Latest Posts

  • Football

    The song your A-League club should walk out to this season

    Last week, Perth Glory CEO Peter Filopoulos jumped on social media and asked fans to suggest a tune for the team to walk out to on home match days. Many suggestions were forthcoming, including from football hipsters who were quick on the draw to plump for Perth indie pop zeitgeist darlings Tame Impala. I spent a few seconds pondering this pop cultural ...

    On October 6, 2015 / By
  • Football

    How Melbourne Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Soccer (well almost)

    “Perhaps only in Melbourne does a brooding, hidebound and monolithic structure of feeling dominate, where other codes are sometimes humoured and usually dismissed as inferior.”  – Dr Ian Syson, academic and sports historian. Not many cities in the world can claim to have invented a football code, a code that becomes intrinsic to a city’s cultural and political life. This happened in Melbourne, and ...

    On September 18, 2015 / By
  • Australian Rules

    Blacks and “Blacked-Up Whites” v Whites: The story of the strangest game of footy ever played

    On Monday, June 11, 1900, Melbourne’s The Argus newspaper reported that a charity match was “played  between 20 representatives of the Healesville Aboriginal Station and a team selected from the Moreland Club at the Coburg Recreation reserve on Saturday afternoon.” Athas Zafiris investigated further and uncovered how six white players had to “black up” to play for and Aboriginal team because of ...

    On September 4, 2015 / By
  • Pop Culture

    Guerrilla Tactics: How PWG lost their stars to WWE but still kept their mojo

    In November 2013, I wrote for Shoot Farken about Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, a small professional wrestling promotion based Reseda, California. PWG has a reputation for providing some of the most insane in-ring action you’ll find in North America, backed up by the terrific atmosphere provided by the crowd. Even UFC champion Ronda Rousey and Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara have recently checked out ...

    On August 21, 2015 / By
  • Pop Culture

    Beat the Champ: Unmasking the connection between Rock ‘n’ Roll and Wrestling

    In his autobiography, Bob Dylan told a story about how professional wrestler Gorgeous George once came through his hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota, and happened to see the young Robert Zimmerman playing a show. It was a revelatory moment for the young folk singer. “He didn’t break stride, but he looked at me, eyes flashing with moonshine. He winked and seemed to mouth the phrase, ‘You’re making it come alive’,” Dylan recalled in his ...

    On August 19, 2015 / By
  • Pop Culture

    Wild Tales as the Sarajevo Film Festival visits the Herzegovinian hinterland

    There’s a scene near the end of Be Kind Rewind, when Jerry and Mike’s film is shown on the projector, and it’s interspersed with cuts to the small community who frequented the video store. As the glow from the screen reflected on their faces, the wonder in their eyes cast just as moving a picture. The light flickers from the projector and ...

    On August 14, 2015 / By
  • Pop Culture

    Surviving the Hippie Hell that is Haight-Ashbury with Absinthe and D.J. Lebowitz

    Within five seconds of boarding the train my mind started to wander. Warped graphic imagery, smouldering in the mental workshop of my mind for most of the day, combusted in an orgiastic cluster-fuck of the taboo and downright sick. Absinthe had played a part. Earlier that day I had read a particularly odd story about a man from Wyoming who had been ...

    On August 12, 2015 / By
  • Australian Rules

    Adam Goodes: (Black) Pride and (White) Prejudice

    And so Adam Goodes will make his return to the Swans in their game against Geelong this weekend. Football might return to being about the result. Goodes might simply be a footballer, one of 36 on the field, doing his best for his team for those two hours. His return has been ushered in after a weekend celebrating his contribution to the game ...

    On August 6, 2015 / By
  • Football 2

    Everybody hates the Pines: How Frankston’s football underdogs have survived 50 years

    The 2011 season had been a disaster. In fact, so had the previous three. The club’s senior team had now been relegated four seasons in a row, going from the highest level of senior football in Victoria, the Victorian Premier League, down through the ranks to the state’s fifth tier, Provisional League 1. Provisional: arranged or existing for the present, possibly to be changed ...

    On June 10, 2015 / By
  • Football

    Sheilas, wogs and poofters, Anzacs and Scott McIntyre

    “Could you imagine Bruce McAvaney saying that?” “No, I couldn’t,” I said in response to my brother’s semi-rhetorical question about the senior AFL commentator. The sacking of SBS soccer reporter Scott McIntyre last month for his series of tweets condemning the mythologising of the Anzac legend raised a tinderbox of issues related to freedom of speech and nationalism. Among these issues are ...

