Mindfart: Cabin Fever


Okay so for anyone who needs clarification, this is a flippant and manic cry of desperation! It would be an exaggeration to say I haven’t slept at all in the last 48 hours. However, due to the high levels of steroids and painkillers I am on, I have been alternating infuriatingly between unbearable brain hyperactivity and total catatonia.

There are a few serious subjects I’d love to write about, but I know that in this chaotic mental state I wouldn’t do them any justice or respect; you can see that from the quality and quantity of this babbling rhetoric. At the same time, I desperately feel the need to exorcise and purge my possessed mind. I need to keep rhythmically drumming away at the keyboard to sustain the enchantment holding back the feral, brain eating wolves that are circling my woodland writer’s retreat.

Thank goodness I included a Hipshot and Mindfart section on the website! A stage for trivial reasoning and barely comprehensible prattle. But what hollow nonsense can I address? Of course! Every electrical retailer’s last, best hope to flog you an utterly unnecessary TV. Do you realise how much better your life will be if you watch twenty two men kick a ball about on a 105 inch, Ultra High Definition, 4K resolution, 3D, curved screen?

It’s funny old game, football, especially the World Cup. With the recent Golden Generation years, and with the apparently limitless English capacity for completely unjustified hubris (Yea! Well, we invented the bloody game and won two World Wars!), I can’t I remember such low expectations of an England team going into a World Cup or European Championships. Considering the reputation of our first two opponents in the group phase, Italy and Uruguay, (who may well make the final game against Costa Rica an exhibition match and runabout for England’s players numbered 12-23), it would seem that the majority of us that inhabit this Sceptered Isle have decided a more pragmatic approach is overdue. Indeed, we may end up playing and losing to the local branch of Costa Coffee in that third game.

However, having watched the three warm up games and looking through the England squad, for the first time I can remember I might just watch the group games think to myself, “Hey there’s a football team I’d like to watch; win or lose!” Add to that the irony that this is a group of players selected and directed by Roy “1-0″ Hodgson, and now I am really bemused. After all these years of Roy’s alleged experience and success, (or as I would call it repetitive, conservative failure), is it possible that the attacking approach of last season’s top two Premiership team’s who scored over 200 goals between them, has taught the old dog a new trick?

Everyone tells us we have the best league in the world. It’s the fastest, most physical, dynamic, etc., and yet historically, at international level, we have consistently reverted to standard international tactics that suit more ‘technical’ teams, i.e. everyone else.

If Roy can carry the courage of his convictions and deliver a high paced, adventurous, attacking game (aaaaand yes I know, I know. Humidity, shmuditity. Heat, shmeat), who knows what might become of our ambition. For once, we actually have several players with magic in their feet: Baines, Gerrard, Wilshire, Barkley, Lallana, Sterling, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rooney, Sturridge. Milner (Haha! Sorry, couldn’t help myself:-)). Players that can make something out of nothing. Set them free!

That is, set them free, but don’t be a knob and ask the precocious, but barely pubescent Raheem Sterling to face up against ‘General Longtooth’ Pirlo. Pirlo the Roman midfield commander who, despite being identified before our last encounter with Italy as their keystone player, was allowed the time and space to not only manage his own Mediterranean teammates, but the whole England team as well. I draw no conclusions from the fact Capello, the then England manager was also Italian, or the fact that the Cosa Nostra are Italian, or that racist stereotypes notwithstanding, we know there are a lot of external incentives in Italian football. (It’s okay, I don’t own a horse, and I’m already terminally ill; what’s the worst they can do?!)

To be fair to the young Sterling, it’s not he who has judged himself the next big thing. It’s the usual pundits doing what they before every tournament; looking for a teenager to build up, just to knock them down again (this time it’s Sterling and Barkley, The New Gazza).

Don’t think I underestimate the young Jamaican’s talents, it’s just that his skills are most effective against weak Division Two Carling Cup opponents; against well organised world class players he just loses the ball a lot and looks silly, which is the manager’s fault, not his.

I was reminded of a film quote the other day from Sly Stallone’s Demolition Man; “Send a maniac to catch a maniac.” Well, for the purposes of the Italy game we may need to adjust that slightly to “Send a northern nutter to tackle, harass and otherwise annoy a sophisticated, cultured Italian footballer and prevent him from settling into any kind of passing rhythm.” Not as pithy, I’ll give you that; but a better tactical description.

I don’t know if such a thing exists, but if there is a Brazil 2014 Top Trumps Edition, and it has a category for ‘Running About Like An ADHD Jack Russell on Adrenaline‘, then you can be sure there is only one ’10’ in the pack; Jordan Henderson. The man makes the Duracell bunny look like a malingering slacker. Set him on Pirlo for ninety minutes and let everyone else get on with winning the game.

As for the Uruguay match, we may well have to up the stakes and actually requisition Sylvester Stallone to manmark Luis ‘overpaid, over-here and overbite‘ Suarez. What do you mean that’s ridiculous? Haven’t you seen Escape to Victory?

So anyway what do you think? Do we stand a chance of making it to a fourth game? Should I stop taking drugs before my head explodes? And if I stop typing will those prowling predators pounce? Do I have Cabin Fever or what?
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Tags: Cabin, Cup, Fever, Madness, World,

10 Comments. Leave new

Marian ferries
June 8, 2014 1:08 PM

I don’t know about the cabin fever Eamonn but you can certainly sum up Roy Hodgson and the England teams ability very eloquently! Hope you enjoy the World Cup x x


Top quality football rant Eamonn – drug-induced stream of consciousness prose is definitely your bag…
As much as I want us to get into the next round, I can see us tripping up again Costa Brava after having achieved respectable draws against Italy and Uruguay.


