homecoming

Harry Kane 2021

Well tomorrow is the big day. It’s coming home. England are in an actual major final for the first time in my entire life, and with a (current) Tottenham player as captain no less. I find it hard to get excited, after a lifetime of (a) watching England and (b) being a Tottenham fan. But excited we are. That’s Harry Kane above, by the way, for those who don’t know. Also for those who don’t know, “it’s coming home” is what people in England say now when England do well at the football, and it’s taken the meaning of a hopeful “we’re gonna win it!” It’s a reference to the 1996 song by Baddiel and Skinner and the Lightning Seeds, “Three Lions”, which sings that as an opening refrain, “it’s coming home, it’s coming, football’s coming home”. Great song, I still have the original CD. Kind of a little overused in England the past few years. That line, “football’s coming home” was the tagline of the Euro 96 tournament, which was held in England. Why home? Because the sport originated in England. Now a lot of people are getting a bit uppity, oh no no it didn’t, football was invented thousands of years ago in this country or that culture, and all of that is probably true, they all had some sort of game that involved kicking a ball, though not always exclusively and . The sport that is played now and called “football” in England – “soccer” in America – however did originate in its modern form with its modern rules in Victorian England, and that is where the modern rules were first codified with the first ‘Football Association’ in 1863, which by the way is why people call it soccer. You might have heard posh types in Britain refer to Rugby as ‘Rugger’, well Association Football was shortened to ‘soccer’, a British – not American – term. Prior to this, there were a great number of different forms of the sport in England, such as the ‘Sheffield Rules’ or the ‘Cambridge Rules’. It was probably a bit like when you go to someone’s house and play Charades and they play the rules slightly different from you, and it can be problematic unless some great minds come together to form the Charades Association, or something. It was that form of the sport (football, not charades) that was exported around the world, and many great clubs and institutions were founded by expat Englishmen, such as AC Milan (note how they use the English name of the city); similarly, Genoa (not ‘Genova’) still go by their original name ‘Genoa Cricket and Football Club’ Basque team Athletic Bilbao has its origins in the shipyard workers who emigrated from various English ports; British emigrants kickstarted soccer in South America, and Brazilian team Corinthians was formed after the visit of amateur English side Corinthian FC. It’s not to say that the idea of playing sport on a field with a ball (or even calling it football) was inherently English, various other sports called football exist in other countries today, but those are different sports. They all have origins in the idea of sports with a ball but this particular one, Association Football, the one that is played with same rules worldwide, that one came out of England. Once it was out it went everywhere, and had many many different styles, but the FA rules were universal – sorry, not the ‘rules, I mean the Laws Of The Game. You have to call them that or referees get cross. FIFA was founded in Paris in 1904, replacing the FA as the global governing body of the sport but guaranteeing to only play games according to the FA’s Laws. The great tournaments of the game, they were not English in origin – the FIFA World Cup was organized by the Frenchman Jules Rimet (he of the “still gleaming” lyric in Three Lions) and held in Uruguay, and England refused to take part until 1950, when they were roundly beaten by the United States. UEFA, the European governing body, was founded in 1954 in Switzerland, and the great European tournaments followed – the European Cup (now the Champions League) in 1955, started by the French (ironically only one French team has ever won it, Marseille in 1993, and that was questionable given they were relegated for match-fixing that year), and of the course the European Championship itself, founded by UEFA with the trophy named after Frenchman Henri Delauney who had been having this idea for decades (he died before he could see it finally play). England have never won this tournament, never even been in the final. Or should I say, England’s Mens Team has never been in the final – the Womens Team has been to the final of the European Womens’ Championship twice.  But in this tournament England has never been to the final, until now. When England sing “it’s coming home” they aren’t referring to themselves as the founders of the competition, or as previous winners, they mean as the birthplace of the current sport, they aren’t saying “Football Including All Other Versions Of The Game Going Back Over Thousands Of Years In Different Unrelated Cultures Is Coming Home”, and they don’t have to actually point out “Association Football Is Coming Back To the Country Which First Codified the Laws Of The Game in 1863”; it doesn’t actually need pointing out. You don’t need to worry about football songs being literal. I don’t actually believe “Tottenham Are The Greatest Team The World Has Ever Seen”. Honestly, don’t worry about it. The song itself is self-deprecating in a typically English way, while also being hopeful, and saying we don’t need to always be so negative. It’s a much nicer song than some of the others that get sung by England fans, although as much as I like it and it makes me feel like it’s 1996 again, I hope another song comes along (not ‘Vindaloo’, I hated that one) that is just as good so people aren’t utterly sick of “It’s Coming Home” (I am sure many of you already are). It will probably come along in 2051, thirty years after our last trophy, which of course will be won tomorrow against Italy…

