On Friday 23 February we will be sending to the second Partisan Post newsletter to our fan club members. Last month on the launch edition we had an interview with the might Pete Fowler, a Benny’s Babbies inspired playlist from Birmingham 81, fan club competition for a stunning CWS artefact, exclusive artwork and more!

Before the release of the second post we wanted to share this piece from monthly columnist PJ Smith aka Roy. Connect Four was the first in this new series from our Liverpool correspondent and star of the 2024 annual alongside Neville Southall. We absolutely love Roy’s writing and vibes over here in the office, his second piece lands on Friday and you’ll need to signed up to the Partisans fan club to receive it in your inbox. Keep reading below.

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By Roy

We all need a bit of connection, don’t we? Whether we want it is a whole other matter, like. I bang on about it a lot. I know I need it. Sometimes I just can’t be arsed though. There are different levels. Some will get us through certain scenarios in life, at certain times.  Off the top of my head, here are four examples:

Level one: Rituals and cliches. The obvious ones are for when we’re at the barbers, hairdressers or in a taxi (I think all taxis should come with an option of whether the passenger is up for talking or not, as putting your headphones on and/or staring at your phone doesn’t seem to work). The weather, the footy, the telly, the local goings on. We’re just passing ten minutes. It’s safe. Nothing bad can happen, can it?

Level two: Facts and information. Moving up a bit, it’s still safe but can get a bit more interesting. What school you went to, what you do for a job, a bit about your background. This level is good for when you’ve got a job interview, or you’ve joined a new group, maybe a new friendship or relationship? We’re still safe here. It’s ok. There’s no real disagreement to be had. Safe is comfortable. Can comfort lead to boredom, irritability and resentment?

Level three: Ideas, opinions and judgements. Hmmm. Not sure I want to share these. Deffo not to a taxi driver. This person I’ve sat by at work, see at the match, drink in same pub as? We can just stay at level one and two, can’t we? We don’t know who they vote for? Got no idea how they feel about people seeking asylum? What’s their stance on drug addicts? What music are they into? Could take a risk? Share our thoughts? Ask them theirs? Bit risky. What if it’s completely different to ours? We might identify? Sometimes we just know. Certain topics will either be avoided or will end up being order of the day. The risk is bigger, but the payoff might be aswell?

Level four: Feelings and emotions? Urgh. Every fucker over-shares these days. Fuck that. There’s an alternative. It’s just being genuine. Happiness is a by-product of authenticity. It feels nice when we tell the right people in our lives how we feel. Whether we’re revealing a vulnerability or proclaiming how and why we’re buzzing.

“Your art is amazing and it makes my life better”

“Thank you for helping me when I needed it most”

“I really enjoy your company. Can we spend more time together?”

“I want to take responsibility for what happened. I fucked up and want to put it right”

“You are the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?”

I’ve done all five of the above. Absolutely terrifying. There’s a time and a place for everything. I’m no expert though. I’m stuck at level one with my Dad. I invited him over to mine a few years back, with the intention of getting to know a bit more about him. His story. His family. His upbringing. I just kept repeating the mantra DON’T MENTION THE FOOTY. DON’T MENTION THE FOOTY. DON’T MENTION THE FOOTY in my head.

Then I answered the door and said “See the match?”

Whatever level you’re at, you’re alright. They all help us at different times. There’s a secret level but it’s off this particular scale. It’s all too much. Ask someone who works at a gym about conspiracy theories.

No, don’t. Honestly. It’s level zero. Start at one, you’ll be fine.

What’s my point? Not sure. Just that things can be terrifying, really. Life. It can also be very rewarding. Is that a motto? Life is a terrifying buzz? Nah, not catchy enough.

PS As a rule, connection is a two way thing. However, if you see Lee Anderson on your telly, just shout the words “Fucking Prick”. It’ll feel gorgeous.

This article has been soundtracked by Jonathan Wilson’s debut album, Gentle Spirit.

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