Behind Closed Doors #2

FC Köln v Mainz 17052020

As the phenomenon of games being played behind closed doors continues I will document the situations in which I experience the matches. Listening to the resonance of the empty stadium seeping into domestic space and then, in turn, imagining the thousands of domestic environments in which the game is being watched, returning to the stadium, resonating, filling the stadium with domestic noise and action.

…the collective song and intoxicating sound of the crowd does not just provide an accompaniment to the beautiful action of the players, but is the sublime matrix out of which play emerges, the force field that energizes the action, taking the form of competitive song and counter-song, strophe and antistrophe. This is why games played in front of empty stadia, say as a punishment for the fans’ racist behaviour, are such an abomination. A game without fans is a kind of category mistake; a mere training ground exercise devoid of sense. The key to football is the complex, configured interaction between sublime music and the beautiful image, Dionysos and Apollo, the fans and the team.

Simon Critchley What We think About When We Think About Football (2017 : p.70-71)

Rhein Energie Stadion

I am sitting in the car, waiting, watching the closing stages of FC Köln v Mainz on my phone. It stops and starts, the signal comes and goes. I can hear the sound of an ambulance somewhere outside the Rhein Energie Stadion. As the sound of the siren reflects off the banks of empty seats it reveals the resonant properties of the space, the reflective surfaces of the stadium, a resonance usually heard only when the stadium is empty, when football isn’t happening. Now the sound of football happening and football not happening are both here with me, sitting in the car, on a side road in New Milton.

When the signal stops it opens a window to the sounds outside: a babble of back garden birdsong; talking; the loading of the car boot. Then the signal returns and the resonance of the empty stadium conceals the domestic sounds, the sounds of the driveway, the suburban side street.

FC Köln v Mainz

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