Tuesday, May 30, 2006

So we find ourselves on the brink of another World Cup, it will be the 10th one that I’ve watched. If you do the maths you can work out that I don’t remember watching the tournament in 1966, when England won.

In fact my first memory of football was back in 1968, when my normally placid father shocked me by getting very excited as Manchester United overcame Benfica to claim the European cup for the first time. I don’t remember much about the game itself, just my startled response to dad’s behaviour.

Over the years football has caused me to have pretty excited reactions to the events unfolding before me. Will it be the same during this World Cup? My knowledge of football and footballers is less than it has been since I was a schoolboy. That can bring it’s own excitement, in the past I’m sure that I’ve spent too much time looking for the players I know to perform the star turn. Who knows which players will have me leaping from seat in amazement?

On a rather more parochial level, I have decided to renew my season ticket for Bristol City. After a long period of doom and gloom around the end of last year, I did see enough in the last few months of the season to convince me that watching City could be fun after all.

I’m currently reading “Black Swan Green” by David Mitchell, it’s quite different to his previous works in that the narrative structure if fairly conventional. What I’ve read so far it set around the time of Falklands War, such a strange time in our recent history. It was the first time that became fully aware of the fact that I didn’t think the way the media told me to think. I was deeply uncomfortable about the war and was really concerned that if things carried on for some time, I might to go and fight. Of course it never got close to the sort of call-up, which would have involved me, but I well remember the appalling jingoistic tone of the country at large.

Then a few years later we had the miners strike and the battle lines were clearly drawn. To this day I can’t imagine liking or even warming to anyone that had any level of support for Thatcher and the mood, which she created in the country at that time. I’m not sure where David Mitchell is going to lead us, with this nostalgic schoolboy tale, he normally has a trick or two hidden in the narrative, and so I’m intrigued to see what he has lined up for us.


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