I know, I know…

by robertmcnicol

I’m a dreadful blogger. I blog and then FOR AGES I don’t blog. And it’s not because I don’t love both my readers, rather that my camera has lost all enamour with my company and decided to stop taking decent photos of anything at all. The fact that I’ve left it silently encased in the dark depths of some courier-type bag for a week I think may have had something to do with its miserablist attitude.

So – sod the camera. Who needs the grumpy bastard when armed with the full force of the English language? Dante never used a camera. Nor Voltaire. Or Confucius for that matter. And just look what they accomplished with this marvellous bastard-hybrid of a lexicon. Oh, hang on a mo. I think I may have made a mistake there….

[Never mind, McNicol! Plough on! This is no time to de doubting yourself in front of your brave and elegant readers!]

….I mean, yes. So. Words are nice. And utilising said power, I shall write one of those “Huh, well, like, this is what I’m doing today” sort of posts.

Huh, well, like, so today – right now in fact (and actually probably only now as I’ll soon be …..AAAARRGGHHH! No! Sorry. Was going to start telling you what I’m going to do later. Suspense. It’s all about anticip…………….ation.) So right now, I’m in me jimjams having a blog. But you know that second bit already. So I’m in me jimjams, on the sofa of Osmond the Younger who maybe you know and maybe you don’t. We’re meant to be having a Planning Weekend for our forthcoming triplet to NYC but it’s mainly been spent on buses; and, what with Boris Johnson’s recent election to the post of Lay-Mayor of Old Londonshire, you will know that planning anything on buses is deemed a security risk. So far we have made an incomplete list of buildings that we want to see. And that’s it. Woohoo. We’re amazing.

And speaking of amazing, Osmond the younger has just surfaced before ten o’clock! Sheesh. Osmond says it’s fresh but nice and smells of outside. She is outside, and I am not, which helps to explain some of that.

And then soon I was going to meet my bigger brother for a breakfast session but he’s being rubbish so that’s going to be a lunch-time affair now. I haven’t seen the bro in ages, so am eager to hear of his giant-distillation-crafting adventures.

Here’s the meat of the post , so pay attention if you weren’t before…

I’ve been having the pleasure lately of reading Michael Chabon’s Summerlands (I told you this before), which is aimed at that elusive and ethereal Young Adult readership and hence is a book I can read quickly and still understand. The fabric upon which it’s constructed is that of Baseball; the book is split into bases rather than parts and the characters discover their strength and flaws in the ballparks. And whilst the story isn’t a history of the game nor a biography of its fine players, it does evince the merits and thrill of the ballgame. So let me tell you this; baseball sounds like a terrible lot of fun.

Oh dear. So – I need to go out. I don’t want you thinking that this is an artificial way for me to (a) prolong the much-vaunted suspense and (b) refine, hone and finesse my currently muddled proposition concerning the agonies and ecstasies of bat-and-ball games. It is both of those things but I don’t want you thinking that.

~McNicol goes into Covent Garden. McNicol meets brother. McNicol buys stuff. McNicol has cocktail in Soho. McNicol takes eight sorry years to get back to Hove. McNicol has Grubbs. McNicol returns to the SP.~

So the proposition is this: Sport isn’t evil. When I was in school, the evil Mr. Blanchard tried to teach me rugby. Rather, he tried to teach me to do things like wot rugby players do. Running into other, bigger people to try to knock them over. Kick balls that aren’t even round. Catch balls that aren’t even round. Throw balls that aren’t even round. And all this whilst running. Suffice to say I developed a fine wit and gracious attitude to complement my utter ineptitude at sports. And also a fundamental, unshiftable belief that sport was evil.

[tee hee – I typed “unshitable” the first time there! It made me laugh. Oh, nevermind]

Sport was evil because I couldn’t do it because it was played by not very clever people and watched by stupider ones. Sport was evil because it was boring and sapped the energy out of otherwise useful human beings. Sport was evil because it was dominated by men and boorish ones at that. Because of the astronomical fees of a few select sportspersons; because of the inherent violence and tribalism; because of the warrish metaphor; because of the superstition and gambling; the songs and chants; the drunken celebrations; the swagger and the abuse and the danger and the egos and the uniforms and the rituals.

I liked snooker of course, which goes no way whatsoever to undermining my argument.

But, hey. You know what? I was wrong. Don’t worry – I haven’t gone loop-de-loop; I still prefer Bernstein to Bergkamp. It’s rather that I now see sport for what it just might be; a flawed reflection of this sorry existence. Plus it’s not all bad; there’s a lot of fun to be had in watching England getting thrashed at cricket. OK, so most of the fun is in doing very little for four or five days except drink and eat and shout at the telly, but there’s something else; some grain of grandeur lurking in the background suffuses those mundane activities with a specialness that you just wouldn’t get without the sport involved.

Mr. Chabon puts it better, unsurprisingly.

A baseball game is nothing but a great slow contraption for getting you to pay attention to the cadence of a summer day.

So to the future. Well, I hope to post soon on some or all of the following: cardigans; modern blocks of flats; free won’t; the fine fettle of the singles chart as it stands. Keep tuned if you will.