Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hints and fragments

Waking at around 7am this morning (LATE for me; but I had been up till nearly 2am last night), I immediately switched on the TV, because you can never be sure what time CCTV5 are going to start re-running the previous day's World Cup football matches: on some days it's been as early as 7.30, on others not until 9.30 or 10am. (And there's no consistency as to which one they'll show first.) I'd been fearing that, now we're in the knockout stages, with the possibility of extra time and penalties in every game, they might be starting even earlier, to make sure they can get finished by lunchtime. Hence switching on the TV as soon as I got up....

And, as luck would have it (ill luck, that is), as soon as the picture came to life (it takes a long time on my antiquated set) I found that they were in the middle of a highlights roundup of the Spain v Portugal game (the one I hadn't seen). I quickly averted my eyes, and started doing vuvuzela impressions (more of a raspberry, to be honest; I haven't quite sussed out the appropriate embouchure yet) to try to drown out the commentary. Alas, I caught (repeatedly!) that the result had been yi bi ling - 1-0. And the key situation I had subliminally glimpsed on the screen appeared to have been a white-shirted Portuguese attack (I don't think Spain ever play in white, do they?). And I also caught something about Iker Casillas, Spain's normally awesome goalkeeper, having failed to catch or stop something (sometimes, knowing a little bit of Chinese is worse than knowing none at all!).

I took refuge in my study with a cup of coffee - but I had to leave the CCTV programme on, so that I could listen out for the start of a full re-run of the game (THIS is why vuvuzelas are useful!), while trying to tune out any further spoiling comments about the Spain game (I overheard a lot more yi bi ling, yi bi ling, yi bi ling, so I wasn't in much doubt that that was the final score in the match; but I managed to ignore all the rest).

However, I then made another blunder: checking the 'Blog Comments' folder (force of habit! what can I do?!) in my e-mail Inbox, I inadvertently clicked on this one by my old Oxford buddy, The Swordsman - which again required me to look away sharpish, since I knew it would inevitably be about this game.

When the longed-for re-run finally got under way (at the readily predictable time of 8.45!), I was in a fair old state of panic and dread that Spain (my pre-tournament pick to lift the Cup) were about to be unjustly taken down by Portugal (one of the most overrated teams in the competition, and the one I happen to revile most). Thank heavens that proved not to be the case.

And thank heavens we now have a couple of days off, to restore our depleted emotional resources.

[By the way, a few days ago I stumbled upon a blog by Robert Brault, a freelance writer and indefatigable epigrammatist (he furnished my 'Bon mot of the week' over on The Barstool on Monday). One of my favourite lines of his is: "I'm not really an eavesdropper; I just have an Attention Surplus Disorder."

A valuable attribute for a writer, that. It was something of a problem for me this morning, though: it's really difficult to force yourself to not listen to something.]

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