Wednesday, December 16, 2009

London Fields Part Three: That Misery of Stringer's Clichés

Keith's account of the football match. I've heard many such summaries from him—of boxing matches, snooker matches, and of course darts matches. At first I thought he just memorized sections of of the tabloid sports pages. Absolutely wrong.

Remember—he is modern, modern, despite the heels and the flares. When Keith goes to a football match, that misery of stringer's clichés is what he actually sees.

—Martin Amis, London Fields.
One thing my English sojourn has reminded me is there's something about the insight distance affords that is precious beyond words. The canned made-for-TV drama of European football, observed in the haze of a weekend morning coffee, often appears to the North American patently absurd, probably in some ways more so than it can for the man trudging off to the tube station, betting sheet in hand, tabloid under arm.

I think the issue of distance is one the reasons why I think I've tended toward the literal when discussing Canadian and American soccer. What must appear to the world bizarre, almost frightening: empty beer cups lobbed at USMNT national stars by toqued Canadians in biting April winds, Chivas USA and the LA Galaxy forced to share the same ground, a CONCACAF qualifying set-up that pushes mathematical and geographical boundaries to their limit; seem to me as literally important and obvious as Keith Talent's stringer's clichés.

So when I write about football, I wear two hats; the free-wheeling, esoteric one that tends to scare off some people, then my literal minded locally made hat that draws in a bit of local flavour. So I guess this brings me to my TWO IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS.

Announcement the first: AMSL is going to change. No, not in terms of content, but in appearance. Sometime early in the new year I'm going to migrate the damn thing to something prettier and Wordpress-based. And maybe a bit in terms of content; as in slightly longer posts, perhaps less frequently updated. AMSL will as ever NOT seek to generate traffic in any way shape or form, AVOID breaking-news style posts, SHIRK any commitment to serious investigative journalism, and be as maddeningly-unpredictable and annoyingly unbalanced as ever. With maybe a short weekly podcast thrown in for good measure. The reason?

Announcement the second: In January, I'm launching a serious, as-yet-unnamed Canadian soccer blog which will feature long form in-depth commentary, as many submissions from Canadian soccer voices that I can muster, and a serious bias toward uncovering Canadian soccer history via archival research done by yours truly. Think of it as the Canadian soccer equivalent of Lapham's Quarterly. It will provide a release from all that pent up "serious writing, serious journo" angst I get from time to time.

Between now and then, I'm dedicating myself to having a merry Christmas, enjoying as much Bundesliga action as the rest of the month can afford, and updating this blog as time permits. So let's all make this year a good one, shall we?


Elliott said...

What if, umm, you really like the look of AMSL and are terrified of all change that manifests itself in any form?

Lanterne Rouge said...

I very much look forward to your Canadian soccer blog, having cheered the team on in the 1986 world cup. It's high time Canada re-asserted themselves on the CONCACAF, let alone global scene, although having just watched Asmir Begović play so assuredly for Portsmouth against Liverpool this afternoon, it's a real shame he has neglected the opportunity of dual citizenship and opted to turn out for Bosnia.