Culture Magazine

Travel Sketches (Aston Villa 1-1 Tottenham)

By Sgulizia

Travel Sketches (Aston Villa 1-1 Tottenham)

Heraldic yet familiar, the action with Tottenham is always scorching. Even the most moderate deities of the pyramids of Teotihuacán would not prevent these torturers from torturing. And it is not because Redknapp is posturing like some avant-garde coach, intent on limning a tactical signature with demanding perfectionism (if anything, with his blend of heated passion and casual dandyism, he is more like a dinosaur or an okapi, an animal on the way to extinction); and neither it is because anyone in the team is playing with the megalomaniac’s fixity.

It just so happens that each match is inspired by the divine mania which Plato’s follower Ion attributed to poetry. Here, too, the Spurs were struck down by a goal against the run of play, as if by beating or bullets, and the search for an equalizer became itself irregular, barely negotiable, with Modric and Bale getting tired as though they had the SS breathing down their necks.

This epic character, perhaps, is conspired by the swooning Central European pendulum between the swastika and the dismissal of the individual. The club of Tottenham might be better described as a cross between hubris and sorrow, the gaudy carnival of heroic deeds at the foot of imaginary Thermopylae, listening to Erik Satie’s series of Gymnopédies, and the fatigue of the Jewish pawnbroker, carrying his bloody lumps beyond the Pale. No doubt about it, the transience of the Danube stimulated such contrast—a puff of smoke against the vineyards of the Wachau, the meticulous order of the chancelleries, snug salesmen wrapped up in a rough green loden and romantic travelers filling up unbound volumes of travel sketches. Like in Béla Bartók’s “Andante,” the fourth movement of his String Quartet no. 5, written in 1934, the individual self, immured between four walls, is exposed and threatened by subterranean knocks (or maybe the aboriginal, liquid element), and it has to strip off—a jacket, a rank, a badge, a number on a register, a sarcophagus—and to feel ill at ease. Mitteleuropa is a great civilization of defensiveness; engulfed in mist, the Spurs took these nostalgic whirlpools to northern moorings, where, all of the sudden, they played out with the visionary frenzy of Strindberg. Even in football, the Central European continent is anaytic, but the sea is forever epic. ♦

{Illustration for this post is taken from Guillaume Gautreau’s collection of photos; you can follow him on Twitter here.}


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