Saturday, July 22, 2006
"A good walk spoiled..."
Wilde: "I wish I'd said that."
Whistler: "You will, Oscar, you will..."
It's just as much of a cliche to bemoan the ubiquity of an especially apt aphorism, as it is to simply repeat it bare, but, well, sod it - Mark Twain's verdict on golf is as oft-repeated as Tom Lehrer's on Henry Kissinger being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, but sadly, simply, still it can't be bettered.
Though Brian Reade's rather more splenetic rant in the other day's Daily Mirror had its pleasures too, especially as a colleague at work appeared to be spending his whole working Thursday watching - and indeed enjoying - some hardest-core porn, such was his all-too-uncomfortably-apparent exhiliration.
Turned out it was just the BBC coverage of The Open - or as it should perhaps be termed, since it seems to irk golf experts so: The British Open.
This is perhaps the most turgid weekend of the sporting year. At least the Five Nations Championship, while a sturdily irritating rival, can't entirely overshadow the simultaneous football season to-ings and fro-ings on its five select Spring weekends.
Long, long after Twain took against golf - sadly, singularly failing to rid us, though, of this most soporofic of "sports" - Jasper Carrott righteously, rightly railed against golf on TV as "hours and hours of televised sky".
Even worse, though, is golf on radio - specifically, golf on Radio Five Live, sucking up entire daily schedules and almost - almost, almost - making you ponder whether Nicky Campbell's three daily hours of smarm are, after all, the worst torment the station's controller has to inflict upon us, dear humble listeners.
After all, it is Campbell's equal in bumption, Alan Green, who gets to call all the shots when a so-called "Major" comes crawling around. This, the man who recently, when preparing to commentate on the France-Portugal World Cup semi-fina;, snorted so contemptuously and condescendingly when a sportdesk colleague had the temerity to inform listeners of the result of a just-completed Wimbledon tennis men's quarter-final. (Though, perhaps my bias against the ever-divisive Alan was born when, as a shy student and Euro 96 volunteer at Villa Park's media centre, I stood shocked by his ferocious verbal assualt on an even more shell-shocked young reception assistant. Yes, those dread words "Do", "you", "know", "who", "I" and "am" may well have been heard. Several times...)
But golf is tedious enough in its most basic forms, regardless of wider-world coverage. I've tried progressing from the crazy (crazee?) golf circuit to the shooting range to a proper countryside course - and not-quickly-enough back again, pining - and yawning - for more worthwhile pursuits than what is, really, when you come down to it, merely a good walk sp---....
My all-voyeured-out colleague did, upon close of play the other day, what all such enthusiastic amateurs will do at least a few times every week - select an invisible club proffered by a just-as-invisible caddy, peer into middle-distance (well, past the secretary's desk and at least as far away as the ad sales department), then swing with flailing arms, pursed mouth and tunnel-vision eyes with frank disregard for the bearing and bemusement of passers-by.
Hmm. Yet with what scorn would I surely be seen, as a workshy liability, were I to waste crucial time by executing a few spectacular scissors kicks across the office, in the queue at the cafe - or by sauntering up the staircase to our department like Bobby Moore ascending Wembley's 39 old steps to collect the World Cup trophy, fists clenched in quiet triumph...?
Okay, there are times when it's hard to resist.
But I do, at least, keep my imaginary off-spin to the confines of my own home, with a wastebin as the wicket.