Back on the writing wagon, mojo inconsistent as ever, but here’s a go.
Oh good, Christmas is coming. I remember a time when I used to love Christmas and though it would be easy to fill a word count with the historical clichés of a childhood Christmas I’m instead actually being deflected towards other people’s memories of the historical sexual abuse of their childhoods. Sleigh bells ringing etc. In reality it’s not been confined to just the silly season but either way, in a very short space of time an awful lot of footballers have suddenly decided to tell the world that they were abused by their coaches way back when, all over the place, but chiefly in the decades that closed their eyes. Perhaps we’ll now remember those decades as the ‘when things were different’ era, as if those words alone are an excuse. I can only imagine, not that I purposefully choose to very often, what grotty horrors those young men must have experienced. The degradation and shame and pain both physical and mental is shudder-inducing but at least we have a story-grabbing press to wheel out some humiliation- measuring device and then nod seriously every 8 seconds as grown men break down in tears.
This time there don’t seem to be any pixelated faces or dubbed voices or people called Alex but who we’ve called John for the sake of anonymity. Which seems a bit rough if your name IS John. No, the exposure has been on comfy sofas, come tell us everything style. They may as well hold hands and turn it into a Quaker meeting, standing solemnly when their inner urge wells up to cry out in torture. Or, in the case of last night, these interviews take place on a park bench either just before or just after a slow walk through the fallen autumn leaves, backs to the camera. Newso/rapacious journalist types must be loving all this because post-Trump shocker there really isn’t much else going on at the moment (clue – there is, but we never get to decide what’s important). Therefore the chance to exclusively reveal unprecedented numbers related to unprecedented levels of historic child abuse by unprecedented hordes of football coaches (just before everyone gets unprecedentedly pissed and switches over to BBC 1 for the GBBO Christmas special) must make them glow with professional satisfaction.
To come out at this stage, any stage, and in front of the full national media is very brave indeed and they have my fullest sympathy, but a few things do niggle and I suppose I don’t understand them because I’m lucky enough not to have experienced the things that they have. Against their will. As we all know the historic sex/child abuse world was ripped open a few years ago thanks to ‘sir’ Jimmy Saville and his horrendous chums. For some strange reason almost all involved then were celebrities from radio and television. The new football based scandal does make you realise how bloody obvious it should be. These coaches weren’t in the glare of the camera lights; they could creep about in changing rooms and shower blocks and training camps and lifts home and do pretty much whatever they wanted knowing very well that they could use some bright eyed child’s desire to be top flight footy legends to their distinctly foul advantage. I shouldn’t be too surprised if this isn’t the last we hear of sport related sex scandals but it does also seem strange that it comes fully wrapped and tagged as an entirely separate case and entity. Why people held on to their internal misery and external denial, pushed those rancid memories deep inside for another couple of years after Yewtree, is a complete mystery but needless to say I wouldn’t swap their chair for mine.
Finally we come to one of this country’s greatest minds; a gentleman, a poet, a scholar, a philosopher, a sage and a guru – Eric Bristow. It’s been a very long time since the last time I thought to worry about whether Eric Bristow was still alive or not. In fact the last time I saw him he was earning £80 in a cheap mug for some crap local charity on Bullseye. It turns out he is still alive but it has to be an award winning clunker when nobody hears from you for years and only then because you’ve decided to talk bollocks. I can actually see a fingernail of logic in the Crafty Cockney’s thinking but the rest is just a fatberg of aimless machismo which would work in a John Wayne film but not in 2016. I’d love to be able to bury a shovel in someone who treated me badly as a child but the law these days is so lawful that I’d probably end up in jail for it, and that really wouldn’t make my life a great deal happier. Maybe cheeky Eric could do it for them. Whichever way he’s lost his job hiding at SkySports and he probably should have just stayed in bed. Bed is where Barry Bennell is after doing to himself whatever he did to himself. He’s already been in jail 3 times for being a paedophile so maybe it would have been better not to bring him back to life after all (that’s what I’m reading into the typically obtuse reports, get it full and right or don’t bother because news is only news when it’s news). But where’s the justice in that? A game of two halves indeed.
G B Hewitt. 2.12.2016
Has anyone ever noticed that criminals suddenly look so much more like their crimes once the police release a photo of them?