Monday, 30 July 2012

Queuing for food at the Olympics.

Sticking with my theme of whinging about whinging (see previous post) I've been spending a lot of energy whinging about people whinging about the Olympics lately. It seems that the brilliant opening ceremony converted most of the stragglers and now only a few miserable bellends remain. A whole nation was waiting to be the first to point out how shit it was and quickly realised that it was in fact the greatest thing of all time.

Maybe it wasn't quite that. Some of it was fairly close to watching the chorus of a big budget musical but put all together I thought it was amazing. Yes it cost a lot of money but it made me happy and I'm not against a small portion of our taxes going towards making us happy. In fact why can't just have a perpetual Olympics? I can think of no logical reason why rowing would not be equally as exciting if it was on telly from now until the end of time.

So now that everyone's converted. Now that we're all settling down to watch the judo. Now that I have professed my evangelical love of the Olympics I think I'm entitled to have a slight moan about it. Just one tiny thing...

Yesterday I went to watch the football at Wembley. I saw two very entertaining games. In between them there was a 50 minute break. I spent that entire time queueing for food which I did not end up getting. I knew the queues were going to be long. I accept that. I'm no fool. I ged it, Wembley, I ged it. I knew that the staff might not be lightening quick. I've been to the O2 Arena and have discovered that the longer a queue, the more time sensitive the situation, the more moronically slow the staff will be. What I didn't anticipate was that after 40 minutes of queuing I would be told that they had ran out of food. Firstly, how do you run out of food? It was as if they were surprised by the rush. Surely they knew that we were coming. Secondly, why did they wait until the very last spicy fucking bean ciabatta had gone to tell the 500 plus people waiting that there was no food?

I then passed the information desk and couldn't help but do an impression of my dad, at Clarks shoe shop in 1989, and complain in an embarrassingly British sort of a way. I was told that, and this is true, the reason for the problems was that 'it's busy because of the Olympics'. This was said as if they were giving me information I might not be aware of. 'Thanks information desk, and what exactly is the O'lympics?'. 'Hang on, I'll see if I can find out'.

We then very foolishly joined another queue and there was an equally irritating situation in which no one covered themselves in glory. I raised my voice like the fat spoilt Westerner that I am and said things like 'It's not acceptable'. The staff slowly span around in circles like they were being operated by a bear who'd just been handed a playstation controller. Safe to say I walked away with no food.

Anyway, like I say, I am well behind these Olympics. Situations like this are not the fault of the Olympics themselves. They are the fault of a system in which seemingly vast swathes of people simply don't give a shit about their job. I have had plenty of shit jobs. I've written a blog about it. It's called 'Shit jobs'. No matter how shit those jobs were I always wanted to do them relatively well. Otherwise what's the point? Anyone who saw my work at the Co-op in the 97-98 season will remember I took pride in reducing long queues. Till workers of Great Britain! This is a rallying call! You may one day find yourself in long queue. Serve with the speed and efficiency with which you would like to be served. Or at least something approaching it. Please.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Andy Murray.

Just before we start I should probably give you a bit of a heads up - this blog post will probably be quite whiny. That is because it is the about the subject that makes me angrier than anything else and that is Andy Murray. Or rather people's reaction to him. I'm being honest about this as well. It makes me more angry than anything. More angry than the banking crisis, what's going on in Syria. More angry than anything. I appreciate that that's absurd but, you know, we're odd creatures.

By the way I realise that Britain's premier columnist, Charlie Brooker, has already written a piece on this subject today. Consider this a poor man's alternative. His piece is obviously also available for free from the Guardian website so consider this an alternative man's alternative.

There are two things that people frequently say about Andy Murray that really wind me up. One is that he is rubbish, or at least not that good, at tennis. He is. He is dead good. He is, and has been for a long time, the fourth best at tennis. I would really love to be the fourth best at anything. If I was the fourth best at blogging then you wouldn't already be thinking about giving up on this post and to my right you would be able to see more than 29 'members'. There are only three people better than Murray at tennis and they are three of the best people EVER at tennis. It's like being the fourth best in your class at writing when Shakespeare, Dickens and Orwell happen to be in your class. No shit - that actually happened to my cousin!

To be fair not as many people say he's bad at tennis anymore. The only people who do don't really watch tennis. Of course there's nothing wrong with not watching tennis (there kind of is) but it means you can't really have an opinion on who's good at it. I'm talking about the sort of folk who don't know that there are loads of tournaments other than Wimbledon (of which Murray has won 22) and that Wimbledon is just one of four Grand Slam tournaments (in which Murray has been a runner up 4 times).

I told you this would be whiney.

The thing that really gets my blood boiling (literally - massive problem) is when people moan about Andy Murray being miserable. Paradoxically these people tend to be miserable. They are the same people who complain about the Olympics. Murray, as we have established, is dead good at tennis. If you wish to be entertained by tennis then I recommend watching him. If you wish to be entertained by a smiley face coupled with shimmering wit then I recommend coming to watch me play tennis at Clissold Park some time. My serve, however, is shit.

Here's the thing. I don't even think Andy Murray is miserable or boring. I think he's got a dry sense of humour and when he's AT WORK he's kind of just THINKING ABOUT TENNIS. I know he has a monotone voice and clearly can't be bothered with the interviews but that's fine by me. Do you remember H from Steps? He was enthusiastic in interviews. IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT?

Because, for a few years now, I have found myself defending Andy Murray I have grown to love the man. I really bloody love him. Creepyly so, you could say. I always well up at the end of Wimbledon finals but I think if I hadn't been in company yesterday I probably would have done a serious blubber cry. Look, can we all just raise a glass to Andy Murray? To Andy Murray! Thank you!

Couple of quick additional things. On Saturday Serena Williams (whom I also love and would consider it a challenge and an honour to attempt to, with her consent, penetrate) gave an interview about the illness and depression problems she has had. She was asked about her lowest point. She said, with great emphasis, that she could remember 'When things were really bad once spending A WHOLE DAY on the couch'. Serena, I have spent an entire decade on the couch. Beat that.

Finally, moving away from tennis and into the dark world of narcotics - my urban, street wise upbringing taught me that weed (cannabis, hashish) was always sold in imperial measurements - 'eighths' and the like. Thanks to my connections on the street it has now come to my attention that weed (marijuana, green stuff) is now sold in grams. They've gone metric! I like the idea that drug dealers are explaining to their clients that there's nothing they can do and 'it's all down to the bloody E.U bureaucrats in Brussels!'.

Thanks for getting through the bit where I was humourlessly going through Andy Murray's career stats.