Here’s a quick rant about the sheer drudgery of staying on an even keel
I SOMETIMES WISH that I had a quid – or even a penny – for every hour I’ve spent working on my bloody mental health.
I feel like the Fast Show character – “Mental ’ealth? 30 years, man and boy, I done it! Hardest Game in The World, that is!” – when I think of all the time I’ve lost to shoring up my mood.
I’m thinking about all the runs and rides I made myself do, so I’d feel better…. the hours and days reading self-help books and articles…. the journaling and unsent letters to people who’d hurt me…. the years and years in therapy.
It’s the month when things start to change for the better – just not fast enough
IF EVER A MONTH had no mates, it would surely be February.
The 28 days we’re currently living through – or should that be enduring? – have had no end of detractors. In word and song, as well as in real life.
Perhaps its most famous rinsing came 50 years ago, when Don McLean sang: “February made me shiver/with every paper I’d deliver”.
And since then, a long queue of writers and musicians has formed to give our least favourite month a proper kicking.
Author Anna Quindlen, for example, once called Feb “a suitable month for dying”.
“Everything around is dead,” she added, “the trees black and frozen so that the appearance of green shoots two months hence seems preposterous, the ground hard and cold, the snow dirty, the winter hateful, hanging on too long.”
Alice McDermott asked: “late afternoon in early February, was there a moment of the year better suited for despair?”
Terrible, dreepy, dark”
Sebastian Barry, meanwhile, called the year’s second month: “Terrible, dreepy, dark”, and Clive Barker likened it to a monster, writing: “The great grey beast February had eaten Harvey Swick alive.”
But, personally, I think we should be laying off February: for me it’s nowhere near as horrible as it’s made out to be, at least on this side of The Pond.
In fact, February is the month when things start to change for the better – it’s real problem is that it doesn’t change things quickly enough.
With its gibberish subtitles, India v England cricket on Channel Four is a sweet experience
A CERTAIN SORT of English person is really quite excited at the moment because, for once, we can watch our national team play cricket on the TV without having to fork out for the privilege.
The four-match series against India is currently being screened free-to-air on Channel Four – the first time we’ve seen our heroes in action abroad for nowt since the mid-1980s.
It’s difficult to express the uplift in mood that these pictures from sunny Chennai have given to the lockdown-weary, snowed-in and Brexit-battered people of these isles over the last five days – especially as England wasn’t having its arse handed to it, for a change.
And, having been denied the chance to travel pretty much anywhere because of Covid-19, there’s something more than usually awesome about having satellite pictures of the world’s best players beamed 5,099 miles, straight into your living room.
Denied stimulation of all sorts in lockdown, it’s been particularly poignant to watch our captain, Joe Root, smack 258 runs off India’s formidable bowlers during the course of the first match.
It was even better watching our plucky spinner Dom Bess dismiss the mighty Indian captain Virat Kohli for bugger all in the first test, and then follically-challenged Jack ‘The Nut’ Leach bamboozle Rohit Sharma with his mastery of dip and turn.
But perhaps the very bestest thing about Channel Four’s coverage is the way that its live commentary subtitles mangle both the game and the English language in the most surreal manner. It’s really worth the price of a subscription on all its own.