State of the game, state of mind (time moves a little slower here)

State of the game, state of mind (time moves a little slower here)

“If you’re feeling low, then give it a go!
Try Lambert’s Sniffing Salts today”
You know when you’re doing a song about a small town
You gotta start it with a cliche, you know what I’m sayin’ – like
Time moves a little slower here
The paint peels ’cause the summers here are so severe
And we’re nowhere near no where you would know of
Locals here pride, they show up just to show off
Four men take a load off, just to watch the day go by
Philosophising with their friends like they’re Plato
They prophesise on the bench by the main road, right
They got price, I’m okay, if you say so, guys
But what do they know, Fox News got ’em lit
They’re shockers, fundamentalists, the new communists
A girl with the shopping list, clutch her handbag close
I’m like “damn man” then it’s all bankhands jokes
‘Cause I’m a gentlemen, but then again most of us are
First name basis in the bank, the post-office, the bar
The grocery, parks, hey lady I ain’t tryna grab your pension
The old men on the bench hum
“Direct from the transistor radio in your lounge room
It’s the entertainment that the whole family can enjoy
Well I say looking slick will do the trick so try barry’s brylcreem cream today”
-Hilltop Hoods, 1955

 

The smallest town any of us live in is our own mind.
“Welcome to me; population: 1.”

 

-Hey buds – would you like to go to the footy this Sunday?
-Yeah, Dad!
-Sure!

 

Why does anyone go to the footy?
Dreamers and the anxious attend footy games. They catch their trains, their trams. They walk with hope or dread, excitement or forboding; they walk to the ground.
Dreamers attend to drift, float, imagine. They don’t care especially for the result (though a win beats a loss). They hope for a speccy. Or a no-look handball. Or a sidestep.
The anxious yell, grimace and clench their jaws. They punch their leg. Some offer plenty of advice. They hope for a grinding win. And no injuries.

 

But all of them go for the footy. Because it offers something. Maybe a view of themselves in an imagined future. Or an imagined past. Maybe it offers a chance to get-out-of-the-bloody-house. Or to see a mate.

 

Clearly, the appeal of footy is subjective. And for all the many viewing eyeballs, there are many, many more eyeballs preferring to view something else. And fair enough.

 

This is a game, we’re investing mental energy in, after all.
It’s a highly-paid and scrutinised sport.
But for all that, it still has the intrinsic importance of a game.
Sadly, the game at the corporate end is populated by characters that have lost a sense of their own importance. A sense of perspective.

 

==
Well lets go, lets go
We’re living in the days when everybody sayin’
“What a time to be alive”
But I’m feeling out of place like I live in outer space
‘Cause it seems I’m stuck in time
It’s like we ride through life
Right in the shadow of the cold war
It gets so quiet at night
Like martial law took a hold o’ y’all ’55
-Hilltop Hoods, 1955

 

  

If you like it, go along. Go along to Kununurra, to Queenstown, to Sydney’s inner west.

@waringarricrows via Insta

@riewoldtjack08 via Insta

@notquietnewtown via Insta

Stand under palm trees, under concrete. Have a kick with your kids, your parents.
If you don’t like it, grab a book. Or a different ball. Or Netflix. Or the secateurs. It’s no bother.

 

-Maybe I won’t go, Dad. I want to help Mum set up the worm farm.

 

The smallest town any of us live in is our own mind.
“Welcome to me; population: 1.”

