November. Wow. We move into an important month for me, and we creep closer to the end of 2021. The weather has certainly turned for the worse.
Let’s kick off this Muse with a creepy, unsettling dream…
Technically this could have made the previous Muse, except I had this dream on Tuesday night and there wasn’t time to to update things. The gist is that in the dream I woke up because I had the unnerving feeling that someone was in the house who didn’t belong there. I thought I could hear movement, but it was more of an instinct. This is almost certainly inspired by Criminal Minds, making it the latest in a string of dreams related to that show. I could feel my heart race in fear at the prospect of some unwanted guest loitering around downstairs, and I felt paralysed by the emotion. It was not an enjoyable dream, and neither was the next dream…
In the following night’s nocturnal adventure I felt awful about something. I was consumed by a pressing guilt and a sense of deep self-loathing, but I don’t know what it is I’d done to render me in such a state. All I remember is confining myself in my old bedroom at my Mum and Dad’s house and wallowing in misery.
What a cheerful place my subconscious is!
‘We’re just looking’
What’s the default response to someone saying ‘good morning’ or ‘hello’? Is it ‘morning’ or ‘hi’, or is it ‘we’re just looking?’
When you enter a showroom/sales environment, filled with salespeople, it’s not unreasonable to expect someone to greet you. I can appreciate (as a customer myself in various environments) that no one wants to be jumped on with a sales spiel, but a greeting is not a sales spiel. In fact, ignoring the customers would be seen as rude (and some customers would take it as rude).
We’re trained to acknowledge people. In my case I’ve picked up quite a few un-assumptive sales skills. A friendly greeting is not pushy. You should expect some form of greeting if you enter into a sales environment.
More Subconscious Strangeness
Why would Rossi from Criminal Minds investigate a UK train crash? At what stage did my Mum learn to play piano? Why are my dreams such eccentric loops of lunacy?!
My daughter’s had a bit of a cold lately, and despite my best efforts I caught it too. Between masks, sanitizer and social distancing I’ve managed to avoid getting ill over the last year and a half, save for minor colds, though whenever I’ve caught a cold I’ve ended up feeling somewhat floored. I’ve done my best to dose up on medication and carry on, because frankly what else can I do? There’s no chance of taking time off sick due to a cold (that would be outrageous), and I’m not that ill anyway. It’s more of an annoyance than anything else. Who enjoys the lethargy and snotty nose and the headache? Not I, that’s for sure. In the end I should be grateful it’s not something more serious, especially given the rapid growth in Covid-19 cases in the UK.
Did you know that from the 4th of October onwards the UK has recorded upwards of 30,000 new cases of the virus every day? Since the 13th we’ve been recording over 40,000 daily cases. The government assures us that deaths remain ‘mercifully low’. That will be cold comfort to the families who have lost someone as we start to record nearly a thousand deaths a week. We are as a nation recording 12.26% of the global daily cases, as of the 23rd of October.
I hate having a cold. If I catch Covid-19 I’ll have all the more reason to despise this useless, incompetent government. Speaking of useless…
Because of Brexit we’re short of the chemicals needed to properly treat sewage. As a consequence, Tory MPs voted en-masse to permit water companies to dump raw sewage in our rivers and seas. Not only has Brexit yet again proven to be a negative, not only has the Tory government shown its contempt for the environment, but where is the media in all this? The Daily Mail is leading the indignation here! The BBC doesn’t list the story on its landing page. Nor does Sky News. Nor does ITV News. It’s like the story is a non-entity – could that be because Brexit is the root cause, and the mainstream media doesn’t wish to acknowledge this? Our government and our press are a joke.
I’m a Liverpool football club fan. On the 24th of October Liverpool travelled to Old Trafford, home of our greatest rivals, Manchester United. In the 1970s and 80s United fans had to watch as Liverpool dominated both the domestic and European landscapes. In the 90s and the first decade of the 21st Century the tables turned (though United were never as great in Europe as Liverpool were). Since United’s talisman and inspiration Sir Alex Ferguson retired as manager in 2013, United have looked bereft of leadership, whilst their local rivals Manchester City have risen as a major force.
For Liverpool, it has been a case of patiently waiting to return to our perch. In the 19/20 season we finally won the league title again, after a thirty year wait. The season before we’d been crowned champions of Europe for a seventh time. Manchester United had been through several managers since Sir Alex left, including David Moyes, Louis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, before appointing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in December 2018. Solskjaer had been a popular player, indeed a legend for scoring an injury-time winner in the 1999 Champions League Final, but his managerial career up until that point had hardly been stellar. Still, he carried United forward on a wave of optimism and in the last couple of seasons they finished 3rd and 2nd in the Premier League table, albeit far behind the champions on both occasions. Solskjaer has reached cup finals in his time at United but they’ve lost every one they’ve reached, leaving United without silverware in the near-four years he’s been at the club.
United have spent a fair bit of money, including some big deals under Solskjaer himself. Jadon Sancho was signed from German side Dortmund and club hero and legend Ronaldo returned at the start of the current season. There was a feeling that United (who also signed defender Varane from Real Madrid) could challenge for the title. Some early results went United’s way, and Ronaldo has already scored a couple of crucial late winners, but the cracks are merely being papered over. the game against Liverpool highlighted that in brutal terms.
