I’m my own worst enemy of course, unable to say no when people wave the prospect of paid work in front of me. Without wishing to boast, this is the almost ludicrous schedule I am currently in the middle of:
Friday – work at the office 9-6. Dash home for dinner before racing out to the radio station to work from 10pm until 2am. Taxi home, fall into bed exhausted.
Saturday – rise mid-morning and try to have some semblance of a life outside work. Not for long, immediately race out to the radio station again to get paid to listen to a football match and press the odd button along the way. Have a three hour break from 5pm before going back on the air at 8pm. This shift lasts until 2am during which time I discovered that a taxi home was a non-starter and so had to trudge through the rain across Blackfriars bridge to the bus stop. Two night busses home results in a one hour journey.
Which takes me to where I am right now, bleary eyed and unfocused. Ahead of me I still have another six hour shift at the radio station before coming back home to write the Launch column before bed.
Yes, I actually said I would do this and was enthusiastic about the prospect. Some people are their own worst enemies.
Do you know what the most entertaining thing about this week is? The overwhelming shock-horror reaction to the fact that in the height of midwinter we are having a spell of extremely cold weather.
Combine that with the barely suppressed glee with which people greeted public transport grinding to a halt at the first sign of snow and you get the feeling that actually we British would feel hard done by if the usual things we complain about did not materialise.
Actually I feel hard done by as most people I’ve spoken to today are full of horror stories about their journey home and/or the disasters they had attempting to arrive at work today. My journey last night was so smooth that I caught a half-empty tube home, called Mila to discover she was still in town, travelled back to meet her and then travelled back home again. Or is that showing off?
I think I envy Mila this week, not only is she revelling in weather that is a proper home from home but she is possibly one of the few people in the country who can hear the words “Hutton Report” without grimacing.
I never had a favourite football team. I’m not sure why the whole culture of having a lifelong allegiance to a particular side passed me by. Either it was a childhood indifference to sport as a whole or a lack of any encouragement from parents who were similarly ambivalent.
This only really became an issue when I started working in sports broadcasting. Strangely enough for a non-sports fan most of my career has revolved around the production of football matches but that is at least enough to generate a spark. Hence for several years I worked for a radio station close to a team that was most definitely on the up. During my career there they rose from the second division all the way to the Premiership. I was there with heart on my sleeve they day they won a playoff at Wembley and could hardly bear to look at the match on the final day of the season when anything other than a win would deny them automatic promotion.
Sadly I don’t work there any more and the club are pretty much back where they started. Hardcore football fans will hate me for this but it means I can walk away with a clear conscience.
The whole point of this really is so I have some self-justification for occasionally betting on football matches. Tonight was a case in point. Having to spend the entire evening engineering reports on Aston Villa v Bolton for a radio station was not a prospect that filled me with utter joy. What I needed was a reason to care. One quick trip to the bookmakers website and I had my reason: £10 on Bolton to win 2-0 and a further fiver on a 0-0 draw just to hedge. I figured that there was no way Villa were going to score and that as Bolton did not need to, 0-0 was a likely chance but if Bolton did score they were unlikely to stop at one.
In case you ever try the same thing, never ever mentally start spending the winnings just before kickoff. This is almost certainly why Villa scored within ten minutes, thus wrecking both bets before we had barely begun. At the very least having to engineer a reason to care about a football match is good training for a future career as a bankrupt.