So Monday night and me and the missus headed of to The Liverpool Echo Arena to go and see Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds. We had a couple of drinks in town and a scran and headed over to The Albert Dock but all the bars where chokka so we headed into the arena to watch the end of The Super Fury Animals. Whilst walking by the Albert Dock you could tell we were getting nearer to the venue as we spotted the not so rare sighting of the “lesser spotted Liam tit” that is men in their 40’s with a daft Gallagher haircut. You know the one where the extended side hair that is that long it starts to curl up a bit at the end. With the 90’s being the decade of my youth and young adulthood who out of us didn’t like Oasis ? Fast forward over 20 years and Noel Gallagher is now on his second solo album and what an album it is “Chasing Yesterday” one of my fave albums of 2015. Haven’t only caught Oasis on their last tour I was a bit worried about what would go on in my standing speck as last time I watched the throwing of ale and who knows what else in the standing area from a seat in the gods at the Sheffield Arena.
So the Noel show starts and the cult of Noel Gallagher break out into a terrace style chant of “Noellll, Noellll” (This continued between most songs) Hmmm this was going as I expected though only spotted a rare throwing of ale (Piss ?) Now Noel is an excellent musician and song writer and his voice is OK and much like his Oasis back catalogue I prefer the more mellow stuff rather than the more heavy guitar based tracks. The cult of Noel Gallagher were rewarded with a few Oasis sing songs and the followers were in full voice hands raised in the air worshiping their leader. Now out of all the Oasis tracks played “Champagne Supernova” hit home for me reviving memories of having come home from Cream in some post club bliss banging “Champagne Supernova” on repeat and lying on my bed drifting off to sleep (Eventually) Sadly (My loss I know) I could just not get over the laddish culture surrounding me half expecting people to come out with “Oi Oi, lads lands, banter banter” in a cockney voice. As also expected there was no outing for my fave track on the latest album “The Right Stuff” Perhaps at 42 1/2 I am just getting too old for this lark and the big venue atmosphere. I have hated the Echo Arena since day one and hence why I went to Sheffield for the Oasis concert but to see certain artists it is the only option. Indeed I know I am getting old when at times I was paying more time to the brass section and choir hidden away at the back of the stage rather than the main artist. So for £50 for a ticket it most probably wasn’t worth it but it could be worse I could have been sitting at the very side of the stage up in the gods (Why would anybody buy a ticket there ?) We did have a boss speck not very far from the front off to the left and away from the main band of Gallagher believers who no doubt would pay a lot more to see their hero and lets face facts with the amount of hero’s biting the dust at the moment grab them whilst you can.
I was gonna post this on Tuesday but the events of the day were much more important than the ramblings of me. There is not much more to add to what has already been said. Tuesday afternoon I walked up to the Hillsborough memorial on Sudley Field and took a moment out to think of the people who had died that day, their families and friends and all the people who were at the match on that fateful day. There were some freshly laid flowers with a simple message “Finally R.I.P 26.04.2016” more tears welling up in my eyes and no more words needed.
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So as I might have mentioned me and my mates play a game by phone where when somebody dies your text the name of the person followed by arse to claim the win. We have been playing it that long that I have forgotten the reason the word arse is added onto the end. I know when out jogging and my phone goes mad or if I wake up and there are six unread texts that sadly somebody famous has died. This year my phone has been going mad. Occasionally you get ones when you look at your phone and you go “Whatttttzzzzz” Michael Jackson being one of them. Yesterday it was sadly my time to claim a win and the “Prince Arse” text was sent to the group. A few replies were “WTF” and “No Way” this was a big one. Now I will admit only ever purchasing “1999” on 7″ single and a download of “I Wanna Be Your Lover” so by no means Prince’s biggest fan. As gushing tributes were being given and news channels trying to fill up time with not many actual facts I thought I better do a social media tribute to Prince and so I donned my curly wig on top of a scouse purple bin and there it was. Not just a normal purple bin though it was the smaller of our two bins to match the petite purple musical maestro.
