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Thursday, 11 October 2007


Wednesday 16th June, 1982: England 3 (Robson 2, Mariner), France 1 (Soler)

For some reason, I watch England's first game of the World Cup in Spain. I'm at Tertiary College by now and more interested in music and girls and trying to look like David Bowie or Keith Richards (according to the prevailing mood) than football. But as I write this, I recollect more and more of the tournament so I must have watched at least a few games. Anyway, Engand get off to a dream start. Bryan Robson scores with only a few seconds on the clock and, although the French equalise, England go on to win comfortably. They'll eventually depart from the tournament unbeaten after a goalless draw with the hosts. France go a stage further, losing the semi-final against West Germany; a result that shames the tournament. German goalkeeper Harold Schumacker fells Battiston with a brutal body charge but somehow stays on the pitch to play his part in the penalty shoot out that decides the game in their favour.

Italy will go on to provide karmically fuelled justice of a sort when they beat the West Germans 3-1 in the final. Marco Tardelli's celebration of Italy's second goal remains one of the sport's most exhilarating. Tearful, arms outstreched like a Marathon runner crossing the line in relief and joy. Italy take part in perhaps the best World Cup game I've seen, somehow living with, then beating a Brazil side who have been scoring goals for fun and who must be among the best sides not to have gone on to pick up the trophy. In fact, of the tournaments that England have taken part in, it's probably my favourite. I don't get bent out of shape either way by England's success or failure and have enjoyed my neutral status in the games they're not involved with.

What else? So much that I realise the inadequacy of the form of chosen, so much has happened since 1979 and that dramatic FA Cup Final I didn't even watch. I've fallen out and been reconciled with Caspar (don't ask - I've been trying to get my head around it, and it would take another book...), fallen in with Malcolm Glass and formed Attrition. It's a good name, isn't it? Attrition, that is; although Glass would have made a good name for some post-punk keyboardist or sythesizer wizard. And Attrition looks great too, with a circle around the A to form an anarchist symbol, ideal for inking onto your army surplus shoulder bag or spraying on a wall; which no one does.

We go to Sunday evening concerts at the Lyceum Ballroom on the Strand. We see Killing Joke, Discharge, Wah Heat and countless other bands on the lengthy bills, that used to read like rolls of honour, those litany's of the ephemeral in the N.M.E. advertisements. Scary Monsters comes out and I buy it in Boots in Richmond; buying an LP from a chemist - how quaint is that? We start bunking off school. I have a clever ruse worked out; you bunk off then acquire a stomach bug for the next couple of days, that way you're always covered by a letter from your Mum. It back fires though when one day we get a call from the school saying that I haven't been there for a week. Rumbled. I slope in with my punky hair, drainpipe jeans, flasher's mac and cowboy boots to get a grilling from Mr. Simmonds. He's seen descent from promising lock forward in the school rugby team to this degerate waistrel.

But much as I'm ashamed that I've in some way let him down, I won't be taking his advice to smarten myself up. I just don't care, it's as simple as that. There's a whole raft of us, reasonably intelligen

L.U.V. on y'all,


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