The reason for my total gobsmackedness (if that is, indeed, a word) is that it is quite unusual for someone to be quite so rude about someone’s home town to their face. I think the problem is really that people just don’t think of London as somewhere that someone would choose to live or even regard as home. As Natasha commented yesterday, as a place to live, London is a well-kept secret.
For me, there were several turning points in my feelings about London which led to me regarding it as “home”. The first two were in 2005, when the announcement that London had won the 2012 Olympics was followed almost immediately by the London bombings. Elation merged almost seamlessly into shock and grief. What I remember very clearly is the posters which sprang up in the wake of the bombings as a result of Ken Livingstone’s campaign to celebrate diversity and to avoid any anti-Muslim backlash: “Seven million Londoners, one London”. The posters made me very proud to be a Londoner, and determined that no terrorists would divide us.
More tomorrow. But meanwhile! The Footballing Fact Of The Day!
Football originated as a game played in villages by groups of young men according to local rules. Football was also played at the great public schools, which each devised their own rules, versions of the game being divided roughly into two groups, the handling game developed at Rugby school and the dribbling game developed at Eton. (This is true, by the way.) The etymology of the terms for our two great winter sports is therefore fairly easy to work out, although I can’t help thinking that it’s a shame the Etonians didn’t plump for “ball dribbling” rather than “football” as a description; possibly they needed it for some of their other activities. It’s also interesting to speculate about how things would have been if football had gone the same way as rugby. People would support their favourite eton team, Premier League etonners (or possibly eton players) would be transferred between clubs for millions of pounds, and we would now be enjoying the 2014 Eton World Cup.
That was The Etonning Fact Of The Day. I thank you.