So the next morning in work horrified that Prince had previously pulled all his music from Spotify I remembered that Mrs Fay had a best of on our iTunes. So away I went but the sound quality was poor. Must have been when I ripped it into iTunes. Mrs Fay then informed me it was a jarg CD she bought for £3 back in the day ! Sorry Prince the least I can do is download a proper version so I purchased “Ultimate Prince” and his latest album “HITNRUN Phase Two” First to hit me was a track called “Controversy” how have I not heard this before ? I deffo need to check out Prince’s stuff in a bit more detail before 1999 (The album not the year) my fave Prince choon has always been “Alphabet St” Stuff like this is why as a rule I don’t really do mainstream new music as there is (A) so much fucking great old music to discover and (B) so much current untapped music floating about not pushed on us my talent shows and the slowly dying record labels. So I am sit here having a bevy listening to my new and old Prince choons in my purple bills eating purple quality street and have just sent a text to Purple Aki to come around so we can feel each others muscles singing “U got the look” to each other. I was waiting for the Liverpool echo who normally when somebody dies try and get some tenuous link to Liverpool such as “Prince once went Everton in a game of FIFA 99” or other such shite tinged links. But yesterday they didn’t but thank god for their in depth coverage of the death of the superb dancing, singing, guitar playing and writing Prince as without it just couldn’t of learned so much about the life and body of work or Prince and the sad death.
So other musings this week and me and the youngest were walking past Sudley Infants school whilst walking the dog and I was saying how you would be going there soon Holly and playing out at dinner time like all the other boys and girls were. She said that she would be going there with her cousins Ethan and Zach. Ethan is already in the school and she asked if he would be in the playground. I said yes shall we look for him so we did. Well with every boy decked out in a red Sudley infant school jumper I soon realised that we had created out own live and moving version of “Wheres Wally” with Ethan being the Wally. We didn’t spot Wally but might go back for a game again next Friday lunch. Thankfully I was with the dog and Holly peering into the school as otherwise I might have got arrested as part of operation yew tree !
The mind of a child is wonderful, open to imagine much more things than and adult and exact to the point. Today whilst after playing “Wheres Wally Live” we went up Sudley field and in the grounds of the museum is a sundial in memory of the people of Aigburth who died in the Hillsborough disaster. Holly asked what it was and I explained about how people boys & girls, young and old went to watch a football match and never came back. I told her 96 people died to which she replied “Thats a lot of people” my heart sank and I thought of Phil Hammond who I knew and the other 95 who never made it back. I just replied to Holly “Yes it was” She ran off to play elsewhere and I again contemplated that fateful day.
Again whilst walking the dog I heard a woman shouting Prince. Her voice became angrier and louder. A massive fan I thought coming to terms with the news but then her dog ran back to her.
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Well its been a funny old week. A week that started last Sunday with me nailing my sub five hour marathon. This was followed midweek by my contract in work being extended by 6 months and then today me and Mrs Fay ran the Port Sunlight 10k and no we weren’t a pantomime horse with Mrs Fay obviously the back end ! Anyway the 10k seemed harder than the full marathon with me starting off fast (for me) and giving it the bifters and running my fastest mile ever. So OK it wasn’t Roger Bannister’s sub four min mile but 07:48 isn’t bad for a piearse. So its two laps of a 5k course and half way I was 25:29 and on course for a PB. A final push and the usual looking like a tit sprint finish and a PB of 51:25 and now four years since my first 10k of 01:04:05. Like a fine wine I am maturing into an athlete (If you believe that you will believe anything) so all in all a week filled of positives and a happy vibe. Sadly though life doesn’t work that way and a reminder that not far away a tougher times in life with two females I know around my age being diagnosed with breast cancer and somebody else I know of my age husband being found dead in the house. It really does hammer home the reality of life and indeed how precious and taken for granted good health is. My thoughts and love to all three families involved as mentioned x x
So Friday night in the Fay household has now been designated movie night also known as six Desperados some Steak McCoys and a Twix night. This week it was the new Star Wars film. Being a big kid/techno geek there was an update to my BB8 droid I bought myself for christmas which now when you watched the film he would interact as the film played and so he did making noises lighting up and moving away in line with the film and even making sad noises during the relevant part of the film. Now as a 10 year old when Return Of The Jedi was at it height if you would have told me I would own my own droid that interacts with the film I would have said that is pure science fiction. If you would have also told me that I would have to do all kinds of jogging so as not to turn into Jabba The Hutt I would have also told you to stop talking nonsense. Time sadly marches on fast and catches up with us all. First up this week I spotted two 70 year olds playing frisbee up Sudley field. Now good on them for playing but such was their movement that any Frisbee just 2 inches away from them wasn’t being caught but thankfully they had grandchildren on hand to return the Frisbee. Returning to science fiction and the kids were just face timing their mates during half term. Again something only seen in Star Trek or something growing up the I was their age. I was lucky if me ma took the lock off the phone to try and organise meeting my mate. It would be a 10 min bike ride to then find out your mate wasn’t in or had been grounded for twatting his brother earlier on in the morning ! Never fear though as they would be out by 12 as they would be getting on their ma’s nerves and the game of footy was sorted.
