Having a Party
Having a Party
In terms of being a Leicester City fan, I rank about one higher than a glory hunter (born here). I am no sports fan. I attended some football matches (mainly in my Erasmus year in Italy), the odd rugby match and an afternoon of drinking at the Lords cricket ground – I think England were playing India but I forget. I can manage the World Cup, which I watch religiously every 4 years, only to slip into my usual disinterest in between. I know little enough about the players, a little more about Ranieri (I always thought there should be a Leicester-Italy connection beyond the Romans, hence my year in Pavia) but really yesterday was about donning some blue and white, showing up and just celebrating.
Leicester seems to be getting even better at these kind of big events. I thought that the Richard III internment was great, though suitably solemn affair, hell even Benedict Cumberbatch rocked up.
However, winning the Premier League has just been joyous and one can only feel happy for those people who have supported Leicester City their entire lives, turned up to matches and lived through every high and low.
Growing up there was always a pride in Gary Linekar given the paucity of famous people originating from Leicester. I would have liked Emile Heskey to have done greater things, especially as he was in my primary school in the year below, but oh well. Maybe the lack of choice is no bad thing as it means you have to rally around who you do have and when good things that do happen.
Of course it only serves to highlight the utter absurdity of identity politics. I should have hated yesterday – where were the Indian Sikh Punjabi British-born women on that team? Also who could the disabled and trans community relate to among those players? Won’t the newly arrived Syrian refugees feel left out?
When I came back to Leicester a few years back, I did so because I wanted to be back home and among the people of my city. I was fed up with the identity politics I in London, which I still see as a veil to hide the ugliness of hatred that is felt towards others. I don’t care how many virtues are signalled.
If people I grew up with here have shown me anything it’s that you can achieve much through dialogue, understanding, compromising, negotiating and yes sometimes agreeing to disagree and not making mountains out of molehills. The ease felt here is that of the moderates getting their way and keeping the more extreme elements at bay.
For those who feel they is no option but to conflict monger at every turn, so be it. I’ve come to realise there is little that can be said or done to move a person out of that paranoid haze.
As for me, I’ll be in Leicester, #havingaparty.