‘How Not to Cure a Hangover’ by Charlton and Rochdale

Nerves are frayed, pupils receded into the desert of the iris, temples pulsing with medicated urgency… The antidote to this compromised biology? Football for a fiver! Sun is bright…colours are loud…noise is…loud.

At least the sky is airbrushed in a perfect Aviation blue.

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Figure 1: Don’t forget the lemon twist!

You’ve got to feel that Jackson would have been happiest eating an Almondy Daim Cake and picking out flatpack furniture this weekend.

Bauer tries to execute a suplex on their #19 then breaks kayfabe to cut a heartfelt apology promo to the crowd. He’ll always be cast as a ‘face.

Every game is a gunpowder cylinder of different emotional flavours! It’s likely the only reason we’re all still able to watch what is ostensibly the same film over and over again.

Shoelace break.

Rudd is stalking about psychotically like a contemporary Travis Bickle. If I were Rochdale I would have steered well clear. Oh, they got the ball in, by the way. He stamps the ground of his favourite goal spot as a bull returning to the paradoxical querencia, sipping at his isotonic drink with a ferocious intensity.

Loathsome Rochdale celebrate their netted acorn in front of what is reportedly soon to be named the ‘Funeral Services Stand’.

And now the crowd is ruffled. Rudd summons a sky demon and the heavens open just as a phantom shopping list of items purchasable for £5 drifts unspoken past the pyre.

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Figure 2: What would you have bought?

Rudd keeps dowsing new ley lines and sending his underlings out to hunt for the grail, but these adepts just want to drink mead. Actually, the majority of the crowd has already left for the pub.

Fox makes a duelling partner and right at the end of the first bit I volunteer a wave to Rudd to let him know there’s a friendly face out there if he needs to air any anxieties or just sit quietly.

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The middle interval update! God’s blog is 18 today. Shout out to Judge Dredd and ‘the Baron’ – Mr.Darcy has bought you some new breeches.

I’ve spotted a new row of shops above the Funeral Services Stand – art supplies and prom clothes! What’s Holmes going to wear? I drift into a costume fantasy about Charlton as the ‘club kids’ of League One and awake just in time to learn that a man masquerading as one Steve Smith has hijacked the crossbar challenge. He dies shortly afterwards from magic spray poisoning.

Charlton will be returning to the Valley on Tuesday to try and claim the Czech Republic trophy by any means other than football.

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It starts snowing so I can’t write for a while, during which Johnnie opts out of a penalty. It’s around this time that everyone imagines retiring to duvet forts and binge-watching Gilmore Girls.

Rochdale goalkeep Lilith looks every bit the Luciferian curse.

We roll out chants comprised of rejected late Beatles lyrics:

“Put Xerox up!
It’s such a bore
It’s so unfair!
It hurts my brain
It’s no one’s game
It’s such a shame”

We’ve taken to singing out instructions too, which is actually among the more inventive of our invectives.

Little Ricky Holmes is trying his best, but if you’ll notice, almost everyone else has been invisible the entire time. It’s just Ricky out there in the elements!

A little boy is sporting a pair of Nike Air Max trainers that I’d like to pinch. When’s the prom starting?

Sullen Crofts fades into view and out of the game as we swop him for Nicky.

Suddenly, out of an alternate dimension concerned only with annihilation, the ball is gliding straight for me like some malfunctioning IMAX shark. Meeting this crisis of the Real as only the existentially-afflicted would, I throw my face down, shrieking, as the ball misses me 1/20th of a millimetre to the left. But I’m paranoid. I’ve broken the rules of the ‘we’ – the sanctity of unanimous participation… What if the CAFC fan group extradites me?

We’re missing the Ryder Cup.

Slade has a bit of a laugh by pulling a classic Lacan and presenting something totally unexpected (removing sole upfront gamespiece MacGuffin) in an attempt to shock a therapeutic revelation out of the team.

“FRENCH CARPARK!” Finally, the Dadaists have arrived!

Members of the crowd have begun eliciting certain torture methods involving locking the team up with floor to ceiling television sets screening a recursive loop of their biggest failures in life until everything breaks.

JJ is badly deteriorating towards the end of the match, often forgetting which ‘keep is which and padding softly between the two like a ghost who doesn’t realise he is dead yet.

The Lacan trick isn’t really working, so Slade tries his luck again and takes Holmes off.

Lookman decides to have a crack at goaling. Botaka has the same idea, but executes it less well. No one minds that much because he has chosen a lovely hairstyle.

Lilith is sliming around and I get a quick flash of Escher’s ‘Eye’.

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Figure 3: Inspired by Rochdale’s Lilith

Everyone takes a moment to covet a delicious compass that adorns the screen briefly, but cries of ‘How much?’ see it taken hurriedly down. Turns out they didn’t want to sell it after all.

In extra time, some of the Rochdale staff perform a rendition of the musical Cats, before we all run home to our screens, only to find they’ve been blown up by Katrien Meire™.

Climbing out of Charlton’s basement we are treated to this powerful symbol – or is it an omen? You decide.

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Figure 4: But what does it mean?