I get a lift part of the way home with Andy and Val. "So, how will you fill your time now?", Andy asks just before dropping me off. I fear momentarily that we've miraculously fast-forwarded to that bleak-imagined future: I live alone and, when I'm not pissing myself or falling down the stairs or being beaten up by some ruffian for my measly pension book (if I could even remember where I'd left the bloody thing in the first place), the highlights of my existence come in the form of the the twice weekly meals on wheels delivery and re-runs of Brian Mathews' Sounds of the Sixties every Saturday morning (see previous post). Then the penny drops: he means how will I fill my time now the World Cup's over? This is even more serious than the bleak-imagined future I just bleakly imagined. How will I fill my time now??
There's the DeLillo book, of course - although I'm edging disturbingly close to being halfway through that now. Another 500 pages and things could get decidedly dodgy. But then just as I'm coming to a convenient page break, up pops salvation in the unlikely form of (what used to be Celebrity but is now just plain) Love Island. In fact, so compelling is this most insidious of reality shows, that it's been on an hour or so before I realise that I haven't made any notes (sorry, but it's the only way I can remember anything at all nowadays. Sad, isn't it?) For what they're worth, here are those I did make:
Alicia: a blonde, slightly over-inflated Kate O'Mara blow-up doll.
Fearne "roots woman, roots!" Cotton.
Leo: "proper porno noises"
[...as Leo & Alicia's canoe capsizes:]
Leo: "My eyes!!"
Alicia: "My hair!!!!"
Chris Brosnan: Frederick Forrest and Mick Jagger's test-tube love child.
Lee: George Formby, aged 8.
S. demanding a bounty bar every 12 minutes, thus proving the total susceptibility of TV audiences to repetitive advertising campaigns.
Lee: I worry about what people think about me."
Me: "So you bloody well should. Toss flaps."
Shane: "...a hench boy.." [??]
Colleen: Blonde, American, lots of teeth.
T-square bed dividers.
No, it doesn't make much sense to me either.... Maybe it's not all that good after all. Oh well, I'm sure we'll find out over the next 7 weeks......
A quick word on Zidane. Step aside from the media furore for a moment and ponder this:
When they turn out the lights and retire to that gently humming silence, the one each of us retreats to before we are levelled in sleep, has Marco Materazzi, winner's medal snug beneath his pillow, that much more reason for pride than Zinedine Zidane?
If one had to choose to step into the shoes of either of these men, which would it be? Would you want to live with the endless replays of that sly nipple tweak? The lazily tossed wind-ups? Wishing "an ugly death" on Zidane and all his family? Then the sudden apprehension, the fear in your eyes, like that of a schoolboy who, having pushed a teacher further than he has any right to, is then confounded when confronted not by the usual handwringing and pleas for good behaviour but by the prospect of direct and immediate retribution from another moral sphere entirely. Or would you rather live with that "shame of Zidane" loop? A career of greatness forever eclipsed (or perhaps defined?) by one swift and brutal Samurai head bow; hitmanlike in its economy and efficiency; more unanswerable even than the referee's solemnly raised red and endlessly replayed like a highway shooting caught by a flukey camcorder.
There was, amid all the talk and bluster (you must admit) a terrible beauty to it.
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