Why ‘Hartson’s Dog’?

I have for many years now been a regular poster on www.the-last-post.co.uk, the web’s finest Coventry City message board (though anyone logging on expecting to read posts about football is likely to be sorely disappointed – however, if it’s anally retentive musical lists, juvenile sexual innuendo or discussions about the causes of white dog shit you’re after, come
on in).

Back in 2001, the Sky Blues had a striker by the name of John Hartson who, as any football fan knows, is a bit of a porker. Whilst perusing scurrilous website www.steakandcheese.com, I happened upon a picture of an extremely fat dalmatian, and so posted this on LAST with the caption “John Hartson’s dog”, before going back to my normal duties (fobbing off support requests for a company making travel software).

A few minutes later postings began appearing on the board saying “That’s well out of order!”, “delete this posting!”, “DISGUSTING!” and the like. I was mystified as all I could see was a rather fat dog. However, the guy who runs the website (a mate of mine, fortunately) sent me the picture everyone else was seeing, and the scales fell from my eyes.

It transpires that steakandcheese don’t like other websites nicking their bandwidth by linking to their pics, and had devised a rather clever system to scupper this. The poster, i.e. me, sees what they believe they have posted (in my case, a fat dalmatian), but everyone else sees something rather different – in this case, a close-up shot of a large, ejaculating penis.

Well, all hell broke loose on the forum and my name was mud, particularly in Canada where one of the regulars happened to be looking at the spurting cock just as his boss walked past, & came within an inch (or rather 12 inches) of dismissal. I offered to help him out by sending an email to his boss explaining what had happened, but he wisely pointed out that if
his boss received an email from a complete stranger containing the words “ejaculating penis” it wouldn’t help his cause.

Eventually my explanation of the sordid events was accepted but the matter has never been forgotten, and even today, six years on, the phrase “Hartson’s Dog” has entered LAST folklore. I have no idea if John Hartson owns a dog, but if he does, said canine would no doubt be appalled to learn that his name is a byword for spurting todgers in a certain corner of the West Midlands. Hartson’s Dog, we salute you.

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