Tuesday, 26 July 2011

A deal with God

I went to Brighton again today; this time with Nicola. We wanted an adventure to celebrate our 37th birthdays, neither of which either of us can make.

I picked her up at 10.30, and we were safely in Brighton by about 12.15pm. I say safely, because at one stage we tried to drive the wrong way damown a busy one-way street, which was fun in a terrifying kind of way.

Rather randomly, I received a call from BBC Leeds, who wanted me to do a live telephone interview with them about our national anthem. Lewis Hamilton has apparently claimed it’s too short, and as a result, doesn’t give an egotistical sportsman like him enough time to bask in the glory of a podium finish. I think if he won more F1 races, he’d think the anthem was plenty long enough. He certainly didn’t seem to be complaining the one year he did okay. I also think he’s slightly missing the point. If anyone had to listen to a second verse of that rancid dirge, a higher force would manufacture it so that our nation never won anything. Furthermore, if more verses of the grotesque song were sung, we’d immediately get into those uncomfortable passages where the lyrics start bashing the Scots. The presenter asked me what I thought about the anthem, and I said I hated it, not just because of its horrific tune, but also because it was about the two things I hated most in the world, God and royalty. I actually believe the anthem gets the rubbish tune that its subject matter deserves. No self-respecting composer would bother to put much thought into something with such a pointless message. I added that I felt the greatest national anthem was the Welsh one... but that if Jerusalem were ours, I’d stand proudly every time it was played.

I said all this whilst wandering along the lanes in Brighton. It was a surreal experience to think that I was chatting to someone all the way up in Yorkshire. When the interview was over, we turned our attention to more pressing needs. Nic was looking for a hat, and I had a shopping list of four items I needed for my holiday in Italy, all of which I managed to find. We basically did what you’d expect to do in Brighton; walked through the shops, sat down on the beach to throw pebbles at a coke can, promenaded along the pier and ate an ice cream. But with Nic it’s all about the chatting... and the laughing. She has the most infectious laugh I know. It bursts out of her like a joy-filled rocket. It’s the kind of laugh you want to activate, so I always try to think of as many funny things to tell her as I can.

I officially need a holiday, however. I’ve been knackered all day. Whatever I’ve been staving off over the last week or so, is still creeping around my system. Rather weirdly today, apart from the exhaustion, I’ve been nursing sensitive teeth, which is, frankly, just weird.

Here's one of Nicky on the beach which went wrong. Her hair looks like a pile of burning autumn leaves!

350 years ago, and we discover that Pepys made one of his famous deals with God at the start of the week, where he vowed not to drink wine; a substance which he felt had started to affect his ability to work properly. Earlier in the day, however, his resolution had come crashing down when a trip to Pope’s Head Alley – an area of town famous for selling pots and pans - had become a binge drinking session with one Mr Hill of Cambridge and a gaggle of women. He hoped God wouldn’t be too angry.

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