RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Thursday, August 31

Wednesday, August 30

SONG OF THE DAY: Gol E Yakh (kudzu'd)

This song is an all-time jam, and god bless the Record Gods for allowing me to find the 45 box set finally that got released a few years back. Inject slowed Gol E Yakh straight into my soul once every three days, to that I may microdose the lounge.

Tuesday, August 29

SONG OF THE DAY: Love Come Down (kudzu'd)

When I lived in town, these weird ass amazing red spider lilies bloomed all over the back yard. It was a blessing because I was living in a shitty basement apartment in a rapidly gentrifying part of an already overly-expensive small southern city, and the spot was a bit moldy and cramped, but whatever man. We do what we have to do. The pandemic shut things down and I worked “from home” at a card table in the tiny kitchen, which had a window where the ground was at sill level, so I scattered birdseed out there and would watch the birds while working. When life gives you lemonade, you add seltzer water.
When I finally moved (buying a house outside of town, because somehow that was cheaper than renting, and somehow I actually qualified) my girlfriend transplanted some of the red spider lilies from there to her compound and my new spot. I saw where one had sprouted in the yard over by the trash shed the other day, and sure enough it was in full spider lily bloom today. I ended up cutting grass, and I’m glad I did because I saw four other clusters of the red spider lilies scattered around the yard, looking like little fireworks bursts that miniature fairies would’ve shot off. It was nice to see that connection of time, from shitty apartment to current yard, and being able to identify the timeline of that particular plant moving along with me. That’s presence in space (or spaces), seeing what’s going on around you. I’ve not always been great about that in my life, lost in my own blurry chaos for grand chunks of it, which was learned behavior too, so I didn’t even know how to observe shit like spider lilies, too busy being vigilant about other things that tended to rear up more easily into my consciousness.
I drove the riding mower around all the clusters of spider lilies, for now while they’re bloomed, and then I’ll forget and hit them and scatter them more, so that next year, around the time fall is starting to tease itself into the air, there’ll be more fireworks of red spider lilies throughout the yard. And the longer I’m able to somehow live and stay in this place, inshallah, the more fireworks I’ll get… the quiet, beautiful, enjoyable kind; not the explosions of burning bridges and alcohol-infused implosion that came naturally to me earlier in life. It’s hard to learn new shit or establish different patterns than what you’re accustomed to, but we’re all transplanted humans generations removed from our ancestral “roots”. It can be done.

Monday, August 28

SONG OF THE DAY: Upside Down (kudzu'd)

Once the water is boiling whenever I’m making pasta, and I’ve dumped all the noodles in, I spike the empty box on the floor like a football and then kick it over towards the laundry room. That’s just how I am. It can’t be helped.

Friday, August 25

SONG OF THE DAY: (Everybody Wanna Get Rich) Rite Away (kudzu'd)

The funkiest slowed down beats sound like cicadas in summer humidity, with the threat of whippoorwills every now and then, and you love it because it envelopes you, and even when you think about the foxes that might lurk in the dark beyond your human sight, you know they’re little playful things, and pose no threat. Even the coyotes want nothing to do with you, because you’re the biggest threat of all, because you haven’t joined the symphony of nature yet. Maybe you think you have, but if it’s only on the conscious level and hasn’t returned to our collective subconscious, then we ain’t done shit, except too much. We got one foot in “living natural” but only the little toe and the other foot (our right one) is still firmly set down in the false comfort of wealth’s abstraction, which the humanly blessed amongst us hoard like oxygen in a punctured atmosphere, while the rest of us clamor for scraps and dream of becoming free of the struggle of trying to exist in a world ruled by these abstractions.

Thursday, August 24

SONG OF THE DAY: Dreams I'll Never See (kudzu'd)

Rainbow beer cans scaring folks stoked by fears and anxieties of wokeness, in order to ignore the brokenness of how we live where we live, which none of us got a stack of brochures and did deep selection process. Lol, our parents fucked and we were born inside imaginary borders and somehow no matter where this happens, folks get riled up to think it’s the most magical place to have ever existed, that all imagined gods have deigned it the supreme plot of Earth to have a birth randomly happen. Manufactured woke outrage and the perceived inability to realize dreams, while those who truly can’t ever have their dreams be a reality keep getting smooshed between the pyramid scam that’s paying better than ever dividends to the eyeballs at the top. The greatest trick the devil ever played was the all sleight of hand, with two transgender M&Ms underneath 3 Coke bottle caps (plastic, not glass, like at the Mexican grocery store), and flipping them around until you pointed at the one you thought was the great global conspiracy when actually it was under a different cap.

Wednesday, August 23

SONG OF THE DAY: Real Love (kudzu'd)

Wearing an iron-on letter shirt that says SOUTH SIDE BABY MAKER to the Food Lion after work, with white Polo socks and orange and white sherbert Adidas slides, just to see if they got any more of that albacore tuna in the pouch on clearance for 55 cents a pouch. If they ain’t got none left, I’ll find something simple to buy so that I don’t walk in and out and feel like the surveillance gods put another mark against my good name, markdown chicken leg quarters if I’m lucky, but usually I’m not, so I’ll throw $10 into the lottery machine and poke some numbers out of it and dream about not being almost crushed by American life until I see I didn’t win, again.

Tuesday, August 22

SONG OF THE DAY: What I Am (kudzu'd)

You know how in Friday when Craig and Smoky are looking at Mrs. Parker looking all Instagram milf reel but ahead of her time across the street, and Smoky goes, “Mr. Parker just ain’t hittin’ that right”? Any time I listen to this slowed down “What I Am”, I think to myself (and sometimes even say out loud to the cats), “Mr. Simon ain’t hittin’ that right.” But another thing about rich dudes who do that “I keep getting older but they stay the same age” thing IRL is that they gonna be dead and have passed on their wealth to a woman my age. So maybe I still got a shot. Maybe I still got a shot.

Monday, August 21

SONG OF THE DAY: Freaky People Pt 1(kudzu'd)

Made me and my girlfriend matching iron-on letter shirts, black shirts with silver sparkle letters. One says SUPER FREAK, the other says SUPER FREAKY. I kept asking her to choose, because I didn’t want to assert authority over our roles, but she kept deferring and making me choose. So they were sitting on the couch, she was across the room, and I threw the SUPER FREAK one at her, and kept the SUPER FREAKY one. Says a lot about our relationship to be honest. Anyways, we wore them out one time and people looked at us like we were fuckin’ crazy.