Liverpool came into the game off the back of a 5-0 away win over Watford and a 3-2 away win against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League. In fact, Liverpool had scored three or more goals in every away fixture up till the Old Trafford game. Mo Salah had been on great form, both scoring and creating goals for fun. After a difficult spell last season where Liverpool’s bid to retain the title foundered against a number of injuries, the squad seemed rejuvenated. Manager Jurgen Klopp has proven his tactical acumen over and over again, and the Reds were in good form, but this was Manchester United, on their patch, and form tends to mean nothing on such occasions. I was nervous, because United have had an annoying habit of defying form to take points off us.
I needn’t have worried. What unfolded was not a football match. It was a merciless uncovering of every weakness Manchester United possessed, whilst Liverpool never truly peaked.
There were early warning signs that United could still carry a threat. A couple of quick, incisive passes saw Fernandes (derisively called ‘Pernandes, after a tendency to score mostly penalties) free on goal, but he blasted wide from the edge of the penalty area. A few minutes later Liverpool showed United how it’s done. A quick ball to Salah cut apart United’s defence and Salah slotted the ball to Naby Keita, putting him one-on-one with David De Gea. Not even United’s experienced ‘keeper could stop Keita from rolling the ball calmly and gently under him for Liverpool’s first goal, after only five minutes.
With 13 minutes on the clock things got even better – well, if you’re a Liverpool fan! United’s defence got tangled up when a ball came in over the top and the ball found its way to Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right-hand side of the penalty area. The right-back coolly sent the ball across the face of United’s goal and it found the incoming Diego Jota, who slammed home Liverpool’s second from close range. Liverpool had a vital cushion, though two-nil is often a dangerous score in football. Liverpool had let slip a two-goal lead in Madrid in midweek, whilst United had come back from two goals down. Resting on laurels is a good way to invite disaster in football.
Only on this occasion Liverpool did no such thing. A nice bit of interplay from the Reds brought Salah into shooting range and though his first effort was blocked, the ball spilled kindly for Keita on the right, and Salah muscled in front of United’s defenders to rifle home Keita’s pass. After 38 minutes Liverpool appeared to have total control of the match, and things nearly got a lot worse when Ronaldo (who cut a discontented figure) kicked out at Curtis Jones whilst Jones was on the floor. Somehow Ronaldo escaped a red card, but it was rapidly becoming clear that United were losing the plot. A cheap freekick led to Salah collecting the ball (once again on the right, in the penalty area) and virtually passing it beyond De Gea for his second and Liverpool’s fourth, right on the stroke of half-time.
For me, it was dreamland. I’d hoped Liverpool could beat United – we have a better team and a better manager – but whatever I might have imagined, a 2-1 or 2-0 win was what I expected. To be four goals up at half-time… as I said, dreamland. It got even better after the break.
Solskjaer brought off the ineffectual Mason Greenwood for Paul Pogba at half-time, in the hope of at least salvaging some respect. Instead Liverpool Captain Jordan Henderson pinched the ball from Pogba in the centre of the pitch and produced an exquisite forward pass for Salah to run onto. Salah calmly ran at the defenceless De Gea and dinked the ball to the ‘keeper’s right for his hat-trick (the first hat-trick by a non-United player at Old Trafford in the Premier League era) and Liverpool’s fifth, with 50 minutes on the clock.
Could things get any worse for United? Yes they could. Firstly Ronaldo had a goal chalked off for being offside (he was actually unlucky here, though such was his obvious misery that he didn’t challenge the decision), then on 60 minutes Pogba was sent off for a poor challenge on Keita, that left the Liverpool midfielder on a stretcher. Pogba had only been on the pitch for a quarter of an hour, and looked uninterested as he walked back down the tunnel. From then on Liverpool saw out the game without seeking to score any more goals. It was a case of preserving energy for the next game, and rightly so. From my perspective it would have been glorious to score a few more, but in a way the patient possession would have been more insulting – ‘we are taking pity on you’ was the message. As if any United fan wanted pity at that point.
So, Liverpool moved seven points clear of their great rivals, after only nine games. All I can say is wow.
I can’t help but wonder if irony is dead. Look at this headline from The Daily Telegraph for a moment…
I love how the bumbling idiot we call a prime minister is accusing the EU of not negotiating Brexit in good faith. We’re the ones as a country who’ve reneged on the deal. We have zero grounds to complain (Johnson especially) about ‘good faith’. It should not come as a shock that we’re not respected in Europe. France is playing hardball and the EU will probably do likewise, and why shouldn’t they?! After all, is we’re in it for ourselves, it’s entirely justifiable that other countries – especially united blocs of countries – should be in for themselves too. We reap what we sow.
This is what happens when we elect narcissistic idiots and out-of-touch elitist toffs to run a country. They fail, and they fail miserably.
Let’s try and end this Muse on a high note. The 31st of October was, as it always is, Halloween. My daughter absolutely loves Halloween, and last year we didn’t go trick-or-treating because of Covid. This year we got back into the groove – and I went as an inflatable dinosaur. Now, you could argue a dinosaur is not particularly spooky, but then again, some of the outfits we see at Halloween include superhero costumes and fairy wings, so it’s fair to say anything goes.
A word to anyone that decides to don the dino suit – they get quite warm, and they fog up quite quickly. You need to remember the tail, lest you catch it on something, and it’s easy to forget to duck. Also, inflate the thing up when you’re outside, otherwise you’ll never get through the door! Once we ventured out to trick or treat, it became clear few people, if any, expected the sight of a waddling T-Rex making its way cautiously up and down the street. I swear a few cars slowed down for a closer look, and there were many amused and delighted faces! It was also fun to ‘attack’ passers-by, and a few people asked for photos! I’m glad I could make bring smiles to a few faces.
That’s all for now. Stay tuned for the next Muse!