Pork with added poke

This week’s column is about pig racing. It was going to be about winding up Leeds fans.

Perhaps I’d better explain.

All Yorkshiremen end up as either Geoffrey Boycott buy canada goose jacket winnipeg or Alan ‘Sniffer’ Clarke. And if you don’t know what the formerly greyhound-svelte and lithesome ex-Leeds striker has ended up like, then I can tell you. He’s ended up like Geoffrey Boycott.

And Leeds fans are the quintessential Yorkshiremen. Their distinguishing characteristics are:

1) A passionate hatred of Manchester United; 2) A passionate conviction that there is a massive, world-wide conspiracy to do down Leeds (with its nerve centre at Old buy canada goose jacket australia Trafford); 3) Extremely hairy ears; 4) That’s it.

Being trapped in a car with Leeds buy canada goose jacket in canada fans (as I am, every Sunday after playing football) is a frightening experience. The conversation will start with vividly recalled replays of every single penalty, free-kick and throw-in that Man Utd have ever been awarded and how these are PROOF that there is a massive, world-wide conspiracy to do down Leeds.

Next up will be the FACT that British football grounds held a minute’s silence after the death of Sir Matt Busby – but did NOWT when Don Revie popped clog (and how this is PROOF etc etc etc).

Hence the idea for this week’s column. I’ve lured my Leeds-supporting flatmate, Martin, down the pub to watch Manchester United v Everton. Now Martin’s the nicest Yorkshireman you could ever wish to meet. authentic canada goose outlet online Polite, shy, modest, generous – godammit, he’s a saint. Until, of course, you mention Man Utd.

So the idea is this – can I wind Martin up so much that he’ll hit me?

My arguments are lined up like so many cattle prods.

I’ll start by stating that Leeds should take down that statue they’ve got of Billy Bremner – and replace it with one of Eric Cantona (self-evidently the greatest player Leeds ever had).

And I’ll probably finish by explaining that so many people hate “trendy” Man United (because they’re “trendy”) that it has now become “trendy” to hate Man Utd. In fact Man Utd haters are like Radiohead fans – sick freaks who are only happy when they listen to music which makes then sad. Which means that Leeds fans are, by definition, weird perverts.

But it all goes ker-splat. Thanks to the barman. Who is also a Yorkshireman.

Now another distinguishing characteristic of the Yorkshireman is his propensity to walk up to total strangers and start talking about boot polish. Or cardigans. Or grass. Or pigeons. Or cheese. Apropos absolutely nothing at all. And, as you probably know, that sort of behaviour may be considered A-OK in Heckmondwike, but in London it scares the living daylights out of people.

Anyway, it’s half time (0-0 and as boring as beryllium) and this particular Yorkshireman has decided to tell us all best ideas about canada goose outlet online on pinterest about the time he had his wisdom teeth removed.

Now Martin and I have been in London long enough to have adopted many of the local habits and customs. We don’t say “barf” or eat saveloys or anything disgusting like that, but we are capitalised enough for our eyes to glaze over when lectured about the grislier details of a fellow Yorkshireman’s dental history.

“Blah blah blah half a bottle of whisky blah blah blah blood spurtin’ out all over t’shop blah blah best canada goose jacket style I’m in total agony right blah blah blah must have lost about two pints b’now blah blah blah pig racing blah blah blah…”

What? Rewind! SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Pig racing?

Turns out that this bijou little drinkery (tucked away in a street just behind the palace of Westminster) holds regular pig-racing evenings.

“Yeah, bloke comes in wi’ these tapes – only he knows who’s won, like. And these pigs – real, pigs, oh aye, have got like little woollen jockeys riding ’em. And you bet on which pig is going to win.”

So I’m thinking – PULITZER! An expose of the Westminster Pig Racing Set!

