Saturdays promise so much: or a “Series of Disappointments”

Of course, it’s not quite so bad on the deliver so little front during the football close season, unless you are Milwall or Swindon fan, but most of you will get where I’m coming from with this?

The hopes and dreams (or wishes and horses) factor is multiplied at least tenfold on a Saturday. Hopes for sporting triumphs, a big win on the nags, the lottery, bingo even and of course the chances of a Big Night Out if you have any energy left after a working week (or money after paying a gas bill).

I find myself suddenly gripped today with an urge to go to Newmarket, but I am going to sit on that off-piste urge until it gives in. Saturdays are not great days for punting – too many races to get your head round and not enough iron discipline in constant supply either.

Today, instead, I will carry on reading a book: Hackney, that Rose-Red Empire by Iain Sinclair. This book, for a Hackney refugee like me, is like gold dust. On the page I am turning into streets I know like the back of my hand but I am discovering small creases on the palm that I have never noticed before. It is a delight.

Sinclair has written about, Stephen Gill’s photography of Hackney in the book and through a circuitous route I ended up at his website last night – the link goes directly to the Series of Disappointments collection, but I loved the Hackney Wick market photographs too.

These feature the rough house market that used to take place every Sunday morning a few minutes walk from our last London flat. It was not a market such as you would recognise, taking place on the dusty dirt of the old Hackney Wick dog track and car park. It had a definite air of frontier bandit country. We went once, intrigued by the thousands of people returning laden with blue carrier bags. The Guv’nor, as streetwise as you get, bought a radio with no insides. That’s the kind of place it was. And of course, you wouldn’t be taking it back.
No way.

So here are my radios without innards for today. At least I know they won’t tune in to nothing from the outset.

Lord Shanakill 3.30 Haydock
Mureb 5.05 Newmarket
Dazinkski 4.45 Haydock

And as it’s Greyhound Derby final night I am making a mental note to back the winner (T2 Lyreen Mover out of Lyreen Diva) and then buy this book. I miss dusty old Hackney and I miss the Lowlife.

Posted on May 29, 2010, in Art, Dogs, Football, Greyhound racing, Horse racing, Nostalgia, Punting and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. It’s bloody raining at Haydock.

    Dazinski (proper spelling this time) & Lord S won’t like that.

    Typical Saturday.

  2. I’ve always loved the dogs. (make your own jokes up). Reminds me of a story my mum tells of when we were young and money was tight or should i say tighter. They were standing at a bus stop waiting for a saturday night out at the track. I kindly old lady asked my brother where he was going, he was only 5 ish, and he replied ‘We’re going to the dog’s’. Still makes me smile when i think about it all these years later.

    During the time I was studying for my degree, to make ends meet, I worked in a bookies and loved watching the dogs and horses and betting even though it was against the rules. Saturdays were best with all the big races on and it was often busy. It was a time when Costal bluff kept winning big field (handicap?) races often at 10-1 ish. I loved that horse always came late through the field, stamina I suppose. Another was Reams of Verse and there were a couple of others that had literary sounding names which sat well with my perceived interlectewal bent at the time. That and the fact a lot of them won!

    We had a few shop trips to the dogs as well (Belle Vue).

    I now feel rather guilty for loving it so much. I was speaking to a woman on the street who was walking with a greyhound. (Not street walking with a greyhound that would just be perverted! 😉 ). She was saying how badly the dogs are treated, neglected and abandoned if not good enough and then went on about how badly horses were treated and they end up as glue. She also went on how the ‘industry’ glamorise the sport ‘The Sport of kings, etc. I suppose it is a multi-million pound industry when you add in gambling, etc.

    I didn’t know enough about it to argue but it put a right downer on me. 😦

    Care to comment diva or anyone else for that matter?

  3. 1) Of my selections one was third (wouldn’t have liked the rain-softened ground, two were NR and we are waiting on the dog.

    2) Daftburger’s guilt (or otherwise!)

    Well it’s not as simple as either side would have you believe in my opinion. The question: is racing animals for human diversion, entertainment, industry and gambling cruel? is multi-faceted. It is really an existential question.

    Without the industry which provides jobs, levy and entertainment there would not be nearly as many of these horses and dogs in the first place.

    Like parents, some trainers are kinder and more caring than others. Some jockeys are more sensitive and better at riding their mounts than others. Some of us who punt who gamble get addicted and ruin our lives and some of us don’t.

    Like all industries there is a seamy side. There are owners of dogs and horses who see them as a commodity and take no care of their retirements which they have earned. There are many though who do. The lady who had the greyhound had a point, but it cannot be applied across the industry as a blanket statement.

    I have my own sensibilities. I dread a horse being hurt on the track: three of my favourites have dropped dead in their races (Persian Punch, Best Mate and Detroit City), but most of them don’t and I am prepared to take the possibility of pain for the pay off of pleasure.

    It is an escape from life and to borrow a title from a book about racing:

    A Fine Place to Daydream

    and none of us can have enough of those 🙂

    The End

    • Not The End 😉

      I just thought: I have a lurcher and to be perfectly honest I have often thought the safest place for him in his youthful years would be in a racing kennel. All he wants to do is run at 20 odd miles an hour in a left hand oval.

      Far safer to carry on that kind of business on a gallop or at Belle Vue than in a public park.

      I tell you, I live in dread of potholes.

      • Thanks for the reply and of course, whatever your mother may say, you’re right! 😀

        My mum has a rescue dog who is supposed to be a cross of a beddlington terrier and something. The point is every time he ‘escapes’ and living with mother can’t be easy, he bolts and just runs and runs! 😉 I would love to take him somewhere where he could get it out of his system in a safe environment or train him to run a bit and stop and wait for me!

        I’ll get a picture of him and send it to Stephen. He’ll know what to do!

      • No problem.

        Lyreen Mover was an unlucky half length second to Bandicoot Tipoki.

        My mum has a Cavalier that does the exact same thing as your mum’s dog. He even once scrambled through a cat flap and ran off to play in traffic. I don’t know how many lives he’s got, but he’s used up a good few already!

  4. Stephen Foster

    My nap: never let a lurcher/greyhound run on football pitch with the goalposts out. He or she, WILL find the holes where they should go at 35mph while cornering. NAILED ON.

  5. That is a stomach-churning thought.

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