Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Urban Diary

The absence of sound is eerie. Here it is, the long, (almost) straight queue of football fans leaving the stadium on a semi-dark winter Sunday mid-afternoon. Through my car window (rolled up to avoid the cold wind) I watch them shuffling along quietly. I interpret the smiles on some faces as success on the pitch. Suddenly I am curious. I might not support this specific football team but their current manager used to coach the club I follow until a year ago and opinions on his performance so far have been divided. I open the car window a few inches. A chilly breeze, that feels as soft on my face as a taffeta handkerchief, steals in. I ask a man carrying a boy on his shoulders what the score was. One nil to them. The white cockerel on the left of his jacket is covered by one of the boy’s legs. My attention turns back to the road. The traffic builds up quickly and what should have been a half-hour round trip to the barber’s becomes a three-quarters-of-an-hour return journey home.

The crowd might be muted (by the cold weather, perhaps? Or maybe by the fact that a Belgian defender who played in Holland until last summer scored the winning goal under the careful gaze of a Portuguese manager in the English Premier League? Perhaps fans are still coming to terms with football’s globalisation phenomenon, its pros and cons?), but I am sure their stomachs are rumbling. As befits the modern, standard post-match routine the nearby takeaways and fast food joints beckon. Still holding plastic cups with lukewarm, watered down, tasteless and colourless tea in their hands, many fans pay a visit to Jerky’s (Caribbean grill), Tennessee Express (chicken & ribs) or McDonald’s (…and the little folk/who share a joke/who nudge and poke/about that bloke/who slurps his Coke/and gives his goatee beard a stroke/were just passing by…). There are also those who opt for a pint and stay behind at The Coach and Horses.

The traffic is still moving at a snail’s pace when I make up my mind to turn right at a mini-roundabout ahead of me in order to cut through the back streets of this typical London urban area. The low-rise houses flanked on either side of the road look ominously silent on the drivers who follow a similar course to mine. On the pavement, a smaller group of supporters clad in dark blue tops and jackets continue to shuffle along quietly as the moribund winter mid-afternoon turns into early evening.

© 2012

Next Post: “Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music”, to be published on Sunday 20th January at 10am (GMT)

20 comments:

Cat said...

Thanks for taking us along on your ride. I could feel the silence and the cool breeze that you describe so well. And the back roads sound so peaceful and calm.

Fly Girl said...

Thanks for the journey, its very scenic. I didnt know Brits actually sip tea during matches. And the fast food options all sound way too American. I'd choose fish -n-chips over them all.

The Elephant's Child said...

And another thank you for the excursion. None of those take-aways appeal. Sad, but true. Perhaps the football fans were quiet because they had yelled themselves hoarse during the game?
Another lovely post. Thank you.

ladyfi said...

So lovely and poetic!

Brian Miller said...

what an intriguing scene you set in this...i did feel like i was riding along with you...interesting as well to take in those fans and wonder at them...silence can def be eerie as well...

hope you are good

Patrycja Photography said...

Very cool blog. Interesting posts. ;)
Nice atmosphere guests with you here on the blog. ;]
Yours. Have a nice day. !

Follow me on facebook fanpage
I'm very concerned about this, please. :)
https://www.facebook.com/pages/In-another-light/413836138693856

A Cuban In London said...

Many thanks for your comments.

Fly Girl, football fans usually have tea AFTER the game. Like you, I prefer good old fish'n'chips. Funny enough, I can't recall off the top of my head if there's a chippie near where I usually have my hair cut. There are however a couple of kebab shops. Have no idea whether they're good or not, but at least they offer an alternative to McDonald's.

Elephant's Child, you're quite right. Maybe they'd lost their voices. They certainly did at the beginning of the season when they wanted their manager out!

Greetings from London.

Gloria said...

aahhh look so quiet and nice, I love it:)))
gloria

Pat Hatt said...

Wonderful little journey, the silence is calming and can be a bit strange too at times. Right there with you.

Claudia said...

football’s globalisation phenomenon...this is really something that for me took a lot away of the spell...i mean where's the fun when those that have most money just buy the players they wanna have and get them the right passport... ugh...could discuss this for hours..a piece of red tissue for me...makes me crazy wild..even though i'm not a bull...smiles

Dave King said...

I must say I still find it a little odd, football clubs being international companies these days! A really enjoyable post, though, you really caught the flavour of the crowd leaving the ground and the thoughts that run through the mind. Thanks for this one.

Ygraine said...

Thank you for the privilege of joining you on this atmospheric journey.
It's peace has instilled itself into my somewhat fractious psyche today, calming my mood.
A great post :)

Tina´s PicStory said...

thanx for stopping by! you can show any sky you have :) may be next time!

A Cuban In London said...

Many thanks for your comments. Yes, football as business rather than entertainment and/or prowess. I confess that I fell for Chelsea for their flair on the pitch, but I admit that the owner, Abramovich, is a negative influence for the club. The English Premier Leagues has become Premiership Ltd, yet another company, a cash cow for those with the money to buy clubs and turn them into their playthings.

Greetings from London.

Barbara Shallue said...

So descriptive I felt I was right there with you - and could feel the silence and the chill!

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

Great description of a post-sports match scene! Brought back the memories of when we lived a street away from Wanderer's cricket grounds - except it was always summer, and the sky was dark with the threatening Highveld rainstorms, not with the winter cold. But, London or Johannesburg, the sombre mood of a losing home team is still the same.

Who says it's only sport? :)

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I felt like I was right there. Thank you for the journey!

NatureFootstep said...

your header is a beautiful human sculpture. :)

Slamdunk said...

FIrst visit here and I am glad to have found you for this journey.

I know a little about the EPL, so not having any idea about what was, allows me to watch the matches and appreciate the talent.

A Cuban In London said...

Many thanks for your wonderful comments.

Judy, the fans' team had just won. That's why I was puzzled by their muted reaction. But maybe, as Elephant's Child pointed out before, they had yelled themselves hoarse by the time I spoke to the man and his son. :-)

Greetings from London.

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