Line of Duty

Season six of Line of Duty was already underway when I was finally persuaded I should watch it. A few minutes into the first episode, I realised what a fool I had been. Perhaps, the multiple storyline contortions and twists did stretch what’s left of my brain but in didn’t matter. It’s so well-written and so well-acted by a stellar cast, aided and abetted by passing greats like Keeley Hawes and Kelly MacDonald.

Many people are saying the final episode was somewhat underwhelming, as I did at the time. This morning, it all made sense with most of the loose ends tied-up. And it made a point of illustrating how the powerful elite will get away with anything in our unequal society. I’m talking about you, Boris Johnson.

Season seven? If the genius of Jed Mercurio can come up with stuff of equal standard, why not? Or, like some of the greatest shows of all time (Fawlty Towers anyone?), quit at the top and leave ’em wanting more?

Man  Ure

Nothing says “I love my football club” more than violently entering the football ground to set off flares, clamber all over the goal posts, protest against the team outside their hotel and of course slashing the face of a police officer with a broken bottle. And that’s pretty well what happened at Old Trafford yesterday when a large group of supporters gathered to protest against the Glazer family who own the nuts and bolts of Manchester United.

The subsequent game against Liverpool was postponed, leaving the possibility that the rearranged game might take place after the regular season has finished, requiring Liverpool needing to win to reach the Champions League. That would seem mightily unfair to me.

Odd how it’s taken 18 years for United fans to finally lose their shit at the predatory owners who bought the club by loading the debt onto it.

I’m strongly opposed to the ownership free-for-all model that operates in England and not just in the Premier League, but it strikes me that no one seems to care about who owns the club as long as they win things. This doesn’t apply at my old club Bristol Rovers where the popular Jordanian owner Wael al Qadi has presided over record losses and overseen relegation to the bottom tier of the League with barely a whimper.

Loosening restrictions

It is very clear that the lockdown is over. It’s okay to shop in a crowded Primark, it’s perfectly fine to crowd into a pub garden, you can go on a protest march and attack police officers (actually, you can’t do the last bit, but you get the drift) and you can go to a sweaty gym. But you can’t watch sport.

Given that most sport takes place in the open air, I find this very odd since, scientists believe, the COVID virus isn’t terribly good at killing us outside.

My friends who enjoy watching  professional cricket matches are forbidden from attending games. This is particularly odd in Bristol where Gloucestershire’s old ground is almost entirely surrounded by seating in the open air.

The same applies at some rugby union grounds. Look at the Wreck where Bath play. It’s basically a public park with uncovered temporary seating areas. I’d have thought you’d be far more likely to die from frostbite than COVID-19.

Memories

I am not a great fan of those posts you see on social media that suggest that things were always so much better in the old days. You know the sort of thing: ‘The kids of today have it too easy. They all sit at home all day in their centrally heated homes, glued to mobile phones and tablets and watching 50 inch TV screens. Our dad would have beaten us black and blue etc etc.’

Most of my childhood evenings, and all the winter evenings, were spent in our living room, the only one in which we had heating, by way of a portable electric heater. We would watch a tiny black and white TV with two or three channels to watch and that was basically our life. If I went out with my mates, we made our own fun, like rolling around in mud and kicking a ball around until we got bored sick with it.

We didn’t even have a telephone until I was well into my teens and holidays were a week in a crowded caravan at West Bay, one with no cooking or washing facilities and worst of all no toilet.

If back then I’d been offered an iPad or iPhone as I sat hunched in our rain-battered caravan, bored absolutely senseless, I reckon I’d have been overjoyed.