There's no logical reason for feeling this pissed off since I'm neither fanatical about football nor fiercely patriotic, and yet, the morning after the night that England were knocked out of the World Cup, I am pissed off...

I love football the way You can love a piece of music without needing, or wanting to buy everything by the artist. My love of football has lead to no kind of 'expertise', again, in the way that I love John Coltrane but couldn't answer more than two questions about him, like 'What instrument did he play?' And 'What colour was he?'. I'm suspicious of 'experts', always have been, but why, I'm not sure. Perhaps it's a throwback to my schooldays, the days I hated, when all the adult experts tried force-feeding me their 'knowledge', which I stubbornly refused to swallow.

The fact that I refused to learn naturally lead to me leaving school with nothing to prove that I'd ever been, and the career-less years that followed. These, in turn, have lead me to various bouts of unemployment, one of which I'm experiencing right now. And this, undoubtedly, leads me to take an even greater interest in the World Cup than would have been possible had I been Working. This may also have lead to my hopes for the England team, as if their success would compensate for the apparent lack of any in my life.

Absurd? Probably, but I find myself connected thus to the mass of support for Our Boys, and that, in itself, is a weird feeling since I seldom feel connected to the mass psychology of the nation, never having got excited when Labour won, or wept when Diana went. But back when the experts were trying to pass on their knowledge of Maths, Science and Biology, the other influential expert in my life, my father, was teaching me other things, like how to enjoy football.

This 'lesson' was the easiest I'd ever learn, involving, as it did, road trips into London, the roar of a crowd, watching rucks courtesy of The Shed contingent and Chelsea playing great football. Such things gave me pleasure, and we soon learn to love that feeling, don't we? But joy and pain are, as Frankie Beverly once sang, like sunshine and rain. Or to quote Kahlil Gibran, whose book, 'The Prophet', inspired that song, 'When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.' Amen to that, so, to quote a Bowie lyric this time, I 'laugh insane and quip Kahlil Gibrant.'

Except to say that I find laughter difficult today, as do many others, I suspect. Because, like them, I wanted England to beat Argentina and, like the Lads with whom I share nothing in common but this one thing, I cheered them on. And like them, I will get over it. But right now it is this feeling, not my 'laugh', which seems insane.

Kopyright, Rob Lo
July '98