"Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world."
"Those who dance are considered insane by those who cannot hear the music."
I won't lie to you, dear reader. What follows is essentially going to be a preamble to you watching the Best Video Ever, so if you want to skip the whole reading thing, go right ahead. Far better that, than a sprinkling of irate comments about how you've just read a lot of tripe about nothing much at all. If, however, you fancy a little escapism, strap in for a thousand-or-so words that aren't about the bloody transfer window and how awful everything is right now.
We're all emotionally tender these days. We've been through an unnecessarily traumatic few months, during which it's been, well, let's just say, a tad draining to be a Red. Scrolling through my Twitter feed in an attempt to find something worth troubling you good folk with in these paragraphs, I came across the perfect visual representation of thundering relief and joyous abandon. "That'll do nicely," I thought, guilelessly. "We all need a giggle." Suffice it to say, I did not foresee the emotional tsunami that followed. That this heart-warming moment came courtesy of those very gents who had been intrinsic contributors to our aforementioned angst simply added a layer of delicious irony.
You know when you've just broken up with someone and you're twisted with grief and rage and self-absorbed dolour? But you're free. And you're alone in the house. And that club anthem comes on. And you can't dance worth a damn but you cut loose with utterly ill-advised wild abandon, endangering all your crockery and delicate electronics? That, is the feeling that radiates from