They said there’s too much caffeine in your bloodstream, and a lack of real spice in your life. I said: leave me alone because I’m alright, dad, surprised to still be on my own.
It’s easy to hate most football pseuds. The obsession with Napoli, used as a tool to illustrate their superiority instead of their actual enjoyment of the game, is bizarre. They’re an exciting team with tactics you don’t always see executed in England, and the Christianity of their players aside, they seem more or less OK, as footballers go. However, I will laugh my tits off if Chelsea nail them. No more of this.
Given that the US political spectrum doesn’t really incorporate the left, I was resigned to accepting that Barack Obama might sympathise with some of David Cameron’s policies. But then, on last night’s news, Nick Robinson informed viewers that he also likes him. I’m not sure there’s any coming back from that.
It’s been a while since this column has had cause to discuss John Terrence, and his ready provision of easy material has been missed, but he’s back: “Fabio backed me. That comes from a relationship with myself and him; the relationship we built up. I stood for him on the football pitch, and he stood up for me off the pitch. I respect that. I respect him as a man and for what he did for me. Complete respect. Both ways.” Or put another way, it’s absolutely impossible – eating a combine harvester impossible – for him to speak nicely of someone, without asserting how utterly they are in understandable thrall to his magnificence.
Saw a Youtube video of an Alex Higgins interview in 1986, yesterday: singing and talking to Jimmy White. What a fucking sad story.
In 1990 Higgins lost in the first round of the World Snooker Championships. After the game he sat in his chair and sunk triple vodka and oranges as the venue emptied around him. “Two dozen spectators opted to stay in their seats just to confirm Barry Hearn’s brutal but accurate observation five years previously that people ‘like watching the process’ of Alex Higgins falling apart,” Bill Borrows’ biography of Higgins wrote. Higgins is the saddest of sad stories, but, almost two years after his death, that is so much of what makes him a substantial figure still.
There is a tendency to re-imagine Higgins as the mercurial snooker genius who changed the game, leaving just the one clause-caveat ‘in spite of the negatives’ to write-off his failings as a bit that might be looked past. To do that, though, is to lose the essence of Higgins: a bit of humanity amongst the cardboard cut-outs; a spectre of a real person who got a lot of things wrong. Higgins made it alright to be a mess: made that less of a lonely place to be.
Obviously, he was also fucking cool as well. Snooker was stuffy before Higgins – and afterwards. And just like everything else, it required someone who would instruct Stephen Hendry on just where he could put ‘it’: “Up your arse, you cunt,” he might have said after a 9-2 World Championship defeat in 1991.
Photo courtesy of http://welloffside.com