Top of the Croppies 2023 (Part Two)
It’s part two of 2023’s Top of the Croppies and the announcement you’ve all been waiting for. First though, if you missed part one you can catch up by clicking here.
So … just who is the one individual to be taking home the title of the king of the fields? It can only be…
Top of the Croppies 2023: Frank Smithland
Though never as angry as his Australian friend Hamish, 2023 has been one hell of a year for ‘Happy’ Frank Smithland … and the so and so still can’t raise a smile. Hopefully being Top of the Croppies 2023 will change that and he’ll wear his belt with pride — once we get it back from being adjusted to a larger size. So, what did Champ do to win the prize?
Since 2020, the guitar wielding lecturer has been part of the furniture at Team Ten Watt, always eager to get on Facebook and fight for the honour of his less intelligent idols. We’ve sensed he’s always wanted his moment in the spotlight, always wanted to put some experience behind the circle making knowledge he’s passed off without having any clue what he’s actually on about. And guess what?
One summer morning this year, Frank’s iPhone jolted to life. It was the dial tone he’d specially selected for his hero. His favourite bit of funk. ‘Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine’ by the late James Brown, according to our source. Frank knew Catfish Collins’ guitar riff inside out and used to strum it whilst sitting in front of the phone, willing his master to make that call, pleading in his head for the handset to vibrate. He had never lost hope. And now it was actually happening. The screen was lit. The handset buzzed.
Just what had Happy done to be honoured in this way? He’d begged and wagged and rolled on his back countless times … but nothing. He’d said nice things in the WhatsApp group chat about a succession of shit awful circles close to his home, and gigged on the boss’s doorstep — not that the focus of his admiration had turned up. Frank had even gone into that field in Sixpenny Handley … you know, the one where he just happened to find a circle that he really didn’t know was there, even though his mates had made it and really hadn’t told him about him about it … and in that field he’d even followed those instructions he’d been given to … to … to … well, we don’t mention that because the burden lies heavy.
Frozen, Frank gathered his senses and snapped back to the present. He’d have to press the green disc on the screen before the fourth ‘Get on up’. Just in time.
‘Frank…speaking…’ The words stuck in his suddenly dry mouth.
A thick Somerset accent began to drawl at the other end in staccato.. ‘Frank … paid job … barber. Want in?’ Frank tried to respond with an awestruck stutter, but the caller had already moved on. ‘Gud … Meet me at Huzzey’s … 10 t’morra, boy … Gud.’ The line went dead and Happy’s cheeks began to glow. He was in, in, in. That’s one in the eye for the skinny bloke with the long hair. Fuck him. And for how long was Frank just sitting there after the call ended? Doing nothing but clutching that iPhone to his heart.
What a time Franky had once he came to. He was the lightest he’d been on his feet in years; even lighter than when he’d hit the 20 stone mark. The waddle over the road to B&Q to get a plank and four metres of rope. A sleepless night and a 4am rise to assemble the gear. Stomper … check. DJI and spare batteries … check. Good footwear … check. Water … check. Photo of the boss to get signed … check. Oxygen tank … check. Wroughton Pizza and Kebab House number tapped into the phone contacts … check. Ellendune takeaway number, just in case the first choice was closed … check. Dominos Swindon as a last resort, though he’d probably have to collect … check. Papa John’s too? Oh go on. Check.
And that drive up from Dorset; the first time he’d been out to real crop circle country in Wiltshire. There were fields here too. And sheep. And villages. And road signs. It was a bit like home but without the sea. Who would have thought it? Near a little village called Broad Hinton, Frank turned off a side road towards somewhere called Uffcott. He jabbed harshly on the brakes, seized by the intense presence of deja vu. He remembered reading about a crop circle here some years ago. The enormity of the situation crept up on him. Here he was at the arena of dreams. Him … Frank … little Franky from the block. Not quite so little anymore, but still here and playing where so many big names had stomped before him. Lundberg … Bailey … Schnabel … Russell … So, who was now part of that elite group? Smithland. Yes, Smithland.
The car slowed to a clutch-in crawl. Frank cleared his throat. No one left and no one came on the bare road. What he saw was Uffcott — only the name. But what was that thing on the side of the hill to his right? It was white and looked a bit like a giant weasel with long legs. Was it real? Was it a drawing or a picture or something? It didn’t move. He made a note to offer it some pizza later. So much to take in.
Then … then … after ten seconds back in second gear … he saw him … parked up at the side of the lane … alongside a homeless beggar with dreadlocks sat in the dirt … a tubby, balding, slightly skewiff man with a scraggly beard stood with his tattooed hands on the roof of a car. Two tramps with a stolen banger? No, wait … look … Happy’s mouth began to drop as the chap leant against the car looked up and belched, one side of his face drooping under the weight of an odd growth around the eye. Jeez, what the hell— Revulsion gave way to elation as a tattooed hand was raised and slowly began to wave, wibbling that unsightly sac. Franky … well, he’d not been so excited since that day at Sixpenny H … he’d gotten there before that bastard Nick Bull, you know … he’d done it once and now he was going to do it again.
And haven’t we all known about it. From gnarly wannabe circle maker who knows nothing but thinks he knows it all, to even more annoying, gnarly wannabe circle maker who knows next to nothing but still thinks he knows it all, Frank has really gone up in the world. We’ve all seen how he laughably attempted to hide his identity on a video of the commissioned barber’s razor being made, even though we all knew it was him. Maybe it was shame. We heard he managed to stomp halfway around the circumference before tripping over his own stomach and crashing down into the crops, exhausted. He was then switched to drone duty, giving live footage as his hero set to making some extraordinary wonky lines.
But Frank has now been there and done it all. He can truly join his Ten Watt teammates who spend their time trying to look superior by running down true believers on Facebook. He can point out their errors and assumptions by drawing on his vast experience of making the razor, the razor and the razor. If they’re lucky he might even refer to the razor. He can have a dig at croppies for entering fields without permission of the farmer. He’s 100% legal you know. Well, not quite 100% … but let’s forget that shameful event. And let’s forget that the tramp he likes to hang out with once said of circle making that ‘permission is for the piss weak’. But that’s Dan, that’s what he does, so Frank lets him off. But one thing still clearly burns … Nick Bull gets to many of the crop circles first, even though we all know how this happens: the Crop Circle Connector passes on the information to him when they receive details of new crop circles, whenever that may be.
All of this considered, it’s time to give Frank Smithland the accolade he truly deserves. He’s gone from the nearly man to the experienced circle maker, with three minutes of stomping. He’s towered over us all with his in-depth knowledge of the entire circle making process. He’s shown everyone that he’s fighting for the farmers — at least those outside of villages on the Dorset borderlands. He’s demonstrated that he’s fighting corruption in the fields. He’s even been a real adventurer; venturing beyond charted territory into the wilds of Wiltshire. A real man of the people. A god amongst men. Congratulations Frank Smithland … you are the new, undisputed champion of Top of the Croppies. We’re giving up because we know absolutely nothing compared to you. Now, tell us more about the razor…