Tim Key: 'I bought my brother the official World Cup football. Only it's black and a bit small'



I need to get my brother another birthday present off Amazon because the last one I got him exploded.

It's frustrating when you put a lot of time and effort into selecting the perfect pressie for your brother only to find out, two months later, that it's blown up and frightened his son. But that's the situation. And now I have to start over, looking for something appropriate, when I've already been through it once, three months ago.

My brother's birthday's in April and I happened to be flying back from Australia, so the present I got him ended up being quite exotic. And by 'exotic' I don't mean I bought him a boomerang from Melbourne airport. I love my brother far too much to shop for him in Melbourne airport. I did have a cursory look in Melbourne airport, sure, and some of the boomerangs – with their garish aboriginal daubings – were exceptional, yes. But this is my brother's 40th, thank you, so no, I'll not shop for it at Melbourne airport.

It wasn't until Dubai airport, in fact, that I threw myself into the project.

If you've only just remembered it's your brother's birthday, the shopping in Dubai airport is great. There's quite a large Ferrari shop for a start. Jaw-dropping. But it's a stretch for a columnist to buy a brother a Ferrari, and a Ferrari baseball cap would demand a definite change of personality from his end to make it work. So I ended up in a sports shop and, after much umming, I bought my brother, who I love and admire, a football.

It wasn't just any football, mind. This was an 'Official Fifa World Cup Football'. It was before the tournament, so I had no idea if it was legit. I had my doubts about this one, I must say. 'Official Fifa World Cup Football' was written on it in bubble writing and the ball was black and a bit small. Sure enough, it turned out to be unofficial. Two months after I gave him it – and he went through the charade of thanking me – I started watching the matches. Their one was white, classy, and would have made the perfect 40th birthday present.

The discrepancy between my brother's football and Neymar's wasn't the biggest problem, though. My brother pumped his one up, and was kicking it about in the park with his son when it overheated, expanded, and ultimately – as my nephew struck a penalty – exploded.

This was confirmation that this ball was unofficial. The ones in Brazil didn't explode, or if they did, they didn't explode in any of the matches I watched. It's possible that one might have blown in Switzerland vs Honduras, or one of Nigeria's early games, but I think even then I would have seen it on one of the glorious montages at the end of the tournament. Certainly my brother questioned its officialness in his answerphone message. He was keen to know where I got it from and how much I'd paid.

So now he needs another pressie, and I'm pulling out all the stops. Apart from anything else, I'm acutely aware that what you sow, you reap. One day it will be my 40th and I'd like something pretty spectacular from him. He's moneyed and I think I could be in for something huge. I sort him out now, and when my time comes I could be off on safari or smelling the leather on a spanking new caravan.

I cruise around Amazon, looking for bargains. But I know what I'm after. And eventually I find it. Brazuka: The Official Fifa World Cup Football.

But this time it really is official. I recognise it. It's beautiful. And massively reduced now it's all over. I add to basket.

Happy Birthday, Jon. This one's official. But don't over-inflate it or boot it too hard, because if this one bursts then I think that's probably me done.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Nigel Farage has urged supporters to buy Mike Read's Ukip Calypso song and push it up to the No 1 spot  

Mike Read’s Ukip calypso is mesmerisingly atrocious — but it's not racist

Matthew Norman
Shirley Shackleton, wife of late journalist Gregory Shackleton, sits next to the grave of the 'Balibo Five' in Jakarta, in 2010  

Letter from Asia: The battle for the truth behind five journalists’ deaths in Indonesia

Andrew Buncombe
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London