Lions, Tigers and Beers


So what’s it gonna be? The Lions first test? The British Grand Prix? The US Open golf? or the 20/20 World Cup final? If none of them tickle your ivories then maybe you’ll wait until Monday to soak up the action from the All England Club when Wimbledon kicks off? Whatever is your cup of assam, you’ll be hard-pressed not to run into a magnificent sporting event this weekend. Unless you’re me, of course. Saturday sees me donning white flannels for my second full cricket match of the summer. Not quite a crowd-puller of the same magnitude as the above events, but important none-the-less. My reader will be well aware of the damage the last match did to my body, so let’s just hope I’m better prepared for this one—three weeks between matches and doing nothing but drink beer is the proper preparation, right?

So anyhow, I shan’t be plonked in front of the telly to watch the Lions take a mauling, and doubtless I’ll be in a curry house on Saturday night rather than seeing if Tiger’s leg holds up during the third round of the open (though by the sounds of it he’ll be swapping his sand wedge for a rubber ring if the predicted deluge hits New York).

Come Sunday I have nothing on the cards so I should be ready to soak up the weekend’s remaining action. SHOULD be. If only I hadn’t told my satellite company to stick their digi-box up their arse last year. I used to pay around 40 quid each month for their service and a jolly good one it was too. All the sport and movies you could wave an enormous remote control at. But each time there was a fault in the picture (about twice-a-year), or my box refused to record (once a week) it was a painful drawn-out process to get the tv company to attempt to fix it.


I even once bought a “new” box from ebay in an attempt to get a decent picture, but that worked for 3 months before it too collapsed. The tv company’s usual method would be to send a signal down the line to clear the fault. Here’s a tip: it never ever works. They tried that three times with my last box. Didn’t work. So I asked if they could stop sodding about and send a man round.
“Do you have insurance, Mr Bealing?” asked the girl on the optimistically-named ‘Help Desk’
“I have no idea” I replied.
“Well it will cost you £75 to get an engineer round if you didn’t take out insurance” she informed me, helpfully.
Mildly peeved, I said “I really have no idea if I took out insurance. It was a long time ago when I signed up, but YOU will know if I have it, as you’re looking at my details on your screen, aren’t you?”
“I’m afraid I can’t access that information, but if I book a call-out to you we will charge your account £75 if you haven’t taken out insurance” she read from her card, rather labouring the point.
“No, I tell you what, just disconnect me, I’ve had enough of you lot” I’d now lost my world-renowned patience.
“Well don’t be like that, Mr Bealing, I’m merely informing you that it’ll cost…”
“Look, darling, I know you’re only doing your job, but I really couldn’t give a monkeys any more, just cancel my subscription”


After an elongated telephone rally she finally put me through to the Taking-calls-from-pissed-off-customers Department where we continued to knock it back-and-forward.
“Mr Bealing” the lad on the other end announced, as if it was his name, not mine “I understand you wish to cancel your subscription?”
“Could you tell me why you would want to do that?”
“It’s not what I want to do, it’s what I’m doing. I’ve had enough.” I smashed the answer back at him.
“Which football team do you follow ?” That one came right out of the blue and momentarily caught me off-guard, like a wonderfully disguised pass down the tramlines. I regained my composure and realised where this was going: how was I going to watch my team play on tv without receiving satellite tv?
Lovely back-hand coming up: “Charlton Athletic“. It was the first time I’d ever said those words without sounding apologetic.
“Charlton?” he choked. It had worked. Clearly no-one had ever said that to him before. The chances of them broadcasting a Charlton match were about as likely as them showing a funny Owen Wilson movie. He was beaten by the pace, direction and guile of my answer. Point won.
“Well what if I give you one month’s subscription free?” he offered meekly, the strength sapping from his legs.
“That’s 40 quid! I pay you 40 quid-a-month for your service and when YOUR box breaks down you’re gonna charge me 75 quid to repair it. YOUR BOX. The one I rent. FROM YOU.” Advantage me.
Last effort: “Mr Bealing, what could I say to you to persuade you not to leave us?” he grunted (clearly trying to put me off)
It was a limp effort, a soft dolly of a lob, right above my head. “Well,” I wound myself up “you could say Mr Bealing, we will send an engineer round immediately, at no charge, and while we’re at it we’ll throw in a couple of free porn channels for nothing and my sister to watch them with you”. Game Set and Match to Mr Bealing 6-4, 6-0, 7-5.

We shook hands over the telephonic net and he went off to contemplate his defeat, while I took the plaudits from myself. I waved to the crowd (me in the lounge mirror), I felt empowered emboldened and lots of other words starting with em, most of which made no sense at all. Ever since that day, whenever I hear satellite or cable tv mentioned in conversation I’m compelled to say “fuckem” under my breath. If I wanna see sport I now have to go up the pub to watch it. Which is a real shame, as you can imagine. And yes, I know the Grand Prix’s on terrestial, so I use that as an excuse to go to a pub without a telly. And, as tennis isn’t a real sport either, I expect to do the same for the next 2 weeks.



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