Friday, August 18

SONG OF THE DAY: Mysterious Vibes

Mysterious Vibes are a wonderful vibe. I also like Rare Vibes, Lush Vibes, (the underrated) Vibrant Vibes, Naked Coconut Oil Vibes, Flea Market Vibes (so long as the use of the word “vintage” is kept to a minimum… too much “vintage” is giant red flag), Fuck It Vibes (a classic for me), and White Birch Vibes. Honestly, White Birch Vibes is a gateway vibe to Mysterious Vibes anyways, but it felt important to mention because I’d just enjoyed some White Birch Vibes the other day.

Wednesday, August 16

SONG OF THE DAY: Fool's Paradise (kudzu'd)

I was thinking today how weird it is we have pocket computers, and we look up information, but before we can find the information there’s tricks designed to get us to waste money, and we have to move past the tricks (which are everywhere) to try and find the information we’re looking for. But also by the time we find it, or after we find it, there’s multiple gamified options at our lit-up fingertips that may or may not cause our brain to release dopamine, so we go do those things, at least temporarily. All of this is complete physiological neurology, hardly anything psychological or in our control about all of it. Sure, we learn to control how much we let these neurological urges distract us from what we were hoping to be doing, but it’s living in an environment full of these little tricks, scattered entirely through our existence, which test our human abilities. Like we learn to deny ourselves our natural impulse. It’s all so fucked up. We built a completely warped dystopia, but we act like it’s all still down the road if we’re not careful. Lol, we done did it. We’re living in it.

Tuesday, August 15

16-Man Metaphysical Roster: CLUB AMERICA

{Club America taking over an American stadium}

[16-Man Metaphysical Rosters are divined using a football metaphysics methodology where minutes played over the past 50 competitive club matches determines which 16 players constitute the strongest psychic influence over a club’s current psychic trajectory. Intuitive analysis is then added, with a decidedly un-American foundation. Football metaphysics believes in the beautiful game, not the modern corporate spectacle. We have more of a love for Maradona in Mexico than Messi in Miami. One North American club is done each month, divided equally between Liga MX and the MLS, as they are the top two leagues in our home country of America (because in footballing terms, many parts of America are actually Mexico). This is now a solo project again by Raven Mack, but used to be a small group effort, so it bears saying, Rest In Peace Neil.]

The Leagues Cup has been going on the past month, with the North American introduction to Lionel Messi (as well as refs disparately calling things in his goatness’s favor). This was the first one to include all the clubs in both MLS and Liga MX, and with the World Cup being hosted jointly in North America in 2026, I sometimes think we’re headed towards a multinational league (more so than the current US/Canada one); but also, I just don’t know. Mexico has the stronger and deeper football history, and to be honest, the better top clubs. But in order to make this big event happen, all the Mexican clubs had to agree to leave Mexico for the month and take no home matches. It’s very one-sided (as was the allocation of World Cup 2026 host cities), and I think the biggest obstacle to a unified North American land mass league is how far is Liga MX willing to compromise itself. The quality of the league (and the national team) has already suffered in recent years as Mexican clubs no longer compete in Copa Libertadores – a far more difficult and historic tournament than anything CONCACAF could come up with. That’s tied Mexican clubs to the MLS for international competitions, and a combination of MLS clubs getting better and Mexican clubs playing down to their opponents has closed the gap a good bit. But because of this long-term prognostication on my part that the business of football means the metaphysics will be compromised for some sort of hybrid MLS/Liga MX league of some sorts – even if it’s further expansion of this Leagues Cup nonsense – means I’m going to do a 16-man metaphysics for one North American club every month as well (hopefully, lol). I’ll alternate between Liga MX and MLS. And it only makes sense (even though I did actually use their performances in both domestic leagues and CONCACAF Champions League from the past 7 years in compiling this) to begin with Club América, which is like the Dallas Cowboys or Los Angeles Lakers of Mexican fútbol. In fact, in their appearances in Leagues Cup, it was wild to see how, no matter where in America (the county) they played, América (the club) had supporters turning out in huge numbers, turning stadiums yellow. The Chicago Fire match felt like an away game for the Fire, which was to be expected considering the large Mexican population in the Chicago area. But it didn’t really seem to matter where they were at, as supporters showed up for every match, making noise and dominating the stadium’s chant and cheer discourse. Club América is not on their best stretch though, despite still being a top club. They still have more Liga MX titles than anybody else, but they’re in the midst of a five-year dry spell (with Liga MX having two seasons per year, rather than just one); and they haven’t sniffed a Champions League title since going back-to-back in 2015 and 2016 (though they did lose the final to Monterrey in 2021). All of this despite being the home of major football figures both at the managerial and player level. Strangely, this past summer, there was a lot of talk of Gregg Berhalter coming in, as further sign of Mexican fútbol compromising itself for U.S. dollars, but thankfully that didn’t happen, and Brazilian André Jardine was brought in instead. Not exactly a proven entity, but obviously América felt the need to shake things up. Nonetheless, according to our advanced football metaphysics dorkmetrics (minutes played in the past 50 competitive club matches), here’s your top 16 forces on this Club América squad’s psyche (through August 08, 2023)…

#1: ÁLVARO FIDALGO – The flow of talent tends to be from the western hemisphere to Europe at a younger age, but if not good enough for the jump to Europe, a lot of Spanish-language South Americans come to Liga MX. And then fading stars make their way backwards on the exploitation migration channels as they age out of their prime. Álvaro Fidalgo is the somewhat rare example of a European player moving west (although one of Mexico’s biggest stars, André-Pierre Gignac of Tigres also went went), joining América on loan from a second division La Liga club in 2021, and then the move being made permanent. He’s become a fulcrum in the middle of the midfield for América, aiding in attack and distribution to more potent scoring threats (though he’s not above chipping in a goal himself). Fidalgo spent teen years at the Real Madrid youth academy, so he’s experienced football at a level a lot of Liga MX dudes have not, so even though he’s still only 26, he does have somewhat of an elder role with the club on the pitch.

#2: SEBASTIÁN CÁCERES – Cáceres is a young Uruguayan defender who made the jump from his youth team in his native country to América back in 2020. He’s actually gotten 3 appearances with the Uruguayan national team in the past couple years as well, but it’s doubtful he’ll grow into a player that makes the jump to Europe. Liga MX doesn’t have quite the same level of player movement every season that MLS does, but there’s still a good bit of it. A guy like Cáceres will likely see América get all they can out of him, then he’ll bounce between a couple other Liga MX clubs, before eventually heading back home a decade down the road. There’s an honorable tradition of South America players who aren’t quite great enough for Europe but can make a solid (and well-paying) career in Mexico, which is a top-paying league in this hemisphere.

