The following article was written by Eric Scorehill and first appeared in the ‘Kick Up The Grass’ fanzine, Issue 14, Oct 2013 [vulg.]. We reproduce it here with Eric’s kind permission.
(Or, what do David Beckham, Sploshing and the Rosicrucians have to do with Three-Sided Football?)
The first thing to note is that Strategic Optimism Football are “psychogeographical” in play. Now, the word “psychogeography” might be more familiar to you and me as the preserve of choice for coffee-table pseuds and Hackneyed hacks from the Guardian, but once upon a time, way back in the 20th Century, it used to mean something, something a little more challenging. And indeed, if SOF are to believed, it still does.
Originally dreamed up by those Parisian drifters, the 1950s avant-garde group the Situationist International, it started out as a dialectical critique of capitalist urbanism. After many years in the wilderness, it was subject to a pronounced underground revival during the 1990s. Groups such as the Neoist Alliance and the Archaeogeodetic Association would organise drifts around abandoned multi-story car parks and the basements of deserted office blocks. Some drifts would go on for days, while others would be broken up by the cops. Anyone arrested was told in advance to claim that they were Luther Blissett, a name which began mysteriously appearing on buildings all over Bologna in the autumn of 1994. While this counter-culture appeared to all go a bit quiet around the turn of the so-called Millennium, SOF are living proof that some of its adherents survived to tell the tale! Indeed, onetime affiliates of key 1990s groups the Workshop for Non-Linear Architecture (WNLA), the Materialist Psychogeographic Affiliation (MPA) and the New Cross Triangle Psychogeographical Association (NXTPA) have passed through their esteemed ranks.
Such illustrious connections clearly influenced their choices, in terms of how, and when, to appear. The Optimists’ kit is notable, so the story goes, for its manufacture by footballing sex workers during a drug-fuelled Hallowe’en industrial sploshing session – a shotgun wedding between Pinot-Gallizio and Asger Jorn during a cheap internet porn shoot, involving the distinct overproduction of custard. It functions to both dazzle the opposition(s), whilst simultaneously – triolectically – camouflaging its bearers as they sneak up on goal. It was produced as a coven of thirteen consistent, but unique iterations which slowly auto-destruct over the course of a season.
Beyond such trifles however, the team’s logo is also notable, derived as it is from the NXTPA’s investigations into the unicursal hexagram, a mysterious symbol that forms the basis of the ley architecture around the New Cross Triangle area where the team is based. SOF contacts in the NXTPA apparently developed a leyline map of the locality based on their discoveries, showing two intersecting triangles, not overlaid – as in the ancient Seal of Solomon symbol – but dialectically fused, thus drawn unicursally – a mesocosmic representation of planetary forces and elements in dialectical unity. In its two triangles, SOF’s coach tells me, it is the dialectic and the triolectic combined and figured, psycho-graphically.
Perhaps it is not coincidental that this glyph bears a remarkable congruence with that developed by situationist predecessors Alistair Crowley and the Hemetic Order of the Golden Dawn for use in the Thoth Tarot. When creating the tarot deck, the cards are printed 20 to a standard plate. Now, with 78 cards in a tarot deck, plus one contact card, Crowley found himself one illustration short and left with a spare place on the plate. He filled it with a unicursal hexagram, just as a decorative afterthought. It thus speaks of a glitch in the production process, a surplus and accursed share, the materialist trace of the labour contained within its production process that cannot be concealed or overcome, but will always break out – which even Crowley’s reactionary high idealism could not escape. Within Crowley’s system the symbol served as the card of ‘objective chance’, the joker, hailing the intervention of unknown factors into a situation. It was this aspect that was developed in important psychogeographical directions during the 1990s by the Glasgow-based WNLA. It is thus also not coincidental that key members of WNLA were instrumental in setting up the Luther Blissett Deptford League in which the Optimists now play.
