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Football or art, you've got to be open to change

Date

Bob Murphy

Two nights ago I got a different view of our fair city. With our home overcome by floorboard fumes and my welcome seemingly worn out at Camp Minson, I took my young family to a hotel in the city.

The kids may have inherited my gypsy blood as they heralded the change of scenery as ''the best holiday ever!'' Bless 'em.

With Bob the Builder playing as a decoy forward in our hotel room, I sat at the desk to jot down some notes for this column, but it wasn't long before I found myself just staring out the window at the city's arterials, jam-packed with homeward-bound commuters.

In the silence, from such a great height, I felt a little disconnected from my city. Could it be that I had the post-Darwin blues?

The Darwin trip can be a tricky one as a player because of the tropical conditions, but it's not as straight forward as ''hot + humid = drink more water''.

Yes, it is hot, and yes, you do drink a reservoir's worth of water. But you also have to connect with your environment - there's no point locking yourself in your air-conditioned hotel room if less than a day later you have to play two hours in those same conditions you're hiding from.

That's not to say you can afford to spend your day splashing in the hotel pool either. Sunburn isn't cool, especially not on the footy field.

What you end up doing is hopping from one place to another.

At one point I got so fed up with this environmental hopscotch that I took a walk down to the mall to a second-hand bookshop which housed canvas after canvas of indigenous artworks by local Northern Territory artists. Having moved into the decoration phase of our now epic renovation, I'd always wanted the centrepiece to be a work of indigenous Australia on a canvas, one that was big and bold.

The thing was, though, as I flicked through the art I found myself more drawn to the small biographies stuck to the corner of the canvases that provided some background into the artists themselves.

The piece that I finally settled on was a painting by a woman named Caroline Namina, who lives in the region called Utopia, which I'm led to believe is just north of Alice Springs. Caroline is one of five girls in her family, and they all paint.

The snippet of information that I have about her leaves more questions than answers, which I kind of like. It's a big part of why I like art, and more specifically why I love Aboriginal art. Caroline and her painting will fascinate me forever.

For mine, football is art - or as Martin Flanagan calls it, theatre. The stage, the lights, the performance, the characters, the dreaming. A Friday night at Etihad Stadium against the team of my generation in the Cats will be some show.

A footy season is a constant barrage of readjustments; on the field there are literally millions of split-second moments in which you may need to shift yourself, a flick of the ball, a shake of the hips. Other times the readjustment is bigger and more obvious.

Readjusting from a place that is akin to a snake sunning itself on a rock, to a Friday night at Etihad - which is more like grabbing hold of live electrical wires - is just another part of the challenge. Part of the art.

7 comments

  • Keep up the good work Murph
    Enjoy reading your articles

    Commenter
    Bean
    Date and time
    May 24, 2012, 8:05AM
    • Who footballer who muses interestingly about art and theatre and who plays his proverbial off. Love your work. Go Dogs for tomorrow.

      Commenter
      Peter
      Location
      Seddon
      Date and time
      May 24, 2012, 11:55AM
      • Calling football theatre is a insult to all thespians and struggling artist in Australia, your over paid antics are not art.

        Commenter
        pffft
        Date and time
        May 24, 2012, 12:21PM
        • Just because people who travel in different circles than your own are more interested in his form of art than yours does not mean he struggles any less for it, or that it has less tangible value for for them than what your thespians create.

          Broaden your definition of art or forever be constrained and suffocated by it.

          Commenter
          Matthew Barton
          Location
          Mucking around in the Garbage.
          Date and time
          May 24, 2012, 3:51PM
        • pffft; to you too! I'm amazed at the amount of snobbery that is slowly but surely creeping into Australian culture. I'd love to point out why the game is art but I'm sure I'd be wasting my time; you just wouldn't get it. I'm of to the wine bar to seetle down; pffft

          Commenter
          Toughnup
          Date and time
          May 24, 2012, 4:08PM
        • Dear Pffft

          I find it somewhat ironic that you're reading Bob's column if you hold that opinion of AFL footballers.

          Can i suggest you walk a mile in a mans shoes before you criticise them.

          Keep up the great work Robert.

          Commenter
          Andrew Jesse
          Location
          Richmond
          Date and time
          May 24, 2012, 10:23PM
      • Hi Bob,
        Great analogy, really enjoying your articles. Was excited to see that you responded the way you did to the art of the Utopian region: there's some beautiful stuff out there, by artists like Minne Pwerle, Barbara Weir and many others. Some wonderful books on the region available too.
        Best of luck on the weekend.

        Commenter
        jr
        Date and time
        May 24, 2012, 2:09PM
        Comments are now closed
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