Day 16

5.02: I gave this a small trail in the Twitter feed (over there →) yesterday, but this morning, the heroics of Manny Pacquiao are still very much on my mind. Normally, I don’t much care for boxing (although having a dash of Romany stock, I do find a bout or two of fleet-footed cheekery from Billy Joe “Caravan Kid” Saunders exhilarating once in a blue moon). But by and large, I can live without leering from the sofa at two over-bred fatsos jolting sluggishly into each other until one falls over and the other puts his trousers back on.

For Manny Pacquiao I make an exception. For one thing – bristling steamhammer Renaissance man that he is – Pacquiao’s not only a boxer: he’s that rarest of jewels, a singing boxer. And he went straight out after becoming the first boxer in history to win seven titles in seven weight divisions, and gave a pop concert.

And even better than being a sort of street fighting Ricky Martin, is the unbreakable thrall in which Pacquiao has apparently taken the whole of the Philippines. Check out the clamour. “’Manny is the greatest. I felt as if I won a million pesos!’ cried a jubilant 50-year-old Dominador Hernandez as he pumped his hands into the air.” The Philippines government had to hand out state-subsidised porridge to the fans all whooping it up in the streets.

But better still – way, way better than that – Pacquiao can stop wars. That’s right. When he fights, the militias spit the knives from their teeth, and the government forces lower their rifles. 30 years of separatist violence go on hold while Manny beats the shit out of some impudent Puerto Rican scamp, then trots off to croon a few ditties. No one try spinning me that line about how sport doesn’t mean anything ever again.

6.53: London’s been incessantly drizzling outside my window; I know because I can hear it. Sounds, when there are sounds, are a bit disorienting. At about 5.30, somebody coughed at very close quarters – so close I thought they were standing behind me, but they weren’t. Obviously, whoever this tuberculose insomniac was, they were either outside or next door or upstairs, but they managed to give a cough so resonant it rattled the crocks in my kitchen cupboards, and momentarily drowned out the World Service.

(PS – I did do a spot of writing this morning too, in case anyone was worried.)

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~ by David Thorley on November 16, 2009.

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