Biggleswade F.C./Interview 3

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The trains clatter in Kensal Green station and traffic snorts and hoots along Harrow Road. We're here at this London graveyard to talk with Byron Bridlevale, onetime Hedgie and casualty of the fierce battle at Arecibo. We want to find out how the tragedy of WWII changed the course of Biggleswade football.


Byron Bridlevale at university (left), and in army kit a few months before his death.

Uncyc: Welcome, Byron.

Byron: Hi.

Uncyc: How do you feel, lad?

Byron: Bit hollow, you know.

Uncyc: Here, have a fairy cake. Now, you played on the Hedgies right up to the cancellation of British football at beginning of the 1939-40 season.

Byron: Righto. Hey, that cake I swallowed is falling out my shirtfront!

Uncyc: Erm, never mind that. What was the mood at Biggleswade as the 1937-38 season wrapped up?

Byron (pulling up shirt): Crikey! I got no stomach!

Uncyc: Well, they never found that bit after the bomb went off.

Byron: I got no insides at all! No wonder I feel empty -- I am empty. You... How did this happen?

Uncyc: You didn't realise?

Byron: I've been laying there, calmly and quietly waiting for the good old Lurd to snatch me up to Heaven. I haven't been concentrating 'specially on inventorying my internals. I haven't been tallying them up you know.

Uncyc: Can we talk about 1938 and the Hedgies now?

Byron (poking about inside his shirt): I'm missing everything from the lungs down. Migawd. It's 'orrible. Makes a chap feel frightfully sickish, you know. Feel like chundering.

Uncyc: Ha ha! Won't do you any good -- you've got nothing to chunder with!

Byron: You dam' rotter. 'Tisn't funny.

Uncyc: Uh, no, of course not. We're going straight to Hull for saying that joke. Not funny at all. Um, now, your mates at the time -- Softbrayne, Pinfancie, Nards -- how did they think the outbreak of hostilities would affect their careers in football?

Byron: Well now I didn't count on getting blown up now did I? Bloody impacted my career, I tell you. Impacted more than that. You know I only ever had that one girl, the dark one at Hispaniola. And she had no teeth. And no hair. And all the other fellows that come through the barracks, they had her too.

Uncyc: Don't whinge. We're here to talk about football, not your onetime love life.

Byron: You really are a rotter, you know?

Uncyc: Listen, we've had a hard day. Last interview we thought that Scots bastard was going to rip us a new one.

Byron: Well people don't always want to talk about what's on your bloody mind. Chap's got his own problems. You don't realise.

Uncyc: We're only doing our job. Can't you say something about the Hedgies?

Byron: Piss off. It's not all about you and what you want. You cunt.

Uncyc: Yeah, well, and so we're right out of time now. I hope you're happy. Any last words?

Byron (starting to deconstitute and trickle back into his grave):, if anyone ever finds any scraps of my, you know, my internals...?

Uncyc: I'll have 'em airmailed home.

Byron (from inside grave): Righto.

Uncyc (very quietly, to themselves): Damn. Perhaps we should take a different approach.

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