Not Afraid Of Repetition: David Peace’s Red Or Dead Reviewed

August 19, 2013

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“David Peace is not afraid of repetition. Repetition underpins and underscores all of his work: names and phrases, sentence constructions, entire paragraphs, they loop and swirl, come back and back and back again. It is repetition that gives his books their staccato rhythms, their hypnotic, insistent force. He uses repetition better than any other writer currently at work. But in the wake of The Damned Utd – Peace’s bestselling novel, and later successful film, of Brian Clough’s catastrophic time as manager of Leeds United Football Club – Red or Dead could seem a repetition in itself. It is, after all, another novel about football. It is another novel set in that nostalgia honey-trap between the nineteen-fifties and nineteen-eighties. And it is another novel to focus on an iconic football manager – Bill Shankly, a figure perhaps even more beloved than the mercurial Clough.” The Quietus

Red or Dead by David Peace: From football to the battle against age, the war against death
“Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. They’re the first three words of Red or Dead and repetition is soon established as both a theme and a style. The first scene depicts an unnamed man entering an office and confessing to ‘a voice from the shadows’ that ‘the strain had proved too much’. In context, it seems clear that the man is Phil Taylor, the manager whose resignation in 1959 led to the appointment of Bill Shankly as manager of Liverpool and the transformation of the football club over the next 15 years from second-flight also-rans into giants. Yet the archetypal nature of the description suggests that this is something universal, that as one man feels the strain another rises to take his place, that the cycle turns as inevitably as one season follows another.” New Statesman – Jonathan Wilson

A matter of life and death
“Here is David Peace, on his publisher’s website, explaining why he wrote his new novel Red or Dead: ‘I have written about corruption, I’ve written about crime, I’ve written about bad men and I’ve written about the demons. But now I’ve had enough of the bad men and the demons. Now I want to write about a good man. And a saint. A Red Saint. Bill Shankly was not just a great football manager. Bill Shankly was one of the greatest men who ever lived.’ This fictional biography, written in that same repetitive prose for more than 700 pages, does indeed portray the legendary Liverpool manager as a saint. More’s the pity for the long-suffering reader. … Red or Dead seems intended as his magnum opus – the kind of big book a big novelist produces mid-career. It tackles a great figure, Shankly, who has been fading into myth.” FT – Simon Kuper

Review: Red or Dead, By David Peace
“Every time I finish a David Peace novel I feel like I’ve gone a few rounds in the ring with a title contender. I can’t think of another British novelist who writes with as much conviction, dedication and sheer bloody-mindedness as Peace, whether it’s the Red Riding Quartet based on the Yorkshire Ripper, his miners’ strike novel GB84, his Japan-set fiction, or his best known work, The Damned United, detailing Brian Clough’s time at Leeds United.” Independent

amazon: Red or Dead, David Peace

Channel4: Peace on Shankly’s ‘love affair’ with Liverpool (Video)

YouTube: Red or Dead by David Peace – An extract

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Javier Mascherano must keep his cool for Argentina to thrive in Brazil

August 19, 2013

“The start of the Spanish campaign could hardly have been more gentle for Javier Mascherano, watching from the other half as his Barcelona team-mates ran in seven goals against Levante. But come the end of the season he is likely to be right in the thick of the battle with a crucial role to play. The spotlight inevitably settles on Lionel Messi in Argentina’s quest to win next year’s World Cup. But last week’s friendly win in Italy reinforced the view that, in his own very different way, Mascherano is every bit as important to his team’s chances. The stereotype is of Mascherano the warrior, the little enforcer who stomps through matches at the limit of emotional intensity.” BBC


Hipsters take note: Shakhter Karagandy and Pacos de Ferreira

August 19, 2013

“The Champions League is no longer the hallowed turf for the heavyweight’s of Europe, with a number of lesser known clubs making their way up to the final thirty two, after coming through the play off rounds. This season, two clubs are on the verge of making history after reaching the so called pearly gates of footballing heaven, the play-off’s. Shakhter Karagandy of Kazakhstan and Pacos de Ferreira of Portugal. While Karagandy have become the first team from Kazakhstan to ever take part in any European competition, discounting any appearances during the Soviet era, Pacos de Ferreira are no less of a surprise package from the Liga Sagres. The almost unknown Portuguese side have made their mark in Europe after staving off competition for qualification from former Portuguese underdogs, SC Braga, who themselves made it to the Champions League a few years ago, punching well above their weight.” Outside of the Boot


America’s Most Important Soccer Player Conquers The Old World

August 19, 2013

“By the time I arrived at the Stadio Olimpico for the Rome Derby this April, ultras had already knifed four people, cracked open someone’s head with a bottle, and terrorized an ambulance with rocks and explosives. Uprooted flagstones lay strewn about the foot of a lonely obelisk dedicated to Mussolini. Copies of Corriere dello Sport scurried in the wind like tumbleweeds in a spaghetti Western. Clearly, this was a showdown that mattered. Inside the stadium, over 50,000 AS Roma and Lazio fans were in full throat. Their teams were battling for Serie A’s final Europa League spot, not to mention local ascendancy. The Derby della Capitale promised to be one of those high-stakes contests that make Europe a crucible for the world’s best talent. It was the kind of match in which Americans appear too infrequently. And that was why I’d come: to watch the American.” deadspin – Howler Magazine (Video)


Team Focus: Arsenal’s Transfer Failings Exposed

August 19, 2013

“Imagine you hadn’t heard the final score. You pick up the basic match facts and you see that Arsenal had 64% of possession on Saturday. You look at the pass completion rates and see that while Arsenal’s was 87%, Aston Villa’s was only 70%. At first glance it seems like a fairly standard Arsenal home performance. Not too much to worry about there. But then you look at the number of shots each side had: Arsenal had 15 to Villa’s 11. The picture begins to emerge of Arsenal being watchful in possession, Villa more direct. The really telling stat, though, is that Villa had six efforts on target to Arsenal’s four. Villa, in other words, were far more efficient with the ball.” WhoScored


Spain: 2013-14 preview

August 19, 2013

“If there was a button marked ‘not Mourinho’, Carlo Ancelotti pressed it repeatedly. Real Madrid finally presented the Italian as their new coach, beginning a new era at the Santiago Bernabeu and another model too. They were heading in a different direction again. It had been 37 days since the president, Florentino Perez, announced Mourinho would be leaving; now they had the man they wanted to replace him.” World Soccer