Thursday, 11 October 2007
21. Composition in Red, White and Blue ("The Devil is a Don")
For the first time in his long and illustrious career, Fleydon was soon forced to face public indifference and even embarrassment at one of his creations. In producing a work so totally out of step with the zeitgeist of the club Fleydon had placed his reputation on the line and found it wanting. What had gone so badly wrong?
"It wasn't my fault...'The Devil is a Don' just had the misfortune to be premièred at a difficult time. It was like a drunk at a funeral. Wrong time, wrong place, wrong kind of spirits - but don't worry, it's time will come, I'm certain of it. Although I wish I hadn't listened to the crowd in the first place. Fickle bastards..."
Fleydon's rueful confession confirms rumours that for the first time in his career he allowed the common populace to inform his art. Keen to appeal to as wide a demographic as possible, Fleydon took to lurking on the internet reading a range of guestbooks and forums.
"I hadn't bothered before but I was introduced to one by a friend and was immediately hooked. There was one in particular inhabited by a range of quixotically-named creatures with fabulous 'tags' who seemed convinced that the Tempest End had to be 'Hell' for opposing teams and not the pleasant gentleman's enclave that greeted all in the spirit of Corinthian friendship and that we had all grown to love. Apparently there were to be flares, bunting and masses of chanting. The whole spectacle would be designed to intimidate and upset. They seemed so genuine that I was swept away by it all. My mind was full of images and ideas - red flares and smoke, an unearthly moaning and low chant from the John Smith Stand, and then what could be more intimidating than to see the Devil himself rise from behind the goal (a veritable mouth of Hades itself!) to the beat of a single drum. The image stayed with me and I worked throughout the close season preparing a work full of threat and intimidation. If Dante could only make nine levels of hell then we at AFC Wimbledon would go one better. We would have the tenth level ALL TO OURSELVES! Ha! What an image! The team would come out to 'Ride of the Valkyrie' and the opposition would crumble with shock and awe..."
Sadly Fleydon was caught wrong-footed by the reality and he found himself unveiling his flag in a silent, mournful and depressed Tempest Stand. The promised passion was absent, there were no flares, no chants and the only individuals in hell were the supporters themselves.
"No-one said a word. They just shook their heads and turned away. I was crushed. Even the few critics who commented on the piece couldn't get the details correct (although to be fair they corrected them pretty sharpish after my solicitors went to visit). It was like a dream where you find yourself on stage naked and where everyone looks at you without saying a word. But their disapproval washes over you anyway."
When I pointed out that Fleydon seemed perfectly happy to appear on stage naked at the first opportunity he agreed but pointed out the difference was that he was generally drunk in real life, but always sober in his dreams "even when I'm actually drunk, which is odd."
"Personally I like this work and am determined to see that it is appreciated in a fitting manner. However I fear that this generation of supporters are not worthy."
Fleydon's extreme emotional swings led him not only to remove 'The Devil is a Don' from public viewing, but to almost attack the supporters with his next shocking work...
The Devil is a Don is no longer on view and has been placed in storage 'until such times as we start winning big again and swagger is back in fashion'.