I, Ludicrous were a two-piece consisting of John Prockter and David Rippingale that came together in South London through a shared love of Crystal Palace and The Fall. Formed in 1985, their greatest moment came on their 1992 album Idiots Savants in the form of a five-minute sinister, synth-led epic about being a football supporter called “We Stand Around”. The song was named Single Of The Week in NME by guest reviewers New Order despite only being available in Germany.
The lyrics are a masterful celebration of the essential pointlessness of terrace culture and football fandom, as this extended excerpt demonstrates:
We stand around in wind and rain, locked in voluntary,
All ages, all male, all swearing, all cold.
We sing and sway we punch the air,
We chant out names, we seek a wave,
In pens we huddle in corners too,
We shout out names we shout abuse.
We travel every Saturday,
We go wherever we play and pay,
spending money we cant afford,
We are the fans we go everywhere.
In groups of two we punch the air,
We sing and sway and dance and swear
We taunt the home fans humorously
The policemen eye us with ill disguised contempt.
We buy the fanzine its a con
Written by some Oxford don
who thinks he knows what’s going on.
But we know everything.
We know how much the players earn
where they live what they drink,
What happened on the Swedish tour
and why the right back was transferred.
We make a scene in every town
Our accents sting our voices loud
Old ladies in shop doors cower
We are the fans we have power?
Some have scars of well aimed boots
Some wear scarves some wear boots
The police escort eyes with ill disguised contempt
The video directed by Prockter that accompanied this minor classic has recently been put on You Tube and, like the song, is a beautiful evocation of football supporting in the late 1980s and early 1990s (the era, incidentally, when I began to attend matches). The opening sequence of floodlights and barbed wire – a typical sight at football grounds of the time – belong firmly to a different era, and here also are the crumbling stadia, the fanzines, the cheap programmes, the train journeys and the aggro. It’s a fine song and a brilliant video: enjoy.
For more on I, Ludicrous and football see this by Educated Left Foot.