Speaking of footy and I played my first game for four months on Wednesday after avoiding picking up any daft injuries when I was in full on marathon training mode. Still coming out afterwards with a face like a tomato but not out of breath I popped in the shop afterwards for a bottle of Lucozade Sport and hogging the till was a scratch card buyer. Now do us a favour mate give me all your money you can scratch my back and I will shout out random numbers and if you match three I will occasionally give you half your money back. This will (A) save you money and (B) save millions of people around the world time as you fucking hog a till though you will never be as bad as the females who put all their goods into bags after waiting in a queue for 10 mins but then remember oh shit I need my purse thus wasting an eternal time rummaging through a handbag with TARDIS like tendencies despite looking small on the outside has the capacity of a large container ship.
So another health kick tomorrow as now on my 7th day using the excuse “I have 4673 calories to eat from last sundays exercise” I can safely say they have been consumed. So I leave you with a picture of my bling. Yes I am so shallow its the main reason I run these races. Never fitted into a technical t-shirt yet you get after a race. Now onto my second row and hopefully a few more to get this year looking possibly at the Chester Half Marathon in May.
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Different year, same blog (ish)
So the 15th of April comes around yet again and its a day I dont look forward to. 15/04/1989 and its now 27 years since Liverpool fans went to Hillsborough for a F.A.Cup semi final and 96 of them died. I didnt go the match that day but had friends who did and I still remember making the phone calls that evening wondering what I would do if I heard any bad news. All my close friends made it back. There was however one lad who I played football with who did not. His name was Philip Hammond. He was only 14 and I has played in teams with him from Sudley juniors through to APH. He was a good player, that good that he was in the year below us but often played with my year. Hid dad Philip Hammond Senior has been a tireless campaigner for justice for those fans. It’s nice to see Calderstones school name their sports hall after Phil and I have had a bit of contact with his younger brother Graeme on Twitter and my thoughts are with him and his family and the other families today. What a shocking waste of a life and as I get older both as a person and a parent I can feel the pain that the families have suffered both of the tragedy and the 27 year fight for justice. But sadly still many people need educating about the facts of Hillsborough though with the ever increasing fight for justice many people have learned the truth and taking place for many many months is Hillsborough inquest in Warrington which has already some emotional moments with the individual tributes to all the victims and justice is now just around the corner after the long hearing in Warrington. Just remember don’t buy the sun.
As if by some cruel twist of fate 15/04/2006 came around and after battling cancer for the best part of 10 years my mum finally died after some time in a hospice. She was brave to the end and went through so much in those 10 years and I grab the positives that she seen me get married, and have our eldest Elizabeth. I can’t quite believe it is now 10 years since that day forever etched in my mind. It pains me that she never got to see Charlotte, and time does heal things a bit but certain dates stick out. I often think what she would have made of the kids growing up (So fast) and its heartbreaking that every body has missed out, the kids, me and my mum. Both my daughters have Lillian as a middle name after my mum so they will always remember nana. In 2012 we had another daughter born in early April called Holly who never got to see nana and also my mums mum is no longer here as well and Holly has her name Eillen (poor girl) as a middle name. Added to the misery is that my dad has now joined the great Fay/Roper party in the sky. Nobody prepares you for losing a parent and when the second one bites the dust it made me re-evaluate my life, a process which is still happening. No longer anybody to look up to and ask questions. All of a sudden you become technically an orphan. I had been giving Thatcher stick in an old blog but her daughter hit the nail on the head by saying “It is a deeply sad and rather thought-provoking landmark in life.” Talking about losing a second parent. Now I am leader of the pack with a massive hole in the family make up. Just a short blog today to remember my mum and those footy fans who went to see a match but never returned.