Ok, I’m not getting ahead of myself but I can still believe. We’ll see what happens. Italy haven’t won this trophy since 1968 but they’ve had a couple of World Cups since then. They don’t even call it football, they call it ‘Calcio’, and that name has origins in a sport that goes back centuries…don’t get me started on that story. But if it happens, if England win it… I will be running around Davis in my one England shirt singing “It’s Coming Home” at the top of my voice. Even in this 111 degree weather…  

       

shake and bake

kitchen

There was an earthquake today. Actually there were several, but at about 3:45pm the house shook, probably about 10 seconds, followed by another which was much more of a rolling wave that made me feel a little dizzy, that lasted longer. I was resting due to a massive headache, having had an odd rumbling in my ears all day, compounded by this bloody heatwave (sorry, Heat Dome) that is ramping up again (it is expected to be 113 degrees or higher over the weekend now). So I went to lie down for a bit, get away from computer screens. Just as I was nodding off, I heard the blinds rattle all at once, and the ceiling fan cords sway, and the ground started vibrating, with my head against the bed it felt like I could hear it. I got up, we had all felt it, the family met on the landing of the stairs and sure enough, there was the swaying, like being at sea. I live in California, you might think I feel earthquakes all the time, but they are pretty uncommon in Davis, which is not that close to any fault lines. There are big fault lines in the Bay Area (you all know the San Andreas Fault, from Superman The Movie (RIP Richard Donner, BTW), but there are a few other pretty significant ones). On the other side of us in the Sierras you get some big faults, up near Truckee for example, and today’s 6.0 quake was in the region south of Lake Tahoe about 120 miles east of here. The one right after was nearby there at about 5.2. There were many aftershocks, some are still going on, we wouldn’t feel them. Last earthquake I really felt here was the Napa quake in 2014, this one felt stronger from here. No damage here, it seems like there were a few big boulders that rolled onto the highways in the Sierras. Meanwhile, the heat is getting worse and worse, and yet all I can think of is…it’s coming home

I drew this tonight, just needed to sketch. I was listening to a podcast about the Viking Great Army, which is about when the Danes rolled over the English. Didn’t happen yesterday though, eh. It’s coming home… My eyesight is going, I need to get my eyes tested again, getting older and the eyes are just being squeezed. So I could not really see all the details in the kitchen. I know what it looks like though.

summertime lose

2nd and E, Davis

It’s July now; the second half of the year. I started this on the last day of June, stood downtown under the lunchtime shade of a tree, but finished it off today in July. It’s hot again, and getting hotter, and the world is basically just going to be hot forever now. The Pacific Northwest, that should not be that hot. Davis always gets hot, but this year feels worse. Sometimes though I hate the idea of the heat more; I will choose not to go out because I know it’ll be really hot, when in fact even in the heat it can still be alright in the shade, or with the air in your face as you cycle down a long tree-lined avenue. The over-100 heat, not so much. I don’t know, I’m grateful for air-conditioning. I dread the coming of summertime now, so much. Last year with the wild fires starting so early and raging so badly, the air being so unbreathable for the best part of two months, the fires have been progressively awful each year for about four or five years. So far though, no smoky skies. I dread the summer. “Hope you are enjoying your summer!” people say, in all sincerity. Not really, the anxiety of three digit numbers lining up on my weather app is depressing. Summer is a bummer. I’m coaching soccer again; this evening out in the heat and bright sun I found it difficult to cope, let alone think clearly. The heat affects my brain I think, slows it all down. I do find myself getting dumber in the summer. Remember that terrible heat in Amsterdam in 2019, how it felt like my mind stopped working, when I even forgot my paints when going out sketching? Well no I suppose you wouldn’t remember, that happened to me. But summer does make me dumber. As it cools down I feel like my wits get sharper. But not too cold; I remember in New York in 2016 when it was so cold that even thoughts froze as they moved about your head. Me and my mate walked across Central Park in some hugely sub-zero temperatures, and by the time we reached an Subway station our minds just went completely blank, like we couldn’t quite understand the Subway map. I mean it’s hard to understand anyway but we definitely felt affected by the cold; I made a massive pan of noodles when we got in to warm us up. So the heat makes me dumb, the cold makes me dumb, maybe I am just, look I know what you’re thinking, “maybe you are just thick, Pete”. Yeah maybe. Maybe I always have been, how would I really know? Or maybe there is just an increasingly small window of temperature that I can mentally operate in. Either way, the next few days are scheduled to be 97, 102, 108, 109, 108, 102, 97 in a nice palindromic way, that’s what we want isn’t it, palindromic weather. What goes up, comes down for a couple of days then goes right up again. (By the way San Francisco, which is an hour and a half away, has temperatures of 70, 68, 68, 68, 66, 66, 66 on those same days. That’s right, it will be 42 degrees cooler in San Francisco than in Davis this weekend. Just, seriously. But I’m not going there, because if England win in the Euro 2020 semi-final that takes place in twelve hours from now, I’ll be watching that on my TV in my living room and I won’t care.  I always said that if Spurs won the Premier League or Champions League or something, I would put on all my Spurs shirts and run around Davis, singing “Ossie’s Dream” and “Glory Glory Tottenham Hotspur”; I own a lot of Spurs shirts, so that would be very hot. If England win it, I promise to run around Davis singing “It’s Coming Home”, “World In Motion”, and I dunno, “Cinnamon Stick”. (It won’t matter that it’s hot because I only own one England shirt.) It’s coming home; I’m staying home with the a/c on.

