I can pin the last time I had that feeling down to the minute.
Sunday 13th April, 2014. 1.36pm.
Listen, I know I can’t complain about my life. I have a job I love and a wonderful girlfriend; I am healthy and have stayed out of destitution; I have good friends and live in a city I adore.
This is all fantastic but over all these elements I have at least a relative degree of control; this, sadly for a control freak like me, is not the case with everything, and of the things over which I have little or no control there are just two which really influence me: politics and football.
At 1.36pm on Sunday 13th April, 2014, Liverpool were playing Manchester City at Anfield. With the team on a Luis Suárez-inspired charge towards the Premier League title, Philippe Coutinho had put us 3-2 up against our only realistic challengers for the trophy. With only a minute or two to go, the game was essentially won. The title was all but in the bag. We could relax.
At that moment, in the 93rd minute, midfielder Jordan Henderson was shown a straight red card for a violent tackle on City winger Samir Nasri – and the world I dreamed of began to disintegrate. Continue reading
On Sunday, I will be heading down to Wembley Stadium to watch football. Well, ‘football’. It isn’t that game we Brits all know and love which actually uses your feet, but that other one they like in the States with all the ad breaks.
That’s right, my beloved Chicago Bears, whom I have held dear to my heart for the whole two-and-a-half years that I have followed the NFL, will be coming over to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a game that promises to be mediocre on action but big on hot dogs.
I was today watching NFL Total Access on Sky Sports (I’m an Arts graduate, okay? I have nothing to do with my day) and was expecting to feel a rare sense of jingoistic pride that the US felt the need to have validation from us for its little sport. It’s like a big brother who, while acting all protective and superior, actually really lives for the praise of his baby bro. “Hey UK! UK! I– Look! Are you looking? I made a sport! I mean, you probably wouldn’t be able to play it, it’s very physical and requires you to put emphasis on the first syllable of the word ‘defence’, so you can’t play… But do you like it? Do you?”
Instead, however, I just felt patronised. The presenter initially asked whether the coaches and players should be referred to as “the Right Honourable Gentleman”, before saying that the Bucs were looking forward to their trip to “Her Majesty’s Great Britain”.
After my fuming sense of indignity at these callous stereotypes had been calmed by a crumpet and cup of Earl Grey, what then got me was that it was another example of the way in which Americans use the words ‘England’, ‘(Great) Britain’ and ‘the UK’ interchangeably. Continue reading