Richard Lutz ponders the last seven days…filled with twins, storms and cursed time.
It all started with back to back sports: On Sunday afternoon it was Scotland v England in rugby.
My tartan leanings shivered with dread and it was well anticipated. Scotland just can’t score. Last time one of its teams actually got past the goalposts on their home patch (Murrayfield) was sometime back about the time of Culloden.
Then that night, the NFL Super Bowl.
The twin games are physical, sometimes brutal, contact sports. Or as an iconic NFL manager once said: “It’s not a contact sport. It is an assault sport.”
But how do the two contests match up? There is no doubt American football is more dangerous. There is more hard hitting. Rugby is more fluid. Both are great games to watch. Both are potentially dangerous but as a Will Smith movie will shortly tell us, the NFL is rife with permanent head injuries as 250 pound sprinters bang into you as you are in the air vulnerably trying to catch a ball. And the titanic clashes of the defensive and offensive lines from a static position are colossal head to heads, littered with permanent joint injuries.
I am always amazed that in rugby too they wear shorts, a bandage or two around the knee and a mouth guard. I think its fluidity and continual flow stops harm though the players do look beat up at the end.
NFL is, on the other hand, speed, agility and strength. And the razzmatazz is overwhelming with the half time show (it was Coldplay and Beyonce) sometimes more important than the million dollar game. But its injury problems are becoming a national issue. There are simply too many damaged veterans hobbling around with premature brain problems.
Another twinning: I took in two movies that beautifully complement each other. Both are about the amoral hi-jinx on Wall Street. The first was The Big Short, a sharp recounting of the 2008 cheap mortgage crash that is still plaguing us. I actually understood the business of shorting stocks and wobbly fiscal pyramids after the film. And I didn’t understand the workings of it when I read the book (of the same name) that first analysed the cynical sub prime scandal.
Its twin is a 2011 film called Margin Call with Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons and Demi Moore. They are bankers who are ready to do anything after they find out their find their company is ready to go under because of bad decisions. It is brutal, equally sharp and still relevant. God, I hate banks.
On to other affairs. We had Storm Imogen.
This naming of weather is a fun trick. But it does help you remember which big blast was which – after all, in Britain it usually rains horizontally for about three months and they all merge after a while. In the States, the names of storms were part of my childhood. I still remember the vicious Hurricane Carol and murderous Hurricane Ethel with their 110 mph winds from early years.
We would stay inside and listen to the radio warnings and we were allowed out during ‘the eye’ when it was calm. The fact that I still have images of the old storms was, I think, helped by these names. So there you go. By the way, when is the first Storm Mohammed in the UK? We’ll see.
Getting more domestic, it finally comes to pass to get a more modern radio for the bedroom. My old radio clock’s sound is akin to fingernails on a blackboard. We go…very late in the day…for a DAB. Wow, real big deep tones and I can get Radio 6 while being lazy and staying in my pit.
While nosing around the shops, looking for the right one, I notice one thing. It isn’t so much the radio but the digital clock I need. I realise I have an obsession about knowing what time it is when I suddenly awake.
Why do I need to know it is 3.17 when I burst from dreams? Why do I need to know it is only 6.07 when I drift up from sleep? Why am I a slave to time?
Not so much time, but big time. With my glasses off I really can’t see much. So I realise the digits have to be large, large, large. So at the end of the day (or should that be night), I opt for the DAB with the biggest digi-clock. I am the Mr Magoo of the Night.