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Never mind pillorying Leeds fans for chanting during the minute's silence for Sir Matt Busby, season ticket-holder John Parker (North Stand Kop) is more concerned about the club's application to join the league of the politically correct


For away fans, Elland Road is one of the dark satanic mills of top- flight football in England. There are few places in the Premiership where visitors are received less charitably. Nor is fair play something which immediately springs to mind in connection with Leeds United. Remember the 1975 European Cup final at Parc des Princes which earned Leeds a European ban; or the notorious 'friendly' with Glasgow Celtic - by the end there were as many empty beer bottles on the pitch as blades of grass. More recently, former Leeds striker Eric Cantona was greeted by a lynch-mob on his return to Elland Road in a Manchester United shirt. Add to this the roll call of 'tenacious' stars like Hunter, Jackie Charlton, Bremner, Jones and Batty, and you get the idea of the 'bites yer leg' Leeds tradition.

So when Leeds fans failed to observe a minute's silence after the death of Sir Matt Busby in January, everyone who could push a pen or climb on a soapbox used it as an excuse to raise spectres past and to decry the Leeds fans as 'scum'. Even Leeds players labelled them 'hooligans'. Sneering press commentators took great pleasure in affirming that football fans are the same as they have always been: narrow-minded, bigoted and plain moronic. The Yorkshire Evening Post and the Sun launched photo campaigns to single out the perpetrators, and to work with the club and the official supporters' clubs to get them banned for life.

The hysterical reaction was a continuation of the club's attempts to clean up its act. The increasingly competitive world of the Premiership dictates a move up the social ladder way from the 'underclass' in the cheap seats (or terraces still!) towards the higher-earning respectable working class and even the middle classes.

It is well known that one of the first things manager Howard Wilkinson did when he took over five years ago was to remove all the pictures of the great Leeds teams of the sixties and seventies. Behind the scenes there have been parallel efforts to remove the negative image that went with the Leeds heyday.

Club officials have outlawed 'provocative' chants in the ground (punishable by ejection and banning). They have gone to great lengths to marginalise fans who chant the infamous 'Airplane Song' which, to say the least, does not take a sympathetic approach to the 1958 Munich air disaster which afflicted our great rivals Manchester United. Announcements have even been made over the PA threatening to arrest those who sing the song. In an attempt to undermine such sentiments, players have been sent to supporters' club meetings, endless articles published in programmes, and all sorts of PR stunts dreamed up involving the two clubs. The aim of all this has been to turn the monstrous spectacle of working class vulgarity into the wholesome family entertainment of American stadia. With this end in view, Leeds has set aside a large section of the East stand for family use, and promoted politically correct projects such as 'Football in the Community', fronted by the likes of Chris Fairclough and Rod and Ray Wallace.

The first thing to realise is that the target of all the public relations stunts is not hooliganism, but the fans themselves. The campaign Leeds United Against Racism and Fascism is a case in point. Touted by the local council and the police, lauded far and wide by the football establishment, it identifies racism as a problem of the 'culture' of working class fans. You don't need to endorse the hostility sometimes vented against visiting black players to realise that Leeds' directors, the police, security staff and the local Labour council are in no position to lecture football fans on racism; or to see the dangers of allowing people like these to dictate what we should and should not be allowed to say in the stands or on the terraces or anywhere else.

The flip side of official 'anti-racism' is that nobody quibbles with the new police surveillance centre at Elland Road. It is justified on the grounds that the video cameras are monitoring the ground for racist chanters. Although I have never seen one of these ejected, the video surveillance centre allows the West Yorkshire police greater control over every fan that comes through the turnstile, while keeping a lower profile. What they save on Saturday afternoon overtime can be redirected into trumped-up campaigns to label Chapeltown - the area in Leeds with the highest concentration of blacks - as a haven for crime and drugs. The police continue to use football stadia as laboratories for crowd control and riot tactics, while their high-profile 'anti-racist' activities help them pursue their policing of the black community with impunity.

I for one don't welcome the drive towards good, clean, law-abiding football. I don't fancy being searched by a big lump on the gates before having my face on a police video - all for eight quid a time. I don't want to join a phoney membership scheme for twelve quid and hand over all my personal details to the cops for the privilege. Or, even better, spend £140 minimum to stand in luxurious surroundings all season, providing of course I don't swear, spit, or cause offence to any vicars present.

The whole point about the football fan is that he is not the cricket spectator. He does not believe in fairness or politeness. When you support a team, whether it's Leeds United, Manchester United or Shrewsbury Town, for 90 minutes it is the best team in the world and you would throw anything at the opposition to try to demoralise them. Just as Manchester United fans made jokes about motor neurone disease when Don Revie died of it, so it should come as no surprise that many Leeds fans remember Sir Matt Busby not as a national hero, but as just another manager of the team we love to hate.