    On May 22, 2015 / By
  • Football

    Notes on an “Ultra” spectacular A-League Grand Final

    The Game The game was no classic. Finals rarely are. Like waiting in the dark room in pre-digital days for a print to develop, we waited for a pattern of play to be established in the opening minutes. Was Victory doing the boa constrictor on Sydney or was Sydney doing a rope-a-dope on Victory? It didn’t take long to realise that Melbourne ...

    On May 21, 2015 / By
  • Football

    English football with Cherries on top at The Valley

    It is a tall trophy and it was cradled by the suited man as he descended some stairs, guided by a suited woman carrying a walkie-talkie. On to the pitch they went, surrounded by security guards dressed in broad and thick plastic jackets. The security guards were silent and unsmiling. The trophy-carrier all formal officialness. And behind them, thousands cheered. Also, to ...

    On May 15, 2015 / By
  • Pop Culture

    Hitting the “brown note” with Swans

    Imagine waking from your beauty sleep to find that your face had been grated off with a coarse wood rasp. The laxative you took the night before is only functioning at ninety percent efficiency leaving you stranded in that purgatorial tightrope zone between extreme gurgling stomach pains and desperately needing to bolt to the toilet. You’re drenched in sweat, you hate yourself ...

    On May 13, 2015 / By
  • Football 1

    The Passion, the Pain, and the Pissants: Charting 10 Years of Adelaide United

    It goes without saying that Adelaide United’s brief existence has been a tumultuous one. Reds fan and ABC reporter Loukas Founten has been there since the first game and has seen it all – the on-field implosions, the inaugural Premiership, the pissants rant, #Shitgoalkeepergate and the rebirth under Josep Gombau. While juggling full-time work at the ABC – which included reporting and ...

    On May 7, 2015 / By
  • Pop Culture

    Never Ghana Give You Up: The true story of how Malta saved the music industry

    Language. Useful multi-tool to the acute-minded savant. Cruel cattle grid to the dim-witted nimrod nincompoop who still insists on pointing at the sky, slack-jawed in utter amazement each time an aeroplane flies by. Avant-garde artsy-fart Laurie Anderson reasonably proclaimed in her abstractly oblique, yet directly obvious installation of pretension “Language is a Virus” that, “Language. It’s a virus!” She incessantly repeats the refrain over ...

    On April 28, 2015 / By
  • Football

    Modern football and urban alienation under the Golden Arches in Maastricht

    An underground freeway is being built on the eastern edge of Maastricht. The current site is a broad expanse of dust. Middle of the range sedans and trucks speed along the four lane, two-way road. There are as good as no pedestrians about. It is a mild evening, one of the first of spring, and those enjoying their recreation are on the ...

    On April 22, 2015 / By
  • Pop Culture

    Record Store Day: Learning to love Swedish electroacoustic music while staring into the vinyl abyss

    Most ears only hear a succession of disconnected blips, bleeps and whooshes. Occasionally, a disembodied voice floats in reciting an apparently random piece of text in a foreign language. Swedish maybe? Is that a man barking or just the sound of an organ note compressed and modulated? I spent a lot of time at the turn of the century listening to such things. And I ...

    On April 17, 2015 / By
  • Football 2

    This is not the A-League but the Kids are definitely alright

    Low-hanging gums creak welcomingly as we make our way down the cracked, undulating pathway. My son – torn between scurrying ahead and staying close to me – surveys the expanse of green lawn before us, trying to pick out an ally, his hand gripping mine. He soon spots one and I feel his hand worm its way out of mine until the ...

    On April 16, 2015 / By
  • Football 4

    A Magyar homecoming at Melbourne’s Greek Derby

    Just as we’re moving from one side of the ground to the other, South Melbourne score. For the 20 seconds or so we lose sight of the pitch, venturing behind the hoardings beneath the southern end scoreboard, Hellas go one up against old rivals Heidelberg United. We could hear the Hellas fans cheer. We had been sitting on the same side as ...

    On April 10, 2015 / By
  • Football

    FC Union Berlin vs FC St.Pauli: The search for the “authentic” football experience

    1. FC Union Berlin vs. FC St.Pauli at Stadion An der Alten Försterei FC Union: 1: St.Pauli: 0 Football is a practice of cultural production. Being a fan is intrinsic to issues of identity – nationalism, parochialism, ideology, gender. The football stadium is, most often, an overwhelmingly male space. Fans claim space within the city; filling up trains and dominating sidewalks. The ...

