Tuesday, 23 June 2009

The Undeniable Line of Music and Sport

In physique, sportsmen and women are incomparable to their musician counterparts. It’s not just the differing amounts of fluid, food and banned substances that craft these opposing isomorphs so differently; it’s their conflicting natures of dedication through perfection and creativity through crash-bang fun times that set them apart.

Rarely, very rarely indeed do sportspeople have an ear for good music. In the Guardian they ask sportspeople, occasionally, their top ten songs that get them ‘up’ for their athletic performance. 90% of the time it’ll be a big tune from said sportspersons youth, or a recent number one ‘big’un’ that you’ll here if you past any Yates’ at around 9pm on a Saturday night. To prove my point England spinner Monty Panesar recently stated Phil Collins was a …’big-time legend’ and that “I don't like hardcore rock. You know, really hardcore. Like... erm, Guns 'N Roses - that's too much for me. It's too heavy for me to listen to. Too many drums, too much guitar... too much..." Hardcore, eh?

It’s a similar way round from a musical point of view. It’s almost unheard of that popular musicians, especially in this country, should trump or be associated with any other sport apart from football. Forever in my head will be the celebrity football matches of the nineties, with such amazing talented musicians as Robbie Williams, Rod Stewart in his fucking Celtic/Scotland Shirt and a Gallacher brother (Damon’s excused). Also, remember the unforgettable fact that in 1996 football and lad rock merged - Yes, ‘3 Lions.’

For me, Britpop killed my love of football.

I, like many other musical people feel slightly tarred by the lad pop brush when mentioning a penchant for sport, especially in a nationalistic sense. I’m going to lay the marker down now and say it…. I’m a big sports fan. Pretty big, as long as it isn’t football. I have a strange sense of not really wanting to be English, yet wanting most English teams in many sports to tonk the invariably financially weaker country.

Maybe it’s the fact that I was literally rubbish at sport at school. I mean literally dogshit. I wasn’t even so bad that I got picked last. I was sort of a floating phantom of nothing, a physically weak runner who could pass the ball sideways or play a half balanced defensive stroke back to the bowler in my garden, who when attempting a flamboyant stroke was invariably bowled. I was weak and shit and seeing England or Great Britain destroying (or not) some small nation makes up for those years of falling over. It’s individual imperialism.

The fact that I knew what a ‘silly-mid-off’ a ‘cover drive’ and a ‘third-slip’ were, was held in deep secret as I went to one of the worst schools in South East London. A mention of cricket would mean you were without doubt homosexual. Football was our forced religion. I think I played cricket once before the bats were all ‘lost’ i.e. my fellow gym friends stole them to administer some sort of beating. Possibly to the PE teacher.

The line between the macho posturing of sport and the quite aesthetic and vulnerable side of music is a strange mix, especially considering the fact I absolutely abhor macho bands (I mean, don’t kick footballs into the crowd! What’s that about?) My penchant for slightly camp, weird, wonderful and whiny (see Mi Ami etc) music only adds to the bait.

I believe I’m a sports fan only because I appreciate its creativity; the special movement in a line break, the dedication in place kicking, the elegance in a backward cut. But I also like the violence of a spear tackle or a slog sweep for six. That’s why I also like a loud four chord punk scream-a-thon I guess.

Pavement, the masters on intelligent rock, were one of my musical heroes and were also huge sports fans. Bob Nastanovich is a huge fan of horse racing. Stephen Malkmus is a huge baseball and basketball fan! Read Here!

I don’t know shit about baseball, but I’ve played a fantasy cricket league and me and my dad used to always look up to see how many runs Graeme Hick had scored for Worchester on the weekend. Great England discard Ramps is still plodding along nicely though.

I don’t know. I’m not going to turn up at my next gig wearing a British and Irish Lions Rugby shirt, but I’m pretty much looking forward to the next Test against SA. I’m also looking forward to watching the Ashes but then I’ll be going to see Marnie Stern or whoever in the evening.

This stuff can mix.


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