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Wednesday, September 22, 2004  
No Surprises


7-a-side was quiet to start with, one or two more people per side than we’re used to on that size pitch meant it was more difficult to break each other down and you couldn’t score goals just by breaking fast. (Which is probably where a lot of my goals come from, thinking about it – I’ve not got the touch, if I’m honest, to punish people when there’s no space at all; I’m definitely a ‘space’ player, and am very good at finding it, but with that many people you simply can’t.) But after a hesitant start and going 3-1 down we ended up winning 5-4, with me bagging a late hat trick including the winner with the last kick of the game. As soon as my brother moved forward and started playing me some decent balls I began putting 'em in the back of the net; prior to that our passing in the opponent’s half had been poor. A good game, all in all, and very enjoyable.

And then I got home and my dad told me to sit down in a very matter-of-fact manner and I made the quizzical face at him and he said “don’t worry, it’s not anyone in the family” and proceeded to tell me that my old boss had dropped dead of a massive heart attack that afternoon, that Emma had found out off her little brother who used to be at school with my bosses (only nine year old) daughter and thus found out off one of his friend’s little brothers or sisters or something. I should explain that my old job under this boss was in a pub, and that, like all Devon landlords (and probably the vast majority of landlords anywhere), he liked a drink and a cigarette and ate badly and so on. So I’m… upset, but not surprised, not shocked. I hadn’t seen him for ages until two weeks ago when I cycled over to the pub (it’s about 5 miles from my house) one Sunday evening and said hello to all the old Sunday night crowd (I always worked Sunday nights for the five years I worked there [bar university term time] – they were my crowd, if that doesn’t sound daft). This makes three of the major figures in that pub who’ve died of heart attacks in the last three years – the ex (very senior) policeman who lived up the road and would get loaded on gin each lunchtime, the landlord of a pub a mile down the road who would get loaded on lager & lime and chardonnay every afternoon and who was up to his eyes in debt, and now the landlord of the pub itself. One day I should maybe delve into trying to explain the drinking culture where I come from, changing names to protect the guilty, but I can’t now. Needless to say that my old boss was a character, a London wideboy, ex policeman too, who moved to Devon to run a pub so his daughter could grow up in the countryside rather than the city. He was kind of like a surrogate dad to me in many ways, encouraging me on the adventures and escapades and flights of fancy that I didn’t ever tell my real dad about, and educating me, via the pub and the circle of people I met there, about a whole side of the world that I wouldn’t have otherwise experienced. So I’m not surprised, but I am saddened.

NJS

9/22/2004 09:39:00 am

1 Comments:

Blogger stephen royle - 5:27 pm

i am very sorry to hear that nick!!!!

 

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Nick Southall is Contributing Editor at Stylus Magazine and occasionally writes for various other places on and offline. You can contact him by emailing auspiciousfishNO@SPAMgmail.com


All material © Nick Southall, 2003/2004/2005