Years ago there was a lot of talk about the 'pleasure centre' which according to reports is a part of the brain, which when stimulated electrically, created, yes, you guessed it, pleasure. I am not sure whether this was true or just urban-myth but most blokes kind of guessed that it definitely had something to do with their knob. But where ever it is, the reports at the time, went on to say that if rats had their brains permanently wired and given a switch, they would sit on that switch, stimulating their pleasure-centres, until they starved to death.
This week, this rat, has been sitting on his switch, quite a lot - luckily for me, I can eat and smile at the same time.
I am not even sure if it is actually true but I think most people are vaguely aware that there is somewhere in the brain which when sought out for mental attention, can produce a mild but definitely worth having, perception of pleasure. Those in love can usually locate it pretty quickly by merely contemplating the loved-one and under hypnosis, a therapist might direct a person to go to their special place. The sign that someone is properly depressed, is when that spot disappears and can't be found for ready money, let alone ready thought. Just saying the word 'Enckelman', is usually enough to remind most Villa fans what that feels like.
There are a lot of thoughts and memories, which can produce a pleasant wave of pleasure. For me the list is pretty long but no longer than anyone else's. Les Dawson, Harpo Marx, the nakedness of Emmanuelle Béart, and a troop of other sweet-faced girls, of my unrequited youth, all bring the vestige of a smile to my face. I won't bore you with the whole list and needless to say, everyone has their own. But this week, I added another and I have been smiling like an idiot, whenever the thought of Villa 5 Birmingham City 1, crept into my mind.
Often verbalised in the voice of someone amazed, as - Five *uckin' one!
I keep using the word 'unbelievable' to describe my reaction to the score-line. But, this does not quite capture the real essence of what I felt and continue to feel. Something like, 'More pleasure and satisfaction than I ever dreamt was possible from the outcome of a single sporting event' probably gets nearer, but obviously, if you start coming out with that sort of thing down the pub, you fully expect a tap on the shoulder from a man in a white coat, sooner or later. So, I made do with a series of, absolutely-*ucking-brilliants, when I was asked what I thought. In fact the pleasure was so intense, I actually couldn't quite function properly and any efforts to memorialise the result in rhyme, were impossible as I just sat there pulling dopey faces, which would have made Stan Laurel look like Einstein. It was pleasure so pure, it was so ineffable, that it would have been lost in translation.
Is there more than this, I asked.
Okay, so it was an unbelievably brilliant result but all the talk of Barry wanting to move on, seems rather too believable. People always talk of agents and money, but down the years, the thing which really seems to have unsettled players, was them hanging out with the big boys, during International call-up week. I am sure, that being told that you deserve to experience Champions League football, by players with a draw full of medals, is an intoxicating and heady mix, for any player with even the smallest amount of thwarted ambition, eating at his vitals. He's done his time and paid his dues but I will be more surprised if he stops, than if he goes. For a start off, Villa are not guaranteed qualification for the UEFA cup and the UEFA cup is not the same as the Champions League. Secondly, although Villa can offer Gareth the big bucks, no manager worth his salt, is going to allow a player to dictate his signing policy. Obviously, we'd all love him to stop but if he goes I won't blame him and I won't blame the club. I even think that such an ambition might be driving the fantastic form he has shown lately and no one can doubt that Villa are benefiting from that ambition. His ambition to become an England regular drove him and now, perhaps the CL is the spur? Its a tough decision for Gareth because he is at his peak and in three years time, he will begin to decline, as most players inevitably do. Of course, if O'Neill was to replace him with Ronaldinho, the fans might learn to be philosophical about it, eventually.
We'll see but Gareth will remain a Villa legend, no matter what.
Talking of legends, the way Ashley Young is playing in his new free role, it looks like he might be a legend in the making, and such has the quality of his performances been recently, that the talk of him being considered for a similar role for the England team hardly seems extravagant by any stretch of the imagination. He was picked out for special praise after last week's Derby and McLeish described Carew as 'unplayable'. When I was told that Villa were second top goal-scorers, only to Man United, I started mumbling 'unbelievable' again, and had me clicking for confirmation from every source I could lay my curser on. It turned out to be equally true as it is amazing.
Villa's trip to Goodison offers a rather sterner test than their recent troika of relegation-threatened teams. And as Everton are vying for the same European place as Villa, we must assume that Moyes has been applying blow-torches to their gonads all week, by way of motivation. And, yes, Everton have been a very solid outfit all season. It is therefore, very much the pity, that Lawro has put the kibosh on the Villa, by tipping them for a two-nil win. So, should Villa win well, it looks like I will be looking on the Internet for any trips to La La Land, because another win might push me over the edge, into drooling idiocy.
But to be honest, I don't think anyone will actually notice.