Sunday, November 24, 2002

Meandering daze

One consequence of my new job is how much earlier I get home, sometimes early enough to see the tail end of Neighbours. It’s how I found out that Drew died falling off a horse. Emma doesn’t like this because after years of me coming home to find her toiling at the PC, I now come home to find the big piker snuggled up on the settee. When she was on the phone to Jo. Not ‘quintessentially Steppenwolf Jo’, nor the Jo who lives in Australia Jo, another Jo. When Jo phones you can easily write off an hour. She spends so much time on the phone her daughter Alice actually learnt to use the phone before she learnt to crawl. There are a few things I’ve made up on this site, but that’s not one of them. Anyway, when Jo last called Emma told her watching Neighbours was “her only pleasure”. Which was heartening.

I have many pleasures myself. After a night clubbing, there’s nothing like drinking coffee and reading tabloids on early morning weekend trains home. I love the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party, and Sports Personality of the Year because it reminds me of the countdown to school Christmas holidays. It’s not something I do every week, but I love being at service stations on Saturday lunch times to see the nation’s football fans criss-crossing the country supporting their teams. I love being part of that pilgrimage, going to watch Oxford play away from home, especially if the journey’s long and pointless. It’s all about after the game, you see, being freezing cold, getting in the car, putting the heating on full blast and listening to Sports Report on the radio. On Saturday I planned to travel up to Kidderminster to see Oxford play on one of these deliciously pointless pilgrimages. Unfortunately, just as I was about to leave I checked Teletext (another great pleasure) and found the game was off because of a waterlogged pitch. Damn.

So I had a blank day, Emma was in London, so I had nothing to do. Saturday TV is mostly dreadful and I didn’t really want to traipse into town or anything. So I decided to watch the Rugby.

But I don’t get rugby, Simon is positively impassioned by it, and lots of people I know would cut their testicles off to go to a game at Twickenham. But, for me, though the prospect of watching an international is tempting, I sit down and can’t go more than 10 minutes before my mind begins to drift. When games reach their climactic finale, nothing burns in me.

On Saturday I decided to watch the game using my own rules. So I thought of it as a tussle between liberal men in touch with their feminine side and homophobes. I didn’t think it was such a bad pretence for a sport. The objective of the game was for all these big burly men to try and give big girly hugs to the man holding the ball and the objective of the man with the ball was to be the rampant homophobe i.e. that he had to avoid being hugged.

It worked, I watched for nearly 20 minutes before going upstairs and playing on my decks.


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