Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What Do Women Have Against Loud Music?

"Mind if I turn it down a tad, honey?"
What’s wrong with this picture? Last night I was ironing and listening to music when my 15-year-old daughter came into the room and said, “Dad, can you please turn it down? I’m trying to study.” For Christ's sake, girl, dump those books and get down to the golf course with a bottle of vodka in a brown paper bag, some cigarettes, and a boy to snog. Kids today, eh?

Or it could just have been her gender-dictated disposition to turn down music. Stick with me here. I’m not prone to making generalisations about the opposite sex, because the feminist peers my dad claims metaphorically castrated me during my formative years taught me otherwise. And believe me, I’m 100 per cent behind any female’s right to empowerment, a career, and even a driver’s licence. But experience has taught me that any time a woman walks into a room where music is playing, the first thing she’ll do is walk over to the amplifier and turn it down.

A chauvinist would say that it’s because a female can not bear any competition to the sound of her own voice. If I’m listening to music, then I might not be giving the female my full attention. I am appreciating the beauty of something besides the female.

Fortunately, I’m not a chauvinist, so I realise this is complete nonsense. Unfortunately, I

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Mascot Madness: When Life Mimics Art

Topsy? You in there?
This story in the Manchester Evening News, about Oldham Athletic's mascot Chaddy the Owl getting thumped by one of his own fans, reminded me of my own short story The Man In The Mascot. Except that Chaddy's inner soul is a little more forgiving than the vodka-swilling narrator inside Topsy the Toucan.

"I don't even want him banned as we need as many fans as we can get," says Chaddy. Bless his owlish little heart. (I've no idea why Oldham should have an Owl as a mascot, by the way. Couldn't anyone imagine what a Latic would look like?)

Contrast this with Topsy, who was faced with unrelenting hostility from the crowd at lowly East Park Academy. These fans were happy to scapegoat him for the team's lack of success, on the grounds that Topsy was supposed to bring them luck. And as the failed drama student within knew, "these fans weren't all stupid, they knew when the club was trying it on, and they refused to be coaxed into a forced jollity, to be told by some prancing puppet when they were supposed to get excited. Was the mascot's tomfoolery not a tacit admission by the club that the players themselves were incapable of pushing the crowd into the realm of emotion?"

I can only think that the as yet untraced Oldham fan felt much the same way about Chaddy. Makes a nice change from calling for the manager's head.