Saturday, 6 January 2007

Death is Beautiful

Death is beautiful but Wright-Phillips means life
By Russell Brand

I get a kind of giddy adolescent thrill during periods of intense transfer activity, like a pre-prom frisson in an American teen romcom. "Ooh, did Chad invite you to the prom?" "Are you wearing that peach frock?" "Did you hear Luis Boa Morte has signed for West Ham?" 'Tis a time of transition and hope renewed.

Though in the case of Boa Morte, the signs are mixed; his name literally translates into "Luis Beautiful Death" - which is a bit heavy. Good portent for the oncoming relegation struggle, d'ya think? Beautiful Death? Like a swan in a glittery waistcoat speared on a shard of black ice. A sentimental man could be forgiven for collapsing into a nostalgic reverie, lamenting "Clever" Trevor Brooking's all too brief tenure when the Irons were relegated with more points than any Premiership club in history.

t is a time of Jacobean twists at Upton Park, under the stewardship of the Icelandic Egg-man (Goo goo g'joob). Curbs from a post-Charlton wilderness, Pards to Charlton, ousted but with dignity intact and a misty veil of noble grief settling round East London's wounded streets. Ah, how the euphoria of the debut victory against United were swiftly replaced with plunging woe after the 6-0 slaughter at the hands of Championship foes Reading. Oh undue haste, oh bitter taste at glorious waste of mercurial fortune.

Yossi Benayoun reportedly claimed that West Ham played like "a bunch of drunks". I think any self-respecting drunk would rather choke on his vomit than endure such humiliation. Also, drunks can be quite single-minded in the pursuit of a goal. Perhaps the team ought to consider downing a tactical bottle of Thunderbird before away fixtures in future - at least, were they to score, the post-goal celebrations would be fun as the sublimated homoeroticism bloomed into full penetration, which would be good for bonding and help amend the antiquated attitude that exists towards homosexuality in football.

Having said that, Matt Lucas said he was greeted with earnest salutations at the Emirates Stadium, home of the McGunners, after his civil partnership with his partner Kevin. "Well done on the wedding, mate" is a step in the right direction when you consider the trials of Justin Fashanu.

So the transfer patio door remains wide open and who would not dare to dream what else might come dancing through? Perhaps by the time you read this Javier Mascherano will be at Anfield and Shaun Wright-Phillips at West Ham at a considerable loss to Chelsea, which would make it doubly sweet. So here's a bit of inappropriate gossip for ya.

I've just come back from my holiday in Mauritius - jolly nice it was too - where also guesting at the humble shack where I resided was everybody's favourite oligarch, Roman Abramovich, which neatly quashed any doubts I had about the quality of the hotel. "Ah," I thought (which is a silly thing to think, really), "there's one of earth's wealthiest men. This place must be alright." One can scarcely imagine Roman tolerating Pontins and gamely participating in the coercive glee of that idiot crocodile that blighted my childhood summers.

I was drawn to Roman; he does rather exude power and on New Year's Eve, when the hotel held a buffet (a posh one with ice sculptures, not paper plates with pictures of balloons on them), I kept staring at him like an anxious spinster. When our eyes met, on three occasions, I tried to frame my features into an expression which, if verbalised, would say: "Oh, hello mate, I'm off the telly, you needn't feel threatened or irritated - let's have a chin wag. After all, it's Christmas." He responded with an expression that I interpreted as: "You are an insignificant scuttle-bug and I could crush you with an eyelash."

I told someone of this and they said, "He's shy." Perhaps that's true. Perhaps his shyness comes across as terrifying, awesome power. But I seem to recall The Smiths saying "shyness is nice" not "shyness is a cold stare that rips through your tender soul and leaves you gasping on a veranda wearing a paper hat that now cruelly mocks you, its joyless wearer, for your face is etched in fear and you are the king of naught but shame". That's not "nice". I'm not judging him, though, let me get that in print. I'm sure he's lovely. I get nervous enough visiting the Bridge. Perhaps next time I go the Hammers will be in possession of Wright-Phillips and we'll avoid beautiful death and enjoy a humdrum victory.

Guardian column

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