A book review

Mansfield ParkMansfield Park by Jane Austen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was what you might call a reluctant Janeite. I suspect there are a lot of us out there, especially among us men. From being force-fed ‘Emma’ in sixth-form I was in denial – I recognised the writer’s quality without properly seeing that her stories are more than just tales of closed societies of young idle people wasting their time before being married off. I’ve begun to see to what extent I was wrong, and Mansfield Park has helped greatly with that process.
Even some quite ardent lovers of Jane Austen have trouble with Mansfield Park, or, more particularly, they have trouble with Fanny Price. She’s not “feisty”; she lacks heroic quality; she’s weak. Broadly, she commits the sin of not being Elizabeth Bennett. These criticisms are true as far as they go, but here’s the thing: the book tells us exactly why and how she’s all this, how she copes with and ultimately overcomes her troubled upbringing and ends the book as a fully-rounded & admirable person.
Here’s a girl, less than healthy, certainly neglected and conceivably abused at home, taken as an act of charity from her parents and placed in a high-class environment already packed with well-to-do, self-assured older children and adults who, with one exception, treat her with anything raging from condescension to disdain to simple ignoring, so that she almost always feels she is only at Mansfield Park on sufferance. Should she ever show “ingratitude” or independence of spirit, there is Mrs Norris to tell her how lucky she is to be among such superior society at all. If at any time she receives what seems to be preferential treatment there is always someone to remind her of her lowly status. The only adult who appreciates her is too idle and self-absorbed to be any help, and the only one of the children who supports her becomes neglectful when he falls in love. Is it any wonder that Fanny is less than self-confident?
The story of the book for me is how she acquires her inner strength: as others fail and show their feet of clay she consistently increases in power without ever losing that essential eighteenth and nineteenth century attribute, modesty. And this rise comes organically and feels true, and through this I cannot be one of the anti-Fanny crowd.
For me any weakness in the book comes late. The inevitable marriage feels contrived and even possibly objectionable: maybe another outcome would have been too difficult to pull off without upsetting conservative readers, but this somewhat bolted-on happy ending, while it doesn’t spoil a marvellous book, feels unwanted.

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A Pen Portrait of our Visitors: Ryman League Division 1 (South) 2016/7

This is a piss-take, right?

No. Well, yes. No.  These clubs and all the others up and down the land at a similar level (and Runcorn) are what football’s about. OK, the standard is often more Harry Kane in Euro 2016 than Harry Kane in most of his club matches (other players who were s**t in the Euros are available). These guys are still better than you (I) ever were (was), even if that stretches belief sometimes. Also, these are all clubs kept going by people who care, one of whom maybe repainted that barrier you’re leaning on (it’s still wet lol (made you look lol)), who sometimes wonder why the left-back is being given money when he does that stupid bloody thing ALL DAY. On a good day the 1000, 700, 400, 30 or whatever of you go home feeling as good as anyone leaving their bloody Theatre Of Dreams. Go to the game, have a pint or three, get worked-up about their dirty bastard number 4 , moan, go home and smash the furniture (Eight-Bloody-One!) . Next week go to an away game. Have fun. You’re winning, even if that useless mob aren’t..

Carshalton Athletic

Carshalton
http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/carshaltonafc
Twitter

“Pure Football” says the crappy Pitchero website. We’ll be the judges of that.

Look, I don’t know who did their logo but the more I look at it the more worried I get. Just me I expect.

13/8/16 First Game – Horsham away.

Predicted League Position: 9th

Chatham Town

Chatham

http://chathamtownfc.info/
Twitter

Met some nice people from Chatham last season, good community thing going on. So I’m going to leave them alone. For the town of Chatham, see also: Shangri-La, Utopia etc.

13/8/16 First Game -Three Bridges away.

Predicted League Position: 9th

Chipstead

Chipstead_Logo

http://www.chipsteadfc.com/
Twitter

Chipstead started last season as though they meant to get relegated as soon as possible, then appeared to change their minds.

They’ve recently  been to Le Touquet, which is nice.

