A footballer died, in the arcane phraseology of CoronerSpeak, by his own hand, he took his own life, as officialdom routinely says. In simple language, he hanged himself. Always seems an unequivocal rejection of les joies de vivre, not what you would call a cry for help, stepping off a ladder or a chair with a rope around your neck. It's not a George Michael kind of event, hanging yourself. It's not a staged, Lady Sir Elton John tantrum. What shocked me was hearing one of the skymadeupnewsandfilth gabshite soccer pundits hyperbolising that when he heard of Mr Speed's death he thought the report was some sick and twisted joke. Now, I know the premiership is filled with nancyboys and gangrapists and drug fiends and creatures, like Sir Alec Ferguson, of an entirely different species but surely they don't make jokes like this, especially about one of their own., This prick, of course, didn't actually think that, it was just another variation on sick as a parrot, to'ally and u''erly gutted; scratching about in his cliche box, this was the best he could come up with - I thought it was some sick and twisted joke.
In the feverish coverage of celebrity reaction all expressed disbelief that a man so successful and happy could top himself, especially after having, shortly before, broadcast, himself, some of that dire telly punditry, the clunking, half-growled Hansenisms, the chirpy cheese'n'onion flavoured Linekerisms, how could anyone so blessed top themselves, it is almost as though there was panic in the troughing ranks of ex-footballing bletherers, 'Appen tomorrow, bonnylad, might have mused the repulsive Shearer, 'appen tomorrow, oo knows, mebbe Ah'll be toppin mesen.
No-one in football was able to articulate the simplest of truths - in the midst of life we are in death, who can know a man's mind, no-one was sophisticated enough to acknowledge - and fuck me it's not asking a lot - that we each of us, every day of our lives, wear a mask that few if any, including ourselves, can see behind.
God rest his soul, I am sorry for his family, that was the proper response, not some showbiz, Victor Meldrewesque IDon'tBuh-lieveIt! What's not to believe? He's fucking dead isn't he? Instead, what they showed, clearly, beyond question, one after another, was that they didn't know Mr Speed at all. All they knew was the moronic, self-congratulatory charmed circle of professional football and that its septic bubble had briefly burst. If Mr Speed had really enjoyed an extensive network of really close and supportive friends one would think that he' have confided in them, rather than stepping into thin air, with only the rope to break his fall. Empty-headed, vain, posturing egomaniacs, wankers all. Never mind, lads, it'll all be back to normal next week; talk on, talk on with hope in your hearts and you'll never talk alone.
Britain's ever-popular salty snacks ambassador, Mr Gary Potato.