#3: RICHARD SÁNCHEZ – Sánchez is honestly the fiery heart of this club a lot of times. The Paraguayan might not be as Mexican famous as Henry Martin or Julián Quiñones or Diego Valdés, but chances are if somebody has gotten pissed off and decided to angrily take over a match on offense, it’s gonna be Sánchez. My favorite club in Liga MX is Santos Laguna, and one of their best ever players in recent times was Brian Lozano (now at Atlas, and diminished after injury) but both Lozano and Sánchez similarly have this “fuck you” switch that you can actually get switched on, and know they are about to try and get as stupid as possible in owning a defender. And it’s great when it works. Sánchez has a whole lot more support than Lozano ever did, but they both have worked with Valdés, who definitely benefits from the presence of that type of attitude alongside him. I love Sánchez.

#4: DIEGO VALDÉS – Like I just said, I pull for Santos Laguna, and Valdés was a force for them for a while. He’ll hit 30 next January, so he’s obviously one of those dudes like I mentioned before that comes from a footballing nation (Chile) but not quite good enough to jump the Atlantic. He’s made a good living for himself, and remains a threat to score. Probably most notable for his time on the Chilean national team when he made racist slant eyes gesture before a match with South Korea in a friendly after World Cup 2018 had ended. Wears the #10 for Club América… an always important fact to note in Latin America.

#5: HENRY MARTÍN – #21 in your program, but number one in Club América’s supporters’ hearts, Martín has been figure on the squad for a long time now, having joined way back in December of 2017 when heavyweight coach (both figuratively and literally) Miguel Herrera was in charge. Martín’s also been a regular presence on the national team, and with both the national team and Club América occupying Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, it’s all helped Martín to be an outsized figure in Mexican football. That being said, the club’s lack of success in winning liguilla has corresponded directly with Martín’s time there. So I don’t know.

#6: ISRAEL REYES – Young defender who made the move to América from Puebla last winter, and has become key on that side of things pretty quickly. The exposure on a big club has helped him get more time on the national team this year as well, with 11 of his 14 appearances for El Tri coming in 2023. That gig at Estadio Azteca is still prominent at club level, to get you in the Mexican football mind’s eye.

#7: JONATHAN RODRÍGUEZ – Another Uruguayan who has bounced around Liga MX for a number of years, had a spell with Benfica in Portugal earlier in his career (but never stuck on the A team), and even spent the first half of last year playing for Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia, before the Cristiano Ronaldo torrent of European superstars took hold. Before the Saudi stint, he’d spent a number of seasons with Cruz Azul, who also play in Estadio Azteca, so the home of Mexican football has also been Rodríguez’s home since 2019 for the most part.

#8: MIGUEL LAYÚN – As Henry Martín is to the offensive side of Club América, Miguel Layún is on the defensive side. An elder statesmen of Mexican football, who spent a long time on El Tri, including at both the 2014 and 2018 World Cups, he had a major stint with América earlier in his career, bookended by prominent European experiences in Serie A with Atalanta and England with Watford. Layún played a number of years in Europe, in Portugal and Spain as well, returning to Mexico to join Monterrey in 2019, but coming home (sort of) to América in June of 2021. Even at 35, his presence looms large, often adorned with the captain’s armband.

#9: ALEJANDRO ZENDEJAS – Again, the migration pattern of players is generally speaking, Latin American players who aren’t going to a higher caliber league make their way to MLS, but you don’t see a lot of American players going to Liga MX. Alejandro Zendejas is the rare counter example, but also very much a part of both sides of the border, having been born and living in Juárez and El Paso. As a teen, he signed a contract with FC Dallas, but ended up joining Chivas pretty early on, and part of that deal was to agree to play for the Mexican national team rather than the US one, because Chivas wouldn’t have had him otherwise. He spent some time with Necaxa after Chivas, but then joined América January of last year. He’s steadily gotten minutes as a winger since then. He also became source of controversy between national teams last year, as FIFA investigated him being played in a couple friendlies by El Tri despite not having filed the proper paperwork for national team allegiance. (Zendejas played as a youth player for the US.) The eventual outcome was that Mexico had to forfeit all matches Zendejas appeared in (the two friendlies, plus a few U-23 matches he played in) and he switched back to the US team, even scoring a goal for them against Grenada in Nations League play. It seems shocking he’d remain in Mexico after all that, but thus far, he’s remained a part of Club América. Still only 25, I would not be shocked to see him come back across the Rio Grande to one of the Texas teams in the near future.

#10: NÉSTOR ARAUJO – Araujo’s another long-time Mexican defender for the national team, who spent long stints at both Cruz Azul and Santos Laguna, as well as Celta de Vigo in Spain for four years. As is often the case with big names that went to Europe, América was the most likely landing spot upon returning to Mexico. He and Layún make a pretty legendary tandem on defense, both huge names in Mexican football, but Club América specializes in those. Got no idea on how payrolls are in Liga MX, but nobody has TV deals and merchandise moving like América. They can afford people nobody else in Mexico can.

#11: LUIS FUENTES – And Fuentes is like the other side of a Liga MX defender to Araujo and Layún. Fuentes played a decade for Pumas, and has bounced around a few other clubs, so is well known in his three year stint with América. But he’s only had a single appearance of the national team in that long and competent career. He’s still strong by Liga MX standards, but also 36. They got a couple younger folks on defense (the two Reyeses), but damn, they got some age out there too.

#12: LUIS MALAGÓN – Mexican GK getting his highest profile gig after periods with Morelia and Necaxa. His signing was no small deal because he came in to replace Mexican legend Guillermo Ochoa, who dazzled the world at World Cup 2014. Malagón’s gotten a couple of caps for the national team himself, but he’ll never be at that level of Ochoa. However, Ochoa has gotten older, and current Malagón is an upgrade to current Ochoa, who took a contract in Italy to play last December the same time Malagón joined América. It’s tough replacing a national legend like that, even if Ochoa’s best moments didn’t come during that Club América stint, but Malagón has done well.

#13: SALVADOR REYES – The other of the dos Reyes who are the younger defenders helping keep the club up to speed. They’re not related, and Salvador plays on the left side, and has been with the club a couple years longer, but has found it harder to keep his minutes on América’s crowded roster.

