August 26, 2004

Philosophy football

Late in 1986 I briefly attended the University of East Anglia to do a teacher training course that lasted for six weeks. I was living in a house with several other leftists including a gay rights activist and Socialist Workers' Party member from Wigan called Siobhan. She was extremely serious-minded (as opposed to humourless) and certainly had not the slightest interest in football. So I was most surprised one evening when she asked me:

"Have you ever heard of Mark Hughes?"

I wasn't sure if she was joking. He was at the peak of his fame, having only just moved to Spain, against whom he had scored his famous goal, the year before, with his bicycle kick. It was like asking if I'd heard of Wayne Rooney. But this was 1986 and postgraduate students hadn't always heard of footballers back then. Maybe she'd heard him mentioned and wanted me to fill her in on the basic facts? But why on earth would she be interested?

"Mark Hughes? Yeah, course I have. Manchester United, Barcelona. Scored a great goal for Wales against Spain last year. Why do you ask?"

Something was wrong because she was giving me a look like I was taking the unwelcome piss and she certainly had no idea what I was on about. "No", she said. "The philosopher. Marcuse!"


At October 12, 2004 3:17 pm, Blogger Jonathan M. G. Bryant said...

a "...Socialist Workers' Party member from Wigan called Siobhan. She was extremely serious-minded...."

weren't they all?


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