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Saturday afternoons February 11, 2006

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
Berlin Diary recommends ways to spend your Saturday if at a loose end (before wrapping himself back up in his duvet and going back to bed). I had a spontaneous bout of binge-drinking-&-smoking yesterday in a ludicrously cheap bar – I half-wanted to tell them to put their prices up – across the road from the Polish Losers, which was, babyishly, closing when we trolled up at 2am to get our evening in full swing and have a computerful of translations to do so will also be going for the lazy Saturday option. Anyway, as I psyche myself up, if that’s the right expression, to get down to a good translating sesh, I’ve got the BBC on the internet to lull me to distraction. I’ve got two options – the World Service and Radio 4 – and flick between them when one becomes too unbearable to listen on to. Mr. Dimbleby’s phone-in after Any Questions normally becomes unlistenable after a while so I flicked over to the World Service and was provided with a little bit of joy. Oddly, by football, a sport which I don’t normally get majorly excited about (until the boys swap shirts at the end of a Ukraine-Russia international, zum Beispiel). But it was strangely lovely and soothing to stumble across the commentary for Wigan v Liverpool. Not for the sport, exactly, although I could have an OK flashback to vaguely grim February Saturday afternoons in the 1970s and images of 22 gentlemen running frantically, pink-leggedly and tight-shortedly around a muddy pitch. No, more for the commentary. The commentators were two. They’re probably megastars although I lost track of sports commentators in the days of Frank most-unlikely-five-hundred-in-a-bed-sex-and-cocaine-romp-participant-
ever Bough and Dickie Davies. But, at a guess, it was the BBC wanting to combine the old with the new, or the young with the experienced. One sounded 32, vaguely public school, passionate when strictly necessary and measured and deferential most of the time. Perhaps he’d been employed in case the BBC decides to use the commentaries in English-as-a-foreign-language exercises at a later date. Football and RP in one fell swoop. The other sounded sort of Ron Atkinson age, was probably a manager and definitely a former player who spoke in a Yorkshire-ish say-what-I-like-and-like-what-I-say matter-of-fact kind of way and only just hid his resentment at being stuck in a glass box with some posh whippersnapper who’d have been more at home commenting croquet than footie. (It might have been Ron Atkinson, actually.) But they soldiered on. Posh boy, “Oh, I say, that was an awfully good headed clearance, but I don’t think that substituting decision is going to do a jolly lot of good for their attacking potential.” Atkinsonian. “Don’t talk soft lad. It wunt (wasn’t, ed.) a flippin’ header. He made no friggin’ contact. Now, what iz (he’s, ed.) gunta (going to, ed.) do is put Platty up front wi’ Gomez de los Rios and…” And so on. Lovely. But radio and man can not live by commentary alone, and sure enough it got spoiled by Chris Waddle or someone coming on for the post-mortem. And I had to flick back to Radio 4, where Death of a Salesman gave me BSE within seconds, so, in a temporary snub to the BBC, I had to go for emergency last resort ERB (European Radio for Belarus), which has one minute of news every three hours and then non-stop appalling pop along the lines of Whitney Houston, Gloria Estefan and the odd token song from the former Soviet Union. Anyway, the passion and life-and-death seriousness with which Posh Boy and Atkinsonian discussed the footie had me gripped. One can get serious about anything. About football. Stamp-collecting. God. Timetables on the Helsinki Metro. And I suppose all these passions are rightly justified. So I’m now actively looking for a passion. Then I’ll pursue it. Stick with it. Get super-passionate about it. Make a job and a living out of it. And we’ll all live happily ever after.

OK, back to work and the great search…



1. Paul - February 12, 2006

Well if football is the new passion then you chose the right team to listen to today ;-). FWIW, I spent my Saturday evening watching Top Gun and then Conan the Barbarian, which goes to show you can still get enjoyment out of the most unlikely of circumstances.

2. BiB - February 13, 2006

When I was growing up, Liverpool was the Chelsea of the day and, ergo, the team to hate (unless you were a fan, of course. I never understood the geographical illiteracy of my classmates. How could a gaggle of Londoners support Liverpool and Manchester United or, in one odd case, Norwich?). I nominally plumped for Tottenham, but am obviously not a proper football fan, as I don’t want Arsenal players to meet a horrible end in any circumstances whatsoever and have never been anywhere near White Hart Lane. I have been to two internationals at Wembley, where I was bemused by the fervour and swearing and getting stuck in the wrong end with the Northern Ireland fans and seeing the Union Jack set alight an inch away from me. I wouldn’t have minded, probably, if I’d got thrown in with the opposition supporters at the England Hungary international. Probably could have got some good, spicy recipes, or met what’s-her-name Wyatt. Is it Prunella?

3. Paul - February 13, 2006

Watching England versus Northern Ireland, with either set of fans, sounds like my idea of hell!

As for Liverpool, I had no choice…it was down to the parents I’m afraid. Which probably is the reason for your Norwich fan as well :-)

4. BiB - February 16, 2006

I wonder if this is a London thing, then. Perhaps because half-the-people-in-London’s parents probably came from somewhere else, this is why we had no loyalty to our parents’ geographical origins. Or snobbery meant (largely) that the world stopped at the Watford Gap. (I once told my mother I was going somehwere for the weekend and asked her to guess where. The answer was Paris. I gave her a clue that it was south. She eventually got as far as Brighton, having cautiously edged her way through every hamlet in Surrey and Sussex en route. “No. Further,” I bellowed. “There is no further than Brighton.” Hmm. Island mentality.)

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