After a day in Brighton, I wanted to give the evening to the football. It’s not my big game, but I’m always curious about these cultural bindings. And England was playing Denmark.

I like the Denmark team. They stood together by instinct to protect their friend when he had a heart problem on the pitch. I also like the England team. They have been defying the basic jingoism of their fans and trying to force some sort of nuance and conversation as they take the knee to the anthem. The more they win, the harder it is to characterise their small degree of liberalism as “weakness”. That’s one of the many ways in which the hateful would have destabilised them had they gone out early.

I don’t really care. It’s a bunch of millionaires kicking a ball. But I like to be in touch with the things that move energy. And this game this evening was doing a lot of that. Plus I’ve got money on the England team to win.

I lay around on the beach until just before the match, and then headed to The Thomas Kempe where I thought I’d be able to watch it. It had just kicked off when I arrived. Fat chance of watching it there though. I was treated like a problem and not a person. Everybody is still freaking out about Covid, sure, and I regret being passive aggressive with the incompetent twit who refused me entry without looking, thinking or trying to solve. But – I can’t stand drones. And that particular drone deserved a little bit of contempt.

I ended up down the road, in a looser place, welcomed to the table of a local mobster. I could sense immediately I was getting myself into somewhere with some character. The guy was high status, loud and very much known in his little pond. He welcomed me, and I felt comfortable to switch my energy up to his for the evening. “GET IN!” I’m glad England won as he’s not the sort of guy you want associating you with a bad night. I think he’d just got out of chokey: “Somebody told me you was dead. I was thrilled. I bought everybody a round. Now … you’re here again … You know you owe me money, right?”

We had a good night though, at that lively noisy table in that characterful pub surrounded by unusual fashionably dressed Brighton lads who knew the guy who had welcomed me to his table. We all wanted the same thing, at heart, in that strange pub. We wanted England not to lose. I had £20 on it. My tablegiver had 2 grand.

We left on first name terms but I didn’t give them my number. Now I’m back with the cat and hooray for England etc… Seems I’ve barely arrived in Brighton before I’ve got to know the local mob boss. Makes me double glad that England won.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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