Supporting a team is about collective self-belief bordering on self-deception. It may appear childish to some and offensive to others, but there it is. Some of you may not give a toss about football one way or the other. But I suggest your alarm bells should ring when you hear people labelled hooligans, paraded across the pages of the press and threatened with bans and arrests merely for expressing sentiments considered outré in polite circles. If we let the authorities suppress the voices from the terraces and practice their experiments in etiquette on football fans, the next voices to be silenced may be ours.

Dali's deformative years

James Heartfield rooted around Salvador Dali's personal stuff at the Hayward

Surrealist Salvador Dali's 'Metamorphosis of Narcissus' has adorned thousands of morbid teenagers' bedroom walls. Now, as if in an act of revenge for his immoral influence on the young, the Hayward Gallery gives us Dali's formative years, with an exhibition of paintings, drawings, notebooks, letters, memorabilia and, most important to style-fetishists, some handsome photographs of the artist as a young man.

The Early Years contradicts Dali's own fantastic picture of his youth as a child-killer and pervert. Portraits of the painter with his father and family show a well-adjusted if not respectful son. And, as against the Dali who set out to offend the self-consciously offensive surrealist leader André Breton by declaring his emotional adoration of Hitler, The Early Years shows Dali following in his atheistic and leftist father's footsteps with a celebratory sketch of Trotsky (1920), and other agit-prop stuff. It's all a long way from the later Dali who outraged left-wing opinion with his professed love of money, Hollywood and the monarchy.

The exhibition reveals Dali as a diligent art student, mastering expressionist and cubist styles, assimilating Picasso, and even knocking off a quick sketch in the manner of the surrealists, before he made that movement his own. His draughtsmanship too is good, as can be seen in some elegant still lifes and solidly classical portraiture. Dali exhibited all of these disparate styles side-by-side, as if in contempt for any particular genre.

But it is in Madrid as a student at the Special School that Dali found his true voice. Away from home Dali ganged up with Frederico Garcia Lorca, who was to make a name for himself as a playwright (The House of Bernarda Alba, Blood Wedding) and the anarchist film-maker Luis Buñuel (Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie), both then fellow students at the special school.

Here the photographic record is invaluable: Dali and Lorca camp it up like a homoerotic Häagen-Dazs commercial, posing on the rocks in those single piece swimsuits that Edwardian gents wore, with white pumps, greased-back hair and pouts that would outdo Suede's Brett Anderson any day. Fashion editors and art students have been trying to recreate that Lee Miller/Leni Riefenstahl look ever since, but here are the professionals.

Bunuel is there too. But the film-maker, collaborator with Dali on the classic surrealist short L'Age D'Or is represented by a solid portrait in the manner of Dali's rendition of his father. Lorca, by contrast, features in Dali's sketch-books as a clown, sticking his tongue out.

As Dali plunged ever deeper into the unconscious, and the taboo, Lorca is on hand to sing his praises in adoring surreal verse. Spurn the dry flower of the square root, implores Lorca, and clear the mountains of their impressionistic mist. Dali writes that he is painting without effort or academic affectation.

By the mid-twenties Dali's style is recognisably that of the bending watches, ant-infestations and contorted flesh that was to make him famous. The mastery of style and draughtsmanship of his early years puts Dali ahead of the surrealist pack, as if he had always known that to subvert bourgeois art, you have to master it. The subject matter is proudly repulsive, the colour is vulgarly dramatic, but technically excellent, the proportions rebel against the classical and the whole shop of horrors glints and gleams courtesy of brush-work that any photo-realist would die for.

Praised as Dali's technique is, it is only the vehicle for his development of the surreal, beyond realism to the unconscious and the unmentionable. At the time, Dali was rifling his dreams for images on instructions sent down from surrealist head office. Later works juxtapose the inappropriate with more wit, like the aphrodisiac jacket, embroidered with hundreds of tiny glasses of creme de menthe. Here, though, we get Dali's subconscious in the raw.

These works are brave, brave enough to be ripped up by the mob that attacked the first surrealist exhibition in Paris - to the surrealists' secret delight. Dali reaches those parts of the imagination that other people would prefer not to. Sex is here, not for enjoyment, but because it is shameful and repellant. Cocks throb and cunts gape, daring you to look, challenging you to justify looking away.

Nor was Dali only investigating our taboos. He wasn't frightened to pillage his own darkest fears if there was a chance of a good picture. The Hayward's exhibition wants to present Dali as slave to his own personal demons by setting his work among his private letters and memorabilia. But if the intent is narrow, the association works all the same, showing how Dali raided his own emotions for inspiration.

In 'The Altar' a church is the site for a frightening vision of a woman's head glowing. A couple of figures are cowering in shame, and look, the kneeling figure is clearly giving his partner a blow-job. The image is one of self-disgust, as the couple are caught in the act. The standing partner is shielding his face in shame; the kneeling, too preoccupied to notice. The message of The Early Years is 'that's Dali, with Lorca'. Is it? Perhaps the proper thing to say would be that Dali is describing the human condition, but comparing the figures in 'The Altar' with the photograph of Dali and Lorca on the rocks, the similarity is inescapable: Lorca looks adoringly at Dali, smitten. Dali, striking a disdainful pose, has his eyes on the horizon.

