Sunday, August 24, 2008

Is time on your side?

I’ve just realised something. I’ve just watched the Scottish Premier League Press Box followed by the Inside the SPL and the Friday Football Show and even started watching the Blue Square review. That’s almost three straight hours of football speculation, discussion, pundit slaver and talking pish. Particularly from that feckin’ eedjit Gerry McNee.

Then I set the wee box under the telly (Foxtel IQ here in Oz, Sky Plus in the UK or I think TEVO in the US – I’m not sure) to record the two Scottish games. Then I looked at the fixtures to decide which English games I’ll most likely watch. The power of the technology in that wee box lets me record two channels at the same time. One English game, one Scottish game. And there’s the unbelievable option on Foxtel Sports that allows me to choose one of five possible games kicking off at 3pm (UK time - Midnight in Oz). The rest of the games are shown all day Sunday before and after the A-League games.

I’d already lined up a seat on the couch for the Men’s Olympic Gold play-off between Argentina and Nigeria, so by the time I’ve looked at the World Game, BBC sports and Pitch Invasion on t’internet, selected my team in the fantasy football league competition, read through all the speculation about potential transfers and made myself a cup of coffee I’m looking at the best part of 12 hours of watching or reading about current football. That’s just today.

Thinking about what I should’ve been doing instead of looking at football stuff, the impacts of consumability and immediacy on the tiny world of football fiction rolled right over me but I was struck by something even more pervasive.

There simply isn’t time to read a book about makey-uppy football.

In my search for reasons why there isn’t more, I’d failed to consider how much free time even the most discerning of football fans (I’m not necessarily including myself there) actually have to consider anything beyond their own teams.

Then there’s the bigger picture, the time between seasons beginning and ending. The time left between the dust settling on the pea in FA Cup Final whistle and the first kick of the ball of whatever summer tournament the marketeers have got us hyped for. In ’06 it was the World Cup; in ’07 it was the Women’s World Cup and the Asian Pacific Cup; in ’08 Euros and the Olympics - though what the likes of Messi and Ronaldhino are doing at the Olympics is beyond me. The 2010 World Cup looms large on the South African horizon. Which leaves about 4 weeks in 2009 to read something that’s not topically football.

I have just realised something else. Something you probably realised before me. Am I actually talking myself out of a career as a football fiction writer? Maybe. I’m not worried though, in order for me to carve out a wee niche it’s important to realise where the boundaries are. That’s what this whole blog is about. I’ll just have to do it by stealth. Shorter pieces and different markets, but that’s a story for another day. I haven’t the time to tell you now.


Paula Weston said...

Hoorah! (as Percy would say in Blackadder), a topic I can weigh into.

Yes, football fiction is your passion, and I know first hand that you are good at it.

That said, I also believe you could be outstanding in a wide range of genres, and I for one would be saddened if you limited yourself to just one topic in your storytelling (but please promise me you'll never have a crack at chick lit or softcore porn - or hardcore for that matter..)

the ink-stained toe-poker said...

Kind words indeed. Thanks Paula. I cannot rule out any of those genres that you have listed there, in fact you made me curious.

For the moment and for the duration of my PhD I'd say that football fiction would be a focus though, IO don't know if the blog always will be but it's working at the moment. t really is helping my studies. I know geeky as all feckin' get oot, innit?