#14: LEONARDO SUÁREZ – Suárez has a solid footballing pedigree, having grown up and first featured as at the senior level for Boca Juniors (one of the top clubs in this hemisphere), and then spending five years in Spain under contract to Villarreal. He came back to this half of the Earth in January 2020, joining América, and though he spent a year loaned to Santos Laguna, since he’s returned, he’s forced his way into the conversation as being a necessary member of their squad. Nonetheless, it’s a crowded squad, with Martín and Julián Quiñones needing their time as well, so Suárez is likely seen as expendable by the club ultimately. Wouldn’t be surprising to see him loaned out again to another Liga MX club for a year, or even make the jump to MLS. He’d do pretty good against American competition.

#15: EMILIO LARA – The youngest (21) most promising defender of all on this squad, who also has expectations for him at the national team level. Lara joined América at age 15 as a youth player, and the 2022-23 season really asserted himself as a key member of the squad. He also got his first national team appearance too, and thus far has spent his entire professional career at Club América. Even in Mexico, homegrown players can be rare, because on a club like this, rarely is a young player good enough to start in front of the expensive veterans, but Lara has carved his spot. And with the age of some of the older guys, his role will likely only grow.

#16: ÓSCAR JIMÉNEZ – Jiménez is another example of becoming a prominent player on big domestic club with zero international presence. He’s considered one of the captains of the club, and has held onto a GK slot over the years since 2017, despite being supplanted by first Ochoa and now Malagón. When he first came on, it was a back-up to a different guy back then, so he’s handled the role well, of maintaining that secondary beta position, but stepping up whenever necessary. It’s a rare aesthetic to be a highly competent back-up GK like that, but Giménez plays it well, which is why he is one of the club’s captains despite not being a regular member of the starting XI.

Monday, August 14

SONG OF THE DAY: Is It All Over My Face (Original Male Version) (kudzu'd)

Jeff Hardy is a tragic tale of dreams coming true and destroying your soul. If we had time travel, I wonder what today Jeff Hardy would go back and tell back then Jeff Hardy? Lolol, that’s a trick commentary, because today Jeff Hardy would just go retrieve back then Jeff Hardy and manage him in WWE, destroying himself (again) for a percentage of the payoff. You never get as much as you think for selling your soul, even if you could do it more than once.

Friday, August 11

SONG OF THE DAY: West Coast for Suuure (Sweatson Klank Remix)

The gods of funk are far more disparate than we give them credit for, having come from the coastal regions around the Earth, moving along tributary migration paths (sometimes voluntarily, often times against their own consent) to locations in parts unknown. Yet the gods always seem to push their greatest prophets back from these nether regions towards the warm weather coasts again. The salt water is both the primordial breeding ground for the gods of funk, and where the necessary salt air is best for fermenting into the thickest sermons of funk best exemplifying the gods of funk's prophecy - that the thickness of the music is too much for brain, and in fact beyond the brain's ability to even deduce how to recreate in an analytical way, and in fact moves your heart, but even deeper still, pops your gut congresses with butterfly goodness, and gets your ass to shake against all better thinking (by brain). It is a beautiful thing, and we should all light a stick of incense and lay down some chunks of quartz somewhere in the house in honor of these great ancient gods of funk who continue to make our lives so god fuckin' blessed.

Wednesday, August 9

SONG OF THE DAY: Genius of Love (kudzu'd)

This remains a DJ Screw classic, slowed down a few times on grey tapes, and it’s an impeccable crossover classic by old school new wave band that jumped the genres fences before they were erected entirely in that early ‘80s environment that saw new wave and early hip hop mixing together with more ease than later decades would lead you to believe. Movements have always been multicultural, until systems come along and slap channels in place to funnel folks towards divisive positions. I got three copies of this 45, and am always looking for more on the cheap (because two of my copies are crystal clean and one is a little rough but solid and doesn’t skip, just got that nice snap crackle pop ambiance… but you always want back-ups on highly loopworthy 45s slowed down; one never knows when they’ll encounter the devil at a crossroads and he’s got 7 turntables and 6 cross faders set up and says “juggle a beat for your soul”.

Monday, August 7

SONG OF THE DAY: I Need Some Money (kudzu'd)

Kids ain’t been here a couple weeks so I been eating all the gross food in the freezer and cabinet nobody wants, because groceries are too expensive. Hope I hit that fuckin’ Mega Millions lol. Over here getting drained.

Sunday Slowdown Chapter 010: Crying Jack of Diamonds

Dropped another Sunday Slowdown because I was feeling down so instead of destroying other Earthlings, sunk into the 45 stacks and got lost in the oldies. I feel better, thanks for asking.

Wednesday, August 2

SONG OF THE DAY: Don't Stop the Music (kudzu'd)

