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June 23, 2006

On What I Did This Morning

Corner Flags.JPG

How much football is enough? I thought I had an answer to that last week, when my high standards of tolerance were threatened by a violently antagonised body-clock and eyes that were beginning to lose their peripheral ability. When I began wondering about advanced glaucoma, well, then I thought I might pack this whole World Cup thing in and turn my eye towards South Africa 2010, a host who can claim a much healthier time difference.
But one of the tensest games of football I have ever watched has restored my tolerance to happily childish levels. Croatia 2 Australia 2, and advancement to the round of 16....

The time here is 9.55 am, but the numbers are now only abstract doodles--my body appreciates the time as something closer to mid- to late afternoon, and my gut hurts.

I've watched the game, and so have you if you've read this far, so no prosaic run-down--plus, The Guardian does a far, far better job than I could here, but I can't resist including a little bit of the gonzo description myself. So, The Guardian on the referee, Graham Poll:

90 min: Another red card!... Graham Poll, who is a stupid bastard, is not getting the final, we can tell you that for nothing.

And on Kalac's first, not-so-fatal blunder:

40 min: Under no pressure whatsoever, Kalac catches an easy ball, then fumbles it, falls on his knees and nearly pushes it into his own net with his nose, like a puppy.


A game is a game is a game, but something that encourages men and women to dance in the streets of Northbridge at 5 in the morning, in the blistering cold, is pretty damn cool in my book. Northbridge has needed something other than drunk scum-fuckers cracking skulls to techno, and we got it last night.
This morning my avocado on toast came out late because the chef at Tarts hadn't slept, and my friend had to wait 25 minutes to have a savoury muffin heated. But none of us minded, and the nice old lady behind the counter informed me that she had had little sleep herself. I told her we were doomed to enter a recession.

And I'll tell you something else: when the six of us played football in the Hyde Park, at five in the morning, with only a dim lamplight and the heat of That Game to illuminate our playing space, well, East Timor was still failed, Bush was in power, and two parents in Collie couldn't sleep for the news that their 15-year-old daughter had been murdered by two of her friends. There were streets on fire somewhere, and a landmine destroyed somebody's face, but last night I really, really enjoyed being human.
I really, really enjoyed being alive.

It's platitudinous, it's middle-class, and it's probably even cruel, but Australia's ascension to the next round means my community--my friends, their friends, the people who sell me coffee--are all warmer.
AHHH, such sweet triteness.

There's little else to write that won't slip into sentiment or dull analysis, and the shakes are setting in, so, farewell, and well done Aussie.

P.S. Kid, if you're reading this bloody thing, I got your texts, and they were superb. Obrigado amigo.

Posted by Martin McKenzie-Murray at June 23, 2006 9:50 AM


"Schwarzer's eyebrows meantime are currently being sewed back on by Australia's trainer"

brilliant. i'll see you at italy.

Posted by: luke at June 23, 2006 11:53 AM

I like the big picture post, Marty. But permit me to condense the scale for a moment: THREE yellow cards? Not necessary to imagine that surprise.

In this respect, at least, all's well that end's well.

Curtain, and Italy!

Posted by: sean at June 23, 2006 4:22 PM

three yellow cards, a bear-hug on viduka that went unpunished, another missed penalty, and kewell's goal was offside (i haven't yet heard that mentioned on ten's and nine's dizzyingly shrill coverage of the game).

twas strange.

we must be together for the italy game.


Posted by: marty at June 23, 2006 5:07 PM

marty -
i just wish so much i could have shared those mind-wired body-dead moments with you this morning. the misty park at 5am. ah, i wish i wish.
i bit my nails to the flesh at another aussie's 14th story apt on gut full of beer and wine and vegemite toast, in the company of three canadians, and watched the fog come up off the mountain behind us despite the humidity. you little bloody beauty kewell.
do you think we can take italy?
miss you.

Posted by: jackson at June 23, 2006 5:17 PM

bresciano and grella know the italian squad inside and out ...

i'm calling it now; Australia 1, Italy 0 – us through to the quarters. i'm touching wood as i say this.

don't even go there, you pervy git.

those blueshirt pricks (and i am half prick genetic stock, remember) don't *deserve* to go through – we have played with ten times the heart and audacity, and there's something about the positive tension of this world cup that is making me believe implausible things about this aus team...

good luck on your boys and ecuador; will be watching it and texting you as usual, lad.


ps. thanks for being such a mint host and companion on my last journey back, too. i can think of few other dilettantes with whom i could riff – between topics as diverse as faith, US foreign policy, sectarianism, music, writing, football, loves old and new, fashion, food and bumming, i might add – with such consistent flow, depth, humour, good spirit and aplomb. and wine. so much wine...

it will be too long until i'm back amongst the unique laughter of the glendower porch. it's like a little tardis of contained space time, removed and perfect and that i love returning to, amid the more ominous (for me, anyway) spectre of memory and stasis that perth so essentially is.

so get yer arse over to melbourne so's i can show you my balcony, cocktard.

or, as the french say, cocktarde.

Posted by: ruby at June 23, 2006 5:20 PM

Nice take on the round ball series, but you seem to have dropped off the perch somewhat since that unseemly Azzuri defeat... anyways, thought you might be interested in my ramblings on the game: www.theperthfiles.blogspot.com

Posted by: john cooke at July 17, 2006 4:31 PM