Been feeling a lot like this recently.
Friday, July 29, 2011
Melbourne people! Consider yourselves cordially invited to this. Royal Ace are fucking rad and Australia's best, and perhaps only, Misfits tribute band, The Pissfits, will be tearing faces wide open from 12.20! Come down and be a part of the magic!
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
My Grandad Tom was a big boxing nut in his younger days back in the 40's through till the 70's and though he liked pretty much all of the "greats" he always used to say Marciano was the best.
"He'd come at 'em with the lot, Joe" He'd say, fists raised to his face like he was about to go a round with me right there in the kitchen.
Now bear in mind he was 6'4", 100kg give or take of old muscle from working on machines that are just about as heavy as machines get, and in his early 70's mind you, while I was a stringy teenager and all of about 60kg soaking wet through.
"He'd clobber 'em, Joe, He'd clobber 'em round after round and he wouldn't go down no matter how hard they hit him. You could hit him with your left, right, they'd hit him with the stool they were sittin' on inbetween rounds and he wouldn't go down. And every round you're getting more tired, weaker, you can't stand let alone fight, but Rocky? He'd get meaner, his punches seem to get harder, he never got tired, Joe, he'd swing these big hammers at you until he knocked your head off, Joe." I can still hear his thick Midlands accent and his low guttural tone, from years working in coalfaces, mines, and asbestos lined factories. (He has had Bronchial problems ever since I can remember and I'm 25, but this guy is unkillable.)
His passion for boxing stayed with him all through my childhood. He would talk about watching Ali fight Foreman, and Cooper. He'd talk about how modern boxing had lost all the power and energy that it had back then, a point easily disputable, but as a young kid I wouldn't even dream of stopping him mid-flow. He'd talk about those fights as if they happened yesterday night. He remembered how it made him feel to watch Henry Cooper connect and put Ali on the canvas. He remembered the deafening crowds at the Rumble in the Jungle, so loud that the commentators were screaming over the noise of the thousands of fight fans. But most of all he remembered Rocky Marciano, lurching forward like some kind Frankenstein's monster, absorbing punishment and waiting to throw big right hand and put sommebody to sleep. No finesse. No dance. No shuffle. Just brute force and an iron chin.
Later, when my Dad was first dating my Mom the old man would call round at hers on a Saturday night to find My Grandad Tom in the lounge room, Fish and chips on his lap and a pint in hand. He'd be watching Grandstand or Wide World of Sports and there would be some fight or another on. My Dad would be terrified. A skinny teenager like I was, waiting to take his sweetheart out for the night as her gigantic father, with hands like shovels, throws punches at the air, swinging his shoulders, bobbing and weaving. I've been told that Nan would come into the room between rounds and waft him down with a teatowel. I would give anything to be able to see these visits, to watch his fandom and passion in its prime.
I have the stories he told me as a child but unfortunately my Grandad won't talk about boxing much anymore. He has fairly far along Alzhiemers that makes him forget things here or there. So instead he refuses to talk sometimes to prevent himself from sounding foolish. And he's not so big anymore, he is pushing 90 years old and him and my Nan live a quiet life in their little house in the Town they've always lived in, and that I grew up in. He looks pretty frail you could say, like many old men do as they push on toward having been on the planet for a whole century, something that less and less of us will do, so it goes.
But when they play an old fight on the TV, his gaze is fixed, his chin drops and his shoulders bunch. His fingers flex and his fists clench as he shifts in his seat, looking for that opening.
Waiting for a knockout.