The Owls are not what they seem.
Well, in fact, they are.
Sheffield Wednesday, with their manager who you all thought was some Spanish fella in poor health until the commentator said he is Neil Thompson, are a struggling Championship side who, against a surprisingly full-strength Everton, never really posed any threat.
Despite looking like he had literally been thawed out in time to play, James Rodriguez and his chapped-raw little face cruised through the sort of game that the Toffees are notorious for making an absolute meal of. The only danger they faced though were a couple of long range efforts in the first half and their own complacency, such was their dominance.
On half an hour they opened the scoring when Andre Gomes crossed low from the left and the returning Dominic Calvert-Lewin slid in at the far post.
That single goal was the difference at half-time and at the back of your mind you had visions of Wednesday bringing on some mad substitute who scores on the break and Everton then struggling to shake themselves out of show-boat mode.
However, it never panned out that way. Two headers from brilliant Rodriguez corners killed the match as a contest after around an hour. First you’re-not-even-my-real-fucking-dad-face Richarlison glanced one home before a crashing Yerry Mina ‘pick the bones out that, lad’ effort.
After that, Everton were so comfortable they brought on Bernard.
And a couple of youngsters: Taylor Onyango – one half of Broken Bells – and the Blues’ youngest every player, Thierry ‘Fatsen’ Small.
Despite this constant flow of football on our screens to sedate us, some of you may still have noticed that there are a few things going on out there in the wider world. Lockdown fatigue, for instance, feels very real now; the novelty has worn right off and there seems to be a defeated, creeping acceptance that maybe this is it forever and we’re careering into that Orwellian Blade Runner future.
Yeah, that one.
Don’t lose hope though. Not yet. Don’t let them own the future in your head.
It’s always easy to think that we are sitting at the end of history, that our destinies are set on a an inexorable slide towards more of the same but worse. The world is changing, certainly, but let’s not be so certain that it’s heading where the pessimists and fear-mongering agents of angst suggest.
After all, in 1945 the world was in ruins. Rations, death camps and atomic warfare. 20 years later, Rubber Soul.
So let’s consider some alternatives.
The latent demand created by an isolated population, for one. Yes, businesses are being crippled presently, but on the flip side to that, when restrictions are eventually lifted there will be an unprecedented release of repressed desires and freed-up funds. Millions of people are desperate to travel, to eat out, to dress up and go dancing, to go shopping and drink coffee and go to festivals, watch and play sport and generally share communal experiences.
Live life, essentially.
And while sadly some of the existing providers of those goods and services may no longer exist, others will spring up in their place, because commerce, like nature, abhors a vacuum.
Premises in prime locations will become free, for instance, as city centres are reshaped by a workforce that can operate from home and no longer need to occupy swathes of ‘prime’ office space. This should present opportunities for smaller, independent businesses to move back in, especially with traditional retail giants committing to online and staying there, or simply perishing. The opportunities that this single disruptive factor alone could present for reshaping our relationship with our cities and other urban centres – for so long blighted by monopolistic landlords and cookie-cutter developers – are bewildering, and the potential amazing.
And if the present crises have taught us anything, it’s that there is no group of smart guys at the top running all this. Just fucking look at them! They are frightened fools like the rest of us. Trump, Brexit and the riots in Russia are symptoms of the existing power structures failing – the death throes of a corrupt empire, a diseased animal swallowing its own tail. In their wake are coming a younger generation, unfairly demonised but with enlightened attitudes about race, gender and the environment that put their parents to shame and with an innate grasp of communications and technology that will allow them to circumnavigate failing institutions, form their own alliances across borders and shape their own future.
Some people find this idea terrifying – and that’s how this insidious conspiracy theory conservatism takes hold. Even if it is a ‘shadowy cabal’ pulling the strings and injecting us with Bill Gates’ 5G microchips, or ‘Boris is just a mouthpiece for the real brains’, the idea of some pin-striped Pinochet with a plan, no matter how dastardly, is reassuring compared to the acceptance that we are all in fact sat deep, deep in the jungle with Colonel Kurtz here.
Think about it though: if you’re not lying in a on oxygen tent like so many poor bastards then maybe you need to wear your necklace of ears with pride, embrace the upheaval and believe in a better future.
You’re only one unsanitised door handle away from the abyss after all, but you’re still here now, and while you are – perfectly flawed and just downright fucking wonderful, quite frankly – then there’s still hope, and you might very well be about live through a period of unrivalled creativity and a renewed sense of community and understanding and a shared humanity.
The ‘great reset’ after all then, but maybe not quite in the way those fucking barmpots would have you believe.
I mean, I’ll look a RIGHT cunt if I just die of COVID now, won’t I? Be just my luck!