Sunday, August 19, 2007

Tomorrow : Manchester City v. Manchester United; Today, Mark E. Smith.

I support the Philadelphia Phillies, baseball's, America's, and finally sports' all-time losingest team. I chose them as a secondary baseball outlet after the winningest, my hometown New York Yankees. Rooting needs balance, and the Phillies need help. They're often on tv against the Mets, whom I naturally dislike. Perhaps one of these years they'll make the playoffs.

It was only in the last year that I began to follow international soccer beyond the too-rare World Cup. I've been able to get the English Premier League through Fox Soccer Channel, and naturally the time came to pick an English side to get behind. The 'big four', Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool did not interest me, because they could not offer anything in star power, tradition, or economic might to rival the Yankees, broadcast every night through the sycophantic trumpets of John Sterling, Michael Kay or Susyn Waldman. Nor was I inspired by the mid-table Cleveland-like Tottenham, Newcastle, or Everton, teams that would always be slightly short of major success.

It was Manchester City that I chose to support, for several reasons, one Elvis-related, but mostly because of a Phillies parallel. I'm a Yankee fan; I don't need to watch other teams to expect success. Manchester City is the second team of a huge, post-industrial wasteland. They're known for continued failure. Last year I watched them stumble toward a mark in line with the Phillies' quest for 10,000 losses - setting a new Premiership anti-record by scoring a pathetic 10 goals in 19 home games.

Manchester is known for two things - Manchester United and Joy Division. There's just no room for Manchester City or Mark E. Smith in that sentence. That analogy has to end right there, of course, for were they to have brawled in their late 70s heydays, Smith would have mauled Curtis and possibly eaten him or strung him up in his own house and left him for his wife to find.

Oh my god, Mark E. Smith killed Ian Curtis.

Tomorrow, the two teams play. It is perhaps City's best chance in years (they haven't done well in this one) against their rivals. United is stumbling and without their two best scorers, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo. They still have Carlos Tevez (actual picture!) to growl at City's new signings. But the team that plays in light blue while fans belt out Rogers and Hart can take comfort in Mark E. Smith, who is somehow still alive.

Mark E. Smith barges in through the door of Ian Curtis's Manchester home. The family is out; too bad. Curtis takes a punch to the face and goes down, prompting a fit of vicious kicks from Smith. Curtis regains consciousness and finds himself tied to a chair in his own living room. He is forced to watch Strozek and then to listen to Iggy Pop. Ian is groggy, but he can still speak as Smith ties a stout rope securely around his neck.

What did Ian Curtis say, hanging there in his own house, knowing full well he was about to die? Only Mark E. Smith knows for sure.

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Anonymous Seema said...

Good words.

Tue Nov 11, 11:24:00 AM EST  

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