Last time I put metaphorical pen to paper (they’re both metaphorical in case you’re wondering, putting a metaphorical pen to a real piece of paper would pretty much be a waste of time) or finger to key (that just sounds wrong on several levels), if you prefer, I promised to be a bit more upbeat, but I have to say that with the various bits of news lately it is a struggle.
The mood was set last Sunday (Easter Sunday) which happened to be the tenth anniversary of the passing away of my dear old Dad (Easter AGAIN!!). There isn’t a day that I don’t think about him, and he did, to trot out this week’s first cliche, ‘have a decent innings’, nonetheless, it gets you thinking of this and that, which, when you have a limited brain capacity such as me, is always a problem.
The v-shaped depressions have loomed and lurked on the near horizon ever since and in this cursed year for deaths of the famous I am hit by a double whammy. You cannot have read anything I write and not appreciate that Ronnie Corbett is an influence on me (I do not pretend to even have a hundredth of his ability). Unsurprisingly I loved his meandering monologues in particular, but he was incomparable in general – who else could have worked with the genius of Ronnie Barker for so long and be considered an equal and talked of in the same terms?
On top of all that ability he also just seemed to be a genuinely nice man, charming, warm, honest and likeable – I take this not just from the words that have been said about him but when pros like Brucie and Parky, both good friends of his, are so clearly upset by his demise then you know that he was a good ‘un.
A couple of hours later it was announced that a footballer by the name of Ian Britton had passed away, aged 61. This guy was an apprentice at Chelsea when he made the first team ranks in the early 1970s as the great team of that era started to disintegrate and he was one of those players that fans loved – skill, heart and never stopped working for the team – he played in the next great team at Chelsea under the guidance of Eddie McCreadie and alongside the brilliant Ray Wilkins and the likes of Gary Stanley, Ray Lewington and a couple of old fellows called Bonetti and Harris! That team won promotion and would/could have been a truly great team but guess what, Eddie wanted a company car, didn’t get it and left the Bridge…cue disintegration number two! Honestly I never thought the cabaret that was Chelsea then would ever return until this year’s nonsense, though it has to be said that it has, in a bizarre masochistic way, always been part of the attraction of the club.
Anyway, Ian Britton was a top player and also by all accounts a top man, who revelled in the fact that he was as famous for his appalling haircut as he was for his ability – seriously, in a decade of unforgivable hair ‘styling’ it does stand out and would have looked more at place as a member of the Sweet or Slade than on the playing field (not that of course he was the only one playing football with a dodgy barnet, check out John Dempsey’s sweep-over bob of a similar era for a starter).
Now, all this cheery news is in the context of some good stuff by the way my pea-like brain works – generally speaking if England are doing well in any sport, particularly rugby and cricket (not so much football – don’t get me wrong I want them to do well but I lost interest the day Graham ‘do I not like that’ Taylor became Manager and struggle with Roy ‘Liberace’ Hodgson, though in fairness he seems to be doing ok – friendlies though are a complete waste of time, I’ll save my interest for the usual mental turmoil of the Championships). Of course the bizarre soap opera at Stamford Bridge this year balances any good news out… ah the ‘Good Old Days’, I am surprised that as you walk in the ground you are not greeted by Leonard Sachs on a pedestal with a gavel elaborately introducing a front line of Eden Hazard, Danny La Rue and Ken Dodd, the latter two being the most likely to score…it has to be said that in a long list of rubbish programmes that particular one is up there fighting for the metaphorical digestive and is the second thing I remember hating in my young life, after Billy Bremner/Leeds United (inseparable AND insuperable, like a drooling Pavlovian dog at the sound of a bell, I can feel the bile rising at the mear thought of Don Revie and his cohorts, their filthy tactics, throwing sock garters into the crowd, Alan Clarke’s snide face…I’d better stop there!).
The human condition eh? I feel better already for the rant!
It’s so much easier to find the negative than the positive isn’t it?
From the simple things in life like paying best part of a hundred quid a month on SKY yet finding myself looking at my wife most evenings and asking why? 90% of what I watch is on the BBC, the odd bit from ITV and then Atlantic. I suppose that I might be a bit more positive if watching my football team wasn’t the unnerving experience it is, but then, that’s what the pub’s for. I am forgetting the joys of SKY Arts where in one sitting one can enjoy ‘The Greats Of Hollywood’, ‘Jethro Tull at the Isle of White Festival’, Vivian Stanshall’s ‘Sir Henry at Rawlinson End’, ‘The Ritchie Blackmore Story’ , ‘Tales of the Unexpected’…or you could just take a hallucinatory drug, save the eighty notes and the bother.
The middle area to contemplate I guess is the state of the country, the world , the universe, the future, I’m talking about style, I’m talking about form, I’m talking about content…sorry,that turned from making a serious point into Harding from ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’, I really must get some rest.
The trouble is, as we progress, as we communicate with greater technology, as we have access to more and more information does anyone else feel more and more like Winston Smith…no that’s taking it too far maybe though we must all now see the potential for that future, perhaps more Peter Finch (Howard Beale) in ‘Network’.
Life, it’s a far bigger thing than I am able to contemplate, still, this week, it’ll make a nice change from death.