Misinformed, angry, coffee-addled ranting.
And so I emerge blurry-eyed from the haze of the summer break to discover that it is now September, and things have changed. For one thing, I’ve discovered I now live in a new flat. I’ve got a beard now (though she prefers the term girlfriend). And I’ve also discovered that over the course of the summer, I achieved precisely fuck all.
People have asked me what I got up to over the summer, and every single time they do I gape at them like a particularly gormless fish, mumble something about a few days in London and pray they don’t ask anything about the other god knows how many days I spent doing absolutely nothing of any value. My entire summer is just one long blur, a pathetically uneventful montage of clips of me stood in the kitchen in my pants making tea, watching awful television and checking Twitter on the loo.
These things barely count as things, let alone memories, yet they make up the highlight reel of my time spent back home. For some reason, the Producers of my little brain TV have decided to take out all the actual things that happened to me, like seeing people or days out and left them on the cutting room floor and left me unable to answer the question of how I spent my holidays with anything more than an unintelligible burp.
But I’m back at University now (sort of). Things are going to be different now right? Wrong.
Monday 2nd September was the date of what is now arguably two years and a Clinton Card away from becoming a Bona Fide National Holiday – Transfer Deadline Day. For those who don’t know (like my flatmate, who asked “what’s that sports thingy going on today?”), Transfer Deadline Day is the last day until January that football clubs can pay unimaginable sums of cash for wailing primadonna haircuts with particularly functional feet.
The Transfer Window is the only time of year in which it is acceptable for millions of burly blokey football fans to degenerate into the kind of exaggerated paranoid gossiping usually reserved for secondary school corridors and particularly stereotypical hairdressing salons. The bizarre millionaire merry-go-round is subject to fierce debate about who is going where and for how much money and who will they sign to replace him and whether or not this is all nothing more than a fleeting distraction from our sad pathetic existence before the sun explodes and devours us all in a screaming ball of nuclear fire.
Deadline Day evening is made up almost entirely of people in dark rooms in their dressing gowns, huddled around a blinking TV fixated on Sky Sports News until the early hours, praying for exciting new presents for their team from Football Santa. It’s especially important because it marks the crossover point between the culmination of the summer-long craving for football’s return, and the slow dawning realisation the very next day that football’s actually a bit boring. In fact, all the gossiping is probably the most exciting part – it’s basically grown adults regressing back to their early teens discussing who’s going out with who, wherein the instance of someone cheating on your best friend is replaced by a heartless bitch of a player leaving your beloved club for a younger, sexier club who’ll let them get to third base behind the bike sheds if they buy them a WKD.
But anyway, in all this excitement I made a foolish decision. I stupidly, and with no regard for my own personal safety purchased Football Manager. I know. I should have known better. This is a computer game in which you take on the role of, surprise surprise, the manager of a football club. You can start as Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain with loads of money, buy every footballer who’s ever existed, make the decomposing corpse of George Best your new goalkeeper and build a new stadium on the moon. Or you can take control of a pitiful cash-strapped lower-league club and haul their sorry carcasses from the depths of the Football League up to International glory.
It sounds incredibly dull, especially if you’re not a football fan. But even though I usually view football with the kind of disdain usually reserved for paeodphiles or Adrian Chiles, it’s possibly the most addictive game I’ve ever played. Regular readers will know that I know a thing or two about addictive games. I’ve found myself becoming fully immersed in it, finding myself staring red-eyed at the screen at 5am trying to hammer out contract negotiations with an extortionist agent who’s demanding a 25% wage rise for his client even though the club is on the brink of bankruptcy. Arsehole. I stumble into my kitchen in a daze, and when my flatmates ask me how my day was, I tell them that I’ve just got back from a particularly difficult away fixture in Eastern Europe and that the board are starting to question my abilities and it’s really getting me down. They stare at me and smile politely. I’m fairly certain I saw them filling out the forms to have me sectioned the other day.
But anyway, this is a digression. And also an apology for my recent neglect of The Bastard Lounge, due in a large part to my current addiction to Football Manager. I’m trying. Honestly. I know it’s going to get worse before it gets better but my friends and family are all supporting me and with their help I know I can get through this. Just how bad has it got? Put it this way. I first started writing this article a week and a half ago.