A particularly frustrating element about the English national character: we simply can’t seem to finish. No matter how admirable the effort (see two successive national teams make it to the semi-finals of the World Cup before being unduly defeated) or how close the prize (Michael, Love Island, £50k dissipating like Spiderman at the end of Avengers: Infinity War), the ultimate goal seems to always elude us.
Joss Stone became the unlikely lightning rod for 1000 years of English anti-climax this week when she was indecorously departed from Iran, which was supposed to be the final stop on a ‘total world tour’ that’s taken her five years and 200 countries to (almost) complete.
Not all of you will have been ravenously following the career of Jools Hollands’ favourite lounge singer so a quick update: while the rest of us have been miserably squatting over the dumpster fire of UK politics, Stone has been trotting the globe in an attempt to “bring loveliness through the form of music.” Unfortunately, the longest gap year in history has been cut short by the authorities in Iran who didn’t believe Stone’s claim that she wouldn’t be playing a public show (solo concerts by women are banned in the country).
Against all the odds she is, arguably, the most annoying British export other than James Corden – I feel for Joss Stone. Sure, jaunting around the world to trill Nat King Cole covers won’t lead to world peace but she wasn’t harming anyone, per se (apart from the climate because like, carbon footprint). Still, her deportation was beyond her control; the problem didn’t lie in a lack of documents but rather the curiously English curse of perpetually falling at the final hurdle.
At this point we need to accept our fate — much like that property manager I briefly dated last summer, England is just unable to finish. From now on it’s the attempt that counts, the taking part that matters. Forget taking home any silverware or finishing your half-decade world tour with a triumphant final non-gig in Iran. The miasma of runner-up surrounds us.
Fare thee well Joss Stone. Jools Holland is waiting.