Morten Gamst Pepys: A Portrait of the Artist as a Fish FanBy: Dave | September 4th, 2010
In 1958 England travelled to Sweden with a mission to bring back the FIFA World Cup for the first time. The squad included Bobby Robson, Tom Finney, Billy Wright, and Bobby Charlton. Despite these famous names the team were unable to register a single win, and were eliminated at the group stage after three draws against the Soviet Union, Austria and Brazil, the eventual winners. The team returned to England in shame and were immediately embroiled in a series of scandals involving prostitutes, drugs, alcohol-fuelled violence and allegations of marital infidelity, or at least they would have been had they resembled today’s players. One of the squad, Rovers legend Ronnie Clayton, merely returned to wife Valerie and continued to run his newspaper shop in Darwen, happily chatting to his customers about his exploits at the greatest sporting event on Earth.
In contrast, the modern game has created a barrier between player and supporter, where the only opportunities to meet our heroes are at carefully managed post-match corporate events. Only fifteen years ago it was possible to drive down to Brockhall to watch the Champions of England at a midweek training session, and to fill the autograph book and photo album with souvenirs. Now, the security guards and fences suggest that the latest G6 conference is being held there, with Sam Allardyce offering advice to Barack Obama on how to drive through health care reform against a wave of Republican opposition. Perhaps with this in mind, Morten Gamst Pedersen has torn down these barriers by creating the astonishing document of banality that is www.gamsten.com.
It’s hard to know what to pluck out of this Pandora’s box of pointlessness, so I’ll let Stig Einvik (described as Morten’s childhood friend) kick things off by outline our hero’s early days in the ‘About’ section:
“Three times a week he purposefully mowed the lawn to make it look like the grass he had seen at the great football stadiums on TV. At times he slept in his boots, gloves and kneepads as if wanting to stay close to the game at all times.”
Armed with this disturbing information about the young Morten I clicked the ‘Blog’ link with apprehension, concerned that further horrors lay within. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it certainly wasn’t this:
“I and the “bride” went to the deli to invest in a little chewing gum. On the way back to the hotel it was all good and the sun was smiling at us. Nothing bad could happen, or could it?? Yes it could, SHIT happened! A damn bird had a shit and it hit me right in the head. Bullseye and good freaking luck. I even think it must have had diarrhea, because it sprayed over my whole t-shirt too. But shit happens and some say that it means good luck, but I’m not sure if I want luck from flying shit ..:) Anyway, now I have to run to my meeting with Roger!
Have a shit free and a nice day”.
Encouraged by this faeces-based anecdote and suppressing concerns for Roger, spelling and grammar, I plunged further into the abyss. Presumably Morten believes that the next thing his followers want to think about after the excretory products of Norwegian birds is eating, so he helpfully provides a recipe for ‘chicken bacon dish with fresh vegetables’, encouraging the chef to ‘then fry the meat, in this case chicken and bacon’. Further culinary advice is provided in the form of a ‘Salmon Dinner’ recipe, in which strenuous efforts are made to emphasise the importance of removing ‘all the bones with a pincer’. In case of any confusion, a photograph of MGP doing so is provided to avoid the illiterate or puzzled from choking to death. With the confidence of a full stomach I delved deeper, learning that not only is Morten an accomplished chef, but he also enjoys jogging in hills, having his haircut and firing bizarre racist insults towards Swedish people:
“The difference between us and Sweden is that we’re not allowed any drugs and the sweds are not allowed sweets”.
Clearly such aggressive language and right-wing political comment makes MGP a target for inter-Scadinavian terrorist organisations. However, let your concern for his safety be restrained. Any possibility that Scandinavia may be plunged into a savage and bloody war as a result of his assassination is removed by his record of a recent Norwegian international match:
“This is Geir Ellefsen. He is chief of security and master of the universe, and he makes sure the hotell is free of terrorists and that the icelandic volcanos keeps still during our visit.”
There is, naturally, an accompanying photograph of Geir, who looks more like a pastry chef than Skeletor’s nemesis. It also seems unlikely that he could prevent Al-Qaeda from achieving their oft-stated mission of kidnapping John Arne Riise, thus gaining the upper hand in their battle against the heathens of the free world. How he manages to do all this whilst preventing the tectonic shift of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge is anyone’s guess. None of this provides enough reassurance for Lucy however, who posts a comment thus:
“hello you might think this is a weird question to ask but are you scared of anything sorry if its a weird question”.
No response is provided by the auteur, presumably because nothing does, as long as Geir is around.
So what have we learnt? We now know that MGP eats food, plays football, has a computer, and once got shat on by a gastroenteritic gull. Perhaps we should congratulate him on his efforts to bring the fans into his world, but we should also hope that his blog doesn’t trigger a wave of similar bandwidth-sapping drivel from his colleagues, bringing the internet to its knees amidst a frenzy of choking salmon-feasters and Finnish suicide bombers. I’m not sure I want to know why Michel Salgado holidays in his dead grandmother’s attic, nor does my life feel empty by being oblivious to Pascal Chimbonda’s opinion on crisps. Perhaps things were better the way they were, with the masses held at bay, ignorant of the wisdom of their footballing heroes. As Ronnie Clayton once said: “Jeg føler meg syk”.