A Short Walk Through the Weekend
17 November 2008
This weekend I received an e-mail from someone in Italy who is reading an Italian translation of the first Barney Thomson book. It was a lovely e-mail in which she described living in Scotland for a while, and how awful she thought it was, and that my book had given her a way to remember it more fondly. In describing the west of Scotland she used the words, “sad,” “damned irritating,” “thuggish” and “decadent.” (It was lovely, obviously, in her complements for the book, not in her description of Scotland, which, regardless of accuracy, certainly wasn’t lovely.)
Saturday is football day. Both kids in the morning, Two of Two playing for the school team in the afternoon. We leave them to it in the morning, despite them looking at us as if their football experience won’t be validated on any level without their parents there to watch it happen. It’s like the old does a tree falling in the woods make a sound if there’s no one there to hear it fall conundrum. When you’re a kid, if you score a goal and your parents aren’t there to watch it, does it actually count?
I watched Two of Two play for the school team in the afternoon. Two games, a 3-3 draw, and a 4-0 win. Two of Two scored five of his team’s seven goals. I spent the rest of the afternoon fielding calls from most of the great European teams. I liked what Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Ajax had to say, but it was the call from Cowdenbeath that really impressed me.
On Sunday I was berated by a Soccer Mom for not being vocal enough in my support for my goalscoring hero of a son. I told her it was because I was on the phone negotiating a $17m deal with LA Galaxy.
Saturday night was the Caledonian Ball. I don’t suppose we have Caledonian Balls much in Scotland, but overseas they are a necessary evil. A Burns Supper without the irritating poetry. Having said that, we didn’t go. I hate balls of all sorts, and the presence of a hundred men in kilts doesn’t make it any more attractive. I got a text from a friend to say that it was the economic equivalent of the last dance on the Titanic, with people discussing black scenarios, spreading dark rumours, all dressed in ball gowns and tuxedos, drinking and dancing at the Hilton... If only I’d known.
Got busted for speeding on Sunday morning. Long straight three-lane dual carriageway. Speed limit 50kph. That’s pretty slow. I was probably doing a 100. As in the past I didn’t benefit from diplomatic immunity, because it doesn’t work like that, but I did benefit from diplomatic more paperwork than it’s worth so we’ll just let you off. There’s no diplomatic status that allows you to escape the shame and opprobrium heaped upon you by your family.
Yesterday afternoon we had to go and watch High School Musical 3, its only showing in the Polish cinemas in English. Unlike the earlier two films, which were only on tv, this time as a parent you have to endure watching HSM in a situation where you're trapped. There's no wandering off to check the football scores or make a cup of tea or get on a plane to Laos. You're stuck, the doors of the cinema locked, the volume and the colour contrast turned up high.
The yin and the yang of parenting. One day you get to watch your kid be a footballing behemoth, the next you have to watch Troy and Gabriella drool over each other while singing soppy mince written by a committee of robots.
I can confirm the rumours that Disney have asked me to write the screenplay for High School Musical 4, as they don’t feel there’s been a high enough body count up to this point.