Interview: Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite on Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait

Mogwai Barbican

Last week, Greg Johnson headed to the Barbican Centre in London to chat to Mogwai‘s Stuart Braithwaite about Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, football and his mum’s connection to Roberto Martinez…

Hi Stuart. How did the shows in Glasgow and Manchester go compared to your expectations of playing Zidane live?

We didn’t really have any expectations because we’ve never done it before and, as such, it’s quite an unusual thing for us to do. Usually we just do our own concerts and play our own songs. I suppose there were more concerns that it wouldn’t work or something like that. And it did work. The gigs have been pretty good; quite intense experiences, and the music’s pretty heavy so again, different to what we usually do. It’s worked well. People have been pretty receptive to it.

How have you found playing with the film visuals projected behind you?

Really different because people aren’t looking at us, really – people are watching the film. There’s one point where we don’t play and there’s a really great goal, and everyone cheered. [laughs] I don’t know if they’ll do it tonight, they’ll probably feel a little bit more – I don’t know – because it’s quite an arty venue. Maybe they’ll feel a bit too posh to clap. At the other shows the audience had a wee cheer when that happened, which was good.

Did that cheer when the goals was scored add to the performance at the other gigs?

Yeah, I think it adds to the surrealism of the whole thing. Continue reading

Iniesta the Great: Crowded Out of History by Zidane and Laudrup?


The False Nine’s Greg Johnson, Rob Brown and John Guillem take a look at the brilliance of Andrés Iniesta, Michael Laudrup and Zinedine Zidane, and ask who is the greatest…

Football today is a package deal of quasi-mythological narratives, disseminated and consumed by the widest possible array of people. Hipsters, tweeters and bloggers all have as much of a vested interest1 as former internationals with limited vocabularys. We see so much attention going to the playing careers of former greats such as Michael Laudrup, often by those who never witnessed his football first hand or even second hand, from the reportage of the day.

This is not to say that players now experienced third-hand through the distance of time and history – Di Stefano, Puskas, Schiaffino, Masopust and their ilk – weren’t as utterly magical as their legends suggest. Due to our age, we lack the personally acquired experiences and evidence required to know for sure, but from reading the accounts of published witnesses, listening to the memories and thoughts of senior fans and pundits, and watching the various selectively edited YouTube montages and videos now available, it seems that those purported to be worthy of a place in football’s cultural canon were indeed sublime. In a sense, we’ll never really know, because one of the main selling-points that contemporary football has is the personal aspect of its narratives.

Introverted yet influential, with an unfussy technical excellence and an ever-growing list of honours and feats accumulating upon his mantelpiece, Andrés Iniesta is now something of a living football saint to both the self-appointed connoisseurs of the game and well-grounded, matter-of-fact spectators alike. The Spaniard seems shrouded by an almost unknowable mystique of significance which pervades his every action, from the elegance of his touch up to his trophy winning goals and assists. Continue reading

Create and Destroy Partnerships – Dead or Alive?


Simon Smith contemplates the sudden reemergence of create-and-destroy midfield partnerships…

Ah 2003, was it really a decade ago? I suppose it seems long enough ago that we can feel a twinge of nostalgia. Certainly Arsenal fans will do in light of the north London derby that has all but guaranteed Tottenham Hotspur will finish above them this season. More than a few of them will have been casting their minds back to the previous teams and players that would have fared better against their bitter rivals. But Gooners should not be the only ones to get a little misty eyed this weekend because in several games there was more than a few examples of one of those forgotten tactical features of yesteryear fans so often lament the demise of. I am talking about the so called “creator-destroyer” partnership. Continue reading

Celebrating 20 Years of the UEFA Champions League

In anticipation of the resumption of football’s premier club cup competition, James Dutton delves into the historic past of this captivating tournament…

The 2012-13 incarnation of the Champions League marks 20 years since its inception as a radical reformation of the European Cup. Continue reading