People keep telling me where Chipstead is but I keep forgetting. Chipstead FC then told me I’d got it wrong anyhow.

13/8/16 First Game -Lewes @ home.

Predicted League Position: 9th

Corinthian-Casuals

CorCas

http://www.corinthian-casuals.com/

Twitter

Famously don’t pay their players. At all. Amateur ethos and all that. Bet they get a shitload of exes though. Note to lawyer: by “shitload” I mean “hardly any”.

Chocolate & pink shirts like that ice cream your mum used to buy. Or like that hoody Jamie’s mate Olly always used to wear. You know, the one that said he’d lend you his beard oil that time.

Incidentally & seriously,  this book by Terry Morris is a seriously good history of amateur football. Recommended.

13/8/16 First Game -Whyteleafe @ home.

Predicted League Position: 9th

Cray Wanderers

CrayWdrs

http://www.cray-wanderers.com/

Twitter

CrayMassive
Oh hallo!. Promoted last season. Bloke (turns out he’s the Chairman, lol) had a Cray Wanderers flag on a flat by the railway near Lewisham during the euros.

Hey they’re getting a new stadium! Looking good.

CrayWdrs_New _Stadium
I think this is probably it. Is that that church you can see from the train?

13/8/16 First Game -Sittingbourne @ home.

Predicted League Position: 9th

Dorking Wanderers

DorkingWdrs

http://www.dorkingwanderers.com/

Twitter

From Dorking, which is in Surrey. Minted. I saw them in the Sussex County League a couple of seasons ago (at Eastbourne Town) throwing away a 3 goal lead. They haven’t done much of that since. Bastards.

13/8/16 First Game -Greenwich Borough @ home

Predicted League Position: 9th

 East Grinstead Town

EastGrinstead
http://egtfc.co.uk/
Twitter

Had a difficult season last year, following a difficult season the year before. We think they’ll have a difficult season, to compound the obvious difficulties of being from East Grinstead.

(I like their website; it has a nice unflashy (pun and no pun) layout with all the information you need easily found from the front page. It is amazing how many club sites can’t manage this small thing /rant).

13/8/16 First Game -Molesey away.

Predicted League Position: 9th

Faversham Town

Faversham
http://www.favershamtownfc.co.uk/
Twitter

Watford used to have a fanzine called Mud Sweat & Beers which my old pal Paul Baker used to write for. Faversham has both mud and beer so something to aim for lads.

Sorry, fell asleep. Next.

13/8/16 First Game -Walton Casuals away.

Predicted League Position: 9th

 Godalming Town

Godalming
http://www.godalmingtownfc.co.uk/gt/
Twitter

A warm welcome to the players, directors and supporters of Godalming Town as they make their debut in The Ryman League.

They look grim.

According to this thing here (see map below), Godalming is the westernmost club in the division, apart from Guernsey. This may be the first & last time Godalming is ever described as an “outpost” of anything.

I’m dead certain they wish they could have gone into the Southern League so that they could all go to Devon every fortnight. See also: Whyteleafe.

13/8/16 First Game -Hythe Town @ home.

Predicted League Position: 9th

Greenwich Borough

GreenwichB
http://www.greenwichboroughfc.co.uk/

Twitter

Welcome to newly-promoted Greenwich Borough, who play at Dartford while the builders are in at their new ground.

My boss lives about 10 minutes’ walk from their old ground but supports Fulham.

My boss is a wanker.

13/8/16 First Game -Dorking away.

Predicted League Position: 9th

Guernsey

Guernsey

http://www.guernseyfc.com/
Twitter

Guernsey is an island whose people insist they are not French. Unlike noisy Charlie Hungerford neighbours Jersey,  Guernsey decided to be a proper football club rather than playing Sark all the time in dumb “internationals”.

In the light of recent events they may wish to negotiate a “Guexit” and go and play my other favourite team http://www.dinan-lehonfc.fr/ .

Their fans call every other club “dirty Northern bastards” which was certainly
a novelty in Hastings.

13/8/16 First Game -Ramsgate away.

