The chat last night with Alice helped. After that, for added inspiration I picked up Gombrowicz and read his Diary imagining that it was a blueprint for this Diary, but where Gombrowicz writes about Polish literature and literary culture in general, I’d be writing about American soccer and world football culture. Alice also said that I should keep writing about craft beer, especially since I actually did (in some hypothetical way) monetize my beer writing effort by establishing a solid consumer base of craft beer bars and their frequenters so that when we launched our brewery there’d be places to sell the beer to. “You should write about the brewery,” says Alice. “People would be interested in that.” I think she’s right. Very wise, Alice.
And I think about the Free Beer Movement, American soccer and craft beer working together to make our nation a better place. There’s an audience for good writing about real football and real beer. Beer and soccer go together. Where do soccer supporters meet? At the soccer pub. So the first step in establishing a soccer supporter culture out here on Long Island is to team up with a soccer friendly bar owner.
“You’re always coming up with these crazy ideas,” says Franz when I explain my masterplan to him. We’re at Callahan’s having a pint. “When are you actually going to do something?”
“But I am doing something. I’m writing.” That’s my response.
“Oh that’s right,” he says. “You’ve started blogging again.”
“I don’t know that I’d call it blogging anymore,” I say.
“What would you call it then? If it quacks like a duck…”
“It’s just writing that is put somewhere where people can find it,” I say.
“How are people supposed to find it?” He fires back raising a signifying eyebrow.
That’s where my long-term masterplan comes in. Like all megalomaniacs I do have a masterplan. And it’s easier to write about the plan than to actually follow through on it.
“Football please,” says Franz.
“Alright. Football is a larger canvas. It’s bigger than craft beer. It contains craft beer. Through the combined prism of soccer and craft beer I can explore (through the agency of the written word) topics of vital interest.”
“You mixed your metaphor there,” says Franz reaching for his pint of London Pride.
What I’m thinking about is what David Larkin, ChangeFIFA Co-Director and General Counsel, said on Beyond the Pitch recently. Anto kept pressing Larkin about what the average soccer fan could do to help ChangeFIFA improve the working conditions of most of the world’s professional footballers. (Check out FIFPro’s “Black Book” specifically pages 9 through 18 if you want to read ahead and be prepared for future posts.) Larkin’s recommendation for how to get involved is to stop drinking Coca-Cola and eating at MacDonald’s, evidently the two corporations are huge football sponsors and institutionally indifferent to the problems facing lower league players around the world. What a disappointment, I thought. That’s all I can do to help advance the cause of the working class footballer? Stop drinking an alcohol-free carbonated beverage and industrially branded fast-food? I already don’t drink Coke and grabbing anything at MacDonald’s is simply not an option in the same way that I’d never set foot in a Wal-Mart or a Whole Foods. These are already lifestyle choices that I’ve made based on a commitment to localism and resistance to the creeping corporate monoculture. Like Anto, I wanted Larkin to give me a substantive mission. “Take up the pen and write about the injustices of the world!” Wouldn’t that have been an inspirational injunction?
“Not everybody writes a blog,” Alice said during our chat and I explained my frustration with the consumer boycott tactic.
“Some people don’t have a choice.” (Which I realize is a ridiculous response, but writing is what I do. When I’m not watching soccer or brewing beer, that is.)