THE MOUNTING STREAM
Mickey Blue Eyes
Computers are almost indispensable for day-to-day work these days, but I don't much like them. After all, computer programmes are usually merely someone else's frozen memory in one form or another. I object to the sedentary mindset this encourages in thought and movement. Squatting in front of a VDU for hours on end is not my idea of how our species should evolve, anymore than is squatting in a pub breathing in someone else's body odour....or worse. No wonder we have so many fat, lazy people with fat, lazy minds staring at an unblinking fat, lazy screen. It would have horrified the late Ed Murrow for one. It was he who warned in the early 1950s that TV had the opportunity to become either a great learning tool or just "wires and lights in a box." Probably he would have said something similar about the internet. Looking at the tragic levels of obesity in our youngsters tells you which choice was made by too many of them. Ultimately of course any new development depends on how we choose to use it. Even a formidable intellect like Jacob Bronowski once described the telephone as a "useless" invention.
All this occurred to me as I reluctantly opened my laptop and tried for the first time to watch Saturday's away match at Wolverhampton on a dodgy internet footy stream - if I could find one that worked. Long term, streaming will be the source of almost everything. Future attics will be stacked with redundant DVDs, CDs, and even memory sticks.......time moveth on and waits for no man. It also provides some hope that the game might eventually rid itself of profiteering transnational spivs and leeches like Rupert Murdoch and Silvio Berlusconi. So the cultural news isn't all bad.
But the pre-match news was - no Mikky at Molineux. Uh oh, you thought, is this the start of a reaction to his long term lay-off? But why was I even surprised? We've suffered this kind of misery all season. Why shouldn't it close out the season the way it opened? Suitably jaundiced, I stayed the course. Predictably the various TV streams I tried were interrupted every few minutes or shut down abruptly, even though a usual wretched quality of picture sometimes improved dramatically - only to fall back to smudgy greens and staccato movement. It was maddening. No wonder it has helped produce "fans" mentality to match. Anybody who watches this way regularly should be treated for attention deficiency disorder or self-harm. It brings to mind Keith's famous pisstake of distant, sedentary pinkies that Stevie G La is actually taller than the 50 millimetres you see on TV.
Anyway, we should have won the game handily because we missed a hatful of chances. Welcome though the point was you couldn't help thinking Mikky would have made a decisive difference with his composure, passing and vision. It was a fairly mundane spectacle except for our early and late dominance which had the locals running in bemused circles as we cut through them with some splendid passing moves. I suspect they were mightily relieved to get to the final whistle without letting a few in. During our bright spells it was clear for those who wish to see that Moyesy is very close to something special. Once the team became his about three years ago - after all the earlier players left - you could see his team-building strategy emerge commensurate with our straitened financial condition. It has been a great achievement, one he and the players can take great pride in, as can everyone else at the club, top to bottom. The turnaround is fragile but it is real enough, and it took years of talented hard work and determination. There was no magic wand.
The highlight of the first half was a piece of pure class from Louis Saha, a turn and left foot shot from just outside right-centre penalty area that clipped the left junction of post and bar. Had it gone in it would have been one of the goals of the season. Late on, Steven Pienaar couldn't get full contact on a couple of volleys and they went wide. In the last minute substitute Dan Gosling and Tim Cahill went deathly close to seeing it off too. In fact the Wolves match showed how difficult it may be to close games out during the run-in. In theory we have some easy fixtures and that might see us qualify, just, for Europe, but there can be no guarantees. Fortunately, football players aren't computers.
But in any case the match was every bit as frustrating as watching a stream on a lap top, which mistake I won't bother repeating, just as I can't be bothered with the insanity of message boards, Facebook, Twitter (aptly named) or any other manifestation of an inferiority complex. Plainly we are still in the computing and internet Stone Age judging by the Neanderthal crackpots who infest these "places." (And, yes, before you mail me - you must keep taking the piss out of them, it's your duty). Meanwhile, I prefer actual, flawed human beings with actual conversation rather than computers, textspeak, flickering images and algorithms.
Afterwards came the news that Villa had been put to the sword at Chelsea and Birmingham had drawn. So a win would have placed us very handily in the chasing pack. Alas, no Mikky; therefore, only a draw for us too. Wouldn't it be nice to have a season relatively clear of injuries, contractual spats and financial concerns in an old and outdated stadium? If we get that, who knows what the present team would be capable of?
Sometimes we seem so close you can almost feel it.