I believe in slowed music as a revolution, so DJ Screw means a lot to me. He was the flag bearer of this shit, and somebody else might’ve come along and done it if he hadn’t, but the conditions of him making tapes and the Houston scene at the time craving and supporting that sound made it be his thing to happen. Hip hop came along 20 years earlier, and had re-appropriated record collections as an instrument for collaging a new sound together. Of course, by the time Public Enemy’s third album had come around, the copyright infringement police had come along and destroyed the possibilities of sampling through legal risk and the costs associated with clearing samples. That came about in the late ‘80s at the turn of the decade, so it’s no accident that mixtape culture blew up in the ‘90s, just slapping a “for promotional purposes only” tag on shit you’ve cobbled together. Legalized capitalism has always been against hustling, but hustlers always figure out workarounds.
Anyways, jazz music fucked around with time changes (the good jazz, not the old white dude jazz) so speed changes were bound to come about the longer people played with record collections as instruments. Screw slowing it down was embracing that southern lifestyle – moving slow, talking slow, taking it slow, in a literal sense. It absolutely would’ve happened if he hadn’t done it, but thankfully he showed up to do it when he did to accelerate the possibilities.
I got this book a while back called Boogie Down Predictions that looked amazing at first glance, and had an article on Screw and something like the temporal politics of slowed music. The article sucked though, lacking any esotericism or actual lounge, just being academic masturbation of a fringe topic, like “Haha, I wrote an academic article about chopped and screwed music.” It did nothing to advance or support the actual philosophy, thus wasn’t necessary.
Records themselves have become overly expensive, so even getting shit you know is good is costly as fuck. I’ve always been that old school record head style though where you dig beyond the popular zones in obscure spots and find hidden gems. Changing the speed of music allows you way more room to move like that. I can find a crate full of 80s electronic funk that a regular speed record hipster is going to hear as formulaic crap from the past. Slow it down though and it changes the whole ambiance of the sounds, and that electronic funk absolutely bangs when slowed down. It’s one of my favorite genres of slowed music. Anything people used to roller skate to while high on cocaine is perfect for slowing down. So I spend a lot of times digging through old 45s, playing things nobody would ever expect me to play, to try and find those hidden loungers, even if all I do is spin once in a while for a small group of listeners. It’s still the slowed music revolution. I actually got run off the local community radio station for playing slowed music (though they’ll say I could’ve kept playing it, just not during the daytime when people might actually be listening, lol… fuck ‘em), because some know-it-all white dude types were up in arms about music being played at the wrong speed. It was disrespectful, or some shit like that. To who? And why do you care music is played at the right speed? Like what does it even matter? Every DJ turntable has a pitch shift control anyways, so what, we’re only supposed to use that for a 1%-5% shift? What’s outside allowable?
None of that matters. It’s just people who think they’re the experts on everything trying to say you can’t do something some other way that’s outside their ideas of a norm. (The most bizarre thing about this locally was the dudes who were mad about wrong speed music tend to put themselves out there as these crazy punk rock types, so it’s extra weird and hypocritical as fuck that they’d even care, much less complain to community radio station programming managers enough to cause drama. But it just confirms my slowly learned realization that Gen X punks are basically the same as Baby Boomer hippies in terms of hypocrisy and being desperate as fuck to see themselves as the good types of people even though they’re directly complicit in why everything is so fucked up in America.)
Anyways, I’m thankful for screwed music because it gives us the ability to enjoy shit in a different way, and take the crap we’ve already accumulated through consumption and find a new use for it. Fuck normalcy or even trying to make somebody accept anything as normal. It’s always coming from a place of bias, regardless of what you’re trying to normalize. Don’t normalize anything. And don’t stop the music, ‘cause it tends to soothe.

Tuesday, August 1

SONG OF THE DAY: Psychedelic Woman (kudzu'd)

I’d like to become one of those rich hipsters that has enough free time and money that he flies to Africa and goes digging for old 45s. I’d probably go to Peru first, but West Africa would be near the top of the list. Of course if I was a rich hipster asshole, I probably wouldn’t even think about playing records as much, because I’d be hooked on opiates in Tunisia or some shit. But still it’s fun to pretend that if I were rich, I wouldn’t be a selfish piece of shit, although I guess digging through old ass records because you have the wealth to do so is still fairly selfish. Not like I’d be making the world a better place. But the point of getting rich is not to make the world a better place… it’s to escape having to give a fuck about anything! Giving a fuck about things becomes so incredibly tiring.

25-Man Metaphysical Roster: MANCHESTER CITY

{Manchester City achieves immortality, sadly}

[25-Man Metaphysical Rosters are divined using a football metaphysics methodology where minutes played over the past 100 competitive club matches determines which 25 players constitute the strongest psychic influence over a club’s current psychic trajectory. Intuitive analysis is then added, done in English by an American, but with a decidedly anti-English un-American foundation. Football metaphysics believes in the beautiful game, not the modern corporate spectacle. We have more of a love for Maradona in Mexico than Messi in Miami. One Premier League club is done each month, as it’s the top domestic league in an English-speaking nation (the language we were born with). This is now a solo project again by Raven Mack, but used to be a small group effort, so it bears saying, Rest In Peace Neil.]

25-Man Metaphysics makes a return because I feel compelled to pretend to know about English football again. I’ve always loved this project, and in the heyday when myself, Paul, and Neil were writing together, it had a strange charm where even though the three of us were in entirely separate spaces, we somehow came together perfectly, not quite like Voltron but like if Voltron were a demo derby car made of used books. But I jump back into this solo, because I love nothing more than ambitious and perhaps impossible projects to dump on myself as an excuse to jabber about the metaphysical foundations beneath the consumer culture we obsess over in our declining American Empire (and in fact, the iron lung decades of unchecked capitalism’s last gasps globally).
One club a month means it’ll take well over a year to cycle through the entire Premier League, and I’m fine with that. Nobody needs to be revisiting these clubs on an annual basis in metaphysical terms like are written about here. The feel of a club has eras which cover multiple years, and this slower schedule will work just fine. But I did want to come out the gate on the restart with Manchester City, as this is currently, without a doubt, their era. In the 7 seasons since Pep Guardiola arrived from Bayern Munich, they’ve won the PL title 5 of those seasons, including the past three seasons, where they became only the second club to three-peat in the Premier League era (also done by Manchester United from 1999-2001 and 2007-2009). But this past season was an extra dominant one, with them pulling off a treble by winning the FA Cup (for the second time under Pep) and finally winning a Champions League title. They made it to the final three seasons back, losing to domestic rival Chelsea (somewhat shockingly at the time, to be honest), but finally made it back this past June, and sealed the deal against an outclassed Inter Milan squad. (Even more impressively, they played a major match in Istanbul as an English club without any prominent stabbings.)
I am no fan of Pep Guardiola, despite his obvious successes throughout his career. To me, he is the corporate football wonder manager, who is able to navigate the oversized egos of a top club and somehow make it work. Sure, that’s a talent, and not everybody has it, but I tend to appreciate the ragged philosopher who motivate a pack of football misfits into a collective shape. Pep’s methods are not that, and though it may seem like the same type of managerial acumen, just at a higher level of money invested in squad, there’s something that feels hollow about a club that can purchase every player it desires, move them around like puzzle pieces (with three pieces to a normal club’s one), and create the desired picture of a team. I love playing Football Manager on cheat mode where I can sign anybody I want, but it’s not quite as satisfying to see in real life. So of course Pep eventually won a treble with this squad… I did the same thing with Wrexham for four years in a row, from 2047 through 2050. If you got the financial cheat code in life, few things stand in your way (including UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules, which seem to have enough loopholes and workarounds that they’re fairly impotent).
Nonetheless, with pep at the helm, the secondary Manchester club powered by fossil fuel money has ascended to the highest heights in club history, and established themselves as the pre-eminent club in the Premier League. And though I say that with the warning that all eras come to an end, we don’t know how long this run will last before egos clash and destroy the fluidity of what’s there now, or better yet, Yaya Touré’s curse is reactivated and snuffs the momentum of wealth masquerading as physical superiority. Nonetheless, here are the top 25 men according to our football metaphysics minutes played methodology over the past 100 competitive matches (through June 10, 2023)…

#1: RODRI – The Spanish midfielder has quietly become the fulcrum to Man City’s successes. Key tenet of football metaphysics as we think of things around here is the presence of a quality defensive midfielder who has the ability as a presence to shift entire club from defense to offense, often with a single pass. Rodri joined Man City four seasons back, and it’s no coincidence that they had their first three-in-a-row title run with him after he settled in. It’s also very telling that in a scrappy Champions League final this past June, it was Rodri’s wily missile from a loose ball midway through the second half that gave Man City their first ever Champions League final goal, and ultimately they’re first ever Champions League title. He is not as globally famous as the club’s more superstar names, but he is the backbone of the team as it currently stands.

#2: EDERSON – The reverse colonialism pipeline for great Brazilian players is they rule their native country, get bought up by one of the big three Portuguese clubs (Benfica, Sporting CP, and Porto), make a strong highlight film package in continental competition, then get sold off for big Euros to one of Europe’s behemoth clubs. Ederson was great enough he was shipped off to Portugal at the age of 16, and was signed by Man City at the age of 23, for a transfer fee that was the second-largest ever at the time. And in that reverse colonialism pipeline, Ederson’s fee was the largest Benfica ever got for a player (thus far). Ederson is an elite GK, but not really because of amazing shot stopping (though he’s good enough at that). What he excels at is confidence with the ball, even at his feet, and being able to switch his side from defense to counter-attack fairly adeptly. That foundation at the back end can’t be overlooked in helping a guy like Erling Haaland just pile up goals like he does. It’s not so much that Ederson stacks up clean sheets like a classic brick wall of a shot-stopping GK, as it is he handles his business and gets the ball moving, so that Man City can stack up multiple goals on the other side, which just makes his job even easier at that point.

#3: İLKAY GÜNDOĞAN – Gündoğan spent seven seasons in the midfield for Man City, and was a constant and productive presence. He accumulated a lot of playing time on a squad with enough talent that rotating folks was necessary. Gündoğan had 51 appearances last season across all competitions, and most importantly was a mainstay on Champions Leagues squads. But you can’t maintain a Champions League-winning squad, and Gündoğan was one of Manchester City’s highest profile exits in recent memory, joining Robert Lewandowski at Barcelona, with their hopes of creating a new chapter post-Messi now heavily invested into. How Man City adjusts to him being gone is really one of the biggest question marks going into this upcoming season, where they’re expected to continue fucking everybody up.

#4: KEVIN DE BRUYNE – Gonna be honest here and say I hate Kevin De Bruyne. I hate his goofy face, hate the way he plays, hate how you pronounce his stupid last name. Thus, he is the perfect guy to be a prominent face on Manchester City’s club, standing alongside Pep Guardiola, just unleashing the hatred of the wretched of the football Earth masses at City’s manufactured dominance. He also complicated me pulling for the Belgian national team in European competitions, because I’d be all excited for Romelu Lukaku and the Hazard brothers, but then De Bruyne would show his stupid face and ruin it for me.

#5: BERNARDO SILVA – Silva is, at this point, the elder presence for Man City in the midfield in terms of time with the club, but certainly plays a more support role behind Rodri. Silva’s quietly a great player though, and it’s painful how many top talents a club like Man City can accumulate, and just keep restocking over and over. But it’s also a testament to Silva’s quality that despite being on a club like that, going into his seventh season, he’s still a prominent figure. He’s actually already had over 300 appearances for the club across all competitions, which is second only to Kevin De Bruyne amongst active players on the squad.

#6: ERLING HAALAND – The young Norwegian freak joined the club last season on a ridiculous transfer fee from Borussia Dortmund (whose striped bumblebee kits matched Haaland’s bizarre face aesthetically). Even after joining the Bundesliga midway through the 2019-20 season, he maintained a blistering pace of averaging one goal per appearance. Even though he’d be a freak, nobody thought he’d maintain that level of scoring in the Premier League. But he did. Haaland is a true striker, who thinks of nothing but goals, and not just basic goals but the soul crushing type that break a defender’s spirit. As a fan of football metaphysics, it’s a bit frustrating to see such an immense talent tied down to a soulless club like Man City, but it’s also how things work in the age of modern football. Haaland at Man City lacks the spiritual feel goodness of Mo Salah at Liverpool, in fact it’s like the opposite. But we’re all going to have to suffer through it for the foreseeable future, and Haaland’s likely to only become more dominant. Gonna be a long few seasons for us Man City haters.

#7: JACK GREALISH – It took a season for Grealish to get settled into a new role at Man City and become a regular part of their starting XI. Grealish’s tale is one paralleled by many players acquired by the largest clubs after becoming dominant legends at other English clubs. Grealish’s last season with Aston Villa made him a club legend, wearing some ratty ass cleats and helping Villa survive relegation with a final match goal against West Ham at the end of the Covid-complicated 2019-20 season. He signed a big contract, and maintained that club legend status for another season, but it was obvious he had outgrown Villa. Man City came calling, and the small club legend was absorbed into a club behemoth’s oversized roster, the big fish in a small pond suddenly scrapping for minutes amidst even bigger fish. Not everybody can adjust (my beloved Swansea City’s PL hero Wilfried Bony comes to mind, who shrunk until he disappeared after joining Man City), but Grealish eventually did, and had a fairly productive season this past one. The hilarious thing about Grealish and his style of existing is the exact same characteristics that make him seem like a legend when in some godforsaken club existence like at Aston Villa also make him look like a complete and total douche in the unblemished limelight of a club like Manchester City. He just looks like an asshole now, with that fuckin’ hair and smug ass face. But send him back to Villa in 8 years, and it’s gonna be, “Haha, what a regular bloke; I’d love to get drunk with that guy!”

#8: MANUEL AKANJI – Honestly, Akanji’s addition last summer is a highly underrated piece of their successes last season. He’s solid at either right or left back, and that helped cover all the fluctuations they sometimes have at center back. Akanji had also been teammates with Haaland the previous two seasons at Dortmund, so the two coming in together helped assimilate them both into starting XI. In fact, during last season’s PL campaign, Akanji played more minutes than any other defender. He’s sort of the reverse image contrast to Haaland up top, on the defensive side. And again, he’s going to make it perhaps an unbearable next couple seasons for Man City haters like myself.

#9: RÚBEN DIAS – Portuguese defender who helped solidify defense three seasons back, and has been key to Man City’s run of three straight PL titles. Good with both feet, so much like Ederson, helps establish a solid defense that can also get the ball confidently back the other way. And even though he’s only 26, Dias has been an on-the-pitch leader for the defense, something they hadn’t really had very clearly since Guardiola came in. Even if you have all the money in the world (as Manchester City do), you can’t just keep mixing and matching folks… somebody’s got to become the leader, especially on defense.

#10: RIYAD MAHREZ – One of my all-time favorite offensive juggernauts was when Mahrez combined with Jamie Vardy at Leicester City for that improbable Premier League title in 2015-16. The two of them together was deadly, as Vardy was an unrelenting striker (like Haaland) and Mahrez is classic poacher picking up any and all scraps or openings to add to the tally. That sort of secondary mentality served Mahrez well once he finally threw enough of a fit at Leicester to get his desired transfer to Man City, because that’s all the role he was gonna get there. And despite not ever being an every match player for Man City, he was a constant offensive threat for them (including 24 goals across all competitions in 2021-22). His raw numbers were down last season, as would be expected with a guy like Haaland added to the mix, but Mahrez still got 15 goals across all competitions. However, the French-born Algerian was part of the mad money being thrown about by the Saudi League this summer, and joins a wild collection of players at Al-Ahli, that includes himself, Roberto Firmino, Allan Saint-Maximim, and Édouard Mendy in goal. Despite the influx of expensive players, I do not plan on watching a single minute of Saudi Pro League action (with the possible exception of Asian Champions League matches). I still enjoy Mahrez a lot though, and look forward to him having another run at the African Cup of Nations with Algeria in January. The Fennec Foxes have been perfect in qualification thus far, so should be a contender (again) when AFCON rolls back around.

#11: KYLE WALKER – Look man, Kyle Walker is 33, and despite his most basic name, he can be a brutish presence on defense. But their defense has become crowded, and Akanji excelling, Walker can be sold off, with Bayern Munich reportedly working up a deal. Man, what a fuckin’ weird situation that would be for Bayern to have both Harry Kane and Kyle Walker suddenly. But mostly I look forward to three seasons from now, when Sheffield United has somehow survived getting relegated (inshallah), and Walker returns to Sheffield, for a glorious final run with the Blades. He never got to shine at the senior level for them as he should have. Let that man follow his heart and go home.

#12: JOHN STONES – Ah yes, unlovable doofus John Stones. It looked like he was gonna get lost in the Man City squad shuffle a few seasons back, but he somehow has settled into key defender… at least until they find somebody shinier they can blow big money on. But even with an increased role last season, he still only played in less than two-thirds of their matches. Nonetheless, he’s been able to extend his English football peak in standard trajectory, having gone from Barnsley to Everton to Manchester City. He’s successfully fought off the descent back down thus far, but also turns 30 next May, so the John Stones to whichever middling northern English Premier League club has big aspirations rumors aren’t too far away on the horizon.

#13: PHIL FODEN – In American football, a great tradition of subliminal racism is the deep affectionate love a team’s fans have for a white guy who plays Tight End or Fullback (very different type of fullback than in the world’s football). Of course, it’s never outright racism, but the way they crazily embrace some doofus freak is almost certainly built around the fact he’s a successful athlete and still a white dude. English football has that as well, in the basic-looking good ol’ English player who quietly just plays along at a highly competent level for a supporter’s favorite club. At one like Man City, there’s so much coming and going of high-priced global superstars, it’s harder to find such a character to channel your internalized xenophobia. Thankfully for Manchester City, Foden gives supporters that chance… just a boy from Stockport who joined the club at the age of 4. He’s a rare homegrown player for them, and native Englishman (which in this case means white, as that “native Englishman” doubles as exclusionary language, but in a way that’s easily deniable). Normally, you’d think this type of player would play their role in support and then be sold off to a second-tier Premier League club to cover the cost of importing global superstars on an annual basis. But Foden’s flirted with being too good to get rid of, contributing more and more. His big breakout moment was probably last October during the Manchester derby’s home match for City, where he got his first career hat trick, at the tender age of 22, in City’s 6-3 stomping of United. The racialists loved him even more after that day.

#14: NATHAN AKÉ – I like Aké simply because of him and Virgil van Dijk being such a fun and threatening combo on the Dutch national team defensive line. Because of this I mostly try to overlook the fact Aké plays for Manchester City, even though he in fact does. He got a contract extension after the Champions League win, and seems to work well with Akanji and plug and playable along multiple positions on defense. Aesthetically speaking though, his dreadlocked appearance likely reached its pinnacle (thus far) during a loan period at Watford years ago. Such a handsome figure’s natural shine is dulled by that Man City crypto blue color.

#15: AYMERIC LAPORTE – Laporte has been a center back at Man City since the winter transfer window in 2018, and one thing has become clear about Aymeric Laporte since then… he’s gonna get injured. In fact, his existence seems to be intertwined with John Stones at this point, where Stones doesn’t seem quite perfect enough, so Laporte starts clawing his way back into starting role, but then Laporte gets injured, and Stones regains control. It’s been this multi-season ebb and flow with them. Thus far, Laporte hasn’t gone away, but with Rúben Dias and now the pending signing of Joško Gvardiol from RB Leipzig, Laporte will be expendable, and likely elsewhere. Going back to La Liga and his old club Athletic Bilbao seems likely.

#16: JULIÁN ÁLVAREZ – An Argentine forward who, though he technically signed with Man City in January of 2022, joined the club at the same time as Erling Haaland, so despite being a big deal himself, was buried behind the far bigger deal. Álvarez came over from River Plate, and was left there on loan to finish out the first half of the year with River. He also was a young member of the Argentine national team that finally won the World Cup with Messi. Álvarez contributed 17 goals last season across all competitions, and that was usually as a sub. He’s got Copa Libertadores titles with River Plate, plus the World Cup, and last season’s treble at Man City, so it’s hard not to assume that even though he’s a supporting cast member in some of those situations, there’s a stroke of universal benevolence that comes with Julián Álvarez being on the squad. He’s only 23, so it’ll be interesting to see how his career progresses. He’s exactly the type of player I’d like to be seeing running wild at like AC Milan or Napoli (the classical young Argentine goal, although to be fair to the spirit of Maradona, young Álvarez comes from a bastard River Plate lineage, not the wild and wonderful realm of Boca Juniors).

