A bit of a rant about football and writing.

It depends where you live, but you may have noticed something very important happening at the football this weekend. And, no, I don’t mean Beyonce changing the world again.

This is what I’m talking about. This right here.

And this right here is where I have deleted several hundred words about football, its history, and its place at the heart of British communities. Here’s your fucking Cliffs:

When my father was a teenager, going to the football was like watching the Clash at the peak of their powers in a sweaty little hall, with everybody jumping around and singing along as one. And paying a couple of pounds to get in. Football today is a One Direction stadium show. And, simplistically, the only people who can afford to go at all are, at the very least, well off. Or making substantial sacrifices. And why? Because we love our football teams.

I nearly said we love them in a way no American could ever understand. But that isn’t true. The American owners of English football teams have sussed it out all too easily.

So. Anyway. This is what happened at the weekend. A whole bunch of supporters stood up for themselves and said, We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore. Will their protest change anything? No idea. Probably not. Nothing substantive or lasting anyway. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t important. It was everything. Possibly the start of our last stand.

If you read about the walkout, you’ll have seen many people didn’t participate. They all have their excuses, and I’ve been told I shouldn’t criticize them. Well, fuck that. Such people have no place at a football ground. They have no sense of history or community. No loyalty to their fellow supporters—the ones who have been priced out, the ones who see it coming, the ones who will never have the chance to buy in. These match-going scabs are precisely the customers, the consumers, our American overlords want inside the ground.

Enough about football. Because it’s like everything else. It used to mean something. It used to belong to we, the people. Now it belongs to the super rich who use it as a tool to keep us in our place. Our meaningless routine. Birth. School. Work. Death. Breed your own replacement, and repeat

Educate yourself at huge expense. Run up crippling debts so you can come and work for us as cannon fodder in one of our countless machines. Making us more money, gifting us all the power we could ever need, emasculating yourselves while you earn just enough to pay off that first debt and qualify for others so you can buy all the shit we have to sell . A roof over your head. Your health. Education for your kids. One ticket a year to a football match.

Be a good little cog in one of our machines and while you still have worth, we’ll let you buy your opiates from us. TV, movies, professional sport. The internet. Shoes. Smart phones. All the latest trends. Maybe a vacation every once in a while. Maybe not. Because we want our money back, and we can’t risk you thinking for yourself. Focus on our movie stars, our football millionaires, and who is fucking who on reality TV. Donald Trump. Hilary. The Kardashians.

Oh, and by the way, when you costs us more than you’re worth, we’ll rip you off the nipple and throw you to the wolves. Or maybe find a place for you in one of our new for-profit jails.

Have you started getting sick? Can somebody in the Third World do your job for a tenth of the price? Will your children work longer hours for less?

Game over. No extra lives.

I’ve also deleted a bunch of obvious and redundant shit about the ever increasing gap between the rich and rest of us. What’s the point of saying it again? You either already get it, or you’ve buried your head in denial. Or you’re the sort of fuckwit who think it’s your place to accept the crumbs off somebody else’s table, because it’s the American way.

Rant over. Almost. But thank God for people who walk out of football matches. Who vote for Jeremy Corbyn. Or Bernie Sanders. Because I’ve finally got it again. After many months of abject confusion , I’ve remembered why I write.

This is where I find my freedom.

This is where I express myself.

This, as someone else once said, is a protest.

 

 

 

(Now if you’ll excuse me. I have a date with the television. Yet another football match. When will I learn?)

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