Yeah, I know, it’s about football. But please bear with it. I’m going to try and articulate why it is of so much importance to men. Before I start with any psycho-babble, I should explain that I am the kind of guy who will go down the pub, have a pint and say “See Rooooney? What was ‘e fackin’ playin’ aht?” (getting more Uncle Albert as the conversation progresses). I just seem to adopt unwarranted airs and graces when writing.
Firstly, sport in general. Women can’t seem to understand why men like watching any kind of sport going. Of course there are women who like sport and men who don’t, but by-and-large I think this applies. Whether it’s a ball being kicked, thrown, smacked with a big stick; cars being driven around and around; men lumping seven shades of shite out of each other or even curling (ok maybe not the last one), we are drawn to it. I think part of this is because sport offers an arena where various alpha male prizes can be won in a short space of time. Football is the sport that seems to bring out these feelings more than anything, certainly in England anyway.
I’ve never seen anything unite men like football, unless there was an international Naked Female Jelly Wrestling tournament, especially when England are playing and especially when it’s a World Cup. Knowing that you’re all after the same thing, feeling the same emotions and happily crying into each other’s arms (more often than not with England), brings us together like family. It is our team, always there rain or shine. No matter how shit other things are going you always have your team, barring any Enron-like financial retardedness. Chester City fans, I feel you brothers! We invest so much time and emotion into it without being asked, most of us don’t do that with our partners for fuck’s sake. It’s very personal.
So today is England v Germany, a fixture guaranteed to get the red tops drooling and some idiots mentioning the World Wars. I feel dirty even mentioning it here, because it is ridiculous they are ever dusted off from the ‘British Shelf of Historical Greatness’ and paraded around in front of people like some kind of geriatric old pageant queen. We’re happy to throw ’66 out there as well. Why? I wasn’t alive when it happened, and while it’s nice to have the star on the shirt, to me it never happened. Leave it.
I hate Germany more than most (in football terms) because Franz Beckenbauer can’t keep his bloody mouth shut. Along with the likes of Platini and Blatter, he seems to offer an opinion on England where it’s not wanted. Why is this? Why do we seem to be an open target? You wouldn’t see Bobby Charlton talking about the shambles which was the French World Cup effort, and why would he? Maybe it’s because the behaviour in the previous paragraph makes people hate us, and we come across as arrogant. But honestly, I think they would bear ill will regardless. We’re called the home of football, and maybe this grates with them. Everyone is determined to get one over on us. You’d think after so many bloody years of abject failure, they’d be satisfied by now.
So to our chances. I try to remain optimistic, but I am fully expecting a defeat today. I hope it isn’t so. On paper, we have the beating of Germany and if we play well we could actually thrash them. That’s a big if. Clearly I’m too cynical, but there’s always something that crops up in an international tournament with us. A disallowed goal (it was right to disallow it in ’98 by the way), a sending off, a complete mental breakdown in players when they have to remember how to place the ball in the back of the net from 12 yards. I didn’t go into this World Cup thinking we could win it, which is a first for me. In previous years I’ve thought we had a good chance. However, if we can beat Germany today, and beat them with a confidence we rarely see, it could be the turning point. If not, well there’ll be no shortage of people on whose shoulders I can wipe my tears on.
Come on England!!!
‘I am writing a novel’, if there is any one sentence to make people scoff extremely loudly, it’s that. So many people say they are writing a book, and are confident it will be an awards-sweeping, literary masterpiece which will adorn the coffee tables of homes the world over. The ‘writing’ part of the sentence could actually mean anything from ‘I’ve written 5,000 words’, to ‘I thought of maybe having an idea about a book once’. So many of these ideas go unrealised, either they’re never started, or people do and they quickly hit a wall, realise the size of what they are attempting, and give up.
So… I am writing a novel! I’m about 13,000 words in and up until now I’d wondered what all the fuss was about. I’d had a general idea for a story circling my head for roughly nine years now, constantly evolving and fleshing out. Being a film guy, I’d always wanted to write it as a screenplay. I’d never even thought about writing it as a book until a few months ago, when it dawned on me I had been putting it off (see other post about procrastination) because screenplays are so bloody fiddly to write. Everything has to be formatted to exact specifications. So I decided to write it in book format, to encourage me to actually frickin’ write something. Thankfully, once I started, it came to me fairly easy. As I was writing one thing, other ideas would come to mind automatically, and I got to 13,000 words relatively quickly for a first-timer, as far as I know anyway.
Unfortunately I then hit the wall. I realised my second act was virtually non-existent. I was running straight from the first act to the end, and I’d be finished by about 20,000 words. I’m only going to sell that to people with short attention spans, or perhaps only buy books as ‘toilet material’. Hey I’m not judging! Hitting that wall was gut-wrenching. I’d set my stall with this and naively thought I was well on my way to a number one bestseller! To all of a sudden come to a complete stop, and not be able to write a single word, was strange and made me understand why people would give up.
