Monday, 23 June 2008
Battle of the Mediterraneans
Why don't they put little signs on TVs explaining exactly what their function is? I invited a Swede at the university pub to watch the Sweden vs Russia game of football, and on walking in I perceive two things: on my left, a group measuring half the population of Bolivia composed of Greeks and Spanish people watching intently the Spain vs Greece game on a gigantic projector screen. On my right, the dingy corner of the pub with no lights, a disused table-football, cables on the floor and a tiny TV in the corner (also showing the Spain vs Greece game) which no-one is watching. Overall, the kind of corner where you might expect to find Gollum.
I tell myself that since no-one is using the little TV on the right and the Spain vs Greece match is already being shown on the mega-screen anyway, and being as it is that it's late and the Swede is starting to have tremors of panic and symptoms of nausea and dizziness because he is afraid of missing the game, I decide to switch the small TV to the Sweden vs Russia game. So I go to the corner and reach the TV.
I barely graze the lower button, and the screen just fucking dies on me. There's a sort of buzz and suddenly all you can see is fog. Simultaneously, a sort of brutish roar rises in the air behind me and I assume that one of the two teams must have been fouling badly the other or something. As the roar continues and I start hearing some insults, though, I turn my head and find out that the whole platoon of Greeks is looking at me with all the affability and friendliness of the count of Montecristo coming back to his prison with a homing grenade launcher. It is at this point that I realise that the small TV and the mega-screen are actually connected - the latter projects the images passing on the former as it were, so that their gigantic projector is now showing what I've selected - that is, jack shit.
The crowd looms forward threateningly. I attempt a laugh as I begin to break sweat and turn back and start fiddling with the buttons. I try to bring it back to the original channel, but it only gets worse. From fog we pass to thicker fog, then to dark fog, then to Mordor miasma, then to mustard-gas warfare, until I'm praying my angel and hoping I'll somehow land a porn channel so they'll be distracted long enough to give me the chance for a speedy getaway.
A bar employee comes over and the Swede incredibly starts arguing with him as to whether it's possible to change the channel to the Sweden match. Immediately they tell him to fuck off. I for my part swing the remote in front of the angry mob and then throw it into the arms of the bar guy like it was a bone and they were a pack of angry lions (which come to think of it I expect it wouldn't help much, since I doubt that hungry / angry lions would give a fuck in hell about a bone when they've got my own juicy buttocks to land their teeth in). From there, I sprinted sideways while the barman distracted them with some talk about how 'they'll fix it right away,' and, dragging the Swede by the sleeve, I bombed outside.
Freedom! Could I but half-depict the high tide of relief which suddenly invaded me the way an evening light invades the space between the cobblestones of Rome, and spread in my lungs like an exhilarated albatross opening its wings. The Greeks (and Spanish) would have to find another prey. I was going to live!
*flicks on a Bon Jovi CD* IT'S MY LIIIIIIIIIIFFFFFEEEEEEE AND IT'S NOW OR NEVER I AIN'T GONNA LIVE FOREVER IT'S MY LIIIIIIIIIFFFEEEEEEEE MY LIFE IS LIKE AN OPEN HIGHWAY DOGS ON IT AND PROSTITUTES BY THE SIDETRACKS WHO CHARGE TWICE THE AMOUNT ANY REASONABLE PERSON WOULD ASK FOR no hold on I got that wrong