Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Artsoccer - Empty Set

Tommy Ogden is one half of Empty Set (the left half in this photo). Their debut album, As neat as a new pin, can be bought from Tough Love Records, now!

Q. Liverpool!? I thought you were from Rochdale or somewhere near?

I've been a bit nomadic really. I'm shamefully (or sensibly) reticent about this, but I'm actually Welsh and lived on the island of Anglesey 'til I was five. Then I moved to Ellesmere Port, which is on the Wirral just on the other side of the Mersey and entirely Liverpool, Everton or Tranmere Rovers. Of my own accord I might've been a young Tranmere fan: I remember the first kit I had was Tranmere, my U12s team used to play next to their training pitch and I really liked John
Aldridge and Pat Nevin. My mum and dad are both from Liverpool though, and both love LFC, so I'm sure I was properly indoctrinated. My mum is a Gerrard from Huyton, born in Whiston hospital just like our Stevie.

I moved to Rochdale when I was 11, and quickly found it was United territory there. I took a few dead arms for my support of the enemy. I'd arrived with the accent too, so the nickname 'scouse' stuck with me through school even though I'd probably lost it after a year.

Q. But you live in Manchester now?

I've been living in the centre of Manchester for about two and a half years; just down the canal from Eastlands (The Council Ground). I enjoy hearing all the City fans walking past my window after matches, but sometimes the police close off the street to march away fans back
to Piccadilly, and that's annoying when I'm trying to get to the Co-op.

Q. I hate Liverpool, absolutely detest them. There’s no specific reason for this although I’m sure some of it comes from my Dad’s hatred of the "United of his day", do you encounter that attitude

Ha! I can imagine they were a bit irritating in the 70s and 80s, yeah. No-one likes a dominating team, rightly. Of course, I started following them after they'd stopped winning anything, so I can't say I've ever really encountered much hatred from supporters of other clubs apart from United. I went to Old Trafford for the Liverpool match a couple of seasons ago and sat in the home end hiding my alleigence. That was a bit indimidating.

Q. How often do you get to Anfield?

Shamefully I haven't been at all this season. My weekends always seem to be spent travelling around. I'm always down there in cocking London! The past few years I've probably been to three or four games a season with my dad.

Q. This season promised so much barely two months ago, is it time for the luckiest manager in the history of football to move on or are you brainwashed enough into thinking that Benitez is some kind of tactical genius?

I'll paraphrase Shankly, "the harder we work, the luckier we seem to get". Benitez is a tactical genius, as you will have seen in the demolitions of Real Madrid and United! He spends any time he's not thinking about football playing chess, which I think you can see the way he positions and maneuvers players on a field so deliberately. I know it's sometimes 'boring' as it doesn't fit the celebrated English method of 11 mindless goons lumbering around for 90 minutes throwing
themselves at everything, John Terry style, but I like to see ideas being played out and Benitez is a grandmaster.

Q. It’s a simplistic view and not one that I particularly believe but it’s a common conception that Liverpool are over reliant on Gerrard and Torres, care to argue the case against (you’ll immediately fail if you mention the words Lucas or Leiva)?

Those two are among the best attacking players in the world, so of course we're going to be less dangerous without them. We have other world-class players like Alonso and Mascherano, who've both been outstanding this season, but up front we don't have enough back up
just now if either of Stevie or Nando are injured. United have four £30m strikers to call on; we have Lucas Leiva.

Q. There aren’t any (obvious) references to football in your music, are you trying to hide your passion?

I've thought up a few mentions before, but it's always seemed too gimmicky and not right for the song. Half Man Half Biscuit are lyrical heroes of mine though, and if I could write a football song as good as 'Mathematically Safe' or 'Bob Wilson, Anchorman' I'd be singing it everywhere. "If I were a linesman, I would execute defenders who applauded my offsides..."

Q. Last time we spoke you were playing a bit, are you still?

I've just started playing 5-a-side again after I injured my knee playing a few months ago and had a little trip to A&E. I've had to give up Sunday League for now, sadly, as I'm too unreliable at weekends, always off playing gigs or visiting friends. I'd love to get playing 11-a-side again.

Q. You’re planning a move to Sweden soon, have you chosen a team?

I'm moving to Stockholm in June, yeah. When I was there last year, I was sat in a bar watching a Bundesliga game when these two impressively drunk chaps in club shirts and scarves sat down next to me, having obviously returned from a match. While one of them fell asleep in his beer, the other proclaimed proudly that his Hammarby were the greatest club in the city; historically the club of the working-class in the south. We chatted about Swedish football and Liverpool a bit before they pair were sadly thrown out, but I decided right then I'd go along and see what Hammarby are like when I get there.

Q. And finally, Liverpool?

The most successful English club of all time. I'll keep saying it now, as United will very probably equal 18 league titles in May. Bah.