of all the words he tried to say

4th st Davis

Day before Independence Day, the Day of England 4-0 vs Ukraine day, I went downtown on a Saturday afternoon to do some drawing and look in a couple of shops. I stopped and drew this building on 4th Street, some Law Offices I think (I need new glasses/eyesight). It was pretty quiet, I wasn’t harassed by any mad people this time (unlike just up the block a couple of months ago), and I wore my 2010 red England shirt, the only England shirt I own. (It’s coming home by the way, I don’t know if you heard, but it totally is). There were leaf blowers behind me blowing the leaves and dust or whatever, but they didn’t last long (maybe the leaves blew back, I had my headphones on). Amazingly I had never drawn this building, to the best of my knowledge. I probably have in the background of another, or maybe I have and forgot. I’ve drawn a lot of Davis drawings and usually remember them all, but I’ve been here a good long while now. Nearly sixteen years, coming up on that. I’ve been drawing it for fifteen of them. One day I’ll do a book of them. I’ll say that again in another fifteen years. I can never seem to get it together to write it, well I suppose a book of drawings doesn’t really need much writing. Be better off without it really (what was that 1 star Amazon review of one of my books that said “by the time he finished what he was saying I had forgotten what he was talking about” or something), the sketches are the words anyway. So, another one of 4th Street, Davis. Happy 4th, America!

Happy 4th of July the 4th

Alexei Lalas copy

Yes, I know it’s Coming Home, and Southgate is a genius, and yes I did do a Kane illustration, but today is the birthday of my adopted country (actually I think it adopted me, although since I’m still a permanent resident I am really just fostered). 7/4 happens on July the 4th over here, unlike in Britain where people celebrate American Independence on April the 7th, along with all the old dad jokes like that. To celebrate, here is perhaps my favourite American football player (ok, my favorite American soccer franchiser) Alexi Lalas, wearing my favorite USMNT soccer jersey (see, I can speak American), the 1994 away kit. Along with the amazing red and white wavy stripe home kit, this was my favourite kit from the 1994 World Cup, USA 94. It is an all time epic. As a proper redhead myself I loved Lalas’s amazing barnet, and the King Tut-esque beard, and I actually did copy the beard a few years later (without the moustache) (it was the 1990s), though my attempts at the hair did not go too well. See my hair is curly, a bit like Lalas’s, not ring-curls but uncontrollable waves. I knew blokes with long hair who could just wave it around like an extra appendage, especially when dancing. Anyway my hair just grew upwards, like straight up. So that didn’t work. Lalas is a bit taller than me though, so maybe gravity works differently on his head, I don’t know. He’s often on TV these days doing punditry, no longer long haired and long bearded, but still with a bit of personality. So happy birthday United States, thanks for giving us Lalas and the greatest World Cup shirt in history. 

“an ‘oops’ moment and then some”

Euro 2020 NED-CZE

I’m not drawing every game in the Euros or nothing, I just, well I like to draw and write things down. There were some bonkers games in the Round of Sixteen. France went out, half an hour after I had told my son that the game “had ‘Kylian Mbappe misses the decisive penalty’ written all over it”, congratulations Mystic Pete. The Dutch went out, after De Ligt batted the ball away with his big paw, and headline writers and tweeters scrambled to get the best ‘De Ligt based pun, having used every possible ‘Czech’ based pun already. (I wonder if any found a way to shoehorn “Red De Ligt District” in there somewhere? I hope not.) The Czechs had Holeš exposing holes in the Dutch defense (another low-hanging fruit for sub-editors everywhere). I’m not even going there with all the ‘Schick’ ones.  And then there was Sweden-Ukraine, where the Swedish player Danielson got a red card, and my own version of the many obvious Karate Kid based jokes was “Danielson whacks on, walks off” which I thought was alright. England-Germany, Harry Kane was apparently not running much, so was being called ‘Walking Kane’ which I thought was quite funny (I still love you Harry). Portugal-Belgium, glad Belgium won that, and when Hazard’s same-height little brother scored I yelled out “That’s what I’m Thorgan about!”, but then immediately thought I should have said “Lukaku’s Thorgan” because it sounds a bit like “Look Who’s Talkin'” but it didn’t really work. This always happens when international football tournaments are on, I have fun with all of the names. In this one I tried to make Star Wars Prequels connections with the players, you had General Grealish, Count Doku, Anakin SKyleWalker, Chancellor Pal-Palhinha, Bale Organa, Darth Mæhle, Jonas Windu, Ethan Amp-idala, and, um, the Marcus side of the Forss (not to mention De Ligt side). Plus many other probably better ones.     

