Toon Talk Articles- Brian Hall

More Eggs In The Magpies’ Nest

    Sometime ago, I wrote a blog about a group coming together to discuss, argue, debate in detail, analyse,  about Newcastle United Football Club. We all like doing that, whether in a pub, cafe, on a bus, or via all these social network sites.   Well, the Magpies’ Nest has grown, from a very small, dedicated band, and now passed the 2,OOO member mark. Obviously, if ....


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Managers’ Merry Go Round

  I have always had a vision of football managers, having failed abysmally at a club, lying about in some Dubai hotel , or on a Bahamas beach, all having a bit crack on to each other. All temporarily on the dole. Or getting some part-time work as a tv pundit.    The list is endless. Naturally, the Usual Suspects. Mark Hughes, Steve Bruce, Ole Arry Rednapp, you name ....


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Kenneth

    I thought of writing a couple of notes, reminders, that kind of thing, in order to try to describe the impact that Kenneth Ross had upon me. I decided that there was no real need for that, as in his own way, he would have smiled at such an exercise, and in my own way, I thought that I would state it from the heart.   Ken, though I never called him that, was one of those ....


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A Strange Bank Holiday Saturday – Two Occasions

    Two events took place on Monday.  One was near Inverness, the other was in Newcastle.  One was a happy occasion, celebrating the life of a man who was, amongst many other things, a war hero. He would not have liked to have been  called that, but he had ended up behind Nazi lines, holed up underground, after his RAF plane had been brought down in those terrible ....


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Goodbye, And Tarah...to Wigan Pier

  I smiled last night, laughed actually. After as long as I care to remember, the Premiership bade farewell to Wigan. I like to think that I am not a bitter man, well, most of the time anyway. So this has nowt to do with the humiliation that I and so many others suffered down that crap, non-footy town, in a certain League Cup tie. We saw that Pier , by the way, and what a load of shite ....


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Nufc Think Tank Sensation – New Guide Discovered For Maths Teaching In Schools

    I think everybody is getting a wee bit fed up of political, social, economic, scientific, you name it, Think Tanks and Research Surveys coming out with ideas that seem to range from the absurd to the bloody obvious. A recent one, for example, reckoned that kids born  in late August faced academic problems at school,  as a lot of their classmates were  a canny bit ....


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#nufc A Marriage On The Rocks

  I first met my wife way back in 1965, although, as small young bairn, marriage was obviously the last thing on my mind. Over the years, our bond and friendship intensified, and my commitment to her was intense. I would travel hundreds of miles just to see her for a couple of hours, and spend endless days thinking of her every move. Inevitably, engagement became marriage as soon as it ....


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Dont Forget The Original French Revolutionaries

      There is a lot of talk in Toon , rightly so, of the current French Revolution taking place in our black and white Republic. We should not forget the original one though, with some of its impact changing the world, sometimes for good, sometimes for bad, like all such upheavals. I dont mean the 1789 one obviously. I mean the NUFC one, long before our new radicals from France ....


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Ranger-shame And Humiliation

      Like so many others, I have felt humiliation and shame in my life. Not a nice feeling, to say the least. In personal ways, and in following a certain football club.    In terms of the latter, I had such feelings in 1972, after we lost to Hereford in the FA Cup. At Wembley in 1974, albeit eased due to a pride in our fans' loyalty when the noise of the Geordie ....


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Geordies Do Gan To Cambridge

    A long time ago, a naive Guernsey student lass, meaning no harm, expressed surprise that Geordies were in universities. That was in 1975, and the assembled exiles at Liverpool Uni burst out laughing. One was doing Physics, another was brilliant at Maths, and amongst others, I was studying - allegedly - modern history and spanish. After graduation - none of the said gathering ....


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Laughing Through The Glen With Robin Hood - At The Mill Volvo Tyne Theatre

        It is an old saying, but has a lot of truth in it. Laughter is such a vital part of human life. Dont panic, as Corporal Jones used to say in the hilarious Dad's Army, as I am not about to get all philosophical. But it is true that humour, in all its forms, is a great boost for people, across the board , from very difficult circumstances, all the way to just ....


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Scunthorpe Away - No Floodlights Allowed

    I was flicking through a book yesterday, given to me by two ToonTalk characters, Wraithy and Singe, and it made me chuckle again. I had not read it for a couple of years since it first came out. Looking at one section, it spoke of playing against Scunthorpe, and apologetically mentioned that they were never a team on our NUFC radius. I smiled, as it reminded me that they WERE on ....


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Good, Bad, And Possibly Ugly - Robin Hood Panto In Toon

      Like so many others, one of my greatest heroes has always been Robin Hood. I prefer to ignore any idea that Rob was a myth, and just love the idea that he stole from the rich and gave to the poor. I also like his overall life story, not least the fact that he is knocking about with a canny lass Maid Marian, and also has a decent set of loyal mates in the woods with ....


