Every Saturday morning 2am-4am, BBC Radio Five Live, the 'World Football Phone In' (WFPI) is broadcast. Hosted by Donut Adebayo, and joined by a panel of footballing experts including the "Legendinho" Tim Vickery. The show opens with the music 'Soccer Far' by the 'Real Sounds of Africa'. The program has been broadcast for over ten years, and is unique because the show has a community of footballing supporters who question the panel, and share their experiences of international football happenings.
Recently I asked the panel if they knew any visual artists who made work about football. Whilst they didn't know any painters or illustrators directly, one commented (I forgot who!) about the capturing of the match highlight. For example, when Luis Suarez got sent off for famously biting an opponent at the World Cup 2014, almost immediately mass advertising campaigns were release about dental care, lots of adverts had teeth marks showcasing this internationally debated moment. The match highlight could become the context behind the art.
Since then I have been trying different illustrations and collages trying to capture a match highlight or a huge happening in the footballing world. I made some recent collages trying to describe the chaos of the transfer window and the over hyped media attention.
How is this linked to Archives? Actually it is mostly Tim Vickery that got me thinking. I imagine the sheer scale of his brain containing all and everything to do with South America. In a way his brain is a huge archive and access point to South American football for English based curious listeners. As an archivist I concern myself frequently with how researchers can access catalogues / archive collections easily. The WFPI is in a sense an archive collection as well, it is accessed by researchers wanting knowledge on South American, Asian, North American and European football. Each panelist can answer questions from their own experiences.
It is even a chance to explain word history through the perspective of football. The other day I learnt about cornish pasties in Argentina and South Africa. How some of the countries' communities speak in fluent Welsh as originally Welsh miners and founded them a good hundred years prior. The impact of poor fiscal control by the Brazilian Government which has led to huge stadiums being built and millions being spent for the World Cup, but now they are essentially abandoned / disused buildings that cripple the finances of football clubs forced to use them.
There is so much knowledge to be gained from this show, that it has become my primary source of information for football, and I make art pieces based upon the knowledge I have gained.