My hobbies are bikes, beer and being annoying. Beer is more a lifestyle choice but since it takes so much of my time and money, Iâ€™d rather think of it as a hobby. Being annoying is essentially baked in from birth., it is in the genes â€“ I know this from my the way my kids behave.
Already spiked on the hedgehog are hobbies that think they are sports and jobs that you feel you deserve but are completely unqualified for. Most of your prejudiced and stereotyped angles covered there you would have thought, yet the other day I wandered past a shop proudly announcing â€œEverything for the Hobbyist Fish-Keeper sold hereâ€
Fish-Keeper – now thatâ€™s a rubbish hobby. How hard is it? Get a tank, decant fish into it, spray occasionally with fish food. My friend tells me that at the extreme/deranged end of the hobby, there are those who proclaim themselves fish tamers. Oh come on: â€œsorry bob canâ€™t come to the phone right now, heâ€™s out the back tackling a difficult troutâ€. And while I accept that there are those in the watery kingdom that do look up for a bit of a bundle, once youâ€™ve removed the ability to oxygenate, even the ugliest guppy, grumpiest carp or psychotic tench hardly represents a lethal threat.
So what weâ€™re talking about is grown up tadpole collecting. All the fun you can have with a pool of stagnant water, a net and a million midges. Sounds great – put me down for Fish Fanciers Monthly (first edition half price with free â€œPike Wrestling Techniquesâ€ illustrated booklet).
Another friend is telling people he is moonlighting as a Dolphin Polisher. I first assumed this was a urbane sexual reference to which I was rurally stupid. But no, heâ€™s trying to convince otherwise intelligent people that the big tunas are covered in barnacles and other detritus of the sea, and his job is to give them a damn good polishing before they go out to entertain the crowds. From the nods of amazement he received, itâ€™s good to see the age of innocence is not completely over.
Other pointless hobbies include Gardening (outdoor DIY), Bird Watching (â€œooh a bird, oooh another oneâ€, repeat until death) and Mountain Biking (ride round in ever decreasing circles, searching for a muddy enema). From the crammed â€œlifestyleâ€ magazine section in the local newsagents, itâ€™s clear that there is almost no pointless pastime weâ€™re not prepared to spend significant time and money on. When the Train Spotter (Sorry Railway Enthusiast) periodical count passed five, it was clear to me that the world has finally gone completely mad.
I think Iâ€™ll stick with beer. Proper northern hobby in lieu of a family veto over whippet and ferret ownership.