Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Scream

 In times when every one of us wonders what the bankers and politicians are doing with our money, there has to be an escape in life. A night at soccer's opera can only provide that outlet if the intention is to entertain us, and not merely to win, win, win.

- Rob Hughes, waxing lyrical about the Arsenal

I feel like shit. 

I've stuffy nose, a head full of straw and a rapidly diminishing wad of cash. I've got a train out of Oslo tomorrow night, and I'm not sure what I'll do once I'm in Trondheim. I wanted to go to Tromso, but the train's full, the buses don't run that far, and I can't be bothered. It's a pity, because seeing big shiny lights in the sky was the principle reason for visiting Norway. 

Seeing shiny things light up the night sky is something most people find entertaining. 60,000 Londoners experienced something akin to the Northern Lights the other night. And today, a host of reporters have been tripping over their fingers trying to emulate Arsenal's on-field eloquence. A host of gooners are probably doing the same in various blogs around the world. 

I'm not going to. Like Wenger, I'm physically sick. But unlike Wenger, it'll take a bit more than a 4-0 drubbing to soothe my feverish brow. 

It exasperates me that this win will only serve to paper-over the flaws in our side. Yeah, we played well. Yeah, we scored a lot. But we were shaky in defence, and we've resolved nothing. In six games time, we'll drop a winnable game, and we'll be back where we started from. 

It shits me off. 

It shits me off like the felafel I had last night. It shits me off like this cold that's keeping me in the hotel lobby. It shits me off because we're so close to ruling the Premiership, but we keep avoiding the problems that stop us from becoming great. I saw The Scream today in the National Gallery, and I'm starting to suspect Edvard Munch was an Arsenal supporter. 

Don't get me wrong - I love the Arsenal, and I love Arsene Wenger. I love them because they play a form of football that will never thrive in this world, and yet they continue to play it with utter conviction. They are naked to the world. Their flaws are as much exposed as their talent. They are so close to being an unbeatable side, and yet, they won't compromise their vision. 

I get it, and understand it, and most of the time, I can accept it. It's just... you never like seeing someone you care about suffer. And I care about me quite a bit. 

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