Unfunny Old Game

At the time of writing it’s been a pretty successful Christmas campaign for the lads down at Charlton Athletic. Thus far they’ve not dropped a single point over the festive period. Don’t let the fact that the inclement weather has prevented them playing at all tell you otherwise: This has been a great week for those lovely boys from SE7.

It’s one of those great Christmas traditions – going to the footy on Boxing Day. The cold crisp air on the terraces hits you in the face and gives you that much needed pick-me-up after a week of drowning in brandy butter, pine needles and aftershave (not one of my better Christmas punch recipes).

Donning your woolly hat and knitted gloves your mum bought you from Santa, you escape the hell that is families during the festive season and, along with your best buddies, or perhaps the preferred of your two sons, you make your way to the ground to enjoy a good old-fashioned kick-about. Get in there my son !

This, of course, is not purely a British concept. Footy fans the world over get to watch their favourite teams in action on this most traditional of all activites on the Day-after-Christmas.  Take this bloke Frank, for example. Last weekend Frank took his beautiful girlfriend, Natalie, to watch the local match between Cercle Brugge and Standard Liege, in the Belgium Jupiler League.

What Natalie didn’t know, however, was that he had something extra special in mind before the match to make this year’s Boxing Day that extra bit special.

Get out and buy that hat, mother, I hear wedding bells…

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Very Passable

Ah Christmas ! That time of year when you end up drinking with people you don’t like, in bars you don’t like and getting presents you don’t like from people you don’t know. Yes: the office lunch. Secret Fucking Santa.

Is there any more gruesome event than sitting in the back room of some local office pub-ette, around a table with ten people you wouldn’t otherwise share a cup of oxygen with outside of the work environment, sipping gently at your half pint of shandy (you don’t want to give the wrong impression, do you?), resplendent in your paper hat and unwrapping a “gift” bought half an hour ago from the nearest corner shop, wrapped up in haste in the stationary cupboard with an internal envelope and presented to you between the fucking Yule log and the fucking filter coffee as some sort of token of your colleagues’ affection?

You explode into fits of mock laughter and your cheeks turn scarlet as you unwrap the clockwork hopping-and-singing willy. Those gathered burst into fits of laughter and immediately demand to know which “sick bastard” bought that ? Of course no-one owns up – it wouldn’t be called Secret Fucking Santa otherwise, would it ? Strangely, nobody seems to mind owning up to who ordered yet another round of Asti Sodding Spumante to wash down this lovely Yuletide fare.

The only thing on your mind is when would be the very earliest you could decently make your excuses and leave to find a proper pub with proper company with whom to share your Happy Holiday Humour.

Fortunately, the life of a freelancer (yes I’m still calling myself that, flying in the face of all reason) precludes me having to attend such events. Not spending long enough in the office means you rarely get invited out with the staffers, or if you do you can always employ the temp worker’s air of mystery by having to go “meet someone” or “see a man about a dog”. Then you can sod off to whichever dark and dusty boozer you choose til the heat is off and the lunch is over.

Office lunches, at whatever time of year, should be either spent standing at the bar with a few carefully selected chums or , at worst, at your desk munching on a Pret-a-Manger All Day Breakfast sarnie while catching up with emails or reading the sports pages.

Oh did I say ? Happy Christmas everyone.

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