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LIVING THE DREAM
By Jimmy Tarbuck
I’m nearly 35 and I’ve given up trying to grow up to be a footballer. I now want to grow up and become a writer. I have now realised that I am not going to be the next Kenny Dalglish so I want to be the next Billy Bryson. Like my new role model, Mr Bryson, I like to travel regularly and have in fact visited over 80 football league grounds. My membership to the 92 Club is likely to be rebuked mind you thanks to the flagrant allowance of the Football League Pyramid system to let non league shite in season after season. Nevertheless, it still means I can wax lyrically about the waft of old man smell which pervades from the pub opposite Gillingham station or the colossal Findus factory in Grimsby which is so square it looks like it has been plonked from the sky out of a massive ice cube holder. Has Mr Bryson visited over 80 Football League grounds, I ask myself, I think not!
But back to football and ambitions. When I realised I wasn’t going to be a Dalglish or a Keegan I realised I’d settle for being a David Lowe or a Peter Houghton, fine forwards from my local team. And when I realised I couldn’t be a Houghton or a Lowe, I just aspired to play at the same level as Paul in Credit Control. Five years my junior, a demon goal plunderer for crack North West Counties outfit Ashton Town and also an accomplished girl plunderer to boot. At least he looked like a proper footballer and got paid a few quid. Even when lack of ability or opportunity suppresses your ambitions, you’ve still got to have your ambitions.
So mine will now work as follows: I will write a book which will be approximately no better than any previous efforts but in this case it is actually picked up by and warmed to by the elitist national media rather than swept to one side in favour of Rooney or Beck’s 85th autobiog. I will take a sabbatical and appear on Richard and Judy and Jonathan Ross and as I win them over with my innocent Northern charm I will then make the ‘difficult decision’ to take a permanent career break. I will get myself an agent and an image consultant ready for the media onslaught I am due to face and eradicate all those ‘you know’s’ and ‘basically’s I churn out on the rare occasion when Sky Sports push their mic’s under my nose on match days. I will then use this media propulsion to successfully gain a handful of once a week columns in leading national broadsheets, complete with mugshot next to title, where I will shit myself all week struggling to write anything creative and find myself spending long periods of time walking around the house scratching my bollocks. Until, actually: yes there’s an article in that and then put together a whole host of witty statistics designed to bamboozle the reader. Did you know that if you put together all the kilojoules of energy expended by human white IC1 males in America due to scratching their bollocks, you could utilise that energy to fire a rocket to the moon? Ah who am I kidding, I can’t even write sharp, sensible, funny stuff any more let alone talk any sense.
I am firmly on the bus of mediocrity, destination death then. I have a job which pays the mortgage but work 12 hour days sometimes 7 days a week for what it supposed to be a 9 to 5, 35 hours a week desk job. I earn just above the average wage but I am still surrounded by cunts who earn three times or four times more than me whom I have no catch of ever catching in the salary department and wouldn’t particularly want to because whereas their key trait is arrogance mine is humility. And yes fair enough they use bigger words and have bigger egos but they are not creative people. They are simply vocabularists, all management buzz words and earn their £100k a year due to their ability to adequately talk their way out of a bollocking off someone who earns £200k a year by promising to re-focus deliverables and pass said bollocking onto to someone who earns £50k a year who then passes on a much diluted bollocking to me and my non-career advancing proles.
Now I probably earn a few grand more a year than a school teacher, a nurse or a fireman who put their heart and souls into their jobs serving the public rather than a soul-less financial institution and I feel guilty enough about that but I have no idea how these rent a quip robots live with themselves, spending all day sending me one line emails from their fucking Blackberries (with the ubiquitous ‘Sent from my handheld Blackberry’ strapline in case you were in any doubt that you’re dealing with a grand fromage). They are not pioneers or leaders of men, they are complete fucking bellends – and the fantasist in me, far from wanting them to ‘stretch their leadership capabilities’ would like to see them have their arses stretched, in the metaphorical sense.
Whilst listening to one of these cunts harp on about strategy and ‘fighting the good fight and winning hearts and minds’ my own mind wanders somewhat. I’d like to drop twenty of these leaders into a tasty Hammers v Lions 500-a-side melee in East London on a Saturday afternoon in the 80’s while I sit perched on the rooftops of a row of terraced dilapidated Victorian housing, megaphone in hand and evil cackle emerging on face. Plop them right in the middle of the warring factions and advise the heavily sovereigned former dockers who have briefly adjourned their pagga: ‘This lot all earn a six figure salary, follow rugby union, listen to Coldplay and live in penthouse apartments by the Thames and laugh heartily about the fact that they managed to fuck football holligan scumbags like you off to Essex or Sidcup and transform your capital city into a stream of Tapas Bars, Costa Coffees and Executive board pow-pows’ and let us see whether their clever pinstriped words can get them out of this one.
It’s all very well them career coaching me: you could be where I am if you just wanted it enough and showed the drive but the fact is I am not an articulate person any more, and these corporate high flyers are now younger than me. Twenty years of alcohol and substance abuse has dulled the above average IQ I held at 11+ and I still like to fall off the wagon every other weekend to such an extent that my head is still fuzzy on Tuesday morning let alone Monday. I realise now why all these LSE graduates barking the orders have better cars, bigger homes and the ability to find exactly the right word I am hopelessly scanning my brain for all the time, it’s because they didn’t spend every weekend between the ages of 15 – 32, leaving the house on Thursday night and returning home (save for the odd few hours of sleep or changes of clothes) in the early hours of Monday morning and changing back into work gear Clark Kent style. While they conformed to middle class: Left school at 16, A levels at 18, Degree in Marine Biology, obligatory year out travelling, accountancy contract at KPMG and climbing the corporate ladder at 22. At 22, I eventually blagged my way into Nottingham Poly as a mature student after several years of drifting on the dole, and lived the wacky student life – which ultimately involved toning down my drinking and narcotic consumption. It is the one consolation: I might not be able to clear my debts but I certainly enjoyed racking them up. I can safely say I lived life.
My dreams and ambitions lie not within climbing the corporate ladder but yet I am flogged so hard at work it suppresses my own creative streak, and I am trapped in the vicious circle of having to work to pay the bills whilst my life and dreams pass me by. Freedom to pursue your chosen vocation in life is truly a magnificent thing. Sadly so few of us get that option because no-one gives a fuck about anyone else. They are all chasing that bigger house, better car, larger salary rather than chasing their dreams. Me, I don’t know what I want. I know, I’ll become a writer……
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