July 18: summer

Summer is here. A thousand little signs tell me so. The Tour de France on the telly, persisting with its culture of the pre-1950s. When you get the yellow jersey at the end of the day you mount a little podium and put it on and then get a coy peck on the cheek from two models dressed in yellow dresses; same for the white jersey but with white dresses and the other jerseys with other dresses. It is an idiotic throwback to dumber, more oppressive times. The British Open Golf Championship. A festival of tedium commented on by stuffed shirts who keep asking each other incredulously how it can be that golf is losing its popularity with the younger generation. The players sport the kit of their sponsors. A cap with KPMG on it; a shirt with Hugo Boss on it. Yuk! Then there is the cricket test match against Pakistan. As a boy I watched hours of cricket over the summer. I was a willing student as to the value of patience in the building of an innings. I’m afraid that now, a little like the England middle order, I would throw my wicket away by going for the big one over the top. My patience is shot.

Boredom is big in the summer, I find. But it is permissable, guiltless boredom. Somehow, when it is sunny, you allow yourself the freedom to potter around, to trail from kitchen to living room to fetch a glass of water as if that were the main chore of the afternoon. The little jobs of looking after the basics of your own body loom large. Your mind empties. You read a bit. You get a bit of sun. You make a fruit salad. Those are the jobs of the day done, more or less. In the background the Tour de France and, like the golf and the cricket, the relentless male obsession with statistics and charts and strategies and figures and averages and aggregates. All these blokes on the radio working out the world in their own personal matrices while I shuffle from room to room with a bit of melon.

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