I do not appreciate this country currently. And it's not even due to the horrendous news that Take That are reforming (sadly, not reforming into reconstituted meat substitute, but back into Take That)
Every media outlet, print or broadcast, opened today as if George Best had already died. The front page of the Metro was an obituary in every sense of the word, but he was not yet dead. He is now, but he wasn't then, and I feel that it was a distinction that should have been kept.
Moreover, if you were to tune into the news this morning, you could well be forgiven for thinking that only two things were going on in the entire country: George Best's slow, unheroic decline and the shocking decision to finally dispose of the licensing laws established during the First World War. Yes, we were still drinking alcohol under the assumption that we had to be off to the munitions factory the next morning.
The shock news is that Britain didn't go out and get thoroughly Brahms and Liszt last night. Of COURSE we didn't- it was fucking freezing and there was good stuff on the telly! We were told that this 24-hour drinking would make us a nation of binge drinkers.
The people who are going to be binge drinking already were, you fucking fools! So they'll be doing it in pubs now instead of getting thoroughly rat-arsed beforehand. This country is run by a bunch of inept fools with all the intellectual capacity of a particularly stupid mollusc who's suffered serious head injuries. The only people worse are the people reporting on it.
Today nothing happened but George Best dying and everyone not going out and getting trashed. So they would have us believe. In the end, the former was just sad and the latter was entirely overblown.
As to George, I will say that I found myself curiously deflated and just sad when it finally happened. Mostly because of his dad, who is 87 and aside from spending the last 59 years watching George self-destruct also had to deal with the same in his wife. I find that almost intolerably sad.
Also, the media are being consistently shite as usual, choosing to run the same three or four quotes of George's as each other.
"I spent 90% of my money on women, booze and fast cars. The rest I squandered." This was amusing the first time I read it ages ago. it's in all the papers and newsmedia now, because if there was a single original thought down on Fleet Street, the place would probably disintegrate with the surprise.
Then there's the one about him listing all the things David Beckham can't do and then saying "but apart from that he's all right."
And of course, the story about the hotel bellboy who found him in bed with Miss World drinking champagne and surrounded by money and who then asked "Where did it all go wrong, George?"
And of course, the media are all discussing where it went wrong and the terrible waste and blah blah blah. We've heard it all before, dears. We've heard it all before, we've been there before because it's the same shite you trotted out last time he clambered back onto the wagon, then the last time he fell off it again, and the time before and the time before.
And you know why I feel sad? Because he did deserve better than this. Because the man was total football and there's nothing this country seems to like more than a footballer.
If aliens were to come to earth right now and be unfortunate enough to arrive on This Septic Isle, they'd be under the impression we care about nothing but football and drinking. Which wouldn't be far off the mark.
I'll just leave you with something Philip Lynott wrote back in 1975. It's a great, catchy little song called 'For Those Who Love To Live' and was about his drinking buddy and fellow Irishman, George. It can be found on Fighting, which is a much better record than the stupid cover would have you believe - that's the American cover and the UK one is worse. Anyway, aesthetics aside, I shall leave you with this. Take it as you will. Take it for George or for anyone you want.
Oh the boy he could boogie
Oh the boy can kick a ball
But the boy he got hung up
Making love against the wall
You've got to give a little love
To those who love to live
You've got to take a little hate
From those who have to wait