Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Watching Spain while half asleep
Two monstrously early mornings and two long very full days means I am in sleepwalking state by the time I get home after the MA class and the tutorials that follow. It's about 7pm and there is not a cell in my body that is not half asleep, so after dreaming my way through a plate of spaghetti bolognaise I am ready for nothing but sitting on the sofa to watch Scotland play Spain.
Ever since finding out how keenly the Scots yearn for England to lose at just about anything, that being the greatest pleasure life can afford a true Scot, I have grown increasingly indifferent to Scotland's fate at sporting contests and am quite glad to see them lose to just about anybody. Or so I say, but my heart's not in it. I like the Scots I know and I put down their meanness of spirit to a particularly florid post-imperial schadenfreude under the spell of which they, the great governors of half the Empire, like to imagine themselves not the gainers by such imperial adventures but the colonised victims. Self-pity is strong drink. Apart from that they seem a most intelligent, capable and genuinely democratic bunch so Tam O'Shanters off to them.
I don't glory in their defeat, but on this merely symbolic level of existence, I am reasonably unbothered if they get stuffed by Uzbekhistan, San Marino or Andorra.
Not so much by the Spanish at the moment. There is too much genuflection in the direction of the Spanish for my taste now. The Spanish football team are indeed absolutely and deservedly top dogs, though there is something half-asleep about them too. Wonderfully skilful as they are, I think roughly 70% of their game goes across or backwards and, were it not for their propensity to suddenly thrust through the opponents' defence in the most spectacular and elegant manner, it might in fact be a touch tedious: tedious, I mean, to the point of actually putting you to sleep, as it did me at certain points tonight. But then they scored three splendid goals, and provided almost ten minutes, all told, of entertaining forward play. The fact is I didn't actually want Scotland stuffed because while the Scots persisted, admirably enough, in chasing everything and even showing some flashes of skill of their own, the TV commentary, in as much as I was listening or even hearing it, was one long eulogy of the genius of over forty other Spanish footballers, of whom they could probably not name twenty but of whom everyone was, guaranteed to be a world beating genius. It became nauseatingly tedious after a while and it was this, as much as the long periods of possession play that sent me to sleep.
It's interesting that what we so admire in others we often deprecate in ourselves. At home, sideways and backwards passing are proofs of a craven, unadventurous spirit. In Spain or Brazil we take them for signs of mesmeric power.
But then come those moments of spectacular elegance. They're good at that.
What are the shoes about? Just liked them. They come from here where there are more.