June 2021 catch up

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A couple of distractions mean that the number of movies I’ve seen so far this month is uncharacteristically low, so there won’t be a ‘midpoint movie roundup’ this month.

Distraction number one has been EURO2020. With about 20 games under my belt, I am well and truly invested in trying to watch every match, even if that means watching some of them on my iPad (via BBC iPlayer or ITV Hub) with the sound off while I work from home. Thankfully there are only a few in my timezone in work hours during the group stages. The scheduling is actually really good for UK viewing with one match happening at five o’clock while I have my evening meal and then the other happening at eight o’clock. There has been some negotiation with Siggy to make sure she doesn’t get pissed off with the flood of soccer, which sometimes finds me upstairs watching the match on my iPad.

It’s strange to be at home watching the tournament. Usually for the the Euros and the World Cup we’ve been on holiday in Greece and I’ve been able to watch at sports bars with ice cold beer on tap, with Siggy drinking cocktails and people watching. However, there are advantages – being able to pause the TV and rewind when I need to, is great, and also if I time my recording/pausing right I can avoid the inane punditry at halftime. Also I am having a bit of fun on a betting app with various £1 bets on long odds results, free bet builders for the England games and Ronaldo as the top scorer.

Last night was the much-anticipated England versus Scotland match. I used a £5 free bet on a 0-0 result combined with ‘over 11.5 corners’ during the game, which would’ve paid out over £140. I’ve never been more excited about corners and near-misses in a game before, but you can imagine my mixed feelings when the game did indeed end 0-0 and 11 corners. So close, yet so far.

All the usual suspects – France, Belgium, Italy and Holland – look impressive with England, Spain and Portugal looking a bit rocky and Wales perhaps being dark horses. Germany are doing their usual thing of looking crap until they need to turn it on. Those who follow this blog regularly will know that I support Wales with an eye on, but not much emotion invested in, England. I was a bag of nerves in Wales’ second match against Turkey and super happy with the result (a win) which should see us into the next round of the competition. I have a £1 bet on them to win the whole tournament, just to show my commitment. Yes a whole £1! I’m not a big gambler.

The second distraction this month has been Sons of Anarchy which is available on Disney+ via the StarzPlay content. There’s 7 seasons of 13 or so episodes each and I am roughly halfway through. I was watching it with Siggy every Sunday, but she said she wasn’t bothered about watching it anymore, which has meant I can binge away. I didn’t see any of the show when it first aired but I was often intrigued by the boxsets I used to see alongside Breaking Bad in our local HMV store – back when we had shops. Just from the artwork on the boxes I could tell it would be a pretty cool show.

Sons of Anarchy is up there with Breaking Bad, The Wire, The Walking Dead and The Sopranos in being touted as one of the best TV shows ever. It’s certainly more action-packed than The Sopranos, but I do find the motorcycle club’s ability to flout the law somewhat far-fetched, and have to say of all the aforementioned shows I’d probably go for Breaking Bad with The Wire coming in a close second as the best show I’ve seen. Although some bits of Battlestar Galactica were pretty awesome lol.

In terms of books, after finishing Bernard Cornwell’s War Lord, I blazed through Charles Bukowski’s Post Office. It’s a short book about Bukowski’s semi-autobiographical character Henry Chinaski an alcoholic womaniser who scrapes a living working for the US Mail and betting at the horse races. Post Office covers Bukowski’s life from around 1952 -1955 working ‘as a mistake’ on and off as a substitute mail carrier and post sorter and ends with his decision to write a novel.

It was good to have accidentally read the prequel to Post Office, Ham On Rye which covers Chinaski’s teenage years and the origin of his alcoholism, prior to this book, and I was ready for the clipped style, the bad attitude and smart mouth.

“The streets were full of insane and dull people. Most of them lived in nice houses and didn’t seem to work, and you wondered how they did it.”

Charles Bukowski, Post Office (1971).

The quote above chimed with me this week as I was trying to work with my windows open because of the hot weather. There seemed to be people in the gardens of all the houses around ours, fucking about and having a good time, while I was sweating at my computer earning my gravy. Why weren’t they at work? I wanted to pull up the blind and shout at them HEY SOME PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO WORK HERE, SHUT THE FUCK UP!

But I’m not Chinaski, so I didn’t. Besides, there was a match on…

Laters…

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