Tuesday, 22 February, 2011
It must be a blessing to know, however long and difficult the working week has been, however antisocial it has made you feel, that come the weekend, a restorative quiet night in with one of the staples of Canadian heritage is always an option. It’s there for you every Saturday throughout the winter, and on those cold, cold evenings it gives you a little warm feeling somewhere deep inside. I’m talking, of course, about Hockey Night in Canada.
HNIC has been there for you since 1952. I know in the old days you missed most of the first period, but that wrinkle has been ironed out, and there’s nothing to stop you from washing away the week’s woes with a good long dose of your national sport.
But for once, Canada, I don’t envy you. Not at the moment at least. It may not have found its way to primetime, and it may not be live, but we do have Match of the Day. A few weeks back, MOTD was spectacular. Newcastle came back from 0-4 to draw 4-4 with Arsenal; Everton beat Blackpool 5-3; other games finished 4-3, 3-2 and 2-2; Stoke and Tottenham got injury-time winners, the latter benefiting from a belter by Kranjcar; Tevez notched a hat-trick. Oh and Wolves stuffed Man U, handing them their first defeat of the season – that on its own would have made my weekend.
The next weekend wasn’t quite so spectacular, but it did feature that goal by Rooney. I have to admit, albeit grudgingly, that it was pretty special.
But the problem is this: Saturday night TV is turning into Russian roulette. We’ve got lucky for a few weeks. We’ve been granted harmless, entertaining sport. The last day of the Six Nations, Super Saturday, is on the horizon. But sooner or later, we’re going to have to take a bullet.
So-called reality TV – yes, Orwellian doublespeak is here again, if it ever went away – has mercifully been put on hold. But it will be back. Any day now it will rear its ugly, desperate head, like a greasy, insidious serial killer of the brain cells. I don’t know what it will be next: Strictly? The Apprentice? Those I could just about bear. Big Brother I think has been put down, and not before time. But it’ll probably be one of those God-awful Cowell tumours, which hit you like a fart in an elevator, leaving you feeling sick, grumpy, violent or all three.
There’s no escape. I know from facebook updates (and I’ll be back for you later Zuckerberg, you cock) whose singing most compares to nails on a blackboard, and whose boo-hoo back story gets the most sympathy. I don’t feel like I know these people, although I think that puts me in a minority. What I also know is that soon, too soon, one of these excrescences will be infesting our screens, and not having a TV will not save me from its filthy tentacles.
I might have to go out and join the binge drinkers. I might even be grateful for the royal wedding. Oh Canada, you have so much to be thankful for.