The new football season has started, therefore it’s the beginning of the nine months or so of travelling across London every other week to watch 22 over-paid, pampered, spoilt millionaires with the constitution of a newborn rabbit with osteomalacia.
Mingling with Neanderthal thugs on the tube, enduring their racist, sexist, violent chanting. Avoiding the away fans, as they are liable to slice your ears off and feed them to their children.
Drinking over-priced watered down continental lager while nibbling on a processed horse burger. Paying for the privilege of attending using our benefits or undeclared, untaxed earnings before going home and kicking the cat if our team has lost or knocking back another ten pints if we’ve won.
The first game of the season, like the first pint is the best. The crowd, no matter whom they support is full of optimism, maybe this year will be our year. And as this game takes place in August, with a bit of luck the sun is shining, Sky and the Premier League haven’t colluded to shift the kick-off time to around midnight then we can stroll to the game in shirtsleeves (well obviously I mean our nylon replica kits or offensive t-shirts).
With keys and ‘phone in one pocket and wallet containing an Oyster Card, enough money for fifteen pints and my season ticket (more of a credit card than a ticket nowadays) in the other, I was left with a dilemma; my Kindle doesn’t fit into my back pocket, despite the glossy TV ads, so I picked up an Airey Neave account of his wartime exploits, particularly escaping from Colditz, but it’s a fairly new paperback (2006) and was as wide as the Kindle. As I was walking out of the door, I grabbed Carry On, Jeeves (Penguin Books 1957) and as it was designed to, fitted it into my back pocket.
Sitting on the comfortable, air-conditioned Overground train on route to West London, I dipped into P G Wodehouse for the first time. I’d bought the paperback from a second-hand shop because it was a 1950s Penguin with the classic orange cover with a white panel, 2/6 on the outside, £1.50 on the inner. For some reason I’ve never read P G Wodehouse, I’ve not avoided or boycotted him we’ve just not crossed paths.
Very funny, lovely prose, I love the way Jeeves never walks into a room, he flows or glides or just appears. I had time to read a few stories on my way to the match, and even after 25 pints of Punchenberg Lager was able to focus and read a few more on the way back, including a description of Bertie Wooster’s exploits on Boat Race Night which ended up with He and his chum up in court the next morning.
As I left the station I tucked the book back into my pocket (shifting the Stanley knife and rolled up newspaper to the side to make room) and went back to my (increasingly) middle class life having spent the afternoon in a working class pursuit while reading of the upper class world of the early 20th Century.
By the way it was 2-0, What Ho!