This is not my first blog. In 2004 I started a co-written blog with my friend Pete, called Petes In Capitals. The capitals were London and Edinburgh; I had just left Edinburgh for London while the other Pete was to remain in Edinburgh for another year. The blog was to be a way of keeping in touch, having discussions and sort-of practicing writing. We put up a total of about 20 posts between September 2004 and February 2005, then it ended. After that came another co-written blog with another friend, Germain, who I’d met on the Comparative Politics course I was doing in London. This blog was called In the World and was intended, with suitable modesty, to be a place to discuss solutions to global problems. We started out with some enthusiasm in April 2006 but it petered out a year later. The first blog I set up on my own was Living for Glory, subtitled “What it means to be a fan of Tottenham Hotspur.” My cunning plan was that the blog would ostensibly be about following Tottenham but would really be a place to discuss everything else. It would be informed by the outlook developed from being a fan of Tottenham – a strange combination of self-righteousness brought on by the knowledge that your club embodies ideals of glory, daring and swashbuckling entertainment, accompanied by the self-flagellating gloom resulting from years of underachievement despite lavish investment. My recollection of it was that I had never actually posted anything to it, but a look back confirms that I did in fact put up 10 posts between May 2007 and January 2008. Which is all by way of saying: you should read this brilliant article by John Crace, which describes his experience of depression and following Tottenham. Remember three sentences ago, when I tried to describe the essence of being a Tottenham fan? Crace does it much better, as in:
Spurs are a team with a sense of entitlement that generally exceeds their on-field successes; a team that lives off memories of past triumphs while too often falling short in the present; a team whose fans grandiosely talk of “The Spurs Way” as a metaphor for attacking, stylish football as we slide to yet another 4-3 defeat, illuminated by massive lapses of concentration and schoolboy defending every bit as much as a lightning quick break into the opposition’s penalty area.
He also writes persuasively of his experience of clinical depression, including a brilliant anecdote about consulting his psychiatrist and why it’s brilliant going to mental hospital. I think everyone’s experienced mild depression from time to time and it’s moving to read about what it’s like when the condition escalates to unbearable levels. The multiple ways in which the disease interacts with his life as a football fan are fascinating.