Today, February 2nd 2021 is Groundhog Day.
For those of you who have never seen this classic Bill Murray film from 1993 – SHAME ON YOU! Get yourself down to Blockbuster and rent the video out now. Anyone born after 2000, you have no idea what I am going on about, so just read on.
Groundhog Day is one of those films that they put on every year at Christmas because it’s a “feel good film”. One of those ones that people watch over and over again as, when it seems all hope is lost, it rekindles your faith in the human spirit, making you all warm and fuzzy inside (bit like when Bamford scores!). It is certainly much more heart warming and much milder than the Frank Capra great “It’s A Wonderful Life” , which really at times actually is quite bleak for a Christmas film. Incidentally, it’s also, in a manner quite unbefitting of the usual rubbish of SkyTVisf**kings**t, been on constantly on the film channel 302 all day …. as if it was Groundhog Day! Da dum.
However, Groundhog Day for me is a perfect example of life imitating art, not art imitating life.
Without going too much into the teachings of that old bloke Aristotle in Ancient Greece in 300BC, and then it’s subsequent 180 degree flip by Oscar Wilde in 1880, it is loosely translated as when real life starts behaving like a work of fiction e.g. in a film, or a book or (in a more current setting) when something on social media starts being taken out of proportion / and or context and people start believing it, even though it may be completely fictitious.
In my mind, Art, whether it is a book or a painting or a film is someone’s take on what is currently happening and therefore an individual’s own way of capturing or mirroring or a glimpse in time. Life is what is factually, physically and mentally occuring at any given moment – life is life.
Groundhog Day is definitively an actual day. February 2nd. It’s a day when Punxsutawney Phil from Gobblers Knob, Pennsylvania US of A, peeps out from his hollow tree stump at dawn, and if he sees his shadow it means there is going to be another 6 weeks of winter. Punxsutawney Phil is a Marmota Monax – technical name for a groundhog, which is essentially, a whopping great big rat. Groundhog day is real life.
In 1993, Harold Ramis (one of the original Ghostbusters – not to be confused with that crap unfunny version they did the other year) wrote the screenplay and directed his Ghostbusters’s mate, Bill Murray, in a film about a weatherman forced to go to the real life event, and what happens to him. Thereby – Art.
28 years later, someone says it feels like “Groundhog Day” meaning it feels they are living the same day over and over again. Luckily, it doesn’t mean that they have a dog sized rodent hanging out at the bottom of their back garden in a tree stump.
What has this got to do with Leeds?
My point is, in the current pandemic tradition of the “three – word – phrase”, “Doing A Leeds”.
Doing A Leeds was and still is, a phrase which relates to an unhappier time in our proud club’s history. Once upon a time, many moons ago, in the time before Bielsa, our then Chairman spent beyond his means and well, I needn’t go through the grisly details, things just went horribly wrong. Since then, every club that gets screwed over by the owners or the Chairmen or both, resulting in a fall from grace, plus or minus relegation (in our experience serial relegation) and accruing massive debts, plus or minus players and staff not getting paid … I needn’t go on, need I? You get the picture, “Doing A Leeds” has become synonymous with failure, abject failure due to poor judgement and financial mismanagement of a football club.
Since we laid that rock steady foundation, many clubs have “done a Leeds”.
But if a fan had only recently started following Leeds and was completely oblivious of our history, “Doing A Leeds” , in our current standing of heart stopping, breakneck speed, edge of your seat entertaining football excellence, would be the complete opposite. Who knows what lies in our future under the tutelage of Radrizzani and the ever increasing stake of the 49ers. It may well be that, five years from now, we have a fantastic stadium with state of the art training facilities, the envy of the country, and we are top of the PL and talk of doing the triple will be common place. In which case, the link between total, laughable, abject failure both financially and in playing terms, will be consigned to the annals of history, in a box sealed in duct tape, marked DO NOT OPEN EVER AGAIN.
There are some sayings though, that will stand the test of time, and no one will ever get confused about what they mean. There’s the usual famous ones like the often misquoted, “some people believe football is a matter of life or death, I am very disappointed with that ……. it is much more important than that “.
As you can see, even the most famous quotes can be sometimes get muddled, there’s one however that will always stand the test of time, and that’s our own
“Side before self – every time”
Thanks to Leeds United for the picture which came from last March when they deferred the wages at the start of the lockdown https://www.leedsunited.com/news/team-news/26446/club-statement-side-before-self-every-time