Predicted League Position: 9th

Hastings United

Hastings
http://hastingsunitedfc.co.uk
Twitter

The main stand at The Pilot Field is older than my mum. Like my mum it leaks a bit in the winter.

Sorry mum. I traduced you just for a joke. You may wish to cut me out of your will.

13/8/16 First Game – South Park @ Home

Predicted League Position: 1st

Herne Bay

HerneBay
http://www.hernebayfc.co.uk/
Twitter

That’s a heron. Good feet for a big fella.

13/8/16 First Game -Tooting away.

Predicted League Position: 9th

Horsham

Horsham

http://www.horsham-fc.co.uk/

Twitter

Horsham went away and now have come back again. I think this is probably a good thing.

These Young Men need to stop groundsharing with the YMCA though, fun though it may be to stay there.

ymca

There’s a very small chance you haven’t seen  this excellent drinking video from last season.

13/8/16 First Game -Carshalton @ home.

Predicted League Position: 9th

 Hythe Town

Hythe
http://www.hythetownfc.co.uk/
Twitter

Seemingly nicely monied-up. Working on the principle that “if he ever played for Hastings he must be OK”. This is a theory that may be tested to destruction this season. Have they signed Richard Rose yet?

That bloody badge is stupid. Behave.

13/8/16 First Game -Godalming away.

Predicted League Position: 9th

Lewes

Lewes
http://lewesfc.com/
Twitter

The new Lewes badge (not shown) for 2016/17 is an heraldic redition described by the College of Heralds as”Barry Glendenning in a beach hut obdormivitWe like you really, Barry Glendenning.

Home Kit
“Stripes man, loads of fecking stripes.Wooooh!  And hoops, yeah. Stripes and hoops. Groovy. And those oblong things, wossnames”. “Seriously, is there any of that stuff left?”

Last Season: Relegated big time, but then “Division 1 South is more, like, real.”

Whyteleafe Supporter
You Again?

13/8/16 First Game -Chipstead away.

Predicted League Position: 9th

Molesey

Molesey
http://www.moleseyfc.com/
Twitter

I did an entirely factual thing about Molesey last season so there’s that.

All I can get out of their website at time of writing is a blank white page and a whirly buffering thing. I haven’t got all day. Jeez.

13/8/16 First Game -East Grinstead @ home.

Predicted League Position: 9th

Ramsgate

Ramsgate

http://www.ramsgate-fc.co.uk/
Twitter

Far Far Away, donkey.

Goat, whatever.

“Had a rendezvous with Janet/ Quite near the Isle of Thanet”. Look it up kids.

13/8/16 First Game -Guernsey @ home.

Predicted League Position: 9th

Sittingbourne

Sittingbourne
http://www.sittingbournefc.co.uk/
Twitter

Have a look at what I said about East Grinstead’s website. Then have a look at Sittingbourne’s. See what I mean?

The Twitter page says “Sittingbourne FC are a football club based in Sittingbourne”. Thank Heaven you cleared that up, Mr Effing Holmes.

13/8/16 First Game -Cray Wanderers away.

Predicted League Position: 2000th

South Park

SouthPark

http://www.southparkfootballclub.co.uk/
Twitter

Trust me, they’ve heard it all before. This is Reigate, not Colorado.
Their ‘keeper is just big-boned.

Average attendance: 1

13/8/16 First Game – Hastings away.

Predicted League Position: 9th

Three Bridges

ThreeBridges
http://www.clubwebsite.co.uk/threebridgesfootballclub
Twitter

From the website: “Three Bridges FC is the No. 1 non-League semi-professional Football Club in Crawley”.

Consider yourselves pwned, The No.2 non-League semi-professional Football Club in Crawley. Nyah.

13/8/16 First Game -Chatham @ home.

Predicted League Position: 9th

Tooting & Mitcham Utd

Tooting
http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/tootingmitchamunited/

For Twitter get onto RogerRamone rather than the official Twitter feed which someone set up, followed 7 people then forgot about.

