I guess it said something about the expectations for our national team when I saw my local supermarket had cut the price of England flags and novelties by 95% just hours before they were due to play their quarter-final game. As it turns out it was a wise move. Today, they are having to literally give away the stock. Which is why, as I type this, I have a row of "bronze" miniature busts of our failed football heroes staring back at me from the top of the monitor. I will be easing them into international retirement in a land-fill site just as soon as I have completed knocking them over with my elastic band gun.
Another tournament, another minor disappointment. We were rubbish. Again.
I can imagine being wheeled on to the "and finally" section of the TV news aged 100 when England are knocked out on penalties by Bermuda in the "round of 16" at World Cup Afghanistan 2066 and talking about the "100 years of hurt" since England last won anything. But worse than that, how many more times will I have to hear that Lightning Seeds song?
And it's the music and sport combo that has been concerning me lately. Last week I went to Lords for a Twenty20 cricket game. This is the much vaunted glammed-up short form of cricket where you can expect to see balls relentlessly slogged over the pavilion and wickets tumbling every other over. In order to create excitement they have a ring of speakers around the ground that blast out snatches of songs for every incident. But the songs they have chosen seem to have been bought at the local petrol station. 10cc, the Real Thing, Supertramp, Oasis. Don't make it too exciting, there could be a Panama hat riot in the deckchairs.
Back in 1950 Lord Beginner released a single called "Victory Test Match". It's probably the only good sport and music song there's ever been. It was a calypso celebrating the West Indies first victory over England at an English ground. The West Indies went on to beat England many times over subsequent years. Unlike the Lightning Seeds record label, Melodisc didn't see the need to re-release it every year.
the first journalism Lake ever had published was a history of Johnny Thunders for Record Collector magazine, since then he has written for publications including the Guardian, Dazed and Confused, the Idler and more recently, outsideleft.com as you have just seen.