As the great man's guest must produce his good stories or songs at the evening banquet, as the platform orator exhibits his telling facts at mid-day, so the journalist lies under the stern obligation of extemporizing his lucid views, leading ideas, and nutshell truths for the breakfast table.
Cardinal J. H. Newman, Preface to The Idea of a University, 1852

Saturday, August 18, 2012

MK Dons 2, Oldham Athletic 0 (first league game of the season)

The early season matches in glorious sunshine have a character of their own, and there's something particularly pleasing to win in the heat of the summer.

So it was today, though maybe a bit too hot, especially in the new location of the OfTheNewCity family season tickets. We've taken advantage of the changed pricing to move from The Cowshed to the East Premium: better view (from the middle of the side) but less atmosphere, and full sun on our faces for the whole 2 hours. Especially noticable since the hot weather has appeared from nowhere this weekend, after a miserable summer.

So the Dons trademark passing football under Karl Robinson paid dividends today, though neither of the goals came from the patient passing moves. One was from a corner: perfectly headed in by Darren Potter. The other was from a passing move, but it was a fast break of passes that finished with Daniel Powell taking it across the goal mouth and struck powerfully from close range.

Oldham had the ball in the net but it was disallowed by the linesman, for offside. Oldham fans were furious but I gather that was because they don't understand the offside rule. One of our defenders was behind the Oldham player, but David Martin wasn't, so there was only one defender between the attacker and the goal, it's just that it wasn't the goalie. The viciousness of the Oldham fans invective at linesman was not edifying, and the Dons fans chant of 'We love you linesman, we do; oh linesman we love you' probably didn't do him many favours!

The one downside to the afternoon: Antony Kay sent off after the final whistle. Apparently he'd reacted badly to an Oldham elbow in the face.

Oh yes, and the other unfortunate thing about the afternoon is that I am currently suffering from a 'frozen shoulder' so it is agony if I raise my arms in excited celebration when we score. But I'll happily put up with that for the sake of the club.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dietrich Bonhoeffer's fear of death

Another in my (very) occasional series on death. Here's Dietrich Bonhoeffer writing later in life (apparently when he was about 26) about himself as child:
He liked thinking about death. Even in his boyhood he had enjoyed imagining himself on his deathbed, surrounded by all those who loved him, speaking his last words to them. ... To him death was neither grievous nor alien. He would have liked them all to see and understand that to a believer in God dying was not hard, but a glorious thing. [...]

Then one day he had a grotesque idea. He believed himself to be suffering from the only incurable illness that existed, namely a crazy and irremediable fear of death. The thought that he would really have to die one day had such a grip on him that he faced this inevitable prospect with speechless fear. And there was no one who could free him from this illness, because in reality it was no illness, but the most natural and obvious thing in the world, because it was the most inevitable. He saw himself going from one person to another, pleading and appealing for help. Doctors shook their heads and could nothing for him. His illness was that he saw reality for what it was, it was incurable. He could tolerate the thought for only a few moments. From that day on he buried inside himself something about which for a long time he did not speak or think again. His favourite subject for discussion and for his imagination had suddenly acquired a bitter taste. He spoke no more about fine, devout death, and forgot about it.

From Eberhard Bethge:Dietrich Bonhoeffer. A biography. Revised Edition Fortress Press 2000
A vivid account of what Julian Barnes calls le reveil mortel.

(As I am sure you know, Bonhoeffer was a liberal Christian theologian. His opposition to Hitler got him jailed and, for his involvement in the plot to assassinate Hitler, he was executed in 1945, aged just 39. The accounts suggest he faced death bravely.)