7. All You Need Is Lurve


Pulse racing adventure. Tear jerking tragedy. An intellectual puzzle to invigorate the mind; all things you won’t find on these pages. However we can bring you a love story. Or should that be Lurve story?


First published in Rugby League World, Issue 437 (Sept 2017)

Dear Uncle Nigel,

Exciting news from here in the South Atlantic. Bard Island is getting its very own State of Origin game! Yes the upcoming Islanders v Incomers game will set teammate against teammate, brother against brother, wife against husband and cat against dog. The Islanders team is to be managed by Braithwaite Nesscliffe, son of Bard Barracudas owner Sir Kinton Nesscliffe (knighted for his services to manure and Rugby League… but mainly manure), with the expectation that success could lead to greater things for the tyro turd tycoon. Aiding him in his quest will be Barracudas’ captain Preston Brockhurst making his coaching debut. Opposing him though will be the titanic combination of the Barracudas very own coach “Woy Woy” Roy Woy (from Woy Woy which is apparently in Australia and not just outside Gloucester as I thought) and Bard’s favourite Yorkshireman in exile Colin Hitler. Both sides are keen to field the strongest teams possible and there has been much frantic searching of family trees, immigration records and police reports

The Barracudas’ top try scorer Dick Cressida is Bard Island born and bred (comedy acrobatic act the Flying Cressidas being among the original settlers of the island) but which side will his teammate teenage wonderboy Yatton Dinsmore pick? He was famously raised by wolves – but where did the wolves come from? Were they native wolves or were they foreign ones? (coming over here, raising our feral children…)

There are countless other intriguing questions. It’s long been rumoured that Mary, Mungo and Midge secretly hate each other. Will this lead to the Buccaneers star trio picking different sides? And what about the team carefully assembled by Hitler at the Barnacles? Johann Schnapp and Gustav Krackel, look certs for the Incomers team under the “foreign sounding names” rule but although Desmond “Wiggy” Pop, the Toupee’d Tornado, was born in Barnoldswick, his celebrated hair piece is hand woven from the fabled Bard Island wonder material Woold – and it’s rumoured that this alone could be enough to give him islander status (BTW its manufacturer – and Pop’s shirt sponsor – Raymondo’s World of Woold Wigs (motto: 100% natural, 100% convincing, 100% fireproof) have issued a statement categorically saying that whatever it is that Donald Trump has on his head, it’s not one of theirs).

Finally it’s rumoured that Nookie Bears captain Florizel Street, will be given day release to take his place in the Incomers team; an intriguing prospect given that in the recent Rowton-Wattlesborough Cup semi-final he was placed on report for using illegal wrestling moves on the man who would be his captain, Colin Hitler. (At the disciplinary hearing he escaped a ban by successfully arguing that there was nothing in the rulebook that specifically prohibited the Japanese Stranglehold). If he can’t get day release Woy Woy Roy will probably just smuggle him out of Nookie prison on match day disguised as a washer woman.

The Origins match is the brain child of local entrepreneur Peter Sandlee, who after the success of the recent Cup semi-final held at his Drenge Valley Showground has been looking for another big match to hold there. After Queensland–NSW, Wigan-Saints and Thatto Heath–Egremont Rangers all turned him down he decided to create his own. When asked by the local press about accusations that he was just making money from xenophobia and social divisions, he said it was too early to say but he did hope so.

One rule for the games agreed at the very start was that players had already to be playing on the island to qualify for either team. This means that Bard Island’s Millican and Nesbitt International Airport won’t be flooded with jobbing standoffs looking for glory (so Rangi Chase can stop looking for his passport). However one recent visitor to the airport’s VIP lounge has already had a big impact on the local game. A few weeks ago top legal expert Sir Swaffham Bulbeck QC visited the island at the behest of Colin Hitler. You probably remember Sir Swaffham for his part in the High Court ruling that under the Trades Descriptions Act no TV programme calling itself ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ could employ Piers Morgan even ironically. (Piers said he was going to appeal; Sir Swaffham said there was a first time for everything). He was here in the South Atlantic to help the Bard Island Barnacles challenge their 15 point deduction in the Championship for fielding an ineligible penguin. The meeting that he attended was behind closed doors (mainly to keep the draft out) but when he came back out not only had the Barnacles had their points restored but they also had a £50 voucher to spend at Pizza Express. This means, of course, that the Barnacles are serious contenders for both the Championship and the Cup and that Colin Hitler could yet do the double. Sir Swaffham may be one of the most expensive lawyers in the world, and known for his catchphrase “I’m Sir Swaffham Bulbeck QC. That’ll be £50 thank you” but the Barnacles will think he’s worth every penny.

Another unexpected visitor to the South Atlantic was my old school friend Kelvin “Horsey” Windpump. I’ve not seen Horsey since our days at Saint Ermintrude’s Academy for Sensitive Boys and I certainly didn’t expect to run into him in a newsagents on Talbot Rothwell high street flicking through the women’s magazines. It turns out he is now a freelance TV commissioner and a firm believer in the commissioners’ maxim: “Title first, programme later”. So when he heard that down in the South Atlantic there were was a genuine Lurve Island he was on the first plane south looking for Lurve. By the time he had disembarked he had a full portfolio of programmes: Lurve Island, Celebrity Lurve Island, police docu-soap Stop in Name of Lurve, property show Lurve for Sale, animal show Lurve Me, Lurve My Dog, and motoring series I’m In Lurve with My Car. So of course he was very disappointed to discover that Lurve Island is actually just a barren bit of rock inhabited by two angry terns and a disgruntled puffin (although he thinks I’m In Lurve with My Car is still a goer as he reckons people would definitely tune in to see Richard Hammond being attacked by seagulls). However not one to waste his airfare and fly straight back home he was in the newsagents looking for fresh programme ideas – and when he saw the local paper he found a doozie. Coming soon on Channel 5 – “Hitler’s Rugby League Secrets”.

Yours faithfully

Crispin St Claire