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So Sunday morning and all set to go for the 40th Greater Manchester Marathon and my attempt at getting under five hours. On approach to the official car park it soon became apparent that I was going to have to get out and walk to the start line and baggage area. So out I hopped out and took my bag with me as it was a bit chilly and a decent walk to the start and with The Theatre Of Dreams in the distance off I headed. After walking around the ground and through “The Munich Tunnel” I took a moment to pause and think of the knob heads who still chant and sing about that disaster. So I was at the start line in time but not the baggage area (Some 15 mins more walk away plus any queue time) So would I hide my bag somewhere or try and pass it onto somebody to take for me. I spotted a couple with the fella getting ready but his bag had a baggage tag on but she wasn’t too keen to take mine as she was unsure she would go to the baggage area. Fair enough. I had spotted a building site to throw by bag over and then my 64 year plus father in law could climb over later and get to for me if it hasn’t been had off. Here I spotted an elderly gentleman on his own but with a bag with a tag on. I asked him if he would be so kind and take my bag down to the drop off. He said OK and I insisted he put his name and address in the bag so I could send him a gift to which he said don’t be silly. It was now 2 mins to the start so I headed off to the start line rushed, stressed and wondering if I would ever see my bag again. As it was The Greater Manchester Marathon I was running and I had walked through Old Trafford my running hat was suitably armed with an understated badge of scouse.
So wth the chaos of car parking off I went and to be honest I spent about the first five mile wondering if I would ever see my bag again and working out what was in it (Adidas trackie top, £20, iPhone charger and wire and a few other things I wasn’t too arsed about) It was too late now and having spotted the in-laws ar five miles all was going well on a lovely sunny day with a bit of a breeze and I was running a touch faster than planned but thought I would go with it as I find it hard to run slower. So the course headed out to Altrincham (My first ever game at Anfield was vs Altrincham in the third round of the FA Cup in 1981) Next up was Timperley and as expected I spotted a Frank Sidebottom. Around 15 miles and a few aches and mental issued including wanting to stop as others were. I had done 22 miles in training without stopping So I insisted to myself “come on lard arse get to 22 and see if you want a rest” By this time I could consume no more Jelly Babies I was armed with as I just couldn’t chew them. So I plodded onto 22 miles and at the water station took a rest and walked a bit. Perhaps I should have took my mates advice and banged on a Liverpool kit at 22 miles and got legged for the last four miles. There were a few people walking by now and a few people had taken the knock with the sound of ambulances en route. I decided like my first marathon effort I wasn’t going to kill myself and all was looking good for the sub five hour target. I must admit them last four miles were tough when I was running but I could still have a decent pace walking. Soon the finish line was in sight and I focused on a large sausage roll on the horizon.
I had enough in the tank to run about the last half mile and agonisingly about 400m from the finish line a man was being loaded up into an ambulance with what looked like a serious hamstring problem how heartbreaking. In the zone and not noticing my family at the finish I made it in a time of 04:48:31 and under the five hour target and well under 2012’s effort of 05:10:34. A perfect race and I was triumphant. Just the matter of my bag now and into Lancashire Cricket Club I went.
The end of the race was a bit chaotic and the free bevy was alcohol free (What is the point of that ? ) But I was the proud owner of a 40th Greater Manchester Marathon medal. Time to queue up for my bad. The queue looked big so I thought I would let it go down a bit and we sat in the stands of the cricket club in the sun. I went on a rekky and the bag queue was massive and I mean massive ( 2 hours for some people) My legs were slowly stopping working and there was no way I could physically queue up that long and nothing might be there. So Mrs Fay took my number and said she would pop back later as her and the kids were in Manchester that evening anyway so off home I headed. Mrs Fay popped back and the queue had grown. She went to the front and explained about my possible bad drop off and it wasn’t worth queuing for near two hours with two kids to be told there was no bag. The kind Steward checked and the bag had been dropped off and he came back with it. So out of the chaos came the second result of the marathon. I do feel sorry for those who had to wait though. If Mrs Fay would have had to queue once the bag was confirmed I did tell her just to leave it and we would sort something out. I hope the very kind random man has out his name and address in the bag as I will send him a gift.
So post race I was soon home and elated over my time and bag. I even managed to get a shower which is a good sign. Even my nipples had come through unscathed thanks to again another random person a few weeks before when he overheard me on a train who told me to buy a certain tape. There was pain pulling the tape off and next door might have been wondering what I was up to in the shower. I didn’t escape some chaffing though and my bum cheeks took the brunt today for some reason though I only discovered this via stinging in the shower !! I think my big toe nail is on the way off but as they say no pain no gain.