 

==
Time moves a little slower here
A day feels like a week, a weekend feels like it could go a year
And we’re nowhere near nothing, man it’s so true
I don’t tell ’em where I’m from, I tell ’em where I’m close to
And I can go through an atlas and show you on a map and
You’d still look me sideways and treat me like I’m backwards
But that’s just fine, it so happens I’m
Happy living in a city that is trapped in time
While you’re lined up in traffic I’m
Not panicked by transit, I’m back in time
For a tv dinner and an early night
‘Cause we get dressed to travel, got an early flight
Been doing laps of the earth, we’re doin’ laps of the sun
Tryna put where I’m at on the map ’cause where I’m from
Would never get a mention, but all that and then some
Once again the old men on the bench hum
“Right across the country they came in waves
Thousands upon thousands of flying discs descending from the planet Mars
For the closest shave try a Wilson’s razor today”
-Hilltop Hoods, 1955

 

Categorically no one attends footy seeking to be exposed to the half time entertainment. Nor for that match day experience; a phrase which here means bombardment of advertising, faux interviews and marketing dressed up as mass audience engagement. No, they attend for the same reason that people attended in 1898. And in 1918. And for the same reason that the home and away record crowd of
99,256
attended
in 1958
for
Melbourne versus Collingwood.

 

Because they like the game.
In 1958 they came for a genuine match day experience; a phrase which here means sitting or standing with whomever you like to watch first your club’s reserves and then their seniors, play a game of skill and art and courage and flair. No electronic gee-whizz. No kiss-cam. None of it.
Just two games.
On Saturday 16 June 1958. When maximum temperature was 12.5oC.
Melbourne 12.12.84
Collingwood 10.13.73

 

Like anything in life, the degree of fun you find in footy says more about what you bring to the game, than what it brings to you.

 

The smallest town any of us live in is our own mind.
“Welcome to me; population: 1.”

 

==
Well lets go, lets go
We’re living in the days when everybody sayin’
“What a time to be alive”
But I’m feeling out of place like I live in outer space
‘Cause it seems I’m stuck in time
It’s like we ride through life
Right in the shadow of the cold war
It gets so quiet at night
Like martial law took a hold o’ y’all ’55
-Hilltop Hoods, 1955

 

 

It can be a fun game to watch.
It can also be a stinker.
That happens. Of course it does.
These games are assumed to be unscripted.
It’s no bad thing, if you watch one game every week or three.
Maybe this idea is lost when watching several games per weekend.
Or when compared to a TV series.
Series of scripts and narrative arcs.
Or the news cycle.
With its despair.

 

The smallest town any of us live in is our own mind.
“Welcome to me; population: 1.”

 

Footy is a game.
It (sometimes) even has the impression of being fun to play.
Sometimes.
Like anything in life, the degree of fun you find in footy says more about what you bring to the game, than what it brings to you.

 

==
Where I go, where I go
This will always be home, no matter
Where I go, where I go
This will always be home, no matter
Where I go, where I go
This will always be home, no matter
Where I go, where I go
This will always be home
“If you can’t beat the summer heat then what you need is a Wordell’s
Wordell refrigerators, the cooler choice
The dieting revolution taking the world by storm”
-Hilltop Hoods, 1955

 

 

Why does anyone watch the footy?
Why does anyone read about footy?
Why does anyone watch a TV panel show about footy?

 

Is any of this new?

 

Bob Murphy seems to bring his mind to his life. And thankfully, to a degree, he brings it to ours.
https://www.theage.com.au/sport/afl/daicos-donuts-and-dreams-what-footy-s-made-of-20180509-p4ze62.html

 

But who is he?
Just one man?
Who are you?
What experiences, life experiences do you bring?
What are you looking for?
What do you miss?
What are you trying to recreate?

 

==
Well Montaigne lets go
We’re living in the days when everybody sayin’
“What a time to be alive”
But I’m feeling out of place like I live in outer space
‘Cause it seems I’m stuck in time
It’s like we ride through life
Right in the shadow of the cold war
It gets so quiet at night
Like martial law took a hold o’ y’all ’55
-Hilltop Hoods, 1955

 

Take or leave it.
Talk about it, complain about it.
Write about it, comment about it.

