Saturday, June 12, 2010


Saturday 12 June 2010 – WORLD CUP DAY TWO

Dream: England are playing against USA, spending much of the game being penned in their own penalty area.  Then suddenly out of nowhere Frank Lampard goes “fuck it” and takes the ball, dribbling it the entire length of the pitch and knocking it over the American keeper at which point everybody begins celebrating the wonder goal from John Terry.  It’s a travesty.

Despite my early morning rude awakening I emerge into the day just after 7.15AM.  The news is the USA against England on two accounts.  Today apparently David Cameron will telephone Barack Obama and discuss a certain oil slick in a certain place.  Additionally Cameron finds time to do a camera address to the England football team wishing them luck for today.  Why doesn’t anything this man ever says seem genuine?

Around an hour later bleary eyed I find myself heading to Asda as per routine even though I did a grocery shop at Tesco yesterday.  It is just habit now, a habit that I cannot get out of.  This is my fix.

As I drive to the store yet again I find myself reminded of just how much the council is ripping up Layer Road.  What are they doing?  Patching up potholes?

Asda today is some kind of agony.  It is filled with hesitation on my part and a sense of guilt – surely I bought everything that I need yesterday.

I can’t get into this whole World Cup merch thing.  Its not that its tacky, its just fucking dull.  Buying the Saturday newspapers the corresponding realties are that The Guardian comes with a souvenir England programme (standard to be confirmed) while The Sun comes with an England flag.  The patriots are going to get me one way or another.

Staggering through the store I spot the usual ghosts from my past, the school victim followed by the guy that also liked Bella.

Today an annoying thing happens at the self service checkout.  For some reason the woman taking care of them (different than usual) decides to hover over me.  In any walk of life this is something that I just cannot bear.  Suddenly I find myself facing the reality of one of my mortal fears: a person staring at my shopping bag contents and judging me.  To be honest I think she is more concerned about me doing the “one for me, one for you” scan tactic but regardless it is heavy and unnecessary coming from a woman that gives off the impression of barely being able to read.  At one point I look up and catch her looking right into the soul of my bag.  What is she looking for/at?  I pause and go “you all right?” and without a blink she nods “yes” and resumes her glare.  She stands stoic for almost the entirety of my scanning experience until some guy buys some crates of beer and she gets arsey with him for not placing them into shopping bags.  Ironically at this point as I scan headache pills through the machine and require the mummy state authorisation it takes her an eternity to register that she has a job away from staring to do.  Quite frankly I come away of the opinion that she is off her tits, maybe experiencing some kind of breakdown in front of our eyes.  For a moment I actually consider going to the helpdesk to enquire about her wellbeing but that would just waste time and cause the hapless freak grief.  I am better than that.

Or so I think as when I check my Twitter for the second time in as many days I experience a Paul Calf moment as another friend gets sanctimonious picking me up on something.  Jesus, life is just a popularity contest that I am not winning.

From here I flip on Radio Five where Danny Baker is broadcasting live from South Africa.  This is the best coverage of the tournament I have heard so far; he truly captures the excitement of the event.  Whereas the mainstream coverage just wants to push home a “great, great, great” message he actually takes the time to pick up on quirks, mention the bad but also go to the length of explaining why things are great.

After the show I potter.  With view to heading to a BBQ party in Kilburn later today I hop in a bath with view to looking my best.  I hope later on the effort is appreciated, this is the modern world and this these days is what equates to effort in these hectic times.

Showers don’t count in this equation.

Eventually I drive to the station with the sound of the build up to the Greece v North Korea game playing on the radio.  This is the sound of golden era football.  My earliest memories of the World Cup are from Espana 82 and those rubbish football cards The Co-op did that you had to glue into a huge sticker book with Kevin Keegan on the cover.  I remember driving with dad in his green Ford Cortina and having the football on the car radio.  I have no idea or recollection who was playing just that it felt important, like an event my dad was passionate about and the other authority figures in my world were not.  There had to be something good in this if dad liked it and mum didn’t.  With this in mind, I really would like to be at home watching the game rather than boarding a train to London at this time.

Annoyingly I miss the 12.33PM train by seconds.  That would have been the golden ticket and now instead I find myself faced with a fifteen minute wait.  This is bad.

Much to other annoyance the sanctimonious lambasting of my friend on fucking Twitter continues to resonate round my mind.  I’d keep my mouth shut but that is pretty much what I do already, isn’t it?

I resign myself to catching the 12.49PM train which Mrs Information Jimmy promptly reports is nine minutes late.  From here out get wheeled the usual apologies for any inconvenience caused.  This sucks, this is shit.

While I wait my phone rings and it is The Girl asking me if I am still heading up to Kilburn.  She then asks me if I can get a present for the little girl, suggesting that we get the new Alice In Wonderland movie on DVD and maybe another movie.  I immediately decide that I must get her Fantastic Mr Fox.  That’s a movie an eight year old girl would like, right?

When the train finally/eventually arrives it is one of those weird 9PM weird trains.  Its no good.

As I board the train I spot Nathan from Dead Rat Orchestra who I just about recognise and equally just about acknowledge.  I wave and leave it at that.

