I decided to save the $24.95 in PPV charges for Saturday’s England/Macedonia Euro 2008 qualifier and watch Scotland’s upset win over France instead. The Guardian’s Martin Kelner received the former match as an oh-so-lucky BBC license payer, but I’m not sure he got the better part of the bargain.
So far I have not managed to tune into Supreme Master television (above), which you may have seen advertised in this newspaper. It is a new satellite station promising “positive programming that will bring a new dimension of spirituality and fulfilment into your life”, which you have to admit is in short supply on the existing 7,000 channels. Unfortunately – and I hate to introduce an element of negativity at this early stage – try as I might, I cannot access SM on my Sky box. Maybe Rupert Murdoch reckons all that Supreme Master stuff is encroaching on his territory.
Hotbird Satellite six at 13 degrees East, polarisation horizontal, frequency 10853 MHz, symbol rate 27500, is apparently where we seekers after truth need to be seeking, and – again without wishing to take an unduly negative stance – the chances of my solving that technological sudoku are roughly equivalent to those of Boris Johnson winning Rear of the Year.
In the meantime, for a Zen-like experience, there was England-Macedonia on BBC on Saturday evening. There is a ritualistic nature to these occasions, which surely bears comparison – you should forgive the flippancy – with the world’s major religions. The liturgy remains unchanged and unchanging. The Rev Gary Lineker (above), whom we would follow to the ends of the earth, yea even as he tells us his potato crisps contain less saturated fat than a one-inch square of pussy willow bark, welcomes us with a warm smile and non-threatening joke. He and his acolytes then reaffirm England as the one true faith, and while affording the greatest possible respect to the infidels of Macedonia or wherever, invite us to settle back and give thanks and praise for the gifts that the golden generation are about to lay before us.
After 45 worrying minutes in which the infidels seem puzzlingly to have at least as many answers as our brave warriors, it is back to Gary, lord and master of the positive spin, as demonstrated on advertising hoardings across the land on which he proclaims a packet of Walker’s pickled onion Monster Munch to be healthier than a plate of steamed scallops on a mixed leaf salad. It is all going to be all right, Gary, Ian, and the two Alans reassure us. See, Michael Carrick is passing the ball to fellow England players. Golden indeed.