13/8/16 First Game -Herne Bay @ home.

Predicted League Position: 9th

Walton Casuals

http://www.waltoncasuals.com/
Twitter

According to their website “the Stags now boast over 450 youth players”. That many, they probably play Shrove Tuesday football rather than the dull version we’re used to.

Groundsharing with Whyteleafe this season. I hope they’ll be very happy together.

13/8/16 First Game -Faversham @ home.

Predicted League Position: 9th

Whyteleafe

WhyteleafeOfficial
http://www.theleafe.co.uk/
Twitter

I dealt with this lot last season .

If there were any justice Whyteleafe would be moved to the Southern League so they had to go to Devon all the time. That’d Harsh their Smug.

We love you really. It’s just we’re going to build a wall around Whyteleafe, and THEY’RE GOING TO PAY FOR IT.

Club motto “Qui Curat?”

13/8/16 First Game -Corinthian Casuals away.

Predicted League Position: 38th

 

The Ryman League

Its proper name is the Isthmian League. It used to be an amateur league for clubs in and about London, but now it’s a semi-pro league in the South East, at a level equivalent to (or even better than) the old Southern League. Ryman have sponsored it for years now because Theo Paphitis actually likes his football, proving that some rampant capitalist bastards are only rampant capitalist bastards most of the time. (Disclosure: he bought me a pint once but never knew it). I remember when it was the Rothmans’ Isthmian League ‘cos I’m old.

The Ryman Isthmian League

Yer fixtures.

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From Rye to Winchelsea & back in the Footsteps of Ford Madox Ford

“Thirty years ago or so Henry James lived at Rye. I had a house at Winchelsea” (Ford Madox Ford, “Return to Yesterday”, Chapter 1.

“Winchelsea stands on a long bluff, in shape like that of Gibraltar.” (ibid, Chapter 2)

It seemed a good idea to walk across the marshes from Rye to Ford’s house at Winchelsea one summer afternoon, in the footsteps of Henry James and Ford Madox Ford, so last weekend I did.

IMG_20160703_135827
View towards Winchelsea

It’s an easy flat walk, except the last bit up to the town.

IMG_20160703_142536
“There is only one Winchelsea, and there is no place like it, no place that so effectually and so pleasantly teaches us the lesson that we most need in these days of hurry and forgetfulness.” Ford, from the Introduction to his “Cinque Ports”.

Put another way, I saw two people this Sunday afternoon in July: there was a chap sitting outside the church and a man washing his car.

 

IMG_20160703_143542

Down past the church and almost leaving town, is Ford Madox Ford’s house:

“The Bungalow was in fact a small house, built for his retirement by the first governor-general of Canada ‘in exact imitation’, Ford said, ‘of a Canadian (clap board) framed house.’ It had a verandah, across the front, now gone, over which hops grew and on which Ford and Conrad sat talking in the warm summer nights. It was later enlarged by Elsie and later still was bought by an old school friend of Ford’s, Charles Kinross, who in 1955 had a plaque commemorating Ford put on the front. Now called The Little House, it is, despite alterations, more or less as when Ford and Elsie lived there.” (Alan Judd, “Ford Madox Ford”)

The plaque, in the style of the well-known Blue Plaques, is over the front door. It has been painted over.

IMG_20160703_143715

No plaque over this house, No 5., which is where Joseph  Conrad lived. It is almost opposite. (There is a bit of my finger top left which I have left unedited for reasons of authenticity and laziness).

 

 

 

IMG_20160703_144241

Out through the Strand Gate as I wanted to go back to Rye by another path.

The gates at Winchelsea are much-photographed, but one more won’t hurt.

Down the hill, turn right and head for Winchelsea Beach, a recent settlement that’s only possible since the waters receded. Where the road goes sharp right we carry straight on…

 IMG_20160703_152342

… back towards Rye via Camber Castle which has nothing to do with Ford or Conrad, but which was built by Henry V111. (I expect he had help).

 

 

 

IMG_20160703_152620

 

The present custodians are not much interested either way.

