What you see in that cover photo is the contents of two book shelves in my room in a shared flat in the northern suburbs of Seville. The titles with crosses on them are those that I have already poured through. The remainder are all books that every cell of my being intends to tackle as soon as possible.
Needless to say, what you see is by no means an exhaustive representation of everything I have ever read. God knows how many other former reads of mine lie at the bottom of moving boxes, in the attics of relatives, in the rucksacks of friends and on the shelves of dusty libraries, the contents of which mentally absorbed and occasionally churned out on first dates, in grimy Northern pubs and even on mundane blog posts. The books you see in the photo are merely those that I intend to read in the near future.
In other words, research material for the topics we will be writing about here.
In the context of Football Culture writing, my “to-read” list may seem erroneous and redundant. At that is entirely the point of this post. According to usual convention, far more work goes on behind the scenes of any well maintained blog than said blog is ever supposed to admit to.
The fashion world paid my rent for many years. And take it from me; the industry and those who flock to it are precisely as vacuous and venomous as Phil Collins, Sacha Baren Cohen and Moby tell you. PR divas, social-media models and self-obsessed fashion bloggers compete to fill your screens with images of predominantly themselves stood in front of some arbitrarily selected pretty location wearing whatever they are paid to wear, justifying their actions with memorised narratives that contain such cliched and predictable vocabulary as “empowerment”, “democratization” and “influencer”. Their job titles may differ, but I see their output as largely comparable. A crisp, high-resolution image of a media-friendly individual with an acceptably-flawed figure is what you are supposed to see. The extensive work (and yes, they sure do work hard) that goes on away from the camera lens doesn’t sell, and consequently is never disclosed.
Whenever you point the finger, always remember that your remaining 3 fingers on that hand are pointing right back at you. If I am to accuse bloggers and media personal in the fashion world of limiting what their audiences sees of their work for personal gain, I must fully open the curtains of FBTG to indulge you in the realities of writing a Football Culture blog, or otherwise run the risk of being a cunt.
The images shared on FBTG of Football enthusiasts following the sport in their own particular way at each corner of the globe can easily lead you to believe that 100% of my time is spent flying here, there and everywhere just to watch the game. That would be the dream, but ultimately it is horse shit. We at FBTG believe in promoting education, intellectualism and empiricism, and an enormous amount of research and reading (specifically in the areas of history, politics, economics and travel writing) goes into a simple thousand word post that gets a few shares and even fewer likes.
For that reason, we believe a photo of my “to-read” list is indeed relevant.
Finding the time to read and write can be tricky. Now, the fashion world no longer keeps my lights on, but a full-time job is still necessary. With a commitment to producing writing that is informative and engaging, we refuse to sell advertising space on our site. As tempting as it can be, selling advertise space on our site would incentivise littering your inbox with as frequent posts as possible for the simple sake of generating more traffic. The consequence (we believe) would be a drop in quality of our writing, thanks to less time spent conducting research and more time spent producing anything. Sure, we publish the occasional short image or humour based post, but we proactively avoid capitalising financially on your desire to read about the ways in which Football is enjoyed around the world. But I cannot live off hopes and dreams (trust me, I’ve tried), so performing the eternal balancing act between work, writing, reading and everything in between is obligatory.
And quite frankly, that is absolutely fine. I am an adult, and compromise is necessary if I am to have any form of self-respect. But please, not even for a single minute, believe that the lives of bloggers you follow are all play and no work. It ain’t true.
Part 2 of “The Realities of Football Culture Blogging” will be with you shortly.