A minute or two into the journey I feel a tap on my shoulder as it is him chasing a chat.  From here we talk until Witham by which point it becomes quite evident that we are annoying the people sat around me.  That said to third party ears we could be sounding pretentious.  In the end I get up and move us to the standing area between carriages with Nathan commenting “that man sat next to you looked really annoyed”.  I bet.

Eventually the train gets to Liverpool Street where I bid farewell to Nathan after a fun chat and head straight to the Tesco on Bishopsgate with view to buying Alice In Wonderland on DVD for the Filipino’s daughter.  I also want to buy her Fantastic Mr Fox which thankfully the shop also has.  Now that is a gift I feel worthy.

Feeling that I have royally succeeded I call The Girl to say that I have got the DVDs.  She asks me if I have a bag for them to which I respond like a proper male “yeah, they’re in a Tesco bag”.  She then points out that she means a gift bag.  Once more I am reduced to failure.  She tells me she will sort this out.

From here I board the Central Line with view to heading over to Bond Street and then up to Kilburn on the Jubilee Line.  A best laid plan.

Not long after I board the tube so does a hip hop busker who raps on the train with CDs in hand that he has for sale.  Is this really as low as hip hop has come?

When I get to Bond Street to change onto the Jubilee Line I discover that it is out.  Thanks for the warning TFL.  As a result I have to get back on the Central Line tube, back to Oxford Circus where I board the Bakerloo Line (the “Bakerpoo Line”) up to Kilburn Park.  I can’t believe that at one point I used to ride this line everyday, its really nasty.

Finally the train gets to Kilburn Park.  This place is undesirable.  Within minutes I find myself on Kilburn High Street and it’s a different kind of grot to what I am used to from London ordinarily.

It takes forever to get to Shoot Up Hill, by which time I am starting to become grumpy.  For some reason I think she lives at number 40 on this road and briefly I step up to its front door before quickly realising I am wrong.  I still have about another 200 houses to get to.

After a long walk on a hot day I finally spot the Filipino stood out the front of her place.  I hate how I arrive dishevelled and how this requires her to ask me two times how I am before I am able to splutter out “good” by way of “I’ve just walked all the way from Kilburn Park”.  I hate it when I whinge.

From here I step into a backyard of Filipino people all of whom make me feel immediately super welcome.  Within seconds I am handed a plate which quickly begins to get food piled on it by friendly strangers.  This is the life.

Today feels like the first barbecue I have attended in ages and this is the best possible weather for it.  Eventually The Girl turns up as we give the Filipino’s daughter the DVDs.  Her reaction is of indifference.  Perhaps I don’t know the viewing tastes of children as well as I thought.

An already amazing spread only improves as more food gets brought out as all people remain super friendly as I recognise some faces from the communion.  Very quickly the efforts of my slog up town are made worthwhile.  As wine gets served I become far too comfortable in my seat, basking in the sun as people continue to hand me plates of grand barbecue.

Eventually I spot the Holiday Inn lady from the communion.  Then another lady says she recognises me from the church that day and asks “is that your girlfriend?” pointing at The Girl.  Embarrassing myself I respond with a snappy “no way, we would kill each other”.  Unfortunately the joke is lost on the lady.

Very quickly the afternoon passes and as parents come to pick up their kids from the party including a scary shaved head dad in an England shirt who fills us in on the Argentina v Nigeria score before building us up for the England v USA game tonight.

Just after 5PM The Girl and I begin to make moves as she drops me off near the tube station.  From here it is an agonising tube journey stood in the weekend rush to get back to Liverpool Street.

When I eventually get back to Liverpool Street I miss the 6.30PM train by a minute.  It is always the way when you are in a hurry.  God hates me.

From here I end up on the 6.38PM train where other desperate souls ride an early Saturday evening train in defeated fashion.  On it I watch three hard looking ladies comparing their purchases for the day.  They appear to be upper end Clacton types, caked in tattoos that scream volumes.  These are the type of women that gang together and decide they can fend for themselves and do not need men.  Often they later become lesbians.

Eventually the train reaches 7.30PM and kick off time still somewhat far away from Colchester and I find myself now officially missing the football.  Finally the train pulls into Colchester around 7.45PM at which point I leap into my car and head straight to my parents.  It is a blazing glorious summer evening and as I drive through next to deserted streets listening to the radio it soon becomes apparent that England are already a goal ahead thanks to Steven Gerrard.  We are going to win this World Cup.

As I step into my parents place they respond surprised to see me.  Unfortunately though it would appear that as soon as I begin watching the game, England decides to turn shit.

With a shift in momentum America begin to step up a gear and England step down one as towards the end of the first half Clint Dempsey smacks a stock strike from distance which Robert Green somehow manages to fumble into the net.  I knew putting him in goal was a mistake.  With this halftime arrives with the score at 1-1 and a sense of bemusement attached to proceedings.

In the second half things fail to improve and eventually the game ends 1-1.  It’s a pretty pathetic result and I can envisage that a loss would have been worse.

Not long after the final whistle and readers wives post mortem I head home rushing to watch the car crash abortion that is the James Corden World Cup TV show.  That shit must be destroyed.

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