“So when your bridal processional
Is a televised confessional
To the benefits of Axe shampoo
You know we did it for you
We did it all for you”
“A Singer Addresses His Audience” by The Decemberists is the band’s take on the complex relationship that exists between themselves and their audience.
The ever raging conflict between devotion and disdain that seems to be an almost necessary aspect of the fan experience.
And as for music then so for football.
Let’s face it, if the way supporters of a club and the actual club itself feel about and behave towards each other were an actual human relationship it would be as twisted as a twisted fork.
One party shows nothing but studied disinterest in the other right up until the moment they need to take yet more money from them and the other party endlessly searches the internet for any news of how the other was behaving and then reacting to everything like a jealous spouse from the planet Paranoid.
“Look at what they are doing! Why aren’t you doing that?! Maybe you were planning to do that but just didn’t tell me?! Maybe you’re going to do something even better?! Maybe you aren’t going to do anything?!” etc. etc. etc.
The real problem though is that they both want different things or (to be more accurate) they both want the same things but almost always violently disagree about how to attain them.
With the main tug of war being between the concepts of time and money.
Yet this isn’t the long-awaited smack down between Immanuel Kant and Adam Smith but rather a seemingly impossible circle to square between the notion of spending money and developing talent.
When one party wants money spent the other preaches the virtues of patience and youth.
When one party spends money the other bemoans the loss of what was once personal and special.
And don’t forget all the fuss about behaviour with one party spending half their time telling everybody about how great their partner is to be around and the rest of the time trying to get them to “maybe rein it in a little bit”.
Yet through all this seeming incompatibility the relationship somehow tends to survive (although at times that seems to be out of spite as much as it is out of love) and I guess it ultimately survives because the game of football matters to both parties.
It matters in different ways and for different reasons to be sure, but it very definitely matters.
And deep down they both know they need each other in a weird kind of symbiotic/parasitic kind of way.
It’s sort of beautiful (if the light isn’t all that great and you really, really squint very hard).