So only getting to 22 miles before stopping made me realise my 17 stone frame isn’t built to run 26 miles non stop and not to mention my very poor diet so that is that no more marathons for me and weekends are back to family life from now on though I will still do half marathons and accept my Rio Olympics dream of 2016 is over. After some persuasion I did do the race for sponsorship Just Giving Neil Fay(Or click banner at the bottom of the page) and I am on £438.15 of a target of £300 so many thanks to those who donated including many one pounds by text from random followers of my Twitter weather page @Liverpoolweath It was a privilege to run for Down Syndrome Liverpool and I hope to do something else for them and meet some of the kids I have ran for. If you can spare £1 Text NFAY73 £1 to 70070 to sponsor me.
Thanks to the in-laws for the lift and looking after the youngest tonight so I can get pissed and watch the golf. Thanks to all the sponsors and people who have just supported me anyway. I smell sausage rolls and Desperados. It’s been a triumph, chaos and emotional. Another one for you dad, never did beat you ha ha miss you x x
2014 Marathon Blog here “Emotional Liverpool RnR marathon review”
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(Had no energy left to proof read this so apologies for any errors)
EDIT just realised I forgot to put my Dezzies in the fridge aghhhhhh !
So a Saturday night and with a paid babysitter for the first time in history me and Mrs Fay headed off down to The Baltic triangle and the sixth edition of The Threshold Festival. Sadly we could only make it down later on missing bands like Shamona and the recommended to us Lying B*st*rds. So after picking up our festival wristbands from Unit 51. First up and we caught the last few songs by Chanel & The Circus at the Alchemy stage at Constellations. Hard to describe Chanel’s genre but the American LIPA student put on a good show and I spotted her enjoying the rest of the evenings entertainment on the dance floor. As it was a multi venue festival we thought we should head out somewhere else so headed to District again catching the tail end of a set from Kusangi. Next up were a band called Barbaros who for some reason thought I recognised the name. With two drummers set up on the front of the stage facing each other and electronics at the back when they came on I soon remembered them. All three members decked out in balaclavas and District had filled up for the hypnotic drums and synth sound that was to come. I had seen them at LIMF last year in Sefton Park on a bigger stage but this smaller more moody venue suited their music better.
Had to sadly cut short Barabos and head back up to Constellations for another band I had seen at LIMF in 2013 but has completely gone off my radar called Stony Bowder Jnr who I wanted to see. I seem to recall a different male lead singer when I watched them last time but I enjoyed their set with the song “Strike” being the highlight for me. So from balaclavas to face paint of the next band and Brighton’s very own The Slytones. With their black and white face paint again the music varied so much they are hard to nail down with a genre (I had read Pyschedelic Gospel Blues) but an energetic performance had the now growing crowd rocking and the heat had the face paint of the lead singer now showing lines of sweat dripping down vertically such was the effort put into the performance.
First up before the headline act a small set from a DJ to who’s set started of with “All that she wants” by Ace Of Base cue 90’s flashback and much later than advertised Birmingham’s mighty The Destroyers. This was the fourth time I had seen the band in Liverpool (5 if you count Glastonbury) and as ever the balkan gypsy inspired mega folk band did not let Liverpool down and Constellations was bouncing to their sound and I now after several Desperados was partaking in some dodgy Balkan themed dancing whatever that is. On reflection it was just a modern twist of my 1990’s Cream/051/Garlands clubbing dance of one hand in the air doing a “dad style” dance !! The Destroyers are still going as strong as ever and have recovered from the loss of their lead singer Paul Murphy a few years back and Paul sadly passed away a couple of months back and I will never forget those gigs in the much missed Kazimier and then newly opened Camp & Furnace in 2012. So a mixture of new and old tracks from the band and the vortex cannon was on show once again firing smoke circles into the crowd (pic below) Always great so wee a crowd lap up The Destroyers though sadly my mate Ian had bailed by this point though Alan & Janette made it to the end with me and Mrs Fay. So it was post 2am when the Balkan madness finally ended and I had hoped to talk to the band as we usually do but I was running on empty and needed to get back home before I turned into a pumpkin so never did get an early confirmation from the band for Glastonbury 2016.
So once again I had a boss time at Threshold six and must make all three days next yearend with some of the Glastonbury line up announced this week and my ticket paid for the festival season has well and truly started. Do check out Threshold next year and you can get early bird three day tickets for around a tenner !! So much diverse music to listen to and explore the cracking Baltic triangle area of Liverpool. You will be glad you did.
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