 

“A huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded. Here’s one example of the utter wrongness of something I tend to be automatically sure of: Everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute centre of the universe, the realest, most vivid and important person in existence. We rarely talk about this sort of natural, basic self centeredness, because it’s so socially repulsive, but it’s pretty much the same for all of us, deep down. It is our default-setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: There is no experience you’ve had that you were not at the absolute centre of. The world as you experience it is right there in front of you, or behind you, to the left or right of you, on your TV, or your monitor, or whatever. Other people’s thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow, but your own are so immediate, urgent, real- you get the idea.”

-David Foster Wallace, “This is water

 

We take a breath. We all go on.

 

In the end, the smallest town any of us live in is our own mind.
“Welcome to me; population: 1.”

 

We can never go back.
1955.
2018.
Time moves a little slower here.

 

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
-F Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby.

 

About David Wilson

Hit for a towering 6 by Mike Gatting at the Banyule Cricket Club, December 2002, theatrically attempting to reproduce the SK Warne delivery. The ball is yet to land. @e_regnans

Comments

  1. Really enjoyed this, e.r.
    David Foster Wallace – what a tragic loss.
    Hilltop Hoods – one of my favourites. Montaigne – what a voice.
    Nic Natanui – what a tweet to put everything in perspective.

    Why do I go to the footy?
    For the chance that I will see something new.

  2. E.regnans says:

    Many thanks, Smokie Dawson.
    Long may you step with the hope of seeing something new in your tread.

    I’m reminded of a walk that Nothafagus Cunninghammii and I undertook in a time when life was simpler. I think I’ve written of it before. She walked the whoile length of it – the Bibbulmun Track from Perth to Albany. I walked the second 500km with her, from near Pemberton. It took us a month to walk that 500km.
    I remember coming into a town (which we would do every 4 or 5 days) – I think it was Walpole. Or maybe Denmark. Anyway, people at the pub couldn’t believe what we were doing.
    “You’re crazy. You’ll never see anything that way.”
    They advocated hiring a car and driving it to distant parts.
    “This coast is all the same.”
    But we saw so much. Walking – we were observing at a different pace.
    Saying that, we probably see what we want to see.
    ==
    The game of Australian footy doesn’t need any dressing up.
    To see new things.
    Or saturation coverage.
    In fact, it probably suffers with those things – as it becomes compared with other (global) professional sports, entertainment options.

  3. Rulebook says:

    Interesting OBP I admit not as in love with the game as I once was for me a huge part re it being so commercialized and in reality a multi million dollar business Afl aren’t real footy clubs prefer the levels underneath definitely thought provoking thank you

  4. E.regnans says:

    Thanks OBP.
    It makes you wonder, doesn’t it.
    If 99,256 people turn up for a suburban footy game, June 1958…
    For all the money now splashing about the top level of the game, are things “better” than 70 years ago? And if “better,” how much better?
    (And at the same time – evaluating suburban Adelaide, Perth and Hobart, Launceston, Devonport?)

  5. Couldn’t disagree more ER. I go to the footy for the entertainment. I love the loud music before, during and after the game. Bring on the fireworks I say! I love having a bloke with a microphone yelling at me at half time as I converse with the person next to me. And how good was Meatloaf? AWESOME!! I especially love those flashing signs around the boundary fences. You know the ones? They change colour and flash incessantly and sometimes bring on anxiety attacks. And I just LOVE all the advertisements on the scoreboard. Especially the really loud ones.

    I say to my kids – do you want to go to the advertising this weekend? Sure! they say, just so long as we can play on our iPads when the footy comes on. And after half time, when all the yelling and advertisements and music s tops my kids say to me – Dad, how long until the footy ends and the entertainment starts again. Only twenty minutes plus time on, I answer.

