Friday, April 17, 2015

Happy Birthday Mr. Hornby

Hornby at Highbury

Today is Nick Hornby's birthday. I have been aware for many a year that he and I were both born in 1957. I might have mentioned that too many times in my life.  Not my most pathetic attempt at reflected glory, but in the vicinity. (btw) The other 1957 birth that I am too fond of mentioning is Lyle Lovett, which somehow fits unless it doesn't.

I have read an awful lot of Nick Hornby and I do enjoy both his fiction and his non-fiction. A writer of humour and insight with obsessions directed at books, music and football seems to be a gift from heaven to my twisted mind. He is one of those writers that I am unsure that I would enjoy the company of. Perhaps he fits better into my scheme of the world as a magnetic force than an actual human. So it takes a bit of energy to wish him a happy birthday. It means that I am treating him like a person.

It all goes back to "Fever Pitch", his non-fiction tale of growing up and growing into and then being totally gripped by his devotion to Arsenal Football Club. I had combined writing and football from before I read Hornby, but nothing will ever weld those things together more than "Fever Pitch". I lived in England for a time in 1979 and 1980 and I entertain the notion that I might have attended a match at Highbury. That seems important to me. As if breathing the same air and watching Liam Brady at the same time means a connection. Did I mention pathetic attempts at reflected glory?

No Hornby, no Mistake by the Lake I would argue. Following a team from afar was a primitive matter in my youth and TFC gave me an opportunity (long after my youth) to be with a team from day 1 and contribute to a legacy that I only glimpsed with Arsenal back then.  (Funny too, that over the years since I have been more aware of my father's history and legacy and consider Everton the team deserving of my support from afar).
I only hope that from time to time my blogging has even a microscopic touch of Hornby in that I attempt to catch the self-imposed mental suffering and those small glimpses of glory that come with following a football team. TFC wallows in the former, might completely avoid the latter.

 Not sure that I have captured what I intended to convey here, so I will let you get back to your cake and candles.

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