I’d made a deal with myself, that I would not scrap what I had written, no matter what. If I could wrestle what I had into some kind of first draft, then I could always edit. I’ve managed to stick with that deal, just, and thankfully I think I’ve worked out where to go with the story. I was being too stubborn with my original idea before, but this way seems to make more sense now. I hope.
I don’t know why I’ve decided to bore you with this, maybe now I’ve put my intentions in public, I will be less-inclined to let it become another unfulfilled ‘I am writing a novel’ story. WHEN I complete it, it may be worse than Michael Owen’s autobiography (Jesus, that should have only been bought as the other kind of toilet material) but at least it’ll be done. I’d feel immeasurably happier than never having tried.
I have been unemployed for nearly three months now. This is a strange situation for me, as I’ve been in work since I left school at 17, and worked my way up from a trainee position to that of departmental head, attaining professional qualifications along the way. I’m not used to not working, but recent events have changed my views on the whole working thing as well.
I’d had a plan in my head since an early age, a plan of what my life should be. This, in a nutshell, was: school, career, wife, kids, death. Actually, take it out of a nutshell and put it in any kind of shell you want, it was just that. Lofty ambitions indeed. Since being out of work, going back to the rat race has filled me with soul-destroying dread. I should have used the time to try and get into the things I want to do, but my problem is I am such an irritating procrastinator. Yes there were other things going on, but it’s no excuse. I also expected shit to just kind of happen. I realise now that for shit to happen, you have to make shit happen, so I’m trying to improve there. Unfortunately this realisation happened far too late money-wise, so I need to get back into a job pronto so I can afford to pursue other things.
Yesterday, I had my first interview. It was working in a call centre, but I don’t mind that kind of thing and the employer has a good reputation, so it would be perfect for now, as I figure out what to do with my life. I woke up early for the first time in a while, got all suited and booted, and headed to get the bus. I hate public transport. I mean loathe it with a passion. Everyone has a demeanour like you just came down their chimneys and pissed on their kids, and if you’re not sure where you’re going or what routes/buses to take you’re made to feel like an idiot for asking. I miss having a car. It was a company car and had to go back when I left my last job. I know these aren’t real problems by the way before anyone feels the need for a sarcastic “boo-hoo”, but let me gripe and kindly go fuck yourself. The other thing about buses is they rarely take you directly where you need to go. The problem with this is there’s a lot of standing around and waiting, and while you are waiting there’s always the potential of a crotch-groping. I shit you not. As I waited for my connecting bus yesterday, a guy came out of the shop and coughed oh-so-subtley while grabbing my dick. I stood there, utterly confused, looking at this weird pervert shuffling down the street, and wondered if it had actually happened or whether I was having some kind of episode. I should have turned it into a compliment, asked him whether he liked the product and then skipped away if the answer was positive.
Anyway, after another bus and taxi later, I arrived at the interview. I was given a series of forms to fill out by a security guard, whose face like a bulldog chewing a piss-flavoured wasp suggested he was less-than-happy about performing receptionist duties, one of which contained a criminal record disclosure form. Ruddy marvellous. I filled and I disclosed, hoping it would be treated indivually rather than used as a general stick to beat me with. I then waited, and waited, and waited as the interviews before me ran over. Eventually, once my arse was completely and utterly destroyed from the seats designed by Satan’s minions, I was called up.
I had to do an exercise which involved a fake telephone call to a customer, which had me far more nervous than I thought. Thankfully (somehow) I managed to pass that and we went through the interview. I shone. I answered everything brilliantly. I normally do well in interviews but this time I was ideal. I know there’s not a lot of modesty in these statement but fuck it. My best performance for a mile. I was notified that if I was successful (which I was confident I would be) I’d get an email soon. HOWEVER, they said, the powers that be had called not one hour before my arrival, saying everything had changed and the job no longer existed. Fuck. It. Thanks and suck my dick.
I got the email saying I was successful. Now I have to wait and see if there will actually be a job relating to the interview which I was successful in.
I’m sure job-hunting was easier nine years ago.
I have decided to start a blog. I had tried this before on Tumblr, but quickly found it to just be an extension of my Twitter-self, i.e. all (attempted) witty asides and pithy comments. There was no real substance of any kind, and I quickly became bored. I also found it hard to articulate anything, but don’t let that put you off here. See, I’ve already written a paragraph!
I think I’m doing this to try and let myself gain some sense on things which have occurred recently, as my head has been to everywhere and back again, and I haven’t been able to get a foothold. We all know the reasons why, and too many column inches have been dedicated to that particular ignominy, so I won’t dwell on it! We’ll call this some kind of self-therapy. Yes, that sounds pretentious and over-dramatic, perfect!
So here’s hoping it goes ok and doesn’t fall by the wayside like my other attempt.