Ripping Badgers CDs
The nearly finished A to Z Charity Shop CD Challenge #4

XO (1998, Dreamworks)
Bought from Oxfam, Teignmouth for £1.50

Before I start with my normal wittering on I want to say something that is connected to Elliot Smith, and it feels wrong of me to shove down at the bottom of this page, so I’m doing it at the top.

Tim Badger was introduced to the music of Elliot Smith by a friend of his who worked with a charity called CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably. It’s a charity who are leading the fight against suicide, particularly male suicide. It’s a charity that Tim supported wholeheartedly and one that I also support and promote wherever I can. Their website is below. If you do only one thing today, before you download the music or read the rest of this page please check out their website. Thank you.

(JC adds……I thought I’d lead by example and chip in a tenner.  Seems like an appropriate way to thank SWC and the late Tim for everything).

Trev is not happy. Trev is the captain of the 5 a side that I am part of and in less than 6 days we are taking part in a work tournament. The reason that Trev is not happy is that Tony has just withdrawn from the team. Tony was pretty much our best player, despite being in his late 40s (This is about fifteen years ago) he is fitter than the rest of us, stronger than the rest of us and has more footballing talent in his left leg than the rest of the team put together. If Tony plays we stood a chance of not being humiliated.

I ask Trev why Tony has withdrawn from the team.

“He’s Injured himself changing a lightbulb, silly twat”. Its fair to say that Trev is not sympathetic. It later transpires that Tony didn’t injure himself changing a lightbulb, he fell off a ladder and ruptured his bowel and needed emergency surgery and couldn’t, at the time of this conversation, actually walk. This would still make him a better player than Trev though.

I tell Trev that I’ll ask Badger to play. Badger is, I tell him, a decent footballer, has a fairly good right foot, is as strong as an ox and I tell him with a wink, “He’ll cheat like buggery”. It will be like having a sixth player. Trev nods and tells me to sort it. Some of that might have been a lie. Badger did indeed have a good right foot. He just couldn’t kick a football with it. He will cheat though.

Badger agrees to play. At a price. It costs me a bottle of rum. A good bottle at that and I have to promise Lorna that I will help him paint their front door, which is what he should have been doing on the day of the tournament.

The tournament is on Saturday and we all meet up in the car park and Trev hands out our kit. It is red. Badger immediately complains that Arsenal play in red and its pretty much against his religion to wear anything red (this is true, Badger refused to wear anything red, he also told me that he had it written into his marriage contract that if Lorna ever bought him anything relating to Arsenal he could divorce her. She on the other hand had it written into the same contract that he could ‘never ever, buy her a novel written by someone called ‘Danielle Steel’.)

We get changed into the kit, Badger begrudgingly agrees to only wear his red top when we are actually playing, and we traipse over to the pitches. We have been put into a group with three other teams, Badger tells me he is going to go and psych out the opposition and he wanders off.

Badger’s attempts at psyching out the opposition didn’t go very well, largely because he used it as an excuse to buy a pasty from the handily placed takeaway van at the side of the pitches. We lose our first match, although that was, I think more to do with our goalkeeper, Jason, not understanding the rules of five a side. Midway through the second half with the score 1 nil to us, he comes rushing out his area to boot the ball as hard as he can in the direction of the M5 motorway and concedes a penalty, which they score. Something they do again about thirty seconds later, on this occasion, Jason lets the ball slip out of his hands and it rolls asthmatically across the line, as he lies on the ground watching it. Badger is not happy with Jason, and I decide to not tell him that Jason is an Arsenal fan.

The second and third matches do not go very well either we draw one and lose the other, I say lose, we are thrashed in the third match. I touch the ball once in the whole game and that is when it bounces off my shin and past the hapless Jason in the goal. We are out and its not even lunch time. Badger smiles and says at least we can go to the pub early. This cheers me up, that is until Trev tells us that we are entered into the penalty shoot out contest. Trev failed to mention the penalty shoot out competition.