    On April 1, 2015 / By
  • Pop Culture 1

    Who killed the Gods of Rock?

    My first exposure to the Gods of Rock was the Robert Plant poster in my stepbrother’s bedroom. It must have been about 1980, my brother was 16 or 17. He played bass in a high school rock band. I think they did a few Led Zeppelin covers. The poster had an iconic look, as in the religious sense of the word. Not that I really knew what “iconic”  meant at ...

    On March 26, 2015 / By
  • Football

    10 Anti-Racist Songs for the A-League’s #EraseRacism Round

    This weekend, Round 22 of the Hyundai A-League will be played. It has also been named the ‘Erase Racism Round’. According to the media release from All Together Now, an organisation that promotes the prevention of racist behaviour in Australia: The initiative will aim to highlight the commitment of the Hyundai A-League and the players at all clubs in ensuring that racism ...

    On March 20, 2015 / By
  • Pop Culture

    LLAP: Mr Nimoy, you always shall be my friend

    They say you should live your life so the Westboro Baptist Church will picket your funeral. I don’t know who exactly ‘they’ are or why they’re telling us how to run our lives but I concur with their contention. One person who did raise the hackles of Westboro was the actor Leonard Nimoy. Of course his most iconic role was that of ...

    On March 17, 2015 / By
  • Football 20

    How a Coyote explains the defective logic of a Football Bitter

    Diving into the world of social media has its positives and its negatives. For every pithy comment of genuine wisdom or link to an illuminating piece, where you leave the day maybe a wiser or better person, you have to filter through a sea of brain deadening clickbait and whirlpools of gibberish, misinformation, and if you’re unlucky enough, general outright nastiness. You ...

    On March 12, 2015 / By
  • Football

    The Football Ticket as Memorabilia: A remembrance of a game past

    I am reading James Montague’s book, Thirty-One Nil: On the Road with Football’s Outsiders: A World Cup Odyssey. My book mark – my DPR Korea vs Saudi Arabia ticket – had fallen out and in a rush to clean up miscellanea off the floor, I accidentally put it in the bin. Realising my mistake the following morning, I looked for it; and ...

    On March 4, 2015 / By
  • Football

    The Birth of Football Mania (or how football replaced religion as the opium of the people)

    In 1895 the renowned English sportsman (and polymath) Charles Burgess Fry noted that the burgeoning interest in Association football in the North of England was ‘almost a passion.’ Indeed it seemed to Fry that the only way to explain the ‘huge, huge crowds at League matches’ was that the ‘toiling operatives of the Northern towns’ must ‘take a holiday from Saturday morning ...

    On February 26, 2015 / By
  • Football

    President Socceroo: The curious rise of Tim Cahill

    In case you haven’t noticed, Tim Cahill has become the-I’ve-been-everywhere-and-done-everything-man. With the squabbling in the Liberal Party unresolved, given the prospect, the juggernaut that is ‘Timmy’ Cahill would sail into the Lodge overnight. With the reintroduction of knights and dames, a royal status for a man of many royalties is only a matter of time. Not unlike a politician, he has maintained ...

    On February 19, 2015 / By
  • Australian Rules

    EXCLUSIVE: Essendon FC’s search for a ‘Capo’ interview tapes

    Last week, Essendon Football Club announced the launch of a new product, a first for the AFL, the ‘Active Area’. According to Essendon FC: This exclusive membership area will consist of some of our loudest, proudest and passionate supporters who will assist the cheer squad in increasing the atmosphere and providing positive encouragement for the team.   As Head of Marketing and Brand, ...

    On February 11, 2015 / By
  • Pop Culture

    Super Bowl 49: As it happened in Uncertain, Texas, population 94

    You know the classic cowboy movie bar scene; raucous, festive. The pianola player desperately keeps the urgent tempo of the room alive with “Yellow Rose of Texas” or some other favourite saloon tune. In the far corner, a drunk wrangler has passed out within the confines of the ample cleavage of Laura May, the well-worn town hooker. Two cowboys rassle at the end of the bar. At the other end a ...

    On February 5, 2015 / By
  • Football

    A Socceroos Fairy Tale: The fan who skipped the ball to watch the Asian Cup Final

    Nevena Kesic is a football fan. She went to the ball on the night of the Asian Cup Final. Here she recounts how her night turned into a Socceroos fairy tale. Three middle-aged gentlemen are peering at the television when we file in, fixing us with a curious glance as we immediately find a seat in front of the TV, clad in ...

    On February 3, 2015 / By