Summer’s here! The time is right for dancing in the street. I’ve never actually seen anyone dance in the street except in films, although I did once see a drunkard trying to waltz with a lamppost in Bolton Town Centre. However there can be no denying the summer is here and with the extended holidays schoolchildren are entitled to enjoy there needs to be something to occupy time. Step forward SPORT. And in the event of rain – and let’s face it this is always more probability than possibility in the UK – step forward indoor pursuits, also known as LEISURE. And here to celebrate these two time-fillers is the Indie Sport and Leisure Top 10. For regular readers this Top 10 provides another cause for celebration…
There’s always plenty of football going on in the summer holidays; this year we’ve had the World Cup, other years it will be the European Championships or other national team tours and it is bizarre to think that there are pre-season friendlies being played before the school summer term has even ended. It makes perfect sense then for the council to take down all the goalposts in the local parks just as the kids find themselves with more time on their hands than they know what to do with. But children are resourceful, just like Sultans of Ping FC:
Perhaps football isn’t your thing though, and what you really need is the opportunity to get rid of your energy in more athletic fashion. This is best done by getting up off the settee walking to the kitchen and lifting the kettle to the tap in preparation for a nice cup of tea whilst you watch the Olympics, the Commonwealth games or the World Championships. For here is sport that anyone can get involved in: the sprints for those of us who get up too late in the morning and live in danger of missing the bus to work, the long distance runs for those of country folk who live miles away from the nearest shop, the long jump for those of us who live on flood plains and the hammer for those of us who eat and drink too much. Here’s Belle and Sebastian’s take:
Maybe such sporting activities are too strenuous for you, though. In which case cricket might be a good bet. Here is a sport in which you can spend one half of your afternoon sitting outside a pavilion eating sandwiches and watching the swallows skirt the surface of a large field, then the other half strolling casually around this field, pausing in one place for a while in the hope that someone hits a leather sphere at great velocity in your direction and only moving on when a man in a white coat shouts out the name of a b-side by The La’s.
Being such a long game, cricket is invariably halted by rain. If you are going to get wet there are easier ways of doing it than standing in a field dressed in white for several hours waiting for a downpour. And if you do choose to stand in a field dressed in white for several hours you might find yourself getting too hot, in which case the perfect solution is to go swimming. This is the perfect solution for only a certain proportion of the population though; others find themselves like a fish out of water when they find themselves in the water, as Catatonia described:
So the non-swimming cricketer is still faced with the dilemma of what to do should there be a drop of rain or even just a cloud (known in the business as ‘bad light’). In this case there’s no option other than to head indoors. This can lead to tedium breaking out unless you have an alternative time filler. A quick and easy solution which takes up hardly any space at all in the great big kit bag cricketers carry is a simple game of matching numbered dots on blocks of wood. The Beautiful South wrote a song about one such contestant in this game:
In fact cricket is not the longest game you could end up playing, especially if the weather turns out to be less than clement for an extended period. Some people like nothing better than to sit down to a nice game of strategy, of logic, of initiative: chess. This is a game that can be played anywhere technically, although once you’ve set things up you can’t really move the game about between locations. Not until the advent of the internet that is, which enabled players to change location even internationally whilst the game board remained static. Take heed from Half Man Half Biscuit however and be careful who you choose to play against:
If things do take a turn for the worse then it may be advisable to get yourself prepared. This doesn’t necessarily involve arming yourself with offensive weapons of course, for that would surely be an exaggerated response. No, we’re just talking about a little self-defence. Regular readers can start to get excited now, for here is a leisure activity advocated by a band I have been failing to include for many a Top 10. Yes, here they finally are: the best band to come out of Northern Ireland (apart from The Divine Comedy), it’s Ash!
Maybe resorting to martial arts may be a bit excessive, I suppose. If the weather is getting overly humid too this level of exercise will only end up rendering the participant hot and sweaty. How about a nice game of murder instead. Not real murder: that would be downright illegal (unless you are in France however where apparently if it is a crime of passion you’re ok). No, we’re talking of Cluedo, as wonderfully described by David Devant and his Spirit Wife:
Perhaps a simpler, less drastic option as you sit and watch the rain dribble down the living room window whilst dreaming about all the outdoor sports you could be doing (but let’s face it probably wouldn’t be because it would be too hot if the sun was shining) would be a nice easy game, one that requires no thought, no effort, just the opportunity to rant and rage against fate loading probability against you in the form of a dice inside a pop-up sphere whilst you try and move four coloured counters around a circle Let’s play Frustration with James.
Anyway, that’s five of the six weeks of summer holidays sorted. There’s still one more week to fill though. Any ideas?