Tuesday, 24 June 2008

life imitates football

I have tonsillitis again. I spent Sunday trying fretfully and confusedly to write a lecture on the Resistance, immediate post-war politics and the creation of the Italian Republic, all the while incubating a fine fever. Maybe the beer that night didn't help. Certainly the spiritless, tedious, inevitable penalty defeat didn't.

That night I had torrid, feverish dreams, endlessly, about clandestine networks of armed anti-communist agents, about Nazi spies, failed free-kicks from the edge of the area, partisans in the wooded hills above Turin, balls grazing the cross-bar, dancing Spaniards, undercover anti-Fascist missions, firing squads, betrayal, penalties, implacable hatreds, vengeance, the torturous paths of long fraught histories. Mysteries, secrets, failures. The sabotage of democracy. The end of hopes. I woke sweating and clammy in the extreme heat, dozed fitfully, saw armed blackshirts slipping out of the old MSI centre round the corner from my flat, and sidling into the end behind the goal, heard whistles, or were they gunshots? Men fought side by side in the Resistance who had faced one another in the Spanish Civil War, I remembered, in a moment of lucidity. Spain had never previously beaten Italy in a game that mattered. Russian roulette is not really a very good analogy for penalties. Gigi Buffon had locked me in my dead grandmother's house, and was guarding the door. I woke before six, unable to swallow or speak, the sheets drenched, and lay in the dark, not wanting to move.

I am not well.

8 comments:

Brian said...

I'm sure it's small comfort, but you've produced an absolutely marvelous piece of prose. It feels exactly like a fever dream, and says something profound about the background of European football.

Feel better soon!

Martinus Scriblerus said...

I am so sorry that you are so ill and that penalties are rubbish. You are getting a better and better writer, which makes me smile, though the extent to which your subconscious dwells on Margaret's house is a little troubling. What was it that she was keeping there in a previous dream? Vipers?

Also, if you mail me your new address I'll mail you mine.

Much love,

Anonymous said...

Darling - you need some of my wondrous oils......Tom was at deaths door with it on Boxing day and he used Theives spray directly onto his tonsils and it went!
Just call me, it works, and you don't keep falling prey to it either.
Philly xxxxx

ursus arctos said...

What Brian said.

And perhaps it will cheer you to hear that ursus minor spent the weekend with a friend at Ponte di Legno in a house full of WWI memorabilia. He is now talking about battlefield visits as a great way to spend his summer.

I've given him your number.

Albert Herring said...

I've never had tonsillitis as interesting as that. But I did overhear your mother agreeing to take on a translation job out of Klingon when I was in bed with pleurisy. Good old dihydrocodeine 30mg, take two three times a day.

chris c paul said...

God, I know that feeling. Fever dreams are the worstest, totally inescapable and deluded. And tonsilitus is the devil.

You got a terrific post out of it though- that is a quite the very stunning piece of prose.

Juventino said...

John Lennon on an acid trip couldn't have written that.

joejoejoe said...

Be well and dream of sunnier days in South Africa for your team.