Never judge a book by its cover, and all that.
But, jeez, helluva cover. I've bought programmes that've looked considerably shabbier
than "Scars And Stripes", with its full colour front, splendidly designed interior and
glossy furnishings. Of course, there's nothing wrong with the classic DIY fanzine look -
BSaD's been built on the triumph of content over style - but you can't beat a quick
run-through with a spell-checker....
For those suspicious of gift-wrapped turds, "Scars And Stripes" is forty pages of belting
reading. Neatly sidestepping the usual pitfall of devoting a ridiculous and tedious
amount of time to rubbishing of local rivals (that can't be easy when your rivals are as risible as Palace),
the whole thing fairly reeks of quality.
It's lovely stuff. Nothing mind-shattering, nothing you'd want read at your funeral
as an explanation of the meaning of life. Just a series of charming doodles, articles
that are often barely 'about' anything at all or stroll cheerfully off on entertaining
tangents at every opportunity. Which, in case you'd not noticed, is something I'm rather
As ever, there are bits that are impenetrable to anyone without intimate knowledge of
the Albion reserve team. That goes with the territory. But much of it transcends club
boundaries - stories are stories, wherever they're set.
In aiming high, in seemingly trying to be something that's accessible to all fans, not just
the most politicised or the most laddish, "Scars And Stripes" is more than a commendable attempt -
it's a cracking, bargain-for-a-quid triumph.