Grist to the Mill

11 February, 2005


Football results were a big deal for my dad. He didn't display much of an emotional reponse to them, though. He never seemed particularly disappointed or pleased by the results - regardless of who won or lost (LUFC excepted). But it was clearly important to him to be 'in the picture' and to know what was going on. It may sound self-piteous, but I'm certain he's never listened to anything I've had to say as attentively as he's listened to the 'classified' results on the radio! (although he might be a bit more mellow about the whole thing these days).

As a young kid, the classified results got into my head. It seems that football was never far away on Saturdays. Raking leaves in the garden, driving to/from respective grandparents', etc, etc, it seems a transistor radio was always tuned to football reports and coverage. It took on the quality of a soundtrack.

The Scottish results were a peculiar pleasure (he'd listen to the classifieds from start to finish). Hence, the following placenames are still imbued with a strange, nostalgic, distant kind of quality:

Montrose, Dunfermline, Alloa, Forfar, Motherwell, Stranraer, Stirling Albion, Raith Rovers, Hibernian, Kilmarnock, Airdrie, Stenhousemuir, Queen of the South, Arbroath, Ayr, Hamilton Academical, Gretna, Partick Thistle, St Mirren, Dunbarton, Cowdenbeath…

They all sounded so far away. The only time I ever heard these names was on Saturday radio. They have all the mystique of... I don't know how to describe it. They are something like an incantation, or a charm, or a spell. And this is still true. Of course, it think it helped that they were kind of tied up with the seasons, and the tones of the BBC announcer made them more special.

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