There are two things Celtic’s American blogger Larry Cafiero and Scottish football have in common at the moment. Celtic withdrawal symptoms and Lockdown.
Okay maybe one more, a shared experience of bumbling idiocy in charge of our respective family’s safety, but we’ll avoid thinking about Trump and Boris for now times are bad enough without resorting to panic.
The Celtic Star has received messages from far and wide as to how fans from around the globe are delving into the content as a way of passing the time since the shutdown for their daily fix of all things Celtic.
Here’s one message from Jim O’Rourke from the Sarnia Celtic club in Canada.
“I just want to say a massive thank you to you and the team at The Celtic Star for your magnificent effort in giving all Celtic fans around the world some escape from all the sadness that we are reading and hearing about with this horrible virus that is affecting so many people in so many different ways.
“I’m sure that all your readers are enjoying the stories from other Celts about their crazy trips abroad watching our beloved hoops and the memories it makes come flooding back about our own adventures and how being part of the Celtic family is something that we all cherish and helps keep us strong. Hail Hail.”
As such we thought it might be worth having a chat with Larry, our furthest flung contributor and how he’s dealing with lockdown 5000 miles away.
So why Celtic for Larry Cafiero?
Apparently it all started last August with a discussion on a leftist political thread about football clubs with a political/antifascist outlook to them. Several posters had voiced their opinions on teams with a political slant that would align with ours — FC Barcelona for their anti-Franco (and Catalonian independence) stand, FC St. Pauli for their staunch pro-freedom and antifascist positions, and Celtic FC for their history.
Celtic’s history was the selling point for Larry regarding the club. Brother Walfrid, a Marist brother from Ireland, started Celtic in Glasgow in the late 1880s in order to raise money to feed the poor of Glasgow (mostly Irish immigrants at the time), and the history of the club — generally pro-independence for Ireland in an arguably hostile Presbyterian Scotland — constantly overcoming pro-Unionist adversity was nothing short of inspiring. Additionally, the affinity of a large part of the Celtic support for the plight of the Palestinian people made being a supporter an easy fit for our Californian blogger.
It’s fair to say Larry has thrown himself head first into Celtic culture. I’m a believer it doesn’t matter when you find Celtic just as long as you do and Larry has jumped head first into everything about Celtic. He’s probably been a supporter for little more than 18 months yet already he’s enveloped himself in our culture from 5000 miles away and like a modern day apostle, he’s now spreading the Celtic word stateside by way of his blog ‘In the Heat of Felton’.
Talking of which Larry has already interviewed well kent face Auldheid around the thorny subject of resolution 12 and in the last few days he’s interviewed Celtic’s new historian on the block and regular contributor to the Celtic Star Matt Corr, ahead of Matt’s eagerly anticipated debut book ‘Invincible’.
That three part interview published here on The Celtic Star was a fantastic insight into the man behind the story and you can read the full version on Larry’s In the Heat of Felton blog.
Here’s a wee snippet for you:
Q: One article that has always stuck with me – and I linked to it in my blog at the time you wrote it – was the testimonial last year on Jimmy Johnstone’s birthday highlighting his life; in my opinion, it was one of the best pieces I have read. The history of the club is there, obviously, but from a writing standpoint, how do you pick the most unique or interesting highlights of Celtic history or Celtic lore to write about?
A: In terms of the Jinky story, I would say that came from my work on the tours. Jimmy is a big part of my tour. He is a unique character, genius of a player but with the same strengths and flaws which many of us in the west of Scotland identify with. We love a laugh and a drink, usually together. So did he, and he did it whilst playing in the best Scottish football team of all time. And under Jock Stein, a noted teetotaller and strict disciplinarian. It’s a movie script waiting to happen. Some of the best Jinky stories involved flying and sailing, Red Star Belgrade and Largs, so I had my strapline. And his 75th birthday was approaching. So all the stars aligned, if you like. I loved doing that piece. He brought — and still brings — a smile to so many Celtic faces, albeit there was a real sadness in the way his life ended.
Matt’s book is due for advance order shortly, but that’s a bit of a wait for all of us in lying low behind closed doors. So how is Larry coping with Celtic withdrawal symptoms and what’s the American perspective on Lockdown?
Well surprise, surprise when we caught up with him watching a re-run of Celtic’s late winner in Rome.
You caught me watching Celtic-Lazio in Rome again!
I am not exactly locked down since I have a part-time job as a bookkeeper at a supermarket (where I am today for a couple if more hours). But when I am not here at the store, I am stuck at home.
I have been watching all the games this season thanks to Celtic TV. That is pretty much how I am passing the time. The funny thing is that the games are just as thrilling as when they were played, even though I know the results.
I am fine, as is my family. Just riding it out despite our inept leadership.
Looks like Larry is coping, just like the rest of us. A wee Ntcham dink in Rome helps deal with self-isolation and idiotic leadership, whatever side of the Atlantic you happen to be on on.
Wherever you happen to be stay safe and take care of each other. In the meantime the Celtic Star will help you fill your days. If not we’ll always have Rome.
How are you managing through the coronavirus lock-downs which must by now be affecting Celts are over the world? We’d love to hear from you, especially on how you are managing with no football and what you’re doing to get your Celtic fix. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to share on the site.
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