Disclaimer: I’m usually not one to spell things out–but, for those who don’t already know, No Sleep ’til Hammersmith is an iconic and legendarily destructive live album by one of the greatest bands of all-time and my recent post titled No Sleep ’til Championship was a loving, clumsily attempted pun on the Hammers sad predicament and I meant no serious disrespect to their fans or their legacy….
Because things like…
For the Claret and Blue’s dust jacket quote:
“In 1964, when footballing legend Bobby Moore held the FA Cup aloft for West Ham, Micky Smith was in the crowd, experiencing the unique thrill of seing his club emerge victorious”
Grab me hard as hell every single time I read or think about them.
It grabs me because even my blurry transatlantic eyes can see/sense Bobby Moore’s ghostly presence and forceful imprint on the English game in the same way the ghosts of men like Red Grange and Gale Sayers hovered naturally around the edges of my consciousness before taking their rightful, proper place in my understanding of the sweep and scope of the living historical narrative of American football.
It grabs me because it reinforces the rich legacy and iconography embodied by and within the FA Cup itself.
I was watching the blurry footage of Sir Bobby holding up the trophy last night on FSC, a scene that I’d imagined countless times thanks to Micky Smith’s book, and it resonated on numerous levels, even though my cultural connections to it are distant, but developing (3 feet high and rising).
Images like that simultaneously connect and transcend eras and epochs, while lending them signifance and depth as touchstones and pathways.
I’d been pondering the craft of sports writing and its function within the collective consciousness it archives because I had just read Grantland Rice’s famous recap of the 1924 Notre Dame/Army game where he introduced the legendary Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse imagery/motif to describe Notre Dame’s backfield. The ghosts of men like Knute Rockne, Stuhldreher, Miller and Crawley live on in the cosmic, collective memory/mythology of (US) football fans of all ages thanks to Rice, just like the images of Bobby Moore holding the FA Cup remain fixed over so slightly and benignly outside of the rational present, but are tangible nonetheless–an intrinsic part of the very fabric of a given regional or national identity. These images, the memories they signify and the cultural currency they embody are transmitted consciously and unconsciously until they unite and coalesce as narrative; narrative then forges strands of identity…and the process breathes
More thoughts on this soon, and…
Up the Irons, Up the Hammers.
Iron Maiden and West Ham, right…didn’t Maiden emerge from the West Ham supporting sectors of London?