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Dick Barrie's picture

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I suppose contributing a blog can be likened to writing a column for our programme.

Basically, trying to find something interesting, funny or informative (all three would be even better, but c’mon…) to say, week after week.

That’s the hard bit. I remember when I started doing programme columns (1971, at Hampden Park since you ask) a ‘real journalist’ was kind enough to say some nice things about my first efforts.

But he then added that it was keeping up the standard, writing for the same readership every week that sorted out the men from the boys. Which I have learned over the past 46 years to be very, very true.

But this is a weblog, not a programme column and will probably turn out a little differently, being read all over the world on t’internet instead of a captive Saturday-night audience at Shielfield.

Actually, I’m pretty impressed that the club has asked me to do this.

I’d have thought my graceful withdrawal from front-of-the-house business might have given the lads a good enough excuse to take me round the back of the pits with a humane killer, but it seems my incontinent ranting is still to be of use in filling up this section of our website.

Which of course leaves me with my long-held delusions of adequacy, despite failing memory cells causing me to sometimes leave my spectacles in the fridge and walk about with a couple of pots of yoghurt balanced on my nose.

I can however still clearly remember being on my travels again this past winter.

One place I visited was the Mildura track in Australia, where dramatic improvements have been made in recent seasons.

Track, fence and pits have all been impressively revamped, but an aspect of their renovations which impressed me hugely was their new sound system.

With my long experience of working at tracks with inferior, sometimes even pre-war public address arrangements, be assured I know a good set-up when I hear it.

Mildura’s is that ---as good a sound as I’ve heard since Jerry Garcia went from being Grateful to being Dead.

At Shielfield, we have a system as fine as we can tweak, although once it leaves the mixers (carefully controlled by Our Man Loz) what comes out the stadium’s speakers depends to a great extent on which way the wind is blowing or where you’re sitting or standing.

The speakers belong to the stadium, not our bold Bandits.

In short, it is not the speedway club’s fault if you can’t hear our words and music.

Of course, if you could hear them and haven’t liked what you’ve heard, don’t worry – I really am retiring!

Things can only get better.