Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Andy Warhol, Arrigo Sacchi, and Morton Feldman

Funny day today. I was walkingto the Canadian Music Centre to pick up some contemporary Canadian music for a grant application, listening to Morton Feldman's "For Samuel Beckett" and thinking about a New Yorker article I read last night about Andy Warhol and the sort of final subway stop on art and representation that is modernity.

What a pretentious twat, I know. But stay with me.

So, basically I thought to myself, listening to Feldman's discordant strains on my iPod: hasn't football kind of become the inescapable singularity that art has? I mean, basically art is over; that's it. There's no more undiscovered country about the limits of representation. Art will now forever be commerce and conception; there is no more form, and very little content. It now all kowtows to art theory, and grant application committees.

Same with music; the only "new" music being made, at least in contemporary spheres, either comments on older forms in a sort of post-modern way, or steals from pop music, orchestrates it, and calls it "classical music." And then I kind of thought back to Jonathan Wilson's piece about how Arrigo Sacchi sort of said tactics were over, and maybe it has nothing to do (or everything to do) with television. Maybe it has everything to do with the fact tactical exploration has reached its limit.

Football has no more room to go; it simply is what it is, and will always be in search of something ahead of itself that quite frankly isn't there. There won't ever be another Maradona because he was the last stop on that particular train. It's amazing it took until the eighties for football to sort itself out tactically, but there it is. AC Milan, then the Champions League, the Premier League, money, all football resembles itself and any forward movement is an allusion, like walking backward on a conveyor belt.

Anyway, you could see it a bit in Reading's win over Liverpool. Not much in terms of story line, half empty for a cup that has lost all narrative drive in England, an upset but not really and not because of football either but because of bad money management. It just was.

On a side note, I'll be doing tomorrow and Friday's Sweeper over at Pitch Invasion. I'm also busy constructing my new site. Wordpress is fun and there's lots to do with it but it's taking me a bit more time to plug this in, CSS that, learn how to photoshop for crissakes.


Fitch said...

Ah, the old Fukuyama end of history stuff! Certainly seems to be the way of things, it looks like football will just have to settle for a couple of decades of refinement (better diets, physiotherapy, training, statistical analysis and probably technology) before people start getting bored. Then there'll be a period of nostalgia for the old competitions, a return to them and then a realisation that it's not that great anymore.

Just like religion, it only takes a generation to lose interest and it's all gone.

Speaking of tactical homogenization, the world seems to be having a similar reaction to sport in general. Sports that were once very popular (in the UK at least) like Cricket, Darts, Snooker and Golf all seem to have less coverage as football sucks everyone in. Could be that football is the only truly professional sport in the UK at some point in the future. Any chance of that happening in North America with 'Soccer' in place of Hockey, Football, Basketball and Baseball? I'm talking way, way, way ahead in the future.

NickA said...

Wasn't actually intending to raise your hackles (as per your Twitter) by linking to this article elsewhere - as somebody who finds your blog interesting and is himself a football writer I thought the piece merited further discussion, albeit necessarily brief on my own part due to time constraints (and it could have ended up in far worse places...).

Elliott said...


anytime you look at a genesis of thought with that general a lense, the rush to proclaim "the end" can overshadow the desire for specific innovation.

Dig deeper! Get a Hubble telescope and look at the pimple on Sol Campbell's nose. You will be surprised what you see, and what you don't see.

Right now we are in the football "dark ages of fear" where only Bundesliga coaches realize that taking risks and winning 6-4 is actually mathematically superior to winning 1-0. It comes and goes in waves, don't stop rowing!