Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Conversations With Ben #11: The Sporting Life

Ben: I saw my next door neighbour having a full blown conversation with the people on the other side of their house and it annoyed me. We don't talk like that. But I don't want to talk to him that much, I like being left alone. But I'm annoyed that he talks to them and not me.

Rol responds with a picture...

Ben: Well. Funnily enough, Mrs. Ben has been calling me Larry David because of it. I've also had a few Curb moments with them previously...

Rol: Respect.

It comes to us all in the end.

I am kind of right to be annoyed though, right?

It's definitely a judgement against you. But you have to balance that with the fact that you really don't want to be his buddy. It's the Happy Bench again.

Not that I'm suggesting you piss on his doorstep.

Misanthropy is complicated when it's mixed with low self-worth. Take it from an expert.

Also, he's probably worried you'd steer the conversation towards Marxism.

He doesn't know that. 

You just look the type who would.

I haven't had long enough a conversation to bring that up. And I hope I never will.

And therein lies the crushing tragedy of your dilemma.

He watches a lot of sport.

Like every sport.

I hear him cheering in an evening and weekend.

You're better off out of it then.

Not in a yobbish way

But still, sporty.

The number of partners of Louise's friends / dads of Sam's mates that I am unable to communicate with, due to not knowing one side of a football pitch from the other, is frightening.

I'll watch the tennis when it's on, and snooker.

But I don't know much about complexities in it or remember people beyond the big ones.

I now know the name of every Formula 1 driver for the last 60 years. Because Sam tells me them every day.

I don't understand being the best at going fast.

Because you're not 7.

What I don't understand is watching cars go round and round the same track for two hours. And the one with the best car ALWAYS wins. Seriously. Lewis Hamilton wins every single time not because he has any great skill, but because he has the best car. It's like watching round after round after round of Iron Man fighting the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz and being surprised when Tony Stark wins every time.

I have a friend who watches it and they go to see it live. It's so expensive.

And on Now TV I keep getting told to, "add F1 TV for only £25 a month".

Why the fuck would I pay that much?

That's £300 a year for nothing.

Jesus. I'd pay £300 a year to not have to watch it.

And that's just the C4 highlights.

Why is sports so expensive to get on a TV package?

I wouldn't ever get it, but I don't understand why it's so expensive.

Because: suckers.

I don't get it.

"Paul. Your new album needs to come out soon as part of your record deal."

"Oh yeah? I'll put some songs together."

"Nice one, Paul. What are you gonna call it?"

"Fuck it. It's me sixteenth, does it even matter anymore? I'll call it..."

I have less interest every time Paul Weller announces a new record.

He has produced the new Declan O'Rourke album though, and everything I've heard from that is amazing.

He's an odd one, isn't he? It's either great or toss, there's no in-between from him.

I haven't heard anything that has wowed me in 20 years or so, but then I haven't been arsed to listen to most of them.

Leave it at Stanley Road.

That was probably the last great one.

Heavy Soul is awful apart from Peacock Suit.

That's the only track I remember.

As Is Now is a good album, though.

I might have listened to that. Nothing sticks.

From The Floorboards Up and Here's The Good News...

Think it was shortly after that when Steve Craddock left his band.

I think Craddock was on 21 Dreams.

Was that the concept album?

Yes. The bad one.

I just never understood why he stopped writing about beer, fags and getting murdered on the tube.

I like that he did, though.

I like that he went, fuck it. I'm stopping this whilst we're on top.

Having said that, they really struggled sales wise for most of their career.

They're remembered a lot more fondly than they sold at the time.

And All Mod Cons was the last one that was critically well received at the time as well.

I reckon the Style Council was better received by critics. Because all the kids who grew up listening to The Jam lauded his every move once they finally got to work for the NME.

Also, the Jam had a helluva lot more top 10 hits than TSC.

There's a Jam record called Extras that's like odds and sods from the studio. Some early demos, some alternative takes and some songs that never made it onto records. There's a great cover of And Your Bird Can Sing where Weller shows how much better than Lennon he his. There's also a version of Solid Gold Bond that the Jam did. It doesn't quite work so ending that band was necessary for that sort of music to come through fully formed.

Four number ones! In the 80s! When you really had to go some to top the chart. The Jam sold a shitload.

I think Weller was disillusioned by the fact that the singles did better critically than the albums. He was definitely a control freak and just got wound up that he couldn't replicate it all the time.

But they always wanted singles to be non album tracks to give fans more bang for their buck.

Like another famous band of that era.

Yeah, they modelled that on the Clash.

Piss off.

I knew that would get you.

Their merch used to be sold at cost value.

Oh, here we go...

No, nothing like that.

Red Wedge.

To quote Weller "I'm not sure what the fuck that was about. Billy asked me, and he was a mate."

Extra points there.

I was a full on Mod at 12-14.


No scooter as was too young. Used to wear peacoats and parkas. Had sideburns. And wore suits.

A couple of years after I stopped, the whole mod revival thing came back. That's the reason I know all the sales stuff. I read a lot of Jam biographies at the time.

I had a parka. Because I wanted to look like Han Solo on Hoth.

Do you know who didn't come back, though? Nine Below Zero.

They should have been back.

You ought to be a 50 something blogger.

I don't have the time.

Or the patience.


Oh. I just got your Nine Below Zero joke. You were feeding me a punchline I didn't pick up on...

At last!


  1. Nine Below Zero - Wow! A blast from my past. Can't believe it's 40 years since I bought that album.

  2. You are very good at humorous writing. I enjoy these chats you have with yourself, I mean with Ben.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...