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Is it all right to admit that Norwich streaker really brightened my night?

PUBLISHED: 12:46 12 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:37 12 August 2019

The streaker being removed by stewards during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool 
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

The streaker being removed by stewards during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Paul Chesterton

Nobody wants to see a streaker these days, do they? Well, actually...

I spent the weekend in Liverpool with a friend who is a Norwich fan so of course we decided to take in the match.

It was a baptism of fire for City but they will have learned from that and the rather dejected mood that permeated after the first half was hugely lifted by Pukki's excellent second half goal right in front of the Norwich fans who certainly made the most of the celebration.

Soon after the goal there was another moment that nobody who was there that night is ever likely to forget.

A man burst on to the pitch with his shorts and pants around his ankles and streaked as far as the halfway line before falling flat on his face.

According to friends in Norwich, the streaker in question is alleged to be a Liverpool fan who happens to live in Norfolk.

If this is true, no doubt he will not be allowed back to Anfield again for some time as is the 
usual punishment for such an offence.

When my friend and I discussed the incident afterwards, we endeavoured to keep our po-faces on - fans can't go on the pitch, potential risk to players' safety, security breaches must be taken very seriously etc - which, of course, is quite right.

But all I could think afterwards was how lifted the Norwich supporters I saw were by this act of utter ridiculousness.

The man was, quite frankly, not the most talented of streakers - failing to get his clothes off properly, he was severely hampered by his attire and he half ran, half hobbled across the pitch to the great amusement of all, including Liverpool's Bobby Firmino whose grinning reaction was captured by the cameras.

The papers the next day also made the most of all the puns.

According to the Sun online, for example, who seemed under the impression that the streaker was a Canaries fan, 'Sadly, he was not even wearing budgie-smugglers'.

In the old days, streakers were seen as what they are - a bit of harmless fun. Someone who has usually consumed a large quantity of alcohol, has a rush of blood to the head, and, in their moment of madness, decides that it makes complete sense to run about naked, thinking it will bring a bit of cheer to a dark world.

Nowadays, TV cameras don't show streakers. Everyone is supposed to be appalled. And punishments are high.

I understand why and certainly wouldn't advocate anybody else doing the same - this was a one-off on the first day of the season and if it happened more often it would soon lose any faint charm it may have.

But I can't help thinking that back when this kind of thing really was just a bit of a laugh and nothing more, it was a more innocent time and maybe a rather better time because from what I could see on Friday night, nobody was appalled, everybody's night was brightened and sometimes a bit of laughter and the ridiculous is just what we all need to get by - especially for those whose team had just lost 4-1 on the first day of the season and who, after a season of high flying, were faced with a very naked truth.

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A film worth watching

Speaking of things that brighten your day…

A while ago, I wrote a column about the film, Yesterday, saying how disappointed in it I was and several readers wrote to agree.

It should have been great - Beatles songs, a Richard Curtis script, 60s nostalgia, a love story and lots of local detail, being set here in East Anglia.

Sadly, the film just didn't deliver. I felt like I had seen it before a thousand times, only without the mix of humour, pathos and ability to touch the heart that Curtis' films usually bring.

It made me feel, actually, as a devoted film fan, that maybe I have seen everything now and that the cinema and I might have had our day.

On Sunday, however, I saw the film Blinded by the Light, directed by Gurinder Chadha who also made the charming Bend it Like Beckham.

Blinded by the Light was so similar to Yesterday - being built around beloved songs - Bruce Springsteen's in this case, with lots of local detail (this was set in Luton), nostalgia (for the 80s) and a lost soul at the heart of it whom you hope will overcome the trials of his life and find love.

My response to the two films couldn't have been more different however.

I laughed, I cried, I rooted for the adorable main characters and I left the cinema on cloud nine.

If I could pinpoint the difference between the two films, I would probably be a successful film writer instead of your columnist here.

But I suppose it really comes down to having something to say.

Chadha's film says something powerful about Britain in the 80s which still resonates today.

That life for the ordinary working person, whatever their heritage, isn't easy, but when we all come together and put our prejudices aside, we are all capable of finding the beauty in it.

If you're feeling even a bit bleak, go and see this film. Like so many of Curtis' older films, Blinded by the Light is, as Springsteen would say, born to run…and run.

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