One of the most appealing of logical fallacies is to suppose that two closely sequential events are somehow related. I think I’m falling for it.
The level of anxiety on the tube network has measurably fallen this week. The polices are visibly relaxed, fewer shoulders tense at the mere sight of a backpack, the normal atmosphere of mildly exasperated boredom has crept back in at the corners like the vile but somehow reassuring malodourousness of the local farm.
On Monday, we were all reading about how Freddie Flintoff had almost single-handedly rescued the second Ashes Test for England, prompting a famous (and squeakingly close) win. On Tuesday morning, the front page of the non-cricket-loving Sun had the earth-shaking news that Freddie was swearing off the beers in order to win us the Ashes. (As Andy pointed out last night, this amounts to laying off the lash for a whole four days between back to back Tests, a heroic feat clearly worthy of the front-page screamer ‘From Beero to Hero’.)
The day before the bombs on 7th July, London was partying because it had unexpectedly won the right to host the 2012 Olympics. It’s crass, I know, but it does feel almost as though the wholly welcome distraction of the cricket has returned us, to some extent, to the unconcerned joy of 6th July.
A piece of paper can be held upright if slightly curled in the hand. If too straight, it collapses: it has no backbone. There is no real backbone here either, but we simulate it well enough, even through something as silly as winning a game of cricket.