The penalty shoot contest consists of the team taking 20 penalties in no more than ten minutes, each player has to take 4 penalties each. The team that scores the most wins a prize. It turns out that they have roped in a former Plymouth Argyle goalkeeper to try and stop the goals. Like pretty much everything connected to Plymouth, he is useless.

Which might be why we turn out to be quite good at the penalty shoot out. Badger decides to adopt the same tactic for each of his kicks, this consists of him giving the keeper the skunk eye before belting the ball at the goal as hard as he can. I adopt a more thoughtful approach of trying to place the ball in the bottom right or left corner. Weirdly both are successful as neither of us have missed any of our kicks, although the goalie was about 60. Badger tells everyone who can be bothered to listen that he based his tactic on something he read in a Hotshot Hamish comic strip once and therefore knew it would work. For the record I based my tactic on another famous Scottish footballer – Ray Stewart of West Ham.

We end up scoring 16 as a team and finish up third in the contest. We win an amazing prize for coming third, a pair of football socks, which were red.

All of which Saint and Greavsie’s inspired activity bring us to the fourth CD in the Nearly Finished A to Z Charity Shop Challenge. It is ‘XO’, by Elliot Smith. I think of penalty kicks when I see X O written down, not sure why, but that’s why I went on about football.

Badger was a huge fan of Elliot Smith, far bigger than I am, although I have to say, I love this album, and have played it regularly since the CD was lifted from the box before Christmas. If like me, you’re not really familiar with his work, this is a great way to immerse yourself into his work, the whole album is stunning. Its full of wonderfully wry lyrics, clever one liners, cries of despair all laced together with some soft beautiful melodies, like these two for instance:-

mp3: Waltz #2
mp3: Baby Britain

‘XO’ is still a heartbreaking listen at times, roughly around the time of this release Smith struggled with depression and tried suicide at least once (he threw himself off a cliff whilst drunk and impaled himself on a tree). I’m not sure if this made worse by us all now knowing how things turned out for Elliot Smith, doesn’t matter I suppose. It’s a great album, I urge you all to take the time to listen to it.

mp3: Amity


10 thoughts on “RIPPING BADGERS CDs (Part 4): ELLIOT SMITH

  1. Great to highlight CALM, they are a brilliant source of support and sadly needed more than ever. Excellent story, too. It would take a bottle of decent rum (& a pasty) to get me back on a football pitch, though I think I would only aspire to be as good as the former Plymouth Argyle goalie (or Trev in his fragile state). And as for the music, I was also introduced to Elliott Smith by a friend and I have been greatly moved by his music. An absolute bargain at £1.50.

  2. Great read, as always in this series! Wifey passes by my corner of the home office and asks what kind of work I have as I sit by the laptop with a big grin on my face…

  3. Terrific post. Haven’t been able to play five-a-side for nearly a year now and, rubbish player that I am, realise that I really miss it.

    Just to flag to your readers, a particularly neat way to support CALM right now is to head over to Come Play With Me records and buy the album Not From Where I’m Standing, a collection of James Bond covers by The Wedding Present and past present TWP/Cinerama members. It’s excellent, and all profits go to CALM.

  4. Great post, SWC, especially to this stateside Spurs fan! I’ve finished an Elliot Smith ICA, coincidentally–just set it aside for the time being until the world gets…happier.

  5. Lovely post and story SWC. With the exception of the dig at Plymouth. As an adopted Janner (30 years and counting – no accent yet), I object. Anything associated with Argyle as useless – yes. Britain’s Ocean City? Nahh! And anything that promotes the work of CALM is always welcome.
    Thanks for giving me something to enjoy on another bloody work day.

  6. A very enjoyable post and some excellent listening. Elliott Smith is one of those artists I really need to listen to more.
    Apart from the total lockdowns, I have been able to carry on displaying my increasingly dwindling footy skills as I’m part of an official veterans’ team. I take comfort that at 54, there are still 3 other players older than me.

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