It occurs to me that I have a relationship in the mornings with neighbours I have never spoken to. For example, the neighbours opposite always pull their curtains back roughly at about ten past eight – so roughly that I always feel the urge to go over there and pull them properly – then those next to them will pull theirs at about twenty past; finally the people on the corner surface at around twenty to nine, by which time people are gathering around the gates of the car wash opposite, and the first clothes-recyclers of the day are drawing up in cars with their bundles in the boot. I can tell when someone rings the bell of the first people as it sounds like a bike bell – and perhaps it is – whereas the bell of those diagonally opposite is a ding-dong! type. I had rather too much intimacy with our next-door neighbours on one side, who seemed to be nocturnal, but they’ve moved out now and the house is empty; on the other side is someone who, ironically, we do know but never hear and rarely see. Yes, I know what you’re thinking – do I not have anything better to do than spy on my neighbours? – but these are things I can’t help noticing in the mornings as I drink my tea: rather like James Stewart’s character in ‘Rear Window’:
It’s a great plot idea. Perhaps I’ll write a short story about it…
Gone for Gold
So, they’ve disqualified the deliberate losers in the badminton. Far from being repentant, they seemed to think it was quite reasonable to do what they did, and that the fault lay with the competition organisers. Some fault may indeed lie with them – but the idea that it is therefore OK to cheat (and it is cheating, albeit a kind of deferred-gratification kind of cheating) shows the corrosive effect of an over-competitive culture. If winning is the only thing that matters; if it matters more than doing your best, more than the game, more than your reputation and much more than the spectators, then we’re in trouble, and the sooner we do something about it, the better. The old public-school/stiff-upper-lip motto about it not mattering whether you win, but how you played the game, may be somewhat ridiculous, but to discard it altogether in a shameful scramble for medals, is more ridiculous still. So, what then do you do? As an individual – or a pair – in that situation, what do you do? You could try to persuade the organisers to change the rules, but failing that? To do the right thing means trying to win the game, which may mean you lose the chance of a medal.
Answers on a postcard please.
Perhaps this is one of the subjects we should discuss in ‘Drink and Think’ – it’s certainly topical and can be applied to all sorts of areas of life, including politics.
Yesterday was rather a dull day, though I did embark on some of Val McDermid’s short stories, which proved to be as masterful as her novels. I was surprised. Is there nothing this woman can’t do?
I also watched ‘Sweeney Todd’ again. The lyrics are briliant, especially in the ‘pies’ song:
‘Try the politician/it’s a little oily/have it on a doily/but you never know if it will run
then try actor/it’s compacter’
Great stuff. Here’s the full lyric for that song: