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Everyone is somewhere most of the time, and dancing with Elaine

by Tony Attwood (tony.attwood@aisa.org)

Last night I went to my local jive club and had a number of extremely pleasant dances with Elaine who works in a senior medical post at the local hospital.

I mention it because it was a very enjoyable evening, during the course of which I didn’t think about Arsenal.  The 7-5 win over Reading is over, I’ve watched the iplayer version twice, I’m not ready to try and work out who, if anyone, we have available for the Manchester United match amidst all the injuries, and anyway I’ve had enough of the doom and disaster stories.

Elaine danced beautifully, she told me about the vital work she does in medicine, and I blurbled a bit about Untold, the books like “Making the Arsenal” and my life in advertising.

And that is what life is – being places, doing things, having fun.  It is what most of us manage to do most of the time.

But…

Two percent of Arsenal fans (apparently) left the Reading game at 4-0 down shouting “we want our Arsenal back”.

Two percent of the shareholders present at the AGM voted against the re-election of the board.  Shock horror, tidal waves, the moon collides with the earth, the end of civilisaton etc.

Both events (the Reading game and the AGM at Arsenal) combined with those mentioned here in recent days (ref charged with racist comments, Serbia arrests England internationals etc etc etc) just makes me think… well, actually I don’t know what it makes me think.  But they make me think.

I support Arsenal because my mum and dad and their families supported Arsenal, because we were a north London family, and you either supported Tottenham or Arsenal.   That was it.   Tribal.

I still support Arsenal, but the media, aptly aided by the blogs have bought into this supporter revolt scheme, for getting that there was a strong Anti-Arsenal movement even at the Manor Ground in the 19th century.

Yes the revolet is nothing new.  Remember the “Arsenal have had 50 red cards since Wenger arrived”… that story (with obviously the total varying from time to time) ran for ages.  No one actually checked that the number was right, no one compared with the number of red cards from anyone else.  The story was actually a load of old cobblers.

Same with the “years without a trophy”.   Technically it is correct, but as Wenger said, if we had beaten Birmingham and had our trophy, but not ended up in the top four that season, what then?   Birmingham, as you may know, are now on the slippery slope, and last I heard the auditors had resigned because they couldn’t get hold of the figures.  Expulsion from the league because of failure to submit accounts is a possibility.  Money laundering, broken promises of wealth, disappearing directors…  Ah but never mind.  They won the league cup.

It all comes down to priorities, and the way you see your world.

Life is out there – it happens – it is real (unless you are a member of one of those cults that thinks that it is all a fantasy and we are all of us stuck inside a video game being played on a galactic scale).

What changes between us is the interpretation of events.  I interpret life (at least today) as being OK.  Good, even.   A great dance last night and the chance of another tonight following a text from Lorraine saying she and her pals are going to a dance in Bedford tonight and hopes to meet me there.  (No, I don’t have a lady in every town that has a dance hall, I just like dancing and fortunately I am moderately good at it – as opposed to football at which I am crap).

The fact is I can go and watch the Arsenal and they lose and I get a bit down.  I watch them win the most incredible league cup match of all time, and I get rather up.   The Reading boss said something like it being the worst night of his life.  Same match.  Same reality.  Different lens.

Arsenal is central to my life, but it is not all my life.   Jive is central to my life, but not all my life.   Somewhere, somehow we need a balance, which takes us away from football being more than life, from half of football being fought in the courts, from 2% of fans leaving at half time and making the headlines.  From the racism and the homophobia.

Put another way: it is not a case of “I want my Arsenal back” but of “I want my fun back.”

If you watch the film of the Arsenal end at Reading when the fifth goal went in you will see total joy, delirium, excitement, enthusiasm and above all screaming disbelief.   If those of us who jive regularly were filmed you would see smiles and pleasure as we meander around the dance floor trying to express in wrist and arm  movements exactly what the hell we are going to do next.  Less emotion maybe, but still lots of pleasure.

There is no pleasure when Arsenal lose, or when a dance turns out to be less exciting than I had hoped.  But it is life.  Life is like this.   Stuff happens.  The aim is to be happy some of the time.

We are all of us somewhere looking through a lens and interpreting the results.  We all of us see things in different ways.  But that does not mean we have to descend into the sort of stuff involving court processes, demands for the manager’s head, arrests of players, or anything else.   We can campaign against Fifa, but still smile.

Everyone is somewhere most of the time.  It is just that for some of us that somewhere is a) varied and b) not something that turns us into raging racists or people who will demand another man loses his job just because we are 4-0 at half time.

There is so much more to life than walking out of a ground shouting abuse at the manager after 45 minutes, or voting against the reappointment of members of the Arsenal board.   There is a world out there.  Most of us are in it, having fun some of the time.  Sadly, some people are not.

