they used those vacuum tubes
And cylinders made of brass
To whisk away his money
With a receipt back in a flash.

So there was young o’Treason
Dressed up to the nines
And drinking Double Diamond
Half pints at a time,
But when encountering strangers
In the late hours of the night,
A question asked in greeting
Could end up in a fight.

That question asked in greeting,
According to his tale,
When glancing at a stranger was
“You staring at my ale?”
Or perhaps the variation,
For those who haven’t heard,
If he were with a wench would be
“You staring at my bird?”

For most this greeting gave no grief
As they acknowledge with a smile,
But sadly there was always one
Whose returns would be quite vile,
And in the brawls that followed
The clothes he’d bought that day
Would be destroyed beyond repair
And would have to be thrown away.

As a denizen once of Burslem Town
He spent many a happy day
Making friends and drinking beer
At games both home and away,
But when the match was in the Hamil
The place he would be found
Was near the Smallthorne Clampets
In the Bycars end of ground.

He remembers the half-time scoreboard
That rarely made much sense,
And wondered if its numbers man
Had a raging thirst to quench
To be slated with a copious supply
Of the finest local brew,
Or did that thirst remain on fire
With a whisky dram or two?

There were pies of gristle and gravy
With lukewarm Bovril too,
Then changing ends at half time
To get a better view,
Which worried the visiting fans
And kept the stewards on their toes
Because with bellies full of beer
Some men were bellicose.

With all that beer and Bovril
He would join another queue
To relieve his boweled stress
In the infamous Bycars loo,
But the sight that struck him most
When walking through the door
Was back to back toilet bowls
In the middle of the floor.

It truly was a frightful sight
Where only a few would dare
To sit and ponder Socrates
Whilst their privacy laid bare,
And sitting there for all to see
Could not have been much fun,
For it was easy to point one’s manhood
But not to show one’s bum.

It seems like only yesterday
When a girlfriend he invited
To a mid-week game in the Hamil
Against the mighty Man. United,
But that bit about the Mighty Reds
Was a con he had to hatch
For his girl, who hated football,
Would not attend a match.

With twenty minutes on the clock
His girl had twigged the ruse,
Yet still o’Treason tried in vain
To bluster and confuse,
But he knew full well that the con was up
And that he should confess,
Then tried once more to save his day
By blaming the local press.

“The Sentinel have got it wrong”
Was his very quick reply,
“It must have been a misprint!”
Which was just another lie,
“It’s easy to see the error now
With ‘chester U in either name”
It was Colchester United on the park
And that was not the same.

Then in the early eighties
Just after the Falklands war
Our true blue Valiant friend
Headed for another shore,
But no matter where he is
He is still a Valiant man,
And daily keeps in touch
Via Fielding’s onevalefan.

Barry Edge
Western Australia
February 17, 2003

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