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Quiz Nights In - With The Mags

    Over the years, I have been involved in many quiz nights OUT. Always good fun if you dont take things too seriously. Nobody likes the lot who have turned up just to win the prize money and dae an immediate bunk after - the professional bunch. One of those nearly got planted on his head, in an incident many years ago in deepest County Durham, when people twigged that this stranger ....


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Northumbrian Manifesto - Off With A Bang On Bonfire Night

      Some, not that many, like, will well remember the intense media interest, the blogs, facebook crack, and tweets, indicating that at long last Northumbrians were awakening - so to speak - and calling for independence, via a detailed Manifesto. The initial Launch of the Ship duly took place on that historical, or hysterical, Bonfire Night last week at the Old ....


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Northumbria Awakes!

NORTHUMBRIA AWAKES!  LAUNCH OF MANIFESTO FOR INDEPENDENCE. BONFIRE NIGHT!  MUSIC, COMEDY AND POETRY!     TWO REGIONAL WRITERS, DR KEITH ARMSTRONG, AND BRIAN HALL, PLAN TO LAUNCH THEIR MANIFESTO AT THE OLD GEORGE IN NEWCASTLE ON THE NIGHT OF NOVEMBER THE FIFTH, ACCOMPANIED BY ANN SESSOMS ON NORTHUMBRIAN PIPES AND SONGS BY TYNESIDE FOLK GROUP 'KIDDAR'S LUCK' AND WEARSIDE'S ....


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Just An Ordinary Tyneside Man? - Kevin

    Yesterday, I popped up the street to meet a mate, Gus, from over Windy Nook, Gateshead way. Us two have been known to meet in the odd bar or two over many years, whether at Newcastle home or away games, or just gannin out on the hoy! We had opted for a more civilised approach on Thursday though - the local cafe and a quick cup of coffee. This time, that is!    Anyway, ....


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Accidental Potential Disasters

    I suppose we had one on Sunday just gone, with that absurd Sunderland goal, scored by Demba Ba. There again, no way was it an actual disaster. A moral victory, in reality, for NUFC. But this missive is nothing about football, although of course, there have been a few real disasters on all of our plots over the years. No. This is a blog stimulated by a bloke, Peter you call him, ....


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Derby Days - Magpies Leaving The Nest

      I have mentioned before, about the Magpies Nest group on facebook. Dont fret, as I dont get paid by them, dont want to, either., because they are all volunteers who run that site. They are just a great bunch in terms of their NUFC banter. And this week has certainly seen some exchanges. Derby Week.   One is a HardLiner. An experienced Mag. Geoff. He is willing to ....


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Derby Days - The Ten Step Programme To Wind Up The Safc.

      We all have our techniques to bait the SMB. As somebody from old County Durham divided lands, and raised as a Shiney Row Mag, i just wanted to throw mine up. I am sure that others will have various alternatives to add, to say the least.   The following 10 Steps to Heaven are not in order of how just so much our smaller cousins can react to this process, and can be ....


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Memory Lane - A Season Of Two Cups - 1975-76

  Aye. The Mags were lurking in two major cup competitions as that hectic season rumbled on. I will not spoil the ending, but all will know it never led to silver. But it was fun, or most of the time anyway, on that journey.   As the season kicked off into September, I was forced out of the region. To Liverpool. No. It was not to Walton Jail, but to the University in that city. ....


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Derby Days - No Mags Allowed. 1996.

      Now. Most of us have been to memorable Derby games against the SMB, both home and away, but the early September one in '96 certainly ranks as the most odd one. Due to very serious fears of crowd trouble, the police had ordered that lot down Joker Park that they could not sell tickets to our tribe. Some clandestine characters made it down there, but numbered few, and ....


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Derby Countdown Continued - Happy New Year

      It was not exactly a Happy New Year, as such, in 1985,  either in so many parts of Northumberland or Durham. Since the spring of '84, communites across our region had, for once, been a tiny bit distracted from footy arguments. Debates were still around, of course, but running alongside them, was a massive juggernaut smashing into the people who lived in those places. ....


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Derby Days - Broken Hands, Broken Noses, And Broken Hearts

    Dont panic. This blog is one of two or three that will follow via the editorship of ToonTalk, and they will contain far more happy memories. This one, though, does not, as the title might just indicate. Late summer of '79. We had drawn the smaller club in our region in a League Cup 2nd Round tie. The away game was scheduled for August 29th - my birthday, unfortunately - and the ....


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North East Off The Map

  The other week, I found out that, according to a Tory MP, that the North East did not exist! This came as a blow. I had always thought that I was born in this region, I kind of got used to the NE being ignored, dismissed, written off, and rubbished. But to be told that we were not even a region took some taking. To say the least.   Apparently, this bloke, of whom I had never heard ....


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