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Shrimps 1 Iron 1

  Sat 19th April 2014

I went to only the second football match in my life yesterday with my old Uni pal, who's from Scunthorpe. His town's team, "the iron", were playing local team Morecambe, "the shrimps". Being a man of sensitivity and refinement, and a coward, I told Simon that at the first sign of any argy-bargy, I'd be off.

Simon's a driving instructor and his girlfriend inherited several hundred thousand pounds last year. As I climbed into his dual control car, I said "So how come you're still slogging away on the driving instructor game when your girlfriend's a millionaire?" He said that she wants him to keep working and that he's happy to do so. I think she's keeping her money to herself and concealing her avarice with a superfically reasonable injunction to Simon that he should be autonomous and self-reliant. She describes herself on her website as a "writer". Yeah, well, she has a published book out which has earned her a few thousand, and she does a bit of work with a literary festival. But she can only do that because she's always had money behind her. "Well, not how I would handle 900K," I said, aware that I mustn't spoil the day, "but everyone's different."

At the ground, I wandered into the terraces with my drink, naively assuming that one could drink whilst watching the match, as you can at the cricket. "No," said the steward, barring my way. "We have a rule that you cannot see any grass while you've got a drink in your hand." I quaffed a difficult pint of commercial cider before rejoining Simon on the terraces. We chatted skittishly and Morecambe equalised in the 95th minute.

Football in real life is completely different to how it is on the telly. I left with two things--a new respect for referees and linesmen, who have to react to fast-moving partisan limbs, and a most unexpected high. It was quite exhilarating. I understood how you'd feel like beating someone up.

Simon had to get away so he dropped me off at the pub and I met Kev, who flattened my mood with his talk about the car accident which killed his girlfriend, and how the Procurator Fiscal in Aberdeen had "not entirely dismissed" his egotistical suggestion of helping with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, lack of forensic certainty, he couldn't hear the people in court, no markings on the road so they can't tell how fast the car was going, we don't know when she was on her mobile, it could have been when she was parked up, the Procurator Fiscal told me 'I know that you're not anyone but Liv's boyfriend', I'd like to meet your friend Simon again, he was a good bloke, I think I could help him train young drivers, yeah anyway you've got his details, so maybe...

Glassy sunlight and gloom were colliding. I wanted to be away, to soar on this high I was feeling, which, unusually, had nothing to do with chemicals or music. I nodded and yessed through Kev's monologue, looking at the long hair poking out from his nostril, and planned my lie. "So what are we? Quarter to seven? Right then Kev I've got to be off because Melanie's coming back from Harrogate at 7ish so I'd like to be there to meet her. Alright then--see you soon." An over-elaborate farewell of saying how nice it's been and on and on.

The way he looked, as I got up, as he realised that the receptacle for his incontinent speech was leaving--his little boy-ish face picturing a mixture of loss, and wonder as to why I would withdraw my favours.

8 comments

Comment from: [Member]

Last year someone took me to see Barça at home in the Champignon’s. There was no alcohol to be had anywhere, which was initially quite distressing but actually came in handy because there were no slowmo replays either, so you needed to concentrate. I suppose. Though I have been very drunk at football matches and seen everything, and more.

Sat 19th April 2014 @ 23:30

Strange, I thought you would have hated the soccer match.

I know it’s heartless, but Liv sounds like she got of easily…imagine being married to the wanker.

Sun 20th April 2014 @ 06:29
Comment from: Tony [Visitor]

Sounds a better game than what my boys turned out yesterday but at least we won 3-0 to stave off relegation for another season.
Away trip to Bath tomorrow where it won’t be so important if the footballs crap, if you get my drift :-)

Sun 20th April 2014 @ 09:14
Comment from: [Member]

T: Yes, I soon found that out. It’s amazing how habituated one is to slo-mo. At the first goalmouth scramble, I was almost expecting the players to re-enact it for me at half speed.

TSB: He’s OK, most of the time, but three years on from this accident, I am getting a little tired of hearing about it–at such length, anyway.

Tony: I’m sure the Bellringer, is it – will help! Btw, the chap that runs the Langdales Soulful Dance nights was at that 6-4 thriller at Wolves.

Sun 20th April 2014 @ 11:25
Comment from: [Member]

i know this feeling… my colleague, who lost his 17 year old son to suicide 3 years ago, has now been chasing psychics to contact his dead child, as well as seeking training so he can talk directly with the dead child. i listen politely, and still make it a point to check in with him regularly, but my attempts to re-direct the conversation into what lies ahead, other things going on with his two living children, and i’m quickly taken back to the underworld…. so i limit time with him…

how would you handle 900K?

Mon 21st April 2014 @ 02:20
Comment from: [Member]

Oh Lord – I’m not sure how much patience I’d have with that kind of mumbo-jumbo. When my friend gets in that rut, he can fill any amount of time on the same topic of gloom, so like you, I have to invent ways of escaping. I do feel for him, but he need to start looking forward, not backwards.

900K? Pay Kirsty’s mortgage and all her debts off. Buy my mum and dad a house (they’ve never owned property). Buy a couple of flats and rent them out. Move out of this street. Keep the rest in trust for my girls. And then, basically, carry on much the same as I am.

Mon 21st April 2014 @ 13:43

I remember an album by Squeeze called argy-bargy but didn’t think the word was actually a part of the lexicon. Why was I born in this unimaginative country? WHY!?

Does she have any kids? Because that money would be for them; not Simon. Do you suppose you’d burn through that money? Would you make it last? Money is freedom, sweet freedom.

Another fascinating post. I read so many shit blogs that have a larger readership. It isn’t fair.

Tue 22nd April 2014 @ 11:51
Comment from: [Member]

No, she’s childless. The money’s hers. I can’t get my head around why she hasn’t offered Simon the possibility of giving up earning 13, 14 K as a driving instructor. He can refuse it, but she could offer it.

I’d leave the rest of the money (after having done the things I said) in trust for the girls, so that I couldn’t spend it all on drugs.

Re the readership – it’s quality not quantity. And if the blogs you read are shit, why read them? I’ve deleted a blog from my blogroll recently because it’s not interesting enough to me. Pictures of cakes on vintage teaplates; days described, without much detail, as “wonderful".

Tue 22nd April 2014 @ 20:04


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