Sunday, February 06, 2011

10 years gone

I guess you know that you're old when you find yourself saying things like 'when I was a lad...'

When I was a lad I used to really like football. It used to be good didn't it? I was a Liverpool fan then, and I'm a Liverpool fan now, although I don't think I really care too much about the game these days - and not just because the Red Army aren't the team that they once were. After the Wayne Rooney 'is-he-isn't-he' transfer debacle last year my Dad, who began watching the sport since the 1940s said to me that the game was 'finished' - with Liverpool buying Andy Carroll from Newcastle for £35 million and then selling Fernando Torres to Chelsea for £50 million it's hard not to agree with him. There are homeless people living on the streets within a few hundred yards of the grounds of all the afore-mentioned clubs while mind-boggling sums of money are thrown in the general direction of players who have worse haircuts than the down-and-outs. Even if they don't score all season they will still be paid more each day than most people in this country earn in a year. I could rant on (and on) here, but instead will direct you to this classic appraisal of the situation courtesy of the ever-excellent Daily Mash - many a true word spoken in jest, as the old saying goes.

From the ridiculous to the sublime - I'm a big fan of Stanley Unwin. You remember Stanley Unwin don't you? Of course you do, he was the old chap who spoke in that wonderfully mad way that, as my Dad will recall, I literally fell off the settee laughing at as a youngster. He sadly died a few years ago but now he's back - sort of... an anonymous blogger has started where the great man left off, and if you click here you can join him 'from the grale beyonders, sprinkly wise worms in the earlodes of the human specie'. He's also on Twitter which has to be read to be believed. Deep joy!

Meanwhile the occasional ongoing obituaries continue - John Barry died last week. He might not have written The James Bond Theme' (or did he?) but he wrote some fantastic music for most of the other Bond films and many more besides. And back in January Gerry Rafferty died, as did Mick Karn - sad losses all. I've got the same birth date as Mick Karn, and I'm 50 this year - it doesn't seem 40-something years since I was falling off the settee laughing at Stanley Unwin, but it is. Time flies as they say. Another old saying, also true.

My mum died of Motor Neurone Disease 10 years ago tomorrow. It doesn't seem like 10 years. It doesn't seem any time at all. A year to the day after she left the building I somehow found myself alone in the house; at 2.50 p.m. (the time that she died) I stood in the front room where her motorised chair used to be, trying to work out how I felt. I remember feeling sad, lonely, and yet oddly relieved that her terrible suffering had been finally bought to an end. I looked out into the back garden where me and my brother used to play as kids, and remembered an able-bodied woman out in the sunshine with her family. A good memory. A better memory.

Suddenly the phone rang. Back to the real World Leigh...


'Hi! Is mum there?'

I nearly fainted.


'Are you ok? I just called to talk to mum, is she there?'

'I think you've got the wrong number'

'Oh Sorry!'

If my phone rings at the same time tomorrow, I'm not going to answer it!

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