May 11, 2009
I’ve been catsitting this weekend. In Sydenham. looking after a little cat fellow called Chomsky. As I type he has just eaten a wasp. I hope that’s alright. For Chomsky. Not the wasp. Too late for the wasp. Wasps get a raw deal. We might not like bees, but we put up with them. They make us honey and if they sting us they then do the decent thing and go and die. Wasps make nothing and sting and sting again. So well done Chomsky, I hope you are ok and unstung. (Just checked on him in the garden and he seems fine).
Sunday in Sydenham was a lovely day. And so I did the obvious thing. I went and sat in two glums pubs and watched Manchester United play Manchester City. I’d have been better off eating wasps.
I had a pint in the first pub, for the first half of the game. I don’t think I was very welcome there. Everyone seemed to be on United’s side. And they were all very serious hairless tattooed men. I sat while they all stood and watched the game, arching backwards like ballet dancers. And old man wandered from table to table with two full carrier bags. He was selling meat. One of the hairless tattooese kept chanting “Been shoppin’ ‘ave ya? Been shoppin’ ‘ave ya?” Although I understood the question I didn’t understand what it meant. I wasn’t offered any meat.
At half time I went to the bar for a second pint and some of the lovely food on display. Everyone at the bar had a plate with some bread on it, and ham, and pickles. That’d do me. I wasn’t sure what I was asking for as there was no menu, so, trying to be polite I said “do you do any food?” The tattooed barman said “no.”
In my second pub, for the second half, I had a roast lamb dinner. It wasn’t too good, but when asked I said it was excellent. I was just glad to be somewhere where people were friendly. My roast dinner was served on a black square plate. Have you ever had a roast potato that’s kind of like a stress ball? I have now.
Manchester United v Manchester City, in a pub in Sydenham, watching it on a Greek sports channel. A caption kept scrolling across the screen; this channel is only licensed to be viewed in Greece. The Greek commentary was turned down and old classics played in the distance; Nat King Cole singing Mona Lisa. I felt like I was on holiday.
And I was sitting by another Manchester City fan. He said hello. This was a friendly pub. We talked about the match and I pretended I knew about football. I just about got by. we talked of Colin Bell and Franny Lee. Then we jumped 30 odd years to talk of Robinho and Richard Dunne. Thank Dennis Tueart’s overhead kick in the 1976 League Cup Final that he didn’t ask me about all the years inbetween. By the end of the match he’d bought me a pint. Cheers sir!
Four pints later I strolled into the Sydenham sun. City lost.