  6. Luke Reynolds says:

    Wonderful ER. You’re right. Despite the noise and flashing lights, most people go for the same reasons as they went in 1918 or 1958.
    For me it’s quality time with my boys. Both at the game and the drive there and back home. Plus being part of the Collingwood army. Hanging on every kick, willing our team on, cheering or groaning in unison. Despite the lean past few years, we always get something out of being there, watching, feeling a small part of it. Some Pendlebury or Sidebottom brilliance. Watching Grundy and Moore develop. Howe’s weekly aerial brilliance. Seeing a Brown or a Daicos or a Kirby debut.
    Bring on Sunday. Go Pies.

  7. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Great perspective ER. Imagine the facilities in 1958 with 99,256 in the house? Beer bottles, smoke. Queuing up for the dunny would have been something. The game doesn’t smell the same any more ! Maybe that’s what it is.

  8. Frank Taylor says:

    Terrific stuff Bg Man.
    Love your piece (as per usual) and the comments, to all of you thanks.
    Gotsy stuff.
    I also love the footy – the footbal that is – but also the family/trinalism/personal investment – it saved my life once, but that’s another story and one that I’m still digesting. For another time….
    Thanks again e.r.
    Frank, Cheeseman

  9. E.regnans says:

    Love it, Dips. Soma pills all round.

    Yes, Luke. That’s very good. You’re building something there. Taking the time and the effort to carefully build and share something.
    I wonder if the occasion of the game becomes important than the game itself?
    I wonder about the role of routine in all of this.
    People with their routines. Their touchstones.

    Ahh, Cheeseman. That’s quite something.
    Take care.

    ==

    Funny – Scott Pendlebury last night via Twitter (@SP_10):
    “Some great care shown in those tackles, guys making super fast decision about body weight difference and how hard to tackle. More than footballers #brains”

  10. Peter_B says:

    Hypnotic, meandering quality to that piece ER. I resisted (coz I don’t like the sound of rap or the unfamiliarity of different forms) then I let it take me. Thanks. Those Hilltop Hoods guys sure know how to suggest a story. Great stuff.
    “Watching” the Swans and Hawks last night. First half was mostly cooking the risotto with my back to the TV. My Bruceometer tells me that when the voice gets from screechy to hyper, then at manic it may be worth turning to watch the replay.
    But sustained by food; stimulated by flavour; and salved by wine – about 10 minutes into the last quarter the game becomes captivating to the non-partisan.
    Its when the coaches and the structures begin to disappear under the weight of exhaustion and desperation, and it becomes an instinctive players’ game again. Hawks lock it in and play the system. Swans roll the dice and kids take a chance.
    Creativity rules. Who knew?
    That is footy. What happens while you’re busy making other plans. Love it.

  11. E.regnans says:

    Ahh, thanks Peter_B.
    #vote1 #creativity
    The Hilltop Hoods’ “Drinking from the sun, walking under stars” album is on high rotation at our place.
    Or on high download rate.

    Smokie – Montaigne – what a voice [raising hands emoji].

  12. ER, football, certainly AFL is no longer a sport. I used to go regularly through the 1970’s, 80’s & 90’s: I’ve been to two matches this century. Football, all top level sports are now part of the entertainment industry. Yes people still go, will go and enjoy. Nothing wrong with that, but football at its top level lost its jam tart years back.

    Playing a winter game under a closed roof, the inane half time and pre match carry on all part of the standardisation so pivotal in the game. Yes the AFL is a non-profit body, but is their a more financially lavish code in Australia. We’re playing matches in China, we can put sides in non footy locations, propping them up with lots of money, merchandising is omni present, there’s even a dedicated TV channel: what more can you ask for ?

    But how is footy going in the sticks, what’s happening with the local leagues, is Tasmanian footy going well ? Then you recognise it’s best acknowledged as part of the entertainment industry. I’m happy to watch it on TV, read about it, talk about it, but it’s so different to what I grew up with. Nothing stays the same in life, the one constant Is change.

    For me to understand where footy Is now i’m happy reading Adorno, Debord. They provide a framework for understanding the direction it, and the all other ‘sports’ in the entertainment industry, must go to survive.

    Glen!

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