Euro 2020 CRO-ESP 

deep-six ninety-six

Gareth Southgate 2021 copy2

Well, there’s no question now is there. It is definitely coming home. It may have to quarantine for ten days and take two tests but come on. England did it, they beat Germany in a knockout game, and it didn’t even have to go to penalties. Sure, not an entertaining game, but if you want entertainment go and watch Hamilton. Or Spain v Croatia, or France v Switzerland. Amazing and ridiculous games, no defending whatsoever. England haven’t let in a goal yet. Haven’t scored many either, but maybe this is how it comes home. Anyway I am not going to analyze the game or offer opinions on whether Kane wasn’t getting service or tired or whether this Germany isn’t as good (it’s better than circa 2000 Jens Jeremies era Germany) or home advantage or any of that. I don’t even really think it’s “coming home” (if “coming home” means England winning it, since “it” is the European Championship, which England has never ever been in the final of before, or “it” is the Henri Delaunay trophy, which is French). The semis and the final are at Wembley though, but first England have to play a quarter-final against Ukraine in Italy, specifically so people can sing “it’s coming Rome”. Whatever happens, England did beat Germany, at Wembley. Gareth Southgate beat Germany, at Wembley, in the Euros. So, just as I did an illustration of him in 1996 recently, here he is in 2021, a quarter of a century later, this time in celebration. nice tie, Gareth. No waistcoat this time. Here he is, burying 1996. And so I ask myself, can we all bury 1996 now? 96 is the new 66. England didn’t even win it in 96 but it’s become such a big thing, part of the folklore, and that song, that bloody song, yeah you know I’ll be getting the CD out if England make it through to the final. CD?! How old are you, grandad? Can we all bury 1996 now? Not just the Euros, but everything? 1996 was one of the Last Great Years, maybe even The last one. Nobody used a mobile phone. What a time that was, eh! People had to wait until you got home before you ignored their call. To call people when you were out you had to use a phone box, with ‘coins’, maybe with a ‘Phonecard’. Nobody used a mobile phone. A few people sure, the things existed, but you go to a football match or a gig or watch a building burn down, nobody had their phones out filming it, tweeting it, recording it in case they forgot. People had to just ‘remember’ their experiences. Nobody used the internet. The odd ‘tech geek’ perhaps, in England anyway. There was a guy we knew at college called Ruman who could get us ‘on the internet’ in the computer labs, he was the only person we knew who could get onto this magic place, but there was nothing on there back then anyway, and our college wouldn’t let us stay online for long before kicking us off. Social media? What the hell’s that? 1996, the Star Wars Special Editions hadn’t even come out. The old Tories were still going, pre-New Labour, John Major and co. Princess Diana was still alive and being hounded by the press, before they decided in the middle of the night a year later that she was actually the Princess of Hearts or something. 1996 Wembley isn’t even the same Wembley as 2021 Wembley, it’s just in the same bloody place. 1996, I was twenty and could stay up all night long, bouncing about to Pulp or Oasis or Rage Against The Machine, and often did; I ain’t twenty no more. London was amazing in 1996. I got my guitar that year, on Charing Cross Road, I still have it. I bought it while on my break from the chocolate shop I worked at. A piece of 1996 I have held on to. Soho was brilliant in 1996, not yet shite, but no longer quite as seedy as in the 70s and 80s. Still seedy enough though. The Hellfire Club on Oxford Street was the best place on Saturday nights, a place long gone now. Can we all bury 1996 now? I mean, the world of 1996 has been buried a very long time, and it ain’t ever coming back. Gareth just buried another bit. His penalty miss is now in the ground with all the CDs, VHS tapes, Phonecards, cash, music magazine with cassette tapes on the cover, Soho being cool, and all the other stuff we left behind. Is this about me missing London? Might be, most things are, I’ve been burying that for years.