Categories
garrison games

the agony and the ecstasy of the /r/soccer headline list

Football holds a concerningly large space in my life, if anything because of how constant it is. There’s always something ongoing within the sport to tug at your attention – be it the mother of a French player flipping shit, a shock equalizer in extra time, or it somehow coming Rome. To badly quote that one ‘Mitchell and Web’ skit, football means so much as there’s “everything to play for and forever to play it in” – there’ll never be any real resolution, meaning you can tune in and out at ease. The sport is always there in some form or guise, eating away at time, boredom, and the awkwardness of small talk in the barbers. It’s hard to understate how comforting endless highlight shows can become, especially at a time where any shred of normality has been stripped from our lives. As Sam Diss put it for ‘Mundial’, there’s “no better salve for a sore head or a tired body than to sit in front of the warming glow of the 13” laptop screen and quietly watch Spurs and Chelsea scrap it out for two-and-a-bit hours including the inane chit-chat”. This calming certainty is hard to understate – you almost know what exact emotions to expect, what players will get shouted about on Twitter, what talking points you’ll pad out inane chatter with. But what happens when these expectations get shattered?

I don’t remember exactly when I was first exposed to the /r/soccer headline list, in part as you can’t really seek it out. The post has no central location or author, with random members of the subreddit reposting it under cursed stories. This list compiles weird events in the sport without context or discretion – almost overwhelming the reader through sheer absurdity. These weird headlines cover all aspects of the sport (and life in general) – be it Leroy Fer accidentally buying a horse, Wayne Hennessy being ‘desperate’ to learn about the Nazis, or Zlatan calling France a shit country. In the six years following its first appearance, the list has grown to comical lengths – you always discover something new each time you revisit it, as if the punchlines are waiting to reveal themselves. On account of this, I’ve found myself showing the list to new acquaintances as a weird quasi-icebreaker, in one case reading it out to an (admittedly quite ambivalent) ex as I sat there in a McDonald’s. This collection of dumb football stories has taken on a significant role in my life, even if I can’t work out exactly why.

Categories
choons

awkwardly peering at the rave voyeur

Quite unsurprisingly, this current heatwave messed whatever remained of my schedule up. The past few days have gone by in a strange blur – with me spending as much time as possible outside, having all nighters snowball into something larger, and constantly refreshing the HSE’s vaccination portal. Ireland very rarely experiences warm weather on this scale, meaning everything went out the window the second I had to open it. Productivity flatlined, skin failed to burn, and anything beyond reading dumb books on my Kindle felt impossible. On account of this, I’ve done fuck all this week beyond overthinking about producer Lorenzo Senni – bringing my semi-ironic obsession with Italy to new heights. It’s set to rain shortly after this piece goes live, hopefully meaning we’ll be back to more regular programming by next Friday. That or I’ll throw together a 3,000 word essay about Giorgio Chiellini, scaring away all three of my readers in the process.

Categories
why we're fecked

eternal return of the same

The cynical side of my brain is convinced that Ireland is a country based on waves – be they of COVID, careerist coalition partners, or emigration. It sometimes feels as if we’re stuck having the same few conversations every five months or years, running into depressingly similar problems without any real conclusion. I guess this habit has been accelerated with this never-ending pandemic – what was initially experienced as tragedy quickly arrives back as farce the second it exits our memory.

There’s an undeniable sense of déjà vu in the media cycles during each surge – almost as if we’re watching the exact same b-roll of pubs, the exact same debates about generation gaps, the exact same lobbyists chatting pure shite without any repercussion. It sometimes feels as if we ritualistically psych ourselves up each season, angrily staring at empty restaurant tables or teens drinking cans. We then delude ourselves into thinking that COVID can be bartered with and promptly act all shocked when the virus refuses our brown envelope. Existing as a young person here can often resemble being endlessly bashed against the same wall – with those around us feigning a false sense of novelty.

Categories
choons

atrocity exhibition games

On some level all the music I’ve tried writing about this year has been based around intensity, be it the roars from some MAX/MSP monstrosity, the catharsis of tacky screamo, or the pure dread induced by the uilleann pipes. It feels as if I’ve always been obsessed with art that reaches the logical conclusion of its respective genre, if anything just because of how easily it can unsettle the audience. What was once familiar is presented in stark, uncomfortable terms – shocking us into finding new perspectives in the process. These harsh deviations further our understanding of genres we love by actively demolishing them, an experience that lends itself well to overanalysis and one that brings us to this specific moment in time. This week I’m going to cover some of the most intense music released this year, if anything just in the hopes of capturing this feeling of annihilation.

Categories
choons

harking back to an era defined by endlessly 404ing blogspot links

One of my worst habits is assigning way too much meaning to the menial. This excessive enthusiasm is pretty much endemic when it comes to cultural criticism – any piece of art you enjoy suddenly has deep political meaning and single handedly redefines everything around it, even if that makes no real sense. As the personal and political get even more inseparably blurred this tendency in the wider music press has seemingly accelerated – fun pop songs made by rich people are suddenly representative of something larger and whatever (or even just if) you choose to stream supposedly mirrors your personal values. I’ve been stuck grappling with this train of thought in the time since I stopped writing regularly on this website – if a cigar is infamously sometimes just a cigar, what makes a cool guitar riff any different? Is there any way to cover interesting tunes without it inevitably devolving into weird personal rants? I’m yet to work out any clear answers to this question but have instead spent my time listening to tacky (scr)emo records, which is arguably a fair bit cooler depending on who you ask.