I won’t burden this with lots of links – Wikipedia is your friend! – but www.winchelsea.net is full of goodies. Thanks to the people behind that.

Ford Madox Ford’s best-known books are “The Good Soldier” and “Parade’s End” (which is actually 4 books but usually sold in a single volume these days). “The Good Soldier” seems as though it is going to be a late-Victorian tale of morals and manners, but as the body-count rises… I won’t spoil it for you. “Parade’s End” is a masterpiece.

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10 things you never knew about Molesey FC that will BLOW YOUR MIND!

1)They  have one of those crappy Pitchero websites: it looks like this:

Capture

2) This season’s leading scorer is Diego Pele Imbrahimovich with 9: he’s a bit crap but Gary wants to sign him so shush.

3) Where the fuck is Molesey anyway?  Uganda, Tasmania, who the hell knows?

4) This is their ground, says Google Maps: nice gates.

moleseyfc

I didn’t go, so that’s all I’ve got. We lost 2-1, but there were only  88 people there, so keep it quiet.

5) They were promoted last season, so well done them.

6) According to their Wikipedia page their away kit is all white with a big question mark on the back.

molekit

Looking forward to seeing that.

7) The stadium was used for the filming of some of the scenes in Bend it Like Beckham, it says here. Cool. My mate says they play like girls too, but he’s a BIG SEXIST BASTARD WITH MOOBS.

8) Actually, can I take a rain-check on 8-10? I’ve run out of puff. This will probably do anyway.

Regards

Tony Incenzo*

*not Tony Incenzo

 

 

Today’s visitors.

@whytleafefc

Last season I accused Whyteleafe of not having a Twitter account, but they swiftly pointed out that I was wrong. What they actually didn’t have was a Twitter account worth reading, which is different, and I’m happy to correct my error.

Whyteleafe is somewhere near Croydon apparently. Whatever.

Capture
Here it is.

Club History

Whyteleafe FC was formed in 19-something when Whyteleafe Albion merged with Whyteleafe Sparta, and then nobody bothered about it very much for 20 years or so.

Interestingly*, in 1898 Whyteleafe Sparta were briefly notorious for “earning” the first recorded “dodgy pen”when Alf Pubes “went down all-too easily” under “pressure” from a Tooting defender.

In 1984 Wyteleafe FC applied for a licence to be Any Good, but 2 years later it was revoked due to abusing the privilege, and they have consequently not been allowed to be Any Good since. Hence here they are at The Pilot Field today rather than at, say, The Hawthorns, I expect.

We have to say this

A very warm Pilot Field welcome to the officials, players and supporters (if any) of Whyteleafe FC, and we hope they have a miserable time, get wet, and then get stuck behind a lorry on the A21.

 

*look up “interesting”, then you decide.

London’s clubland.

Edited on 2/2/17 to make -marginally- more sense.

George Orwell described “The Moon Under Water“, an ideal pub. The
ideal having now been fully achieved, thanks to JD Wetherspoon, may blessings be upon him, we now seek the perfect club.

thing

Come with me to my afternoon wonderland in London’s prestigious Tower
Bridge Road area, in which you may wish to join the the lurid clientelle in
their perusal of back-numbers of The London Review of Books and in quoting Fernando Pessoa* at each other. Assisted by the Green Fairy, (or The Brown Arsehole), and forming  a foreground to the migraneous lights of the fruit machine – whose jackpot is
exchangeable at the bar for Hay Festival vouchers – they may raise their red-ringed opiated eyes to the enormous Big-Brotherish portrait of Lucy Worsley above the inglenook, whose eyes do not merely follow you around the room, but actually seem to pursue.

worsluck

Overcome betimes by all this gorgeousness and intellectual rigour, we slide bonelessly from our brown plastic faux-leather banquette to the welcoming, nay, grinning carpet, and as we adopt the classic yoga postion “The Collapsed Wanker”, Lucy appears to wink coquettishly.

Anyway that’s another day gone.

 

* “I'd woken up early, and I took a long time getting ready to exist.” 
The Book of Disquiet