After a disappointing display against Egypt, one which met the visible disapproval of coach Fabio Capello, Arsenal’s Theo Walcott may be concerned that this summer, far from the coming of man narrative he had planned to be involved with in South Africa, will, in fact, be a bit of a washout spent bumming around the house. But the youngsters today have so many more options than we did at that age, when we weren’t selected to play for our country at the highest possible level- and instead spent our summers idly playing with chums long in to the night, before going home and downloading the new Green Day and Eminem albums from Napster- and Theo has all manner of options to be keeping himself busy with as the days get longer and the nights shorter.
Of course, it’s not unknown for kids on their six weeks to bypass payment at the cinema all together and obtain access to films by making stealthy use of the life sized cardboard cut outs of Twilight characters and an elderly relative who works there taking tickets, or even a student who works there and probably regards the issue of people sneaking into cinema showings as he regards everything else in the world, with a sort of detached amusement (something which probably helps making carrying those little touches they have to carry around a bit more bearable) and acts to counter in the same way he acts to do anything, with slouched inertia.
Kids that download films illegally off the internet and watch them alone in a darkened room are part of a thrilling media revolution and no doubt feted by their parents as technological whizz kids; kids that show cunning and adventure and go to see a film the way the director intended it to be seen are ‘antisocial’. What this says about society’s media consumption habits and eagerness to label is up for debate, but it seems a fair bet that neither group particularly enjoyed Avatar.
Sneaking in would be a bit of a stretch for Theo, who would, in keeping with his display last Wednesday, probably end up gormlessly running head down in to the popcorn stand. There’s also the risk of being spotted- unless the people doing the doors are the type of fair-weather football types that only watch world cups, then he should be fine. Regardless though, the price of a cinema mega pass should not represent too much of a problem, especially if his parents, as many do, up his pocket money in keeping with the additional spare time he finds himself with over the summer. Tenner a month, jobs a good ‘un and you’re laughing. Unless you take advantage of the offer to go and watch the new Will Farrell film, obviously, in which case you’re sitting in a stone faced silence punctured only by the occasional low groan of disgust. But the point stands.
Reminder: you will need to present your I.D before each showing, and notes from your parents or highly internationally acclaimed football coaches are not considered valid.
The gap year option, as favoured by many rich students who use the time spent travelling not taking advantage of drunk girls at beach parties and attempting to eat their own face after trying dodgy looking acid, trying to ‘find themselves’. For Theo, this shouldn’t prove too hard a task, he’d be best advised to start by looking around the nearest substitute bench. Don’t forget though who’ll be looking for him: Theo himself, armed with his legendary lack of positional skill and general directionless. It seems that the young whip has unwittingly stumbled into something of an existential quandary relating to the nature of self. A stumble that will probably, like most of his stumbles tend to, see him surrender possession before looking peeved and more than a little hurt.
U2 are headlining this year’s Glastonbury which is a bit of a shame, obviously, but should also ensure tickets are a little easier to come by on Ebay, once people do the mathematic needed to deduce how irrational it is to want to see U2 in the face of being forced to plough around muddy marshland in dignity-stripping footwear and times that by the possibility of bumping in to Edith Bowman.
One thing the world cup does have over music festivals is, outside of its lack of Edith Bowman, is the bottled water situation: there won’t be the queues to get a bottle that there traditionally are at Glastonbury, and it’s most likely free, as opposed to ludicrously expensive. This has been subtlety branded over the years, like the rain and the paucity of toilet facilities, as ‘all part of the experience’, when, in actuality, crass corporate exploitation would appear to be the anathema of what the music festival experience should be. Theo can take heart in his right to reply: he can write a letter to NME which will draw a sarcastic and one line response from a smug ponce with a stupid haircut who spent the entire festival backstage sharing champagne and an air conditioner with Florence and the Machine.
Score against Burnley
Because it is hard, isn’t it, football. Except, crucially, when you’re playing against Burnley in which case it tends to become very, very easy. Arsenal tend to engage themselves in quasi-glamorous pre season occasions, extensively sponsored tournaments with portentous names and trophies handed out at the end of it handed to captains doing their best to look thrilled, but this year perhaps they can make an exception and give Burnley a few games in the name of Theo’s confidence and general all round mood? Failing that, perhaps they can politely ask Barcelona or Ajax if they wouldn’t mind stepping aside and letting Brian Laws’ men having a crack at the ‘Emirates Tournament’ this year. Note: It might be an idea to run this idea past Sky or whichever station has provisionally agreed to televise it this year.