The running programme came to a halt early last week when my knees decided they weren't going to be knees anymore. I strapped them up and went out anyway but they weren't very convincing about their role in the project at all. I figured I would give them a rest for a while and presto... I went out tonight and they were just fine.
I can't remember if I put up the playlist for Week Three so here it is because I've decided to go back and do that week from the beginning again. Never under-estimate the power of a great playlist to get your ass back into gear. Pretty sure I should be on something like Week Five now but I'll just keep chipping away here until I make it.
SKY NEWS called me earlier this morning. Asked me if I would be game for contributing to some live coverage on Raheem Sterling's tattoo of an M16 on his leg. Of course, the answer was yes... but I'll admit right here that until that a couple of minutes after that call, I didn't know who he was, had never heard of him and if it hadn't been for that call, that's how it would have stayed.
Having said that, the more I dug, the weirder it got. There's coverage everywhere about it online today, so I won't repeat it here, but the tattoo doesn't mean what the two newspapers (The Sun and The Daily Mail) insinuated it did (they didn't actually insinuate anything but by just pointing it out, did) and then Mothers Against Guns came out (or rather their spokesperson did) and said he should get it ..."lasered off or be dropped from the England World Cup squad".
In his own defence, Raheem's father was gunned down and from what I can gather, the guy is really just saying he shoots from the right foot - which is quite funny for a tattoo. I'm not sure I would have chosen it if my father had gone that way but Raheem was just two when that happened. I can relate to that in a kind of "don't miss what you never had" way. Sad - absolutely, but it's not a raw memory.
Anyway, I went ahead and figured I would back up his case on there. I was armed to the teeth with research by this point. Up against such a statement from Mothers Against Guns, I thought I might find myself in a strange war of words... but that's not what happened.
What really happened (I think) is that we met at the fence and more or less agreed with each other - the press have made a mountain out of a water fountain chat (and there's no way that tattoo is as new as they have made out) and left social media to do what it does best/worst... which is giving people with keyboards on their phones a reason to stab at them with sticky fingers.
News coverage and discussion sure does move fast these days and from my experiences over the years, if you can't say what you want to say in less time than it takes to brush your teeth, you're playing a losing game. There was a point where I was asked whether small children would see the tattoo, not read the backstory and think the message of it was something it wasn't - which is a great question. That could indeed happen. I remember seeing Paul Stanley wearing a Star of David pendant in a photo-shoot from the late seventies and adding it to my Christmas present list without a clue what it meant, but it's not quite the same thing at all.
My head began to formulate an alternate reality scenario in which I wanted to throw the ball back into the TV by saying "if you can honestly sit there and tell me small children went out and found Jesus after seeing David Beckham's tattoo, I'll agree 100% with you", but there wasn't time. I am built for long-form things rather than drive-by chat.
Mostly though, I was concentrating hard on not sneezing on air because The Old Hay Fever arrived with a vengeance yesterday. Here's me thinking about sneezing... and playing with my beard too much - which is better than playing the beat to Dr Feelgood on my teeth with that pencil I'm holding which is what I was doing while I waited...