No! Hey, it’s me! You remember me - Everton, Villefranche and all that?
How quickly people forget. I can’t tell you how much I’m missing blogging – blogless, I’ve felt at times that I don’t exist any more. I blog not, therefore I am not, as a drunken Descartes might have said - and although I still read my favourite bloggers and check out my hit rates (falling), it’s not the same. Oh - and I’ve rediscovered that writing is lonely.
But I’ve won a remission for good conduct and am permitted a brief weekly blogfix provided 3000 productive words have been written – so long as I don’t exceed 500 words.
The great British novel is taking shape, but it’s having a rough passage. Fiction’s hard after years of plagiarising – I mean researching - so I’ve devised a fiendishly cunning plan to acclimatise myself. I take a chapter of an earlier work that started out as a biography and fictionalise it into a complete short story. I’ve done that now – for better or for worse – and am almost ready to expose it to the ruthless but fair critics at my writers' group.
But the truth is, I never left you. The urge never went away, and I still find myself saying ‘that would make a neat blog’ – then forgetting what 'that' was.
You can’t plan a blog - blogging’s a sport, and has a similar affinity to jazz as sport. DG says that when we met she was surprised to find that I was a football fan. There she was – she says – thinking she'd found a bit of an intellectual, and he was a closet footy freak, and worse: a jazz fan! What a phoney – intellectuals don’t go for that stuff.
But there’s no difference between blogging and watching the teams run out at Goodison Park to the tune of Z-cars - the old Liverpool-based cops-and-robbers programme – or the moment Sonny Rollins ambles on stage, alone, tenor in hand. For the next 90 minutes you don’t know what’s going to happen - and neither does anyone else, even those most involved. The anticipation is the same. (Though you have to be prepared for it not working for you every time - just like blogs.)
Catching up on admin – even paid my tax 18 days early. There’s a questionnaire about on-line filing. Question 6: ‘Did you use the ‘Help’ button? Yes □ No □? I tick ‘No’. Q.7: ‘If you did, was it helpful?’ Yes □ No □? As there’s no ‘N/A’ box, I don’t tick anything`. You can guess the rest – they won’t accept it – ‘You have not answered Q.7!' Hope they’re not as pedantic when checking my return.
David who? David Beckham is heading for California on a 50-million-pounds – that’s pounds, not dollars - salary. Pity, I always wanted to watch him in Adidas whites at the Bernabeu and now I never will. He says he hopes to raise the profile of soccer in the US. I’d love to see it happen: there should be team sports for guys who are neither 20 stone (280lbs), nor giraffe-men.
When, in the 1951, the USA knocked England out of the World Cup, it was a national disgrace here, but no one in the USA even noticed. Some 20-odd years later, when I used to coach kids’ teams in Paoli, PA, things hadn’t changed much: the trainees were either immigrants’ children, like mine, or rejects from gridiron. Dads seldom came to watch, and, if they did, pretended they were walking the dog, even if they had to borrow a dog. The supporters freezing on the touchline were Moms. (Not quite as bad as New Zealand, where failure to make the grade in Rugby is grounds for disinheritance.)
Now I’m a bit of a fan of Becks: he can’t do many things on a football field, but what he does – pass, cross an early ball and take bendy free kicks – he does supremely well. But David, if the likes of Pele, Beckenbauer, di Stefano, George Best and many others couldn’t do it, I don’t think you’ve got a chance. Demi-god you might be in England or Japan, but US sport has its own. Good luck all the same.