Saturday, 3 November 2007

East Will Always Be East

East will always be east for lovers of freedom
By Russell Brand

EAST EAST East London. EAST EAST East London. It's a simple enough chant, a peculiarly forceful and evocative ditty only relevant in the minute context of Upton Park for West Ham's home games and for tiny allocated corners elsewhere when away. I mention it only in an attempt to popularise the lyric as the two "EASTS" that precede "East London" were immolated by a copy reader at the publisher of my forthcoming autobiography My Booky Wook - serialised in this paper a week Monday.

I was describing my early visits to the Boleyn ground with my Dad, and put ". . . on weekend trips to EAST EAST East London. . ." as a coded message to the claret and blue army. This was taken by the copy reader as evidence that she was dealing with the absent-minded doodlings of a mental patient and she swiftly exorcised the sentence of its charm so it reads simply ". . .trips to East London. . ."

Now of course my autobiography, like the homework of a recalcitrant berk, was handed in about 20 seconds before the book was due to go to print meaning there was no time for this error to be corrected. I suppose this lady, having read a substantial portion of the booky wook by this stage, had due cause to suspect she was not editing the work of an infallible literary force and having weathered a torrent of evidence of insanity took this to be a kind of needless outburst of Tourettic orienteering lingo rather than a sweet nod to a menacing chorus. These things happen. A trivial, accidental injustice that has speared its way into the malignant core of my creativity and lanced the tumour of furious perfectionism that festers therein. These things happen. I suppose it doesn't really matter - it wasn't the defining sentence of the book - but it's difficult to quarrel with one's own feelings, and I feel browned off.

That big, lovely, bald Honey Monster of a man Martin Jol apparently experienced similar duress when at the Lane, he endured Damien Comolli giving him an unwelcome reach-round while he was trying to bring his squad to climax. Jol revealed that he planned to bring Manchester City hits Elano and Martin Petrov (It's easy to say that now, I've always loved Sven myself, never once suggesting that he joined England players in the post-match bath wearing soggy knickers) to Spurs but Comolli brought in players that would have long-term commercial re-sale value like Darren Bent (we'll all be rich, I tells ya) and Adel Taarabt.

It can't be much fun trying to manage a Premier League team of teenage millionaires while the club chairman and director of football (which is a job title to undermine a manager's control if ever I heard one - "Don't mind me, I'll just be here directing the football") stand just behind you pulling "spaz" faces and doing "wanker" signs. Why not just turn up at first-team training sessions and stick Post-its on Martin's back reading "I want my Mummy" or put cards in phone boxes with his mobile number and "I will bend over for cash" written on them.

The only way to run a Premier League club is as a dictatorship. Witness the top flight's own Stalin and Mao, Ferguson and Wenger, answerable to no one, sat beyond reproach atop the power pyramid of their respective clubs, Titans answerable only to God and their own consciences. May I just point out that I'm not implying that either man is genocidal, it's simply not called for in their line of work, but I can't imagine Sir Alex would take kindly to anybody abbreviating his autobiography - although his life isn't littered with evidence of instability, unless he really did throw that shoe at David Beckham and even that's not as bad as the ice pick that Trotsky had to contend with just for trying his hardest.

So, try and use EAST EAST East London as often as you can till it's as popular an idiom as Whassuup! Or Milf. Make sure you find an appropriate situation, though, or people will think you're nuts.

Guardian column

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