Monday, 4 February 2008

The narcissism of small differences

From A Child’s Dictionary Of Psychoanalysis

The other evening, I took the younger princess to the football, Arsenal vs Newcastle. She can be a bit girlie about the game. She still doesn’t grasp the difference between a cup match and a league match — this was a league match.

But she’s always loved the spectacle and drama of a full football stadium — particularly the view as you emerge from the vomitorium on a floodlit night. She’s come to the occasional game with me since she was old enough to insist I put in place an equal opportunities policy vis-à-vis her older brother. Her enthusiasm even survived an attack on us by a baseball-bat wielding, coke-dealing (I guess), parking-spot-raged, Range Rover-driving ‘fan’.

Her grasp of the subtleties of football culture is, accordingly, finely calibrated. So on the way to the match, discussing possible outfits with me, she told me she’d thought of wearing an ironic comment on north-eastern evening dress. ‘A very short mini-skirt, bare legs and a Northern Rock t-shirt’ I told her there wouldn’t have been time to put the weight on.

So she’d settled for a different kind of irony. She was wearing a sheepskin coat, presumably a considered comment on what was more or less a uniform for a generation of football managers and commentators. Only hers wasn’t so much a car coat as a steppes warrior’s one.

As we approached the ground, she developed her thoughts, composing a chant, a new variation on the traditional metropolitan slur directed at northern football fans, to the tune of Guantanamera:

‘One cashmere jumper

You’ve only got one cashmere jumper


And I bet it’s from M&S.’

As she sang, very quietly, we spotted a young woman in her traditional north-eastern evening dress. And, at our feet, we saw a rabbit . . .

[see blog below]