May 6, 2009

Conflict and art


I'm not going to venture into the charred hulk of Arsenal-Man Utd. I made my peace with the inevitable after the Arsenal-Roma tie ("This was more like a crappy tale about a minor deity who a colonising force didn't even bother to incorporate into their own belief system. Neither team could have a role in this tournament greater than being turned into a shrew.") and that, as it were, is that. So we turn to face an overwhelming question...

With this post bringing the total to the sort of round number that may seem more important than it is, it seems apt to enter into the spirit of hollow nostalgia. I dug out a copybook inside which were notes from the prehistory of this blog — a time when the meaning of the blog was even more nebulous than it is now, if you can imagine that. The notes are on a motley grab-bag of topics and share a trait — shudderful earnestness. Thankfully, when I sat down to write the first post, levity came to the rescue, overcoming the cracker-dry bleuchness, setting a more pleasing tone for the rest of the blog and rescuing it from drowning in self-importance. (I hope.)

One of the stillborn opuses was a piece on the merits of attacking football. It would have been dreadful — a snotty, ill-considered screed. It put me in mind of the man in the Half Man Half Biscuit song, "found guilty of wearing a Brazilian shirt with a number 10 on the back, and swigging from a bottle of lager whilst talking of the 'beautiful game'". Shame, as well as actually considering the subject properly and realising that it was more complicated than I had allowed for (and I knew it), prevented me from fleshing it out. But it does indicate something useful, I think: a sincere belief that sport can be more than just watching some people run around and waiting for a result at the end. This belief is something I have occasionally examined here, in between the cheap shots at Alan Shearer (about whom, by the way, I've started to feel more sympathetic in recent weeks. Is that wrong?). It's nothing original, of course, and one of the great joys of having access to the web is the opportunity to see people take this idea and produce vivid insights into what lies beyond the literal.

All of which, I suppose, is a circuitous way of saying:

(a) If you haven't already read them, set some time aside before tonight's game to take in The Run of Play's readings on what Chelsea-Barça means, and Footsmoke's take on same;

and...

(b) I haven't looked forward to a match as much as this since...

...since...

...since Nadal-Federer, Wimbledon 2008. There! I said it!

7 comments:

Joao Jorge May 6, 2009 at 2:23 PM  

I guess i was also caught in the "Chelsea-Barcelona: the biggest game ever", but i was trying to convey to outsiders just how important this game is and i could only find 2 other examples:

- Hungary Vs West Germany, 1954 - the day the dream died;

- Holland Vs West Germany, 1974 - the day the dream almost came to be;

This could be one more step towards the redemption of art in the game.

Fredorrarci May 6, 2009 at 3:55 PM  

When you frame it in those terms, I'm even more excited about the game...

Joao Jorge May 6, 2009 at 4:13 PM  

Is there anything more beautiful than hyperbole?

Brian May 6, 2009 at 10:33 PM  

By the way, congratulations on 200 wonderful posts.

Fredorrarci May 6, 2009 at 11:47 PM  

Cheers, Brian. Though even I'd admit that not all 200 posts have been wonderful. 197, maybe.

Red Ranter May 8, 2009 at 7:36 AM  

Surely you all mean United, right? :)

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