The Lineman for the County

RLF work in the morning, then ‘being an author’ at a Careers Event at UEA. Takes place in the Lower Common Room (LCR), where they have gigs at night. Very gloomy, with a low ceiling, lots of temporary tables where people advertise their wares, reps from the local paper, journalism courses, etc. My friend John turns up, says someone has just asked him if he is Trezza’s bloke. At first I have no clients, and then there is one, and there there are several. Two fresh faced boys approach looking like refugees from Love Story, fresh faced, scholarly, preppy. They are very sharp, sharp enough to wonder if they are really too young to be wanting to write novels and poems. I could be their dad. Easily. Then two Gothic types, also boys. A paper plate of conference food is given to me while they sit beside me, for me to look after, for someone else. Two drying triangles of sandwich, two mini-Scotch eggs, two skewers of dry brown material, which must be chicken satay sticks or something, half a tomato. ‘That looks repulsive, doesnt it?’ I say to the Gothic boys. They disagree, noting that effort has been taken with ‘the arrangement.’

It is time to leave. I have a meeting to attend. A race meeting. I catch up with my mate Ben for the first, in a bookies where we lose on the first. Then I lose on the second, narrowly avoiding a big catastophe by not backing the horse Trezza has phoned up to advise, which comes second, and very nearly wins. To be fair, her advice did arrive after the start. Then I meet up with Philip in the Quebec. He has taken Along Came Dylan up there with him, the only paperback on view alongside a spread of Racing Posts and tabloids. Philip is showing it to the barstaff: Look – this pub is mentioned in this book. They are feigning to be impressed but are not really. In Coral across the road I stick a lump on 5/1 favourite Witchita Lineman, persuaded to do so, even though I have lost on him before, because AP McCoy on his back, as he was on the other occasions. Witchita Lineman puts in a stinker, clouting 3 fences hard on his way round the three miles, but is still in some sort of contention over the last, though seven or eight lengths behind the leader and the second and has no real chance of winning. But he reels them in and in and ever closer up the hill, and does them on the line, taking it by a short head. It’s not often enough that I can be found leaping and punching the air while watching a telly in a boozer on a Tuesday afternoon. As I leave the Quebec to cross the road to collect, I hear John McCririck crank up the hyperbole: Only one man on the planet could have won it from there! Good old AP, Champion Jock & punter’s friend. Bookies beware: the Foster pockets are loaded with vouchers for the rest of the Festival.

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12 Responses to The Lineman for the County

  1. AndyP says:

    May I say ‘being an author’ you do very well. You’ve done it again Mr F. I had intended to keep “From Working-Class Hero to Absolute Disgrace” held back for my next trip to the US, something to help pass the hours on the plane. After all I have got a large backlog of reading with this year’s and some of last year’s Christmas present pile of books awaiting my attention. However I submitted to temptation, and after finishing Barack Obama’s “Dreams from my father”, FWCHTAD (looks a bit Welsh!) was promoted to next on the list.

    I’m about 5 pages short of the finishing line. I devoured much of it over the weekend, and made time in bed for a read during the nights of this week. I often went beyond the time I’d set for turning out the lights because it was too entertaining to put down! Plenty of laugh out loud moments as well. Much nodding in agreement, and wry smiles at similar observations of my own. But a prominent feeling is one of mild envy, wishing I had the talent to express myself in the way that you do. I’m sure that many of the lines you write are agonised over, that there’s a great deal of ‘aard work that goes into crafting your text, but the result appears so fluid, stylish and effortless. Lucky swine! 😉 Anyway that’s too much fawning and praise, you’ll be getting a big ‘ead like Cloughie. But it’s genuine praise. I suffer fools badly (just look at Pulis) so if I thought it was shite I’d tell thee!

    I even mentioned the book on a Twitter tweet. Surely proof that my own working-class roots have been overtaken by the world of the MCG!

  2. markelt says:

    Your working class roots aren’t showing anyway Andy 🙂

  3. AndyP says:

    I’ve not quite reached your esteemed MCG levels yet Elt, you (and your MCG credentials in particular) get mentioned in dispatches in the book. I can only dream of such MCG acknowledgement and acceptance! 😉

  4. makemeadiva says:

    Well done for keeping the faith with that big ol’ white-faced hoss. My own only went to the extent of inclusion in a (failed) placepot 😦

    Don’t give it all back though. Enjoy the rest of the Festival!

  5. Stephen Foster says:

    Thanks for that Andy, it means a lot. The deal on writing is the usual Pulis one: 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration. That’s why I love him so much, the commonality ;–)

    Twitter? I’ve heard it all now.

    I enjoy it even if I’m struggling Diva, I’m a bit simple like that. Will Punchestowns get up? That’s the Q I’m pondering. I’m also wondering about Denman. Am off down there tomorrow anyway – Good luck yourself!

  6. chiffs says:

    “10% inspiration, 90% perspiration” and a proof-reading who can work out what the hell is going on. (Curtsey) ; )

  7. chiffs says:

    Shall I just proof read that again?
    see how good I am (not)

  8. AndyP says:

    I’m university educated, I wear a suit to work where I am a manager, I’m a vegetarian who likes his vegetables marinated and roasted not boiled to buggery, I listen to Cesaria Evora and opera amidst the Ska, Northern Soul and Indie on my iPod, I enjoy the experience and enlightenment of travel to far off places, I’m a member of the Green Party, and I have New Zealand and Icelandic novelists in my “library” along with political theorists. I even know a real life author! Jeez, I’m so Middle Class Gayer. It’s a far cry from playing on Nana’s rug in front of a coal fire, nogger on The Marsh, keeping quiet when Dad was on night shifts, and beans on toast for tea. Where did it all go wrong?! 😉

    * Though at least I don’t own a Volvo and I take the bus to work with the rest of the proles 😉

  9. AndyP says:

    All hail Chiffs the unsung hero, er heroine. Not only do you have to read the past guff, you have to put up with him on a daily basis. 😉

  10. markelt says:

    winger always blames chiffs for the BBOW where he claimed England had won the world cup twice.

  11. makemeadiva says:

    I can’t resist a horseracing Q. Kasbah Bliss is my banker and sadly I have doubts about Denman running into a place – stuck between KS and NC at the mo. Any rain will make the final choice easier. Have a blinder though 🙂

  12. Oops. I thought it said linesman.
    Back on earth it looked like there were two refs and two linesmen officiating at Man U v Inter. But then I saw that it was the Man U goalie who was dressed in a yellow pullover and a pair of black shorts to look exactly like one of the match officials. Last time the trick was green football boots.
    Come on, somebody get a grip. It’s all turning into a complete farce at the Theatre of Dreams.

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