Tuesday 1 March 2011


We all know that everything in life is Kafka. I just wonder what Kafka would have made of the modern world; he might have preferred being a gigantic insect. Sometimes I would. In a previous incarnation I employed a former UK ambassador to East Germany. He’d spent most of his life analysing the minutiae of Kremlinology, the meaning behind who stood next to whom on the balcony. Then the Wall came down and all you needed to do was ask. He would have torn his hair out had there been any left. But of course, while everyone was suddenly passing on information now you didn’t know what was true and what was spin. You just can’t win, at least not in this life (and there isn’t another).

There was a simpler time, before the internet, when you made decisions based on trust. You had no choice. They might be lying but there was no way of telling. Now, not only is everyone a bloody expert but you’re expected to become an expert given all the information to hand. I have certain areas of expertise (I hope), but when your boiler conks out and someone tells you to choose a Worcester Greenstar 28i only for the next guy to go for a Vaillant EcoTec Pro 28kW life begins to get not just complicated but desperately dull. There’s no shortage of websites telling you which one is best: either, depending on which posts you read. Seems Worcester used to be the bee’s knees but have got worse since Bosch took them over, while the Vaillant uses a steel something instead of an alloy, which apparently is good. Then O2 tell you you can have a Samsung Wave 525 free on £10 tariff, a Samsung Wave 723 free on a £15 one (unless you tell them you are leaving and that becomes £10), or a Samsung Wave 2 on a £15 tariff but with a £60 charge (extra £60 per year over two years plus charge equates to £180, roughly the difference between the cost of buying that or the older ones).

Oh, and there’s trying to buy a new sofa, which - according to friends and the power that is - is long overdue (I managed to get a couple more years out of my old friend by sawing it in half and bolting the good half to the armchair). Only my living room is wedge-shaped and nothing in the wraparound options fits (except a build-it-yourself option which would mean writing off a day to construct it). Then there’s decisions on fabrics and colours ....

Men can’t help acting on impulse they used to say. Sorry, but I’m not one of them (well, of course I hope I am if you know what I mean) – unless you include making rash decisions based on pure exasperation and despair at the time taken to accumulate and digest the information. I like to pretend to make considered decisions but I’m not sure this is possible any more, if you want to have enough time to work, sleep and eat (never mind trying to update hopelessly out of date links from this site and other essentials, all of which does rather beg the question of why this post and the time taken?). Perhaps I’m just not wired for the modern world and maybe there’s a solution. A review of a book in the Sundays provided an account of someone who had a serious blow to the head and after surgery awoke to find that he could speak fluent Italian after having struggled for months previously to get past first base. Maybe before long we can all go to the quacks – who will after all have nothing to do except doll out pills to wrinklies as everyone self-diagnoses these days – for regular, focused, administered blows to the head to reprogramme us to adjust.

This ramble may have something to do with having emerged from the banks results season and seeing a window of opportunity to pause for breath before Amsterdam early next week and Lyon a couple of days after (and having ended the task of converting videos to DVDs – except two Charlton seasons highlights which refused to copy – which followed last year’s vinyl and cassettes to CDs; you see, I am getting there). Thank heavens for the escape to a Charlton game and the chance to discuss the merits/drawbacks of 4-3-3 and rant/cheer without the slightest possibility of influencing the outcome. And I don’t have to check anything on the internet to be able to talk endless bollocks about Charlton over a pre-match glass.

So where’s the link? Well, as transconfiguration goes waking up and finding that Pawel Abbott may have morphed into Benni McCarthy is as good as it gets. Until of course we discover that McCarthy might do a passing impression of Ralph Milne, being out of condition and out of favour at West Ham and having apparently run up some £200k in ‘fat fines’ there. Seems Sheff Wed passed on the option of taking him on loan. Still, surely even a fat Benni couldn’t be slower than a fit Abbott – although let’s not carp. When they come to write the next history of Charlton and our brief enforced spell in the third flight he will get a mention in dispatches for at least not pretending to be anything other than he was. I just can’t see him featuring in an all-time Charlton ‘top anything’ chart.

Which brings us back to tonight. With luck this nonsense will get buried under yet another match report, never to see the light of day. But it will be interesting to see whether Sir Chris sticks with 4-3-3 – and if so, and if it doesn’t work (ie we are losing), whether the end of the honeymoon period morphs into polite calls from the crowd for a change of formation. We’re simple souls (or at least I am) and victory is all that counts tonight; then at least it’s five wins out of eight rather than four and four and something of a crisis.

I do hope to avail myself of the opportunity when in Lyon to take in another Lyon Duchere game, a home fixture against Auxerre B. And at the moment I’ve never been prouder of my growing affiliation with Duchere. I’ve been following the fortunes of another club in their league (CFAB), a certain Louhans-Cruiseux. They’ve set out their stall this season by not only losing every game (badly) but seemingly having failed to turn up for one match. They’d run up 20 straight defeats and secured 19 points (you get a point for being there). But I looked the other day and, glory be, they’ve won one. And yes, it was against Lyon Duchere. Don’t ask me what happened (if I had the time ...perhaps the other Charlton/Duchere supporter out there?) but the results show a 2-1 home win for L-C. They now have the record of played 20, won one, lost 19, goals for seven, goals against 55 (seems the defence is tightening up as they were averaging three in per game). Duchere are coasting along in mid-table and must have felt generous. Carlisle are coasting along in mid-table ......

No comments: