January 5, 2010

I'm looking back and I can't see the past

Ryan Hill, Why?, 2009

* An interview of Mark E. Smith from early last decade, focusing on football. excerpt:

Who was the first player you met?

Funnily enough, I met George Best a few times – first was in some drinking club in London in the early 1980s. He heard I was from Manchester and went into this big rant about how he’d used to get all this stick from the crowd at United when they thought he wasn’t doing enough. It was true he did used to stand around doing nothing for 80 minutes but I thought that was all right, given that he’d still win them the game. But he’d still get stick when he was going off from Bobby Charlton and the other players. He was the type who’d just walk into his local boozer and there will always be people wanting to have a go, if you’re like that.

The Fall did a song about football, Kicker Conspiracy, back in the early 1980s. What sort of reaction did it get at the time?

You couldn’t mention football in the rock world then. We were on Rough Trade and I told them “This is about football violence” and it was all “You don’t go to football, do you?” I remember Melody Maker saying, “Mark Smith’s obviously got writer’s block having to write about football.” About five years later, the same guy reviewed something else saying it was a load of rubbish and “nowhere near the heights of Kicker Conspiracy”. And now, of course, all the old music hacks are sat in the directors’ box with Oasis.
Do you play yourself?

I’ve started playing again. I’m a central defender. I like tackling, but when I play I walk.

Like Franz Beckenbauer...

Similar. I trip people, tap them on the shin. But I don’t like the niggling little fouls they do now, all that shirt pulling. The annoying thing about that Beckham foul in the World Cup, when he got sent off, was he hardly even kicked him. If you’re going to kick them, kick them. The Fall used to have a team, we’d play university teams before gigs. We played the Icicle Works when we were both in this hotel in London. There were eight or nine in our team, the group and couple of roadies. This guy called Big Dave from Lincolnshire, who was like the fattest lad you’ve ever seen, went in goal. And they turned up in replica Liverpool kits with “The Icicle Works” on the front and they’ve got this mock European Cup with them. It was 20 minutes each way and we went 5-4 in front in injury time and their tour manager’s the referee, so it went on and on until they won 6-5. It’d gone dark by the time we finished and in the bar they’re telling all the music journos they’ve won and passing the European Cup around...

Have you had any encounters with football hooligans?

It seems to me that the fascination with rough lads we’ve got now is a very middle class thing. They’re from small places, but not impoverished places either – stockbrokers who can forget about being new dads for a day and have a fight. It’s a sado-masochism thing, wanting to be hit. It’s like the kid at school who was always hitting people, you just knew he was a closet case. I used to get it on trains coming down to London. They get on at Milton Keynes and they’re staring you out and all this.I remember Man City had this group called The Main Line Service Crew. We were on a train on a Saturday afternoon going down for a gig and they were asking us if we were City or United and all that. And I said, “Hold on, it’s three o’clock, City are at home today. What are you doing here?” And they were going to Spurs or somewhere to try and cause trouble at half time, then they’d be back up on the train to get to Maine Road when the away fans are coming out. That’s the sort of mentality they’ve got.

* Two For Tuesday (taken from D. E. Rasso's year-end compilation):

-- It Don't Worry Me, by Barbara Harris and Keith Carradine

-- Oh, It's a Grenade, by Tiger! Shit! Tiger! Tiger!

* "When we talk about lying, and especially about lying among acting men, let us remember that the lie did not creep into politics by some accident of human sinfulness. Moral outrage, for this reason alone, is not likely to make it disappear. The deliberate falsehood deals with contingent facts; that is, with matters that carry no inherent truth within themselves, no necessity to be as they are . . . . [This deception] never comes into a conflict with reason, because things could indeed have been as the liar maintains they were. Lies are often much more plausible, more appealing to reason, than reality, since the liar has the great advantage of knowing beforehand what the audience wishes or expects to hear. He has prepared his story for public consumption with a careful eye to making it credible, whereas reality has the disconcerting habit of confronting us with the unexpected, for which we were not prepared." -- Hannah Arendt


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