I mean – come on! Pre-recorded tapes? Lotsa Tory MPs in the manor? Is that the theme from The Sting I can hear playing? There’s got to be a scandal here. A scandal that’ll make the current hoo-hah over alleged corruption in the Jockey Club look like a mild coughing fit during a just-for-fun bingo night in a Bournemouth hospice for the extremely elderly.

But I’ve got to get to the source. Which turns out to be a bloke called Alan. Who sounds as if he’s sat in a pub somewhere.

“We used to do it,” he tells me over the phone. “But not so much now because of foot and mouth. Plus most of the blokes who were doing it were all about 65. And they’ve retired.”

I am truly disgusted. Yet another noble and life-enhancing countryside activity destroyed by the townie-tyrant Tony Blair and the Gucci-jackbooted gay mafiosi of the metropolitan elite!

But while British pig racing teeters on trembling trotters on the rapidly crumbling brink of the abyss of total extinction – in turns out that pig racing in the USA is booming.

In fact there are some – like US dairy farmer and pig racing magnate, Franklin Township – who claim that “pig racing is the number one spectator sport in America”.

And so, without further ado, here are…


1) Pig racing should not be confused with guinea pig racing.

2) Or the Sony Playstation game Pig Racing.

3) Or pit-pig racing – which is driving customised trucks through mud.

4) Or pink pig racing – which is something to do with cars.

5) Or robot pig racing – which is a David Brent-style “corporate entertainment” using mechanical pigs and which can be booked (I kid you not) complete with “a dancing pig cheerleader”.

6) Or the “pig race” which takes place in the Pyrenean village of Trie-sur-Baise where, once as year, Frenchmen wearing papier-mach pig snouts compete to see who can eat the most pork sausages in the shortest time.

7) Or “pig racing” as it is practised at Millwall FC where (according to this website), buy canada goose parka uk the fans scream, “Move it you lard-arsed drug-squad reject – I’ve got 25 riding on you!” at policemen on crowd duty.

8) Or indeed with soft-feathered Khaki Campbell duck racing, pygmy goat racing, toy Italian greyhound racing, dachshund racing, cockroach racing, frog racing, gecko racing, mud crab racing, spider racing or poisonous toad racing – all of which are not proper sports at all, but are in fact ludicrous “novelty” pastimes invented, as far as we can tell visit, by drunk Australians.

9) There’s an online petition asking President George Bush to ban televised “football” – and replace it with pig racing.

10) Racing pigs are quite often given amusing names like: Miss Piggy, Dennis Rod-ham, Patrick Swiny, Britney Spareribs, Dolly Porkton, Hillary Rod-ham Clint-ham, Rush Limbhog, Oinkle Sam, Kevin Bacon, Spamela Anderson, Brittany Squeals, In Stink, Jean Claude Van Ham, best canada goose jacket for men Snoop Hoggy Hog, Tara Parma Hamkinson and Dale Winkhardt Jr. (No, I don’t get that last one either.)

11) The pigs are rewarded with either a cola or an Oreo “cookie”. Most pigs go for the “cookie”. But so far the company that makes the “cookies” has refused to sponsor the sport.

12) Pigs can reach up to 27 mph (on the flat).

13) Top US racing pig, Arnold is a direct descendant of Arnold The Stair Climbing Pig from the hit 60s TV show Green Acres.

14) Pig racing originated in North Carolina in the 60s. Probably.

15) For the pigs themselves, it’s a good life but a short one. “They are only good for about six or seven months,” says D. William Shilling of Paul Robinson’s Racing Pigs. “There is nothing cute about a 300 pound pig. And besides a fat pig can’t run.”

16) But, of course, pig racing is under attack from the usual mob of lentil-munching liberal killjoys. “Training methods for pig racing often include the use of prods and food deprivation,” claims Amy Rhodes of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

17) “You don’t need scientific training to know pig racing is cruel,” claims the do-gooding townie pig-hugger.

18) “It’s unnatural for the pigs,” adds the yoghurt-knitting porcophile.

19) But David Feimster of Sue Wee Pig