Monday, September 25, 2023

Boss fight

Hello.

Here’s what I did yesterday. I walked into the centre of Dublin on a nice warm, sunny day. I sat outside a bar called The Swan and drank a couple of beers. I then went to a nice Italian restaurant and ate delicious Italian food. Or, as they call it in Italy, food.

I then wandered around some more. I took a picture of a very evil magpie statue and sent it to James. Then I came home and played disco music in my back garden. Chic? Yes, yes I was. Nile Rodgers, you are the second best Nile I know. I think your music production skills are incredible – not least because of your work with David Bowie on Let’s Dance – but I’m sorry, a 6,650km river is just a tad more impressive. That’s some serious nature right there. You might be able to fashion a baseline that can get people dancing, but are you home to thousands of crocodiles and monitor lizards? No you are not, and that relegates you to second place in my unimpeachable Nile rankings.

Here’s what I didn’t do yesterday: watch any football.

I love football. It is the best. But yesterday, I did not feel like I was in the right mood for the so-called beautiful game. I also think calling it that when some of the people who play it look like literal monsters is a bit much. This is why I’m glad we have Ben White. Our commitment to physical radiance is unparalleled.

The thing is, I didn’t need to see Man City celebrating and cavorting. So I chose not to watch. I’m not a fan of cavorters at the best of times. Which doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy some excitement, or indeed jumping around. Back in the day, if I had been asked to become a member of House of Pain, I think I could have fulfilled that role with some gusto, but do I need to see pale blue jumping around? No.

It’s such a rubbish colour anyway, isn’t it? ‘Ooooh, look at us, we’re like the sky!’

You know who else is like the sky? Coventry. And you know who supports Coventry? That’s right, Richard Keys. If I were a football club and I had anything that associated me with him, I’d simply change the colour of my shirt. I’d even prefer to play topless on a freezing cold night than wear that.

This is the horror we’re dealing with. I don’t know if it will make you feel any better, but weird Pep, maniacal sportswashing, Richard Keys rubbing his grizzly paws together, Phil Foden’s terrible haircut, Kevin de Bruyne’s ruddy cheeks, I don’t think we need to be witness to any of that. Let them have their meaningless fun.

I will have to think about football this week, of course. In fact, I will have to think about it today when I record the Arsecast Extra with James. I’ll be honest, I felt very dismayed yesterday. I guess in some part it’s because I have enjoyed the vast majority of the season, so when it stops being fun it feels quite acute. Fun is so much better than not fun.

Maybe it’s a bit like a video game. You work your way through it until right at the end you have to face the final boss. Even after you have accumulated all your powers and weapons and all the rest, they are hard to beat. It almost feels like they are cheating at times. You shoot them, you batter them, you do your special moves, you have them on the metaphorical ropes, but then halfway through they transform into something else and regain most of their life force.

It doesn’t seem fair, and you very rarely beat them on the first attempt. You have to learn how they operate and tailor your approach to that. Eventually, with enough practice and a number of failed attempts, you beat them. They are vanquished. The evil is no more. And that’s kind of what we have to do.

They are the final boss. Seemingly unbeatable. When it looked like they might be vulnerable, they took some kind of potion (this is a metaphor and not a suggestion that Man City might have given their players actual potions to help them peak at the business end of the season or anything πŸ˜‡), and held off plucky Player 1. Our job is to learn their moves, reinforce, avoid their special attack and, after a long, drawn out battle, thwart the absolute shit out of them.

Game over. Or something. I think.

It’s simple when you say it like that. In execution it’s probably a little more complicated given the vagaries of the human form and the fact we can’t actually use weapons, but in theory I think this is the path we need to take. Somebody please send this blog to Mikel Arteta and Edu, and this time next year we’ll be cavorting.

Not in poxy pale blue though. In red. A proper colour. If your heart was blue, you’d be in big trouble. Not that you’d know much about it.

Right, have a good one. The podcast will be out mid-morning, there or thereabouts. Keep an eye out for the call for questions on Twitter @gunnerblog and @arseblog on Twitter with the hashtag #arsecastextra – or if you’re on Arseblog Member on Patreon, leave your question in the #arsecast-extra-questions channel on our Discord server.

Until later.

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