Hello. I'm desperately trying to finish this chapter at the moment, so I'm feeling quite sad that most of my recent blog entries have involved Youtube clips (the Pingu one, I feel, is especially indicative of my tense state of mind at the moment...)
Anyhow, here's a summary of recent 'stuff'...
As the 'funny' faux-Italian post heading might indicate, my team got beaten on a penalty shoot-out in the play-off semi-final (if hyphens were water, this sentence could irrigate New Mexico.) Lacking the funds or time to go up to Rochdale, I settled for watching the game in the pub and earning the sympathy of various bemused locals. If the Norfolk-accented man who tried to buy me a drink when it was all over is reading this (and I'm virtually certain he isn't), let it be known that he is a 'scholar and a gentleman', as I've heard people in these parts say. Not wanting to alcoholically devastate a whole Saturday because of the psychological shortcomings of Darlington Football Club, I declined and went home to engage in a list of therapeutic activities including:
1- Ignoring the FA Cup final in favour of listening to tunes. The FA Cup final was great when we used to go round Dad's house, drink far too much fizzy drink, eat loads of crisps, watch the 14 1/2 hours of build up, and all support the underdog in the invariably underwhelming game (Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday in 92 and 93 respectively were adopted teams for the afternoon). For what the FA Cup final is like now, substitute 'fizzy drink' for 'lager'- actually, on second thoughts, lager is a 'fizzy drink', albeit without the innocent connotations of that phrase- and delete everything else except for 'underwhelming'. The only exception to this was watching the 2006 final at All Tomorrows' Parties at Camber Sands Holiday Resort in the presence of Jandek and that tall guy from Liars- it was a good game, and involved rather a lot of fizzy drink, but it still didn't match the feeling of lemonade-fuelled despair at John Byrne's futile attempts to snatch an equaliser for the Black Cats against Liverpool in 1992. So, I didn't watch the cup final or indeed listen to it on the radio because I knew it would, once again, be rubbish.
2- Roast a chicken. Few things are more satisfying for the committed carnivore than watching chicken skin turn brown and crisp in the oven. At the risk of offending the all the Modern Parents-types that haunt the 'blogosphere' in search of edgy youth movements to co-opt in features for the BLOODY Guardian Magazine, it wasn't a happy chicken at all. This is because I do not have ten quid to spend on a single bird, despite the fact that I can make one last the best part of a week once I've eaten some of it with vegetables, sandwich-ed it, curried it, and boiled up a broth to make a risotto with. I do all of these undoubtedly admirable things, but the chicken still costs four quid. Should hand-reared, ecstatic, Little Book of Calm-quoting birds come on the market for less than a fiver (and lets face it, that situation is highly fucking unlikely given that a loaf of bread costs the best part of two pounds at the moment), the question is a bit of a non-starter. Until then- take notice, TV execs- stop telling people who don't have the money or time to shop at some ruddy-faced farmers market that everything they do is wrong, thus exacerbating the social divisions that the likes of the BLOODY Guardian Magazine are theoretically opposed to. So, no more The Duchess Goes to Hull please. Two caveats or addendums here. Firstly, I have some mileage left for Jamie Oliver, who I feel attempted to shatter some overly-cosy foodie assumptions before every Humphrey/ Jemima Islingtonite decided it was extremely modish to be seen by one's neighbours up to the elbows in goose or Old Spot or alligator blood (and, of course, great material for one's next weekend supplement column). All of these new foodies probably don't even have taste buds- I'd rather leave matters like this to self-confessedly right wing libertarians like A.A. Gill, who probably don't give a flying one where their hors-d'oeuvres originate as long as they taste good (and admit that they taste best when they've been despatched by a professional butcher rather than some masquerading toff or failed footballer). Secondly, the 'Duchess' probably thinks that she's doing Hull some kind of favour by visiting it. As a regular visitor to, and known admirer of, this most startlingly odd of cities, I would like to suggest that the telly has done her a favour by letting her go to the august home of William Wilberforce, Reckitt's Blue and England's most vituperative rugby league derby. For a night out, or just a day loafing, Hull is bang on. I bet she didn't go and give herself a pounding headache by drinking import stout of dubious provenance at The Adelphi.
3- Running out of time in what Gertrude Stein called 'the time of the composition' now. Anyway, number three in my list of great post-football therapies (I wish I'd thought of slandering Guardian journalists, foodies, and the Duchess of York at the time, as this blog has been pretty cathartic) is MAKING PIZZA DOUGH. And lots of it. And saving it overnight so you can spend the rest of the day speculating about how nice your pizza is going to be. I made the pizza (me: roast chicken, roasted peppers, red onion, cherry toms. Jenny 'the vegetarian': jalapenos, mushrooms, roasted peppers, red onion, cherry toms) after I returned from International Football on Sunday morning still elated after a Gerrard-esque superstrike and they were, indeed, delicious. So, fans of Rangers FC. Next time your side deservedly lose an important match, sift some flour, make a well in it, fill said well with olive oil, add yeast and sugar and salt and water and GET KNEADING. It really makes much more sense than smashing up Manchester city centre and phoning Alan Green on 606 to justify your imbecility on the grounds that 'the TVs weren't working'. Oh, hold on, I don't even have a TV, and it has never occurred to me that I should vent my feelings about this by assembling a posse of my neanderthal mates to chase a member of the Norfolk Constabulary down the street and jump up and down on him. Lads, Gers, whatever you want to be called- make a pizza. When Celtic win the league on Thursday night, make a pizza. When Carlos Cuellar joins an English club in the summer, make a pizza. When the power-sharing exec(snip there, I think- Editorial Superego).
4- Open a can of Kronenbourg, sit on the kitchen worksurface in the sun, and read a detective novel by Michael Dibdin. These works are good, if only because they're driven largely by the writer's obsessive desire to communicate the entire wealth of his mass of Italophilic information (thanks to Michael Dibdin, I now know that people from Ferrara speak with nasal accents, and rather more than I would have wished about the sewage system in Venice) instead of the need to tell an even vaguely plausible detective story.
Anyway, it's my favourite time of the week: seven-a-side time. Thanks for listening, if you were. You've just been witness to a wound-up postgrad venting his frustrations about his work, albeit in a heavily sublimated form.