Wednesday, June 18, 2008

All aboard the blog bus

Euro 2008 is in full swing. Austria and Switzerland are putting on a great tournament. It’s very exciting. Everyone is gripped by football fever. Apparently in Austria some fathers are even letting their daughters out of the cellar to watch. Ah, it takes me back to the summer of 1996. I was young, Tony Blair had yet to enter Number 10/Iraq and Euro 96 was hosted by England. It was indeed the year football came home. I remember one night being on a 134 bus crawling towards Archway, North London. It’s standing room only and it seems as if at every stop another gang of football supporters squeeze on. Raspberry-nosed Scots in their Tam O’Shanter hats who never stop slinging (slurred singing), the garish orange clad Dutch with plastic trumpets and whistles, and of course our very own St George Cross curly wig-wearing mob. Cheery, beery insults and banter ricochet around the lower deck. Singing breaks out upstairs. The Scots, who else? Not to be outdone the English Barmy Army retort with a window-rattling rendition of Three Lions, ‘football’s coming home, it’s coming home…’ Out on the street people wave and join in. I’m not exaggerating. This really was London in 1996. Someone at the back starts up with nursery school favourite ‘The Wheels On The Bus’ and soon everyone is singing, ‘the wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, all day long…’ Cans of lager are passed around in pre-Boris booze ban bonhomie (try saying that after a few). Bunched up with my European brothers on that bus I sensed something special was going on. There was something in the air. It felt like something was happening. It’s good when things start to come together like that. And it seems to me there’s something similar starting to happen with UC blogs. Connections are being made. Personal stories are being told. Just yesterday Mark, who writes a blog about his life with a J-Pouch, contacted me. I think Mark offers something no doctor can: actual, real life, pooed-yourself-in-public experience. Having access to stuff like this can keep you sane. It’s comforting to know you’re not alone and the weird things that are happening to you are also happening to someone else. Even if they happen to be in Arkansas or wherever. Different continent, same shit. Ali, Rich, Glenyrd and Lottie also blog about life with UC, each in their own individual way. And I’m grateful for the time, effort and honesty they put into it. For me it’s like being on that 134 bus all those years ago; it’s all about sharing the experience.