BY DAVID MARPLES
July 1st 2014 was a very sad day. The band responsible for the greatest football song ever packed away their guitars and called it a day. On this day, Ace Bushy Striptease ceased to exist.
Hailing from Birmingham, this five piece DIY pop-punk groupâ€™s manifesto was â€˜Short songs avoiding repetition. Girls crying into microphones.â€™ Any lover of shambling indie-pop would be smitten based on such a simple proclamation. Of course, niches arenâ€™t for everyone â€“ I guess thatâ€™s why theyâ€™re called thus â€“ but when the various members of Ace Bushy Striptease played this belter for the first time, itâ€™s easy to imagine that the occasion was marked by wide smiles, eyes agog with joy at the creation of not only a nigh on perfect pop song but better yet, a perfect football pop song – More Parts Per Milijas.
The fact that the inspiration for such a ditty is the Serbian midfielder Nenad Milijas makes the situation all the more glorious. The love for the Serb and all things Wolves stems from drummer-cum-singer Jeremy Sheppard who acknowledges from the first line how dangerously trite the conceit of the song is:
“I know itâ€™s a bore
A metaphor with an international footballerâ€
But from here on, he doesnâ€™t care since upon establishing the metaphor, heâ€™s sure as heck going to extend it. . OK, he may not be the best boyfriend, in fact he may be a very average boyfriend and even very average looking. In fact he acknowledges his own inadequacies, culminating in a haymaker of a comparison to the hardest working but most unglamorous footballer this side of James Milner:
â€œI might lack the work ethic of Dirk Kuyt but at least I havenâ€™t fucking sold out
And I hear heâ€™s doing pretty shit this yearâ€
Weâ€™re all a bit rubbish sometimes. But like everyone else, deeply buried within all of us, he is capable of moments of beauty and sheer joy.
Itâ€™s a simple enough conceit but one which captures those deep dark moments of despair that all football fans experience. The ones that gnaw away at your soul, usually punctuated with long hard stares in the mirror, questioning whether itâ€™s all worth it, especially after seeing your team get destroyed on a miserable evening at â€œPalace awayâ€. But it is worth it and the reason why this is so is for those occasional and all too infrequent moments of unadulterated glory and release:
â€œBut every now and then I could ripple your netâ€
It speaks to the everyman. As Lady Macbeth ponders aloud in considering her husbandâ€™s potential – â€œThou wouldst be great/art not without ambitionâ€ â€“ we are reminded that the sublime lies within us all, or at least, we believe this to be the case. Weâ€™ve all replayed our own finest moments in our heads a million times, no matter that it was only a 5-a-side game played after work â€“ in fact, such a fact only adds to the pathos.
In the blink of a blog post, Ace Bushy Striptease retired. Just six months later, Milijas himself left his beloved Red Star Belgrade to sign for Hebei China Fortune. Their fates seem eternally intertwined. But the legacy left by each burns bright, thus proving that longevity is all well and good but quality is to be cherished and hugged tightly.
The game is resolutely about glory and this song recognizes such ephemeral moments.
I know itâ€™s a bore
A metaphor with an international footballer
But if you gave me a chance
Iâ€™d score a thirty yard screamer
And I know sometimes I play like Palace away
But with the right first touch I could make your day
Sometimes Iâ€™m dreaming of Red Star
Sometimes Iâ€™m dreaming of Belgrade but I hear theyâ€™re pretty cold this time of year
Sometimes when stuck in suburbia
It leaves me dreaming of Serbia
But I hear itâ€™s pretty cold this time of year
I know Iâ€™m flawed
Full of mistimed tackles and dreadful cross-field balls
But every now and then I could ripple your net
And I know three million seemed a lot at the time but itâ€™s just a fraction of that twat from the Tyne
I know I donâ€™t look like a superstar
No Torres, Owen or Cantona
but I hear theyâ€™re doing pretty shit this year
I might lack the work ethic of Dirk Kuyt but at least I havenâ€™t fucking sold out
And I hear heâ€™s doing pretty shit this year
I hope you know what Iâ€™m trying to say is
While I know there are better players than me
They canâ€™t set you free
Theyâ€™ll always sing the songs of the strikers
But donâ€™t forget the Serbian midfielder
Donâ€™t forget me
Thereâ€™s more parts per Milijas
Thereâ€™s more parts per me
The video is gloriously ramshackle, featuring action shots of Dirk Kuyt, Serbian TV footage of Milijas, ten pin bowling, a Belle and Sebastian t-shirt, rubbish drawings of footballers. The song features a handclapped outro and numerous shouty bits. Thereâ€™s nothing to dislike here:
YOU CAN FOLLOW DAVID ON TWITTER @DavidMarples AND CHECK OUT THE FOREST-BASED WEBSITE HE GRACES, “IN THE TOP ONE” http://www.inthetopone.com/