Barrafina, Adelaide Street
7 hours ago
That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone: wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment.
Football in Britain isn't so much a national game as a national obsession. It's about as easy to escape as that other British obsession - the weather (the weather itself, that is. Not just the media coverage of it), and it takes up far more airtime, column inches and collective British headspace than any sport has a right to.
I'm not a fan. I never have been. The closest I come to caring about it is when a result one way or the other might put a dampener on The Writer's afternoon. I don't think it's particularly odd that I'm not bothered about it, just as I wouldn't expect everyone to be endlessly fascinated by three day eventing (although why wouldn't you be? These people perfect three disciplines and then persuade a half ton beast with a mind of its own to join in. That's skill).
But the difference with equestrianism in general is that if you couldn't care less about it, you needn't ever be troubled by it. It's restricted to specialist press - sometimes it doesn't even make the sports pages. It certainly doesn't get anywhere near the air time it should given that the British are currently no 1 in the world rankings in all three disciplines.
But I don't appear to have that luxury as someone who couldn't give a plagued rat's ass about the ins and outs and who's bitten whoms and rumours and speculations and transfers that makes up the endless footballing fodder for the British media.
There is not one mainstream media channel I can turn to safe in the knowledge that it won't shove football down my throat. The Today programme was breathless in its fervour to cover the resignation of Alex Ferguson. ITV shows European football on weeknights on their flagship channel. The Times produce whole pull outs devoted to the bloody industry.
And there's no let up. If it's not the season, there's a transfer window. Or a European championship. Or a World fucking Cup from which none of us can hide and even Radio bloody 4 is using as a hook for its summer programming. Surely it can't be so universally popular as to merit such blanket coverage?
And yes, I understand that there's an industry behind the sport. But there's an industry behind every sport. And as important a business as football might be to the British economy, so is BAE Systems and we don't have them shoved down our gagging throats at every available opportunity.
All I want is one mainstream outlet where I can go to read or listen to or watch the news and current affairs (you know, the stuff that actually matters) where I won't have football thrust at me. Just one. Failing that, I'll just have to spend the summer watching the Weather Channel.