“I was in California,” he casually went on.
Flying is a pain. Look, I know for most people it’s a treat, and good luck to those people. Lord knows they put up with enough. But I’m expected to do this first class, often a couple of times a month. It’s ridiculous that we’re stuck with such outmoded forms of transportation. There needs to be a serious think about using the technology available to create something quicker, something which necessitates fewer lacklustre browses through the in flight magazine- something teleportable that can be forgotten about until we need it. I don’t buy this argument that says we’d be robbing something from travelling if we done this: the technology would only be available to the people that need it most, me and other football commentators.
The glorious Californian sun glistens and in the distance the city hums busily. Laid out poolside, a slight breeze brushings pleasingly against my hair, I notice a small group of children, smiling and laughing, playing football with an oversized beach ball, as their loving parents watch on smiling sweetly. Eventually quietly asked to leave by the nearby bar staff after loudly decrying the standard of football on show- honestly, it was amateurish.
Spend the afternoon at Disneyland. ‘Where your fantasies come true’? There are the ones having fantasies if they think I’ll be going back there. Joke.
Missing football. Keen to get updates but stuck with newspapers weeks out of date (one of which carries a report from that farcical Liverpool/Reading cup time- honestly, how can we have any respect for a competition that allows things like that to happen? It must be time to scrap the whole thing). Obviously in the days of twitter feeds and Mike Ingham’s facebook status updates, obtaining results and bite sized summaries of games is a comparatively simple one. But I have my role as amusingly out of touch technophobe to maintain: somebody who, if presented with an Ipad tablet, is going to ask if it works best dissolved or swallowed whole, and who thinks apps are something that were devalued in Sven Goran Eriksson’s time as England manager. And lots of other amusing misunderstandings sweetly indulged by the 606 producers. (Apart from on matters of video replays, of course, where I suddenly become Jonathan bloody I’ve- you know the referees I’ve spoken to want the help, and if it’s there to give them it, why not give them it?)
My wife suggests the BBC football blog, and I reply, with a touch of vexed exasperation, that I thought they only had those in Ireland, and besides I haven’t brought my wellies, before grumbling a little under my breath. She rolls her eyes and accuses me of being a stick in the mud. “That’ll happen if you forget your wellies,” I reply. Happy with that.
Ring home. The usual holiday stuff: weather, how everybody is, a twenty minute conversational derailment centred on Liverpool’s recent upturn in form and where it leaves Rafa Benitez and the American owners. Eventually rush through the call to avoid running into the traffic and the weekend news roundup.
Spend the morning at Paramount Studios. Bit of a set-to with the tour operator when he suggests this is the place where dreams come true. I point out that, in fact, my dreams- nor, I would guess, the dreams of others on the tour- tend not to involve cramped buses crawling anticlimactically around artificial New York landmarks, as an aspiring or otherwise failed actor witters on about Audrey Hepburn and Bing Crosby. When he accuses me of unhelpful literalness, I suggest he does me a favour, utilising a jabbing and belligerent overuse of the term ‘mate’. Eventually escorted off the lot but not before a quick scan of the others on the tour. Their embarrassed faces and reluctance to look me in the eye speaks volumes- it’s not just me that feels this way.
Flight home. I’m reminded of the old saying that the best holiday is a holiday from one’s self. Nonsense. Utter garbage.