 Last story…

England run by idiots, players arrested, racism untouched

——————————–

The books…

The sites…

6 comments to Everyone is somewhere most of the time, and dancing with Elaine

  • avatar Gooner S

    When I was a kid I could walk to Highbury from our Stoke Newington home, a long walk, but I could walk it. That said, we never went to the football much because we couldn’t afford it so when I did go, as a kid, I enjoyed it regardless of the result. That was good because that coincided with some very poor Arsenal teams! It’s difficult but I try to keep that outlook now. I did lose that perspective for a long time and that coincided with me being able to afford to go to matches on my own. I would get terribly upset if Arsenal lost and this lasted through my teens, twenties and into my early -thirties. Now I am at the thick end of my forties I try to put the result behind me by the time I get home or I try to put it behind me, if I’m watching at home, as soon as the coverage finishes on the TV. It doesn’t stop me getting upset at the time but there are more important things in life.

    This might seem odd but now I go to watch Arsenal play and hope they win. I don’t go to see them win. I enjoy seeing good games and good players (from either side). I find I enjoy it more that way.

    There are other perspectives that influence things and yes it is expensive to go and watch Arsenal and I dont know for how much longer I will be able to afford to go but once I’ve paid for my season ticket I try to get the most out of it.

  • avatar Gerry Lennon

    I am somewhere all of the time, but not eveywhere … that would be spooky?
    I also watch the Reading game twice … alas, my dogs did not have Greenwich Meantime on their curriculum during puupyhood, so to them, 4.0am is time to get up … so having an early breakfast I filled in time watching on the A-player, despite watching it live the night before. I had to wait until mid-day before seeing the second half as it wasn’t ready then. I recommend people not to skip the first half if you want to get the full appreciation of
    the transformation, particulay after the subs were made.
    One thing that pleased me was to see young Thomas Eisfeld share the emotion of winning. He is normally ultra cool even when scoring. I started to worrry he might be a little homesick and was not enjoying his time here. After that performance he has got a lot to look forwards too from here on?
    On first viewing, the whole unimaginable result was so great that the little things can escape into the ether. Even the first half review made me think Jenkinson has be doing something about his weakness of only using one foot. Several times he used his left foot in this game. Unfortunately, he also seem to wander across to the left wing, either to make a short pass with his left foot, or turn back to pass with his right? May be he is being lined up for the much needed defensive cover for Gibbs?
    Come Saturday, like yourself, I will take the result as it comes. Giroud out-scoring RVP would be nice. A draw would be acceptable, Indeed, nil against us would be fine?

  • avatar Matt Clarke

    Tony: I have just come home from my last day at my job (starting at a new place Monday). My work takes me out and about and one of the last places i went to was to Rushden Hospital.

    Now, I don’t know if that’s where you were for your dance (and don’t bother to tell either way) but I was thinking of you when I was there…”What are the chances of meeting Tony? Will he remember my name if I say Hi?”.

    Any road up…the point is (long overdue,I know) … you are making a difference with this website, I am sure…maybe slowly and slightly, but for sure. People do visit (as you know) and do ‘listen’.

    So, don’t let them bring you down, or lead you to think that you are in a minority. Remember the adage, “Empty vessels make most noise”.

  • avatar nicky

    A manager with a rather one-track mind once said something like “Football isn’t just a matter of life or death. It’s more important than that”.
    I hope we have now moved on from that somewhat blinkered view.
    However,from the occasional comment I read on this and other sites, it is clear that backing for our great Club still produces the most vociferous of language and obscenities.
    Whether we like it or not, at the end of the day, football in all its guises is still only a game.
    If we can remember that, while still supporting our Club, we will emerge as better individuals, less bigoted in our views and probably nicer to those around us.
    It’s just a matter of getting our priorities right.

  • avatar Rich_Fryer

    I go into each game now thinking that Arsenal will lose. We may play well, but through some combination of fate, bad luck, cheating or other we’ll lose. I just hope we play well and no one gets hurt. I’ve found that so far, I’ve enjoyed the season a lot more. It’s hard, especially for games like the Norwich one where despite all I told myself, I still thought we’d win it and was sad when we didn’t, but it’s what I’m trying to teach myself. I’m worried for Man U, but as long as the players give their all, I’ll try not to get to sad when the ref fails, Rooney dives and the commentators try to spin everything against us. Come on Arsenal, I’m supporting you no matter the result.

  • avatar Brickfields Gunners

    Another gem , Tony ,and almost ditto of what I ‘ve been thinking recently .Have to agree also with the gents above whose sentiments mirror mine .
    Every loss hurts but I try not take it too personal and try to move on ,hoping that we will righten ourselves at the next game .The Arsenal have been victims of gross injustice but I believe that redemption is near and the cannons will again roar .
    The Reading game was an uplifting experience and did put me in a good mood for a few days.The loss to ManUre at Oldde Toilet was not unexpected but I was hoping at the very least a draw .
    Am now looking for us to show some intent in the CL by winning in Germany .Up the Gunners !