Pandemic Pondering#92

This image of Hugo pretty much sums up my lifelong indifference to one of Britain’s favourite sports, football or soccer. As a blog that very loosely charts social history it seemed wrong not to mention the return of competitive sport to England.

Initially I didn’t give the cancellation of sporting fixtures much thought, but sporting events are, at the very least, background noise in the cultural life of a country. Significant events mark the gentle climb out of winter hibernation because they get media attention. The Six Nations Rugby tournament, The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race and the Grand National are as much a sign of Spring in Britain as a Daffodil. Even if you pay them no attention they exist. Except this year they didn’t because of Covid-19.

I missed the sporting markers of Spring.

I must be one of the least capable people to contemplate writing a blog about sport. Pondering is exactly that sometimes . How does the return of professional football touch, however briefly, my Ponderings..

Words of course.

I do love intelligent conversation about any subject. In some ways it is relaxing to have no opinions on the subject being discussed.

Football my aural pleasure.

Quite a few years ago @theoldmortuary were in a Jamaican cafe, in East Dulwich. One of only two tables occupied.

The table behind us had three men on it talking animatedly but most importantly, intelligently, about football.

Obviously, we eavedropped a lot, our magical Harry Potter stretchy ears weaving invisibly onto the next table.

We remarked , once we had left, how great it was to hear football discussed so wisely. When we left we realised we had been listening to two retired players talking with the owner of the cafe. This was my late introduction to an interest in football talk and the seed of an idea to carry this blog.

Football is much in the news this week . Post lockdown the men’s professional teams have started playing matches in empty stadiums in order to complete their 2020 fixtures.

More importantly a 22 year old professional footballer, Marcus Rashford used social media to eloquently force the British government to perform a U-turn on policy regarding providing meal vouchers for the most vulnerable schoolchildren during the long summer vacation.

Thankfully podcasts have brought us as much intelligent football/sport chatter as we can handle since the ‘ East Dulwich Ear Incident.

Flintoff, Savage and the Ping Pong Guy accompany our long car journeys.
https://g.co/kgs/XiyDTW

Just this week I’ve caught two football podcasts.

Gary Neville applies Sports psychology to real life on Out to Lunch with Jay Rayner.A fascinating natter over simultaneous take away food about philanthropy and football. During the pandemic Out for Lunch has become, in for a takeaway, on your own with a lap top.

Lame joke me would have preferred it if his brother Phil had actually discussed the same topics.
https://castbox.fm/x/1FqhV

Then out of nowhere our favourite coffee shop launched their own football podcast.
https://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=544048&refid=asa
https://m.facebook.com/TheHutongCafe/

Headphones replace Harry Potter Ears but the effect is just as pleasing.

Daisies growing in the penalty box lines on a disused football pitch.

So here’s the conundrum , we’ve really not missed sport itself in the last three months but it will be good to hear about it again,and for it to mark time through the seasons. For actual pleasure and also importsntly because Eating Podcasts have filled the void left by sport. That is not entirely a good thing.

Meanwhile Lola can also demonstrate sporting indifference every bit as well as Hugo.

This is not a football club bench!

This is not a sports blog.

Dark Grey Walls

It’s been 6 weeks since the humans @theoldmortuary joined the gym. It was never the intention to become gym bores on here telling you about our reps/ sets/weights achievements. So as usual this is a ponder. We’ve even made a gym friend who has called in @theoldmortuary and noticed that the gym and @theoldmortuary have walls painted the exact same shade of very dark grey. We chose dark grey @theoldmortuary because it makes a small dark cottage seem larger and brighter. Quite why a gym would choose the same colour is beyond me but it’s all new and recently refurbished so there has to be a reason.The grey walls are significant to my static adventures on a bike. Every visit I knock out 10k always accompanied by a Podcast and this wall.This sweaty wall is the blank canvas to my imagination that is boosted by podcasts.It was an entirely appropriate backdrop to my sweaty, teary experience of Desert Island Discs with Ian Wright on the BBC Sounds app.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000fdxw
Thankfully not all podcasts have the same effect so often I can just relax and enjoy the sweaty drips on the wall.

If you can’t paint, Podcast

My painting and writing life is a little obsessive. Doing either thing I can lose hours, miss meals and generally lose track of time. This June I am spending the whole month in Hong Kong caring for my seven month old granddaughter. I only travelled with hand luggage and the travel painting kit did not make the cut. I thought I could stock up on arrival but it’s not been as easy as I imagined.

There has also not been a huge amount of time for me to twiddle my non-painty fingers. Other stuff to do. Let’s not pretend the care of a 7 month old is complex. Love, care and endless walks. The endless walks are a challenge in blistering heat or torrential rain. VV, my granddaughter likes to look outward whilst being pushed so meaningful babble is also denied to me, whatever happened to eye contact? I’m already a massive failure to her on the breast front, maybe not looking at me manages her disappointment . With no ability to create,my obsessive streak needs an outlet. Now my phone and headphones are my walking friend, inspiration, and recipients of my obsessive attentions.

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=desert+island+discs+podcasts&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-gb&client=safari

I’ve been a life long lover of Desert Island Discs, but you can have too much of a good thing, so I searched for something similar but different. I was attracted to Jay Rayners Out To Lunch. I read his restaurant reviews because I love his use of language and honesty. He has a fabulous voice, accent and a laugh that sounds like it comes from a huge communal cooking pot.

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=out+to+lunch+podcast+jay+rayner&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-gb&client=safari

Podcasts free people up to be themselves, his conversations, over food, include expletives and intimacies, just as any meal out with friends would. As I write this I’m fresh from his episode with Grayson Perry, this is, after all, an art and design blog. The premise of this podcast is that Jay chooses a restaurant that matches the culinary favourites of his guests and they chat over a three course meal.The topics range from the mundane to the sublime. Seriously if you want a dose of articulate laughing happy people, this is the place to drop your ears. At the end of the season Jay presents The Juicy Offcuts From Season 1. The aural equivalent of leftovers, what’s not to love.

Jays 4th guest was Jessie Ware, a singer songwriter and podcaster. Jessie’s Podcast, Table Manners, hosted with her mum, is my next listening project. The teaser, first broadcast in 2017 is five minutes of mother daughter bickering. Delicious already.

Two days later and I’m well into Table Manners and I’m already hooked. There is a huge archive so I’ve only touched the surface. I’ve really loved the episodes I’ve listened to. This podcast is based around Jessie and her mum Lennie cooking a meal, usually in one of their homes, for someone in the public eye or ear. I use this descriptive advisedly. Celebrity would be another title to describe the guests but it is such a superficial notion, Jessie and her mum bring out such depth from their guests it feels wrong.

Bickering between Jessie and Lennie is a bit of a thing in this podcast. Loving bickering is hugely relaxing. My grown up children say there is nothing better than dozing in a room with background family bickering, I probably had not fully understood this concept until I heard this podcast.

Currently my ears are being pleasured by Tim Dowling , he definitely does good nattering.

https://www.google.co.uk/search?client=safari&hl=en-gb&ei=bVsCXZ6ECIri-AaBhYXYCw&q=table+manners+podcast&oq=table+manners+&gs_l=mobile-gws-wiz-serp.1.0.0i67j0l7.48480.60749..62692…1.0..0.162.2720.40j1……0….1…….8..35i39j33i160j0i22i30j0i20i263j46j0i10j46i67j0i131j46i39j0i3j0i131i67.65cDTLNfjok

These podcasts open up so many world’s that I may not have ever experienced. I’ve got an ever growing list of music, literature, art and many other random things that need googling and then exploring further.

Was there life before podcasts?