#17: JOÃO CANCELO – Cancelo became expendable by Pep Guardiola’s standards, and was loaned to Bayern Munich the second half of last season, so missed out on all the big treble run. There’s been a lot of speculation and talk around Cancelo though, with some big clubs rumored to be interested (Barcelona, Arsenal), and Cancelo looking good during the preseason. But the fact of the matter is if you’ve fallen out of favor with that egotistical little shit Pep Guardiola, you’re not coming back. Look at how he treated Yaya Touré. Cancelo will be better off elsewhere, and somewhere else will be better off with him.

#18: RICO LEWIS – Rico Lewis got 14 appearances in Premier League matches last season, despite still only being 18. Still way down the depth chart, wearing the extraordinarily high number 82, but having joined the club at the age of 8, they’ll keep developing him, seemingly with a loan to a high profile Championship club this season, with both the recently relegated Southampton and Leeds United high on the youngster to help them claw their way back into the Premier League from the 46-match long (and even longer if you go the playoff route) Championship scrum.

#19: STEFAN ORTEGA – Ortega fills the complicated role of a high-caliber second GK, which is always a weird puzzle to figure out, because nobody at the highest level wants to know they’re gonna get like 5 starts a season, with 3 of them being the Carabao Cup. Ortega had quietly excelled for his youth club, Arminia Bielefeld, in the Bundesliga for a couple seasons, doing well enough against top competition that Man City brought him in last season on a free transfer as cover for Ederson. He’s already 30, so not a young back-up, but Ortega excelled in his limited playing time, including appearing in every match of City’s FA Cup run, and only allowing a single goal in six FA Cup matches. Throw in a handful of PL matches to give Ederson a rest, and being able to handle lesser competition during Champions League group stage matches, and Ortega’s about as perfect a second GK as a club like Man City could hope for. He’s a natural beta but with alpha performance capabilities, and will likely help the club make a profit off him when they sell him back to like RB Leipzig next summer.

#20: SERGIO GÓMEZ – Gómez spent 8 years in Barcelona’s incomparable youth academy, before moving to Germany and joining Borussia Dortmund as a teenager. Even with Dortmund, he was sold off to Anderlecht in Belgium, rather than held onto, and after a strong season there, was part of Man City’s influx of players last summer, in fact making his club debut as sub for Erling Haaland last August. Gómez doesn’t have the massive presence Haaland does, but can hold his own. Somehow though, it feels like this is a bigger stage than he needs to be on, and he’d be better served on personal level getting regular playing time somewhere, with La Liga seemingly making perfect sense. But Manchester City can afford to stockpile players, not only for themselves, but to deny others, and I often think about multiverse string theory, and what might have been if a guy like Gómez never left Barca’s youth academy back in the day, and remained there instead of getting lost wandering the Earth looking for a metaphysical home that never does ultimately arrive.

#21: COLE PALMER – Perhaps Cole Palmer is the next Phil Foden, being another young English dude who was a childhood fan of the club, and joined their youth system before the age of 8, progressing up through the ranks, and having a bit of a breakout last season with 25 appearances across all competitions, including 14 PL appearances. He’s also the rare occurrence of an English footballer with a name that sounds like he could be a third-generation Nascar driver.

#22: KALVIN PHILLIPS – In some sense, Kalvin Phillips is a similar story to Grealish’s, as Phillips was adored at Leeds United, where he came up as a youth player, and was a key presence on Marcelo Bielsa’s squad that rose from the Championship back to the Premier League for the first time in nearly two decades. But as Leeds navigated the Premier League and wages, his shine was bound to be cashed out for a big transfer fee while they could. He hasn’t really settled into his role as sub, and the sporadic appearances have to make it hard to find a rhythm as a player. I don’t see him following Grealish’s growth into regular player, and Phillips instead seems like the classic player who can thrive at a smaller PL club (or in that weird tweener state of those half-dozen clubs that bounce between Championship and PL all the time, like Norwich City, Burnley, and Fulham), but just gets lost somewhere like the Etihad. And sadly, with him having left last season, Leeds struggled and dropped back to the Championship again themselves (so don’t be surprised if Phillips doesn’t rejoin them on some sort of loan mid-season if he continues to struggle, and Leeds is chasing getting re-promoted).

#23: RAHEEM STERLING – Yes, due to the nature of our football metaphysics methodology, players who are gone still show up on the 25-man list. The minutes accumulated still count for something, and I’m not really into that “let’s do an annual look at the current roster” because there’s no doubt the old faces that took up a lot of space still carry weight. And despite being a fairly prolific goal-scorer in this time at Man City, he somehow still wasn’t the dominant figure the club desired, which made way for the transfer of Haaland, which gave them exactly what they wanted. Sterling could score goals, but he never broke anybody’s spirit, and there’s actually a big difference there. Goal scorers can aid successful clubs, but you need a spirit breaker to win trebles. It sort of makes perfect sense that the by all means good but not quite great Raheem Sterling is now settled in at Chelsea, where club stature matches individual perfectly.

#24: GABRIEL JESUS – Jesus (along with next name Oleksandr Zinchenko) made the move to Arsenal last season, as the final piece of Mikel Arteta’s Operation Gabriel, accumulating as many Brazilian dudes named Gabriel as possible. The magic worked briefly, but failed to deliver the PL title that was teased early in the season. Jesus had a great first season with the Gunners, despite being injured for three months towards the end of the season. In fact, Jesus’s injury, along with William Saliba on defense, can’t be overlooked as to why Arsenal crumbled in the end.

#25: OLEKSANDR ZINCHENKO – Our last name on the list spent a half decade toiling amongst Man City’s always crowded roster. Shockingly, Zinchenko is still only 26, so plenty of tread left on them tires, especially considering he was never a full-time starter at the Etihad. In fact, after his move to Arsenal last season, he got more PL appearances in a single season than he ever had with Man City. Of course, Arsenal had that fabulous collapse last season, letting Man City surpass them in the spring stretch, so Zinchenko’s failure demons may be speaking more loudly now. A Ukrainian, and despite Russian being his first language, when the invasion of Ukraine took place, he posted on social media that he wished for Vladimir Putin to suffer a most painful death. He, of course, deleted the post after handlers were like “what the fuck bro?” But a sort of ugly dirt dog Ukrainian fuck is kinda perfect for Arsenal, and never really meshed with the Man City aesthetic entirely.