There's an ally at the bottom of my garden. People walk along there late in the evening coming back from pubs or clubs or community centers. They've had a good evening, the talk loudly, that's no problem. The sound carries about a hundred yards across a school playground echoing off walls and buildings. It doesn't matter what language they're speaking, by the time their voices reach me they just sound like dogs barking at screeching foxes.
In a last ditch attempt to prove how unhealthy smoking is, the powers that be have made smokers stand outside pubs in the depth of winter in the hope that they'll drop like flies. Much to the authorities embarrassment, most of them seem to be hardening to it. Much to our shame, so are we.
The beautiful game it's called, but why? I went to see a match once. The home team won 6-0 and I didn't even notice any of the goals. All I remember of the afternoon was standing around in an old tin shed wondering what it was about that fourth lunchtime pint that allowed me to be talked into this. Oh yes it comes back to me now, I was the designated driver. If you want proof that the game is really quite boring, just stand outside a ground and listen to how much effort is put into making it sound exciting. Every week some vainglorious narcissist goes through his play school version of a rock concert build up, building and building towards each carefully orchestrated crescendo. With all the authority of a howling draught his voice booms and whines, higher and higher like the bulge in his pants. There will be agony and ecstasy, drama and tragedy, triumph and defeat. In a few minutes twenty two young men are going to be running up and down this muddy field just for you! Lets make this sexy!
I was in the pub the other night and they had boxing on the TV. I was fascinated. Have you seen what they wear now? I mean, talk about camp or what. When I was a kid sports men wore shorts, you know, proper shorts. Shorts that just about covered all moving parts and nothing more. Real men weren't afraid to show their legs. But look at them today, they're just so God damned precious. Sure it's only fashion, but what is saying about them? Two pumped up hunks dancing around in silk skirts beating seven shades out of each other. Tell me love, could you kill a man? "Eventually" would be the reply.
Though there are few times when we feel like we're in heaven, there are many different notions of what such a thing might be. Personally I see it as a good retirement plan to carry me through the years of incompetence, then a swift painless demise before the onset of incontinence.
It seems the most creative solution businesses can come up with to beat the recession is to wait until our backs are turned, then hoick up the prices. Perhaps the theory is to get inflation back up to double figures then hope everything else follows.
The other day I remembered a strange thing that happened around the turn of the millennium which went largely unnoticed. If it had been widely observed and reported it would have further fuelled the apocalyptic flirtation that was so prevalent at the time. I'm not one for religious myth but it made me ponder the notion that there may be signs all around us of the battle between good and evil, portents of our fate being sealed. As the colour blue had been chosen to herald the birth of the next thousand years, blue flowers were turning black. Our previously blue delphiniums, for reason best known to themselves, God and the Devil, decided to display black flowers with a flash of white. Other blue flowers in the garden also turned a much darker shade than before - pansies, centaurea, ceanothus, all took on a more sinister hue. In successive years they reverted to their former selves leaving us to wonder why as a birthday present the new millennium gave us black delphiniums.