Pretty spot on to be honest. Personally I think they should just stick Barkley Sturridge Lallana and Sterling up front and let Gerrard and Henderson mop up the carnage they’ll reap. Bring it on the greatest mossy corrupt show on earth ;)

Catherine Hazell
June 8, 2014 4:00 PM

Alfie is doing his Speech Cup at school on the World Cup. I will pass on your comments. He has been working really hard on it the last two weeks. It doesn’t mean that much to me until it gets started. Has it started yet? Sorry for the ignorance but when does it begin.?
I’ve been much more help to Toby with his preparation for his speech as it’s on Roller Coasters. Something I relate a little better to even though he refers to me as ” nearly wetting my pants when I go on one”. Not sure what his teachers will think about that! Toby has invented his own Roller Coasters and is talking about the effects of G Force etc.
Is Jonah doing a speech yet?
I just read your comments to Alfie. He says what you wrote is really good. Sorry I couldn’t comment. My 11 year old knows more than me.
Keep up the writing. I
t’s good to hear what you have to say.
Love Catherine x


Yes, I apologise. There is no sanity checking on anything written above. It was a purely cathartic release of mental energy.

From the title alone, there could have been the kernel of something meaningful about the loss of independence and social confidence after prolonged periods of enforced isolation caused by cancer symptoms and chemotherapy treatments, but then I thought bollocks to that miserable twaddle, there’s a World Cup on!

Carole Castles
June 9, 2014 3:31 PM

Who needs sanity? I am counting the days to my sixth and last chemo session at the end of this month. As you say, the enforced isolation caused by the chemo is horrible. Mind you, the tiredness is equally bad, and the lack of sleep, and having a blood transfusion to get me through the fifth treatment and…. and…… ad infinitum. I am off to get my version of your wife, whose name is Bert, not your wife’s name of course, I refer to my Bert, who looks after me and puts up with me patiently. He is an Arsenal fanatic and I know he will enjoy your enlightened comments on the forthcoming World Cup. He is backing Germany to win at 5 to 1. Bert says England has no chance. All the punters are talking about Lallana being a youngster, in actual fact he is aged 27 and is older than Suarez. The furthest England can hope to go is out of the group stages and then they will be returning home. And Bert hope there will be no injuries to the Arsenal players.


Hey Carole,

I remember the relief you must be looking forward to from my first chemo course. Ticking off that final session is a very satisfying task; knowing that with a few weeks the last of that horrible poison will be purged from your system. I hope you feel better soon.

I just read back through this last post and realised how manic and incomprehensible it was; and here am I nominated for a blogging award next week! Not exactly my finest literary hour (although the hour was about 3AM to be fair!:-)

I’m struggling a bit at the moment to decide the direction I should take next. I have had some heavy cancer updates recently, and there is certainly a lot of meat on the bone of that topic, but at the same time it’d be nice to write something frivolous and fun now that I am finally recovering from a disastrous second course of chemotherapy.

Anyway, it’s the first England game of the World Cup tonight, so a couple of beers and the large cake I made yesterday should keep me occupied for a few hours. I’m hoping England were watching the Dutch last night and picked up a few tips.

emma dickson
June 12, 2014 10:42 PM

Sanity is overrated.weed is a good night time pain killer-it is not so hard to wake up the next day as after lovely morphine .Annoyingly for me my sister with her 4 children is out of the pot head loop so i am going to try online -phonix tears .Good luck


Hi Emma,

Yes, I’ve heard that too. I think there are people who think it some kind of excuse to start misbehaving and become potheads or something when you suffer from cancer or MS. What they don’t realise is the two huge tubs of free, mind bending drugs that are already sitting next to my bed. Cannabis would be like an aspirin compared to the chemicals I have to take everyday already!

That said, considering my cancer is in my lungs, I think baking is definitely the way to go! Mmmm, cake…


So the post mortem begins…

Things didn’t look too bad against Italy, the youngsters got their runout and performed admirably, but the Italians took their chances and with one great exception, we did not. Mr Rooney sulked out on the left (and got himself moved back to his preferred position for the next game). Gerrard and Henderson were anonymous for most of the ninety minutes. Overall we looked okay, but that was all put in perspective when we saw the hugely underrated Costa Ricans overrun the Italians in the next game and show us how it is actually done.

Then it seems we really did need Sylvester Stallone to come and save us. As predicted (and I didn’t need a crystal ball for this one), Luis Suarez showed why the owners and management of Liverpool football club were willing to sell their souls to keep hold of him through all his gnashing and racist shenanigans. His ability to find opportunities where there are none, and then to take them with aplomb puts him in a special category of player. The Barcelona and Real Madrid sales rumours start here.

When you are playing at the highest level of any sport it starts to become not about how ‘good’ you are when you play well, but how few mistakes you make. Unfortunately, we made a couple and they had the player to punish us for it. When they made errors we struggled to take advantage of them.

Now with England definately on the first plane home, I am rooting for the Costa Ricans who have shown our hugely overpaid, overrated superstars what can be accomplished through dogged determination and work rate, especially off the ball.

What amazes me the most is that the combined population of Uruguay and Costa Rica is less than London and they can find two better teams than us with no money, infrastructure, or leagues that can hold their best players. It makes the Football Association’s St Georges Park look like a great white elephant.

Anyway, that’s the football talk done thank goodness, and now that I’m feeling better after my disastrous chemotherapy, I feel I can get on with writing about something less trivial than prima donnas kicking a leather ball into a net. (I say that, but watch me when the premier league starts again. I’ll be arghing at every near miss, and cooing over the latest Sky swooshing effects.


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