Still further defying the limits of coincidence, the very same glyph’s psycho(geo)graphical power had previously also been harnessed by one Jamie Macgregor Reid, heir to a Druidic lore of George Watson Macgregor Reid – his great uncle and cohort of Crowley. ‘Uncle George’, as Reid has affectionately called him, was a Glasgow docker, political agitator and founder of significant elements within modern Druidry. It was from him that Reid learned basic psycho(geo)graphics. This is the very same Jamie Reid, of course, who once supplied graphics to the English situationists and who, in collaboration with Malcolm McLaren – himself introduced to psychogeography at a bus stop within the New Cross Triangle (another coincidence?) – set about utilising the knowledge of his ancestors to undertake a mythopoetic assault on British society in the form of punk. His graphics were thus influential in aiding psychogeography’s contamination of so-called ‘serious culture’. The underground fanzine Vague #22, probably inadvertently, makes this connection crystal clear, with a centrefold that juxtaposes situationist Guy Debord’s psychogeographical map of Paris The Naked City with an image from Reid’s Celtic Surveyor zine – bearing a depiction of Stonehenge, scrawled with this very same hexagraphic glyph.
The reverse of the Optimist’s kit is both universal and particular: unified across all players, accounting, of course, for the particularity that each shirt derives from its production process. Strategic Optimism Football is therefore a home team for all those without a home, where all the shirts read Blissett and each bears the number 23.
Each player is Luther Blissett, the infamous psychogeographer and onetime Watford/A.C. Milan star – creator of the first 3-sided tournaments in the early 1980s. They are also Luther Blissett the popular folk hero, who emerged in Italy during the 1990s, a funny man in a farce staged upon the theatre of the world and a bard of de-conditioning.
Looking deeper however, the kit is arguably also a revolutionary détournement of that sported by one David “Aurea Bulla” Beckham OBE, in homage to the occult masters for whom he propagated key mythopoetic deeds around the dawn of the so-called millennium. In order to détourn Beckham’s cult status, SOF players all wear the number 23, which Beckham chose at the fascist Real Madrid in honour of its arcane significance; a significance notably recognised by William Burroughs and Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth amongst others.
According to various rumours circulating on 4chan, it is a little known fact that Beckham served as a mythopoetic avatar for the forces of the British State in their attempted repression of the burgeoning revolutionary psychogeography movement of the early 1990s.
Beckham was personally chosen by the Queen, it is claimed, as a new ‘Arthur’, in order to embody the fiction of the English nation against psychogeography’s literal deterriorialisations. These conspiracy theorists support their claims by drawing attention to the fact that Beckham made his debut on the 23rd September, 1992, not coincidentally the very same day that the US conducted the last ritual nuclear test of the Cold War era, detonating a 20 kiloton bomb in the Nevada desert. This underground explosion, taking place on the eve of the Autumn Equinox, was allegedly orchestrated to conjure the rebirth of the “Sun King” in the form of the Western alliance, in the final integration of the US with the concentrated spectacle of the so-called “USSR”. This alchemical wedding was thus mythopoetically embodied by none other than old Beckham “Golden Balls” himself, a fact confirmed to its adherents by the numerous sources detailing football’s ritual origins in Celtic festive sports, including the symbolism of the Sun King and the Golden Ball.
Furthermore, it is claimed, astute observers will recall that on Beckham’s right arm he bears a tattoo of a Knights Templar Cross. This is coupled with the fact that he, of course, captained an England team, who take to the field wearing the very same rosy cross of the Templars. It is clear, argue the darkweb detectives, that Beckham and his masters sought to channel the psychogeographical knowledge of the Templars, as key pioneers of Unitary Urbanism. Of course this was all happening at the exact moment radical psychogeographers were also first becoming aware of the Situatationists’ own attempts to utilise Templar techniques! (See Blissett, L. ‘The Situationists as Rosicrucians’, Here and Now Guy Debord Supplement 1995).
It is no coincidence that just one month after the London Psychogeographical Association re-formed in a Templar cave at Roisia’s Cross (Royston, England – where the Rosicrucians had formed 400 years earlier), Beckham should be chosen to absorb Rosicrucian teachings into the English state.
As ever, the forces of reaction do not create, rather they live by appropriating struggle. SOF was therefore formed, or so its coach asserts, to détourn this expropriation and recapture such knowledge for the forces of revolution. Whether they succeed or not, time will tell, but they are taking their battle to the (hexagonal) field of play, as the very latest entrants into Deptford’s burgeoning three-sided football league. Games are played monthly, kicking off at 3pm sharp on the first Sunday after the new moon. If you’ve ever fancied fully clothing yourself in a multi-coloured industrial painting and running around after a ball in order to defend psychogeography from the occult forces of the British State – and let’s face it, who hasn’t? – what are you waiting for? Get thee to Deptford forthwith!
- Eric Scorehill, Oct 2013.