Sixty years on the programme for The Early Years warns that some of these pictures are unsuitable for children. Dali would be proud.

The Early Years shows at the Hayward Gallery, London SE1, until 30 May.

Ian Scott asked Philip Kerr about his novel, Dead Meat, just filmed as Grushko by the BBC

St Petersburg cop

'I was first approached by an independent film producer to adapt a Russian bestseller set in the fifties called The Sad Detective'. Philip Kerr found the book a bit too sad and argued that, with all the changes taking place in Russia, it would be better to work on a contemporary idea. He was given the go-ahead by the BBC and set out to Leningrad to research the story.

The result was Dead Meat, which follows Chief of Detectives Yevgeni Grushko, the leading anti-mafia policeman in the now renamed city of St Petersburg, as he tries to crack a series of murders. What inspires Kerr is not the story itself, but the characters and the context: 'I write about outsiders, marginalised by society', ordinary people under extraordinary conditions. Kerr feels his characters have a strong sense of having been 'betrayed by politicians'.

Did his characters' sense of alienation reflect his own? 'I don't feel angry about anything in particular. It is more like my own feelings of bewilderment and a sense of a future which is not necessarily going to be better than the present'.

Martin Cruz Smith, who wrote Gorky Park, is the best-known crime writer working on contemporary Russia. Cruz Smith is not popular with the Russian police. Philip Kerr is unsure whether they like Dead Meat any better. 'When I left St Petersburg I was advised by the chief of police to "make sure my book was not like Gorky Park".' Kerr was surprised by this advice. He thinks Gorky Park was 'an important book, written at the time when the country was opening up'.

In Arkady Renko, the main character in Gorky Park, Martin Cruz Smith created the first major contemporary Russian detective. Renko is the son of a leading Soviet general and a loner. Published in 1981, Gorky Park captures in vivid detail the daily routine of the Soviet people in a society out of control. The book was nominated by Time magazine as 'the thriller of eighties', became an international bestseller and was made into a major film. What impressed Kerr most about the book was its 'real people'. The character of Renko appears in two other novels, Polaris and Red Square. The latter is set around the period of the Soviet Union collapsing and focuses on the rise of organised crime with the introduction of the market. Cruz Smith's characters all aspire to be like Western businessmen but have no illusions as to the nature of the market. 'Another way to say "non-violent crimes" is "business"', says an illegal banker in Red Square.

In the Russian mafia crime novel stakes, Kerr's Dead Meat has the edge over Cruz Smith's Red Square. Cruz Smith tries to cover the great events unfolding around his characters, such as the breaking away of various republics, leaving you wishing he would just concentrate on the story. By contrast, in Dead Meat Kerr uses his central characters to guide the reader through life in St Petersburg today, but not at the expense of the story. Kerr suceeds in capturing a strong sense of time and place while still telling a gripping tale.

Novels on the Soviet Union and now Russia written in the West often tell us a lot more about the preoccupations of Western society than about reality in the East. The success of Martin Cruz Smith's novels coincided with the West's love affair with Gorbachev and the theme he pursued reflected the West's fears over the unstable conditions in Russia.

Unfortunately Kerr falls into the same trap of viewing Russia through the prism of Western concerns. I asked Kerr what he thought the future held for Russia. 'Russians are going to get a shock when unemployment really hits there. I think we should be very worried about the coincidence of unemployment and extreme nationalism.' The twin fears of economic and social breakdown are the major Western preoccupations over Russia today.

An exaggerated sense of threat from Russia reflects the crisis of confidence in the West. Kerr told me that following Grushko - Dead Meat's name for TV - a number of other television projects were in development on organised crime in Russia, including one from Lynda La Plante (Widows, Civvies).

In all of his novels Kerr deals with extreme social conditions, the rise of fascism, an apocalyptic future of uncontained violence and sickening squalor, the collapse of Stalinism and the establishment of the market in Russia. Kerr's re-creation of prewar Berlin in his Bernie Gunther novels is compelling. He does not let the historical situation crush his characters. But it seems he has had rather more trouble protecting their integrity against the banal agendas of the television people.

Grushko was filmed entirely on location in St Petersburg. The process of turning his story into a television series was, says Kerr, 'painful'. 'I had in mind the pace of Tinker Tailor or Smiley's People but the producer wanted more car chases and a higher body count'. This conflicted with the BBC request for Kerr to develop the family side of the story. 'I think they wanted me to turn it into Love Hurts or Casualty. The BBC seems to be obsessed with domestic drama.'

Dead Meat is published in paperback as Grushko by Arrow at £4.99, and is currently showing on BBC1.
Reproduced from Living Marxism issue 66, April 1994

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