ODD ROWS AND PUNCH UPS
By Brian Hall
Wednesday 14 Sep 2011 08:53:00
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Certain rows and punch-ups are entirely predictable. A football derby between Mags and Mackems, or Celts against Gers. Same in politics and protests. A union demo clashing with the police, politicians arguing with each other with nobody else listening to them,  and of course, the Always Get One character in a pub, who after 3 pints thinks he is Mike Tyson, only to find that his aggressive behaviour leads to someone responding to him, which ensures that he looks like somebody who has just met Mike Tyson.

 

Less predictable clashes are far more interesting and often hilarious. Take religion. Obviously rows surrounding that have taken place since time immemorial, but certain ones are quirky to say the least. Only last week, a rumpus broke out in Berwick between Anglicans and Jehovas Witnesses. The latter bunch wanted to move their building from the West End of Tweedmouth into the centre, but the local Vicar came out with the ultimate insult - he said they were not Christians. Now , I am no Witness, to say the least, but that sounds like saying a Mag is not a proper footy fan. All hell, if you pardon the phrase, broke loose, and the Anglican character was overruled.            

 

This clash pales into insignificance, though, compared to the one which took place in Jerusalem 3 years ago. That one involved a proper punch up, with blows exchanged between supporters of the same religion. It was the annual pilgrimage of representatives  of the Eastern Orthodox Church to their holiest shrine. Peace, and the message of Christ, naturally, reigned supreme - until one bunch, an Armenian group, tried to lead the ceremony in the building ahead of the Greeks and another lot. Result. Pitched battle. You had to laugh, when you saw clips of an old Bishop hoying himself into the fracas, and priests battling with each other, armed with holy mitres, incense holders, and belts. The following year saw high levels of security - but the fighting simply took place further down the road. Shades of Newcastle v Sunderland, I suppose.

 

Then, we had the fight the other week - at the Opera in London. Scuffles broke out on the operatic terraces, and the match - involving the performance of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra - was temporarily halted. A group of Palestinian protesters had managed to get into this posh place, and after chanting broke out, clashed with the normal home fans at the OperaHouse. In my younger years, I well remember the days of getting into the away end, but at the Opera!!!!?

 

Aye, fierce rows can take place anywhere. I remember one at the prestigious annual debate held by Durham University, where the Great and Good of Academia dae a bit waffling on, before retiring for good wine and very good cheese. One year saw the wine and cheese used to finish off a battle. A good friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, was a Senior Lecturer there, but was very much a South Shields man and proud of his poor upbringing. On stage, he was accused, amongst other things, of being a male chauvinist pig who did not understand the working classes, by Bea Campbell, then a famous feminist writer and academic. Scenes behind the curtain afterwards saw wine being hoyed about the place, along with bits of cheese, much to the embarassment of the Great and the Good. 

 

It seems that not even the most modern technological advances are immune from unlikely rows and punch ups. Sure, many a row breaks out via a mobile text, facebook message, or twitter. But this is nowt compared to one unexpected clash between 2 robots. Honestly, 2 robots!! A massive breakthrough was recently made by researchers, which allowed these machines to have a conversation with each other. The experiment took place. They introduced themselves by their first names, and seemed to be getting on fine - until one called the other a robot, and the other one took great offence, claiming that he was not a robot. I am not kidding!!

 

Finally, two unlikely clashes over sport. I once saw a domino game lead to 2 characters being separated by a crowd. Again, that can occasionally happen, but these 2 were a very canny age, played each other regularly, drank together, and had fought together in the Second World War. Topsy and Tucker, they were called, were trying to unleash their sticks against each other over allegations of a marked domino.

 

The other one amused me. Back to clashes between Mags and Mackems. Ah, you all say, definitely nowt new about that. But this one took place in my Mam's sheltered housing home lounge in Shiney Row. No participant was aged under 75, but it led to many not speaking to each other for a good couple of weeks or so. Old Fred, a Mag, was blamed for incitement, but denied the charges, claiming Old Joan had provoked the Mags.

 

tarah and have a peaceful day without rowing with anybody, or indeed, getting involved in an unexpected punch up.

 

 

Bry

 

 

must dash - gannin to church, onto the opera, then up to the university, to a conference on robotic technology, followed by dominoes, and a visit to a sheltered housing home.                                  wish me luck - I have had too many broken noses, arms, and noses, in my lifetime, to end up with an unexpected injury...tarah, again



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