The Hoarchive

Satire, freshly squeezed from Warwick Uni

The Hoar book, pictured on a white studio background.

FIFA, or how to destroy a pleasant evening

Second year has hit. You live in a house with a TV.

FIFA, or how to destroy a pleasant evening

Of course, you lived in a house before. No one at Warwick (or at least, very few at Warwick) came from such straightened circumstances as to have been denied that privilege.

You occupied a house with one, both or neither parents; maybe some siblings and perhaps others. It was nice, ranging to not at all nice. You managed, but it was a house.

To tread upon a point I tried to avoid, families are bloody lovely. Bloody lovely. You may have reason to think otherwise, but you’re wrong.

I’m digressing. You probably understand the fundamental nature of houses. They each contain a kitchen, some bedrooms, one or more bathrooms and — vitally — a room in which sofas, armchairs and perhaps a coffee table are merrily strewn about a television.

If you have an ounce of decorum and British blood (I don’t mean that in a UKIP way — more of a Churchill-being-a-fat-and-ignorant-arse way) you’ll gather there with whiskey, gin and wine for evenings of imbibement.

In all likelihood, you swap out gin and whiskey for beer, cider or some concoction of soft drinks and vodka that you optimistically claim is superior to all other bevs. (Yep, bevs. Live with it.)

That’s ok. I’m not judging. Cheap rioja is bloody good, mind you. As is Beefeater gin and cheap bourbon. But take your Strongbow — squeezed, as it is, from the sweaty loins of merry West Country lasses, from apple trees and from dubious industrial complexes — and bed neatly down in your sitting room (for that is what I shall call this televisual chamber) for a cheerful evening before a little hangover.

This is good. The TV is off. All is going well. You’re drinking shit, but that’s your prerogative. I’ve plugged my phone into someone’s dodgy speakers and am being an idiot who plays pompously obscure music. You’re better at ‘social’ than I am. Everyone’s happy.

The conversation, naturally, has grown a touch light on relevance and humour. Those present, who wish to avoid a terrible following morning, are drawing their carrier bags to their knees. The drinkers, the fortunate folk with free Fridays and the people who don’t possess sufficient self-control, have found convenient exit from the increasingly awkward sitch in a lady called Stella and a curious chap called Vino.

A collectively-minded soul has suggested a drinking game. Reluctantly — for the soberites wish to remain so and the drunks are perfectly happy as they are — the conflagration assents. It turns out that Ms Collective-Mind is totally awful at recalling drinking games. The Rest shout and whisper half-remembered terrible games, interspersed with valid suggestions, in her direction and she duly ignores them.

The question of which game best suits the present company becomes a game in itself. Gamification — the process of turning anything, quite regardless of its suitability for the purpose, into a game — becomes, in an unfitting way, the vibe.

Said vibe is a terrible atmosphere. Indeed, it is neither a vibe nor an atmospheric situation. It’s quite difficult, in fact, to extract one’s consciousness from the brexital uncertainty that floods the room.

Somehow, as confusion circulates and lays her terrible diversions, a splinter party develops. It need only contain two of the group — perhaps a mere fifteen per cent of the room — to dominate the climate. It’s ideology does not become universal and remains unpopular. It’s influence, however, is felt by all.

Two lads, unbeknownst to the rest, sneak to the front and fire up an xbox (how in god’s name am I meant to capitalise that?). Their game of choice? FIFA. Bloody Fifi (for that is how I refer to the bitch) is always the multiplayer-but-exclusive-to-two game of these situations. Before all too long, fragments of one-size-fits-all commentary and 32 inches of computer generated grass fill the room.

Atmosphere — vibe — passes from its former earthly low to some subterranean depth scarcely before seen. Guests and patrons drop, rather in the manner of flies. Previously unmentioned — and undoubtedly fabricated — nine am seminars are exhibited regretfully by friends, desperate to extricate themselves from the faux-sporting non-spectacle in which they are embroiled.

Everybody wishes to be somewhere else. Under normal circumstances, that would mean that a jolly wander to Spoons, Kelsey’s or Duke ought to be underway.

Here, however, circs are different. Any desire the present company might have once had to participate in healthy, human society has mysteriously left. They wish only to depart to their beds to turn a sleepless night populated by green fields and ‘Vardy’s-got-it-he’s-in-with-a-chance-heres’.

Bluntly, fuck you all, Fifi spinners. Save your sober football fun for sober football crowds and fuck right off.

That is all I have to say. Sorry if it wasn’t as riveting as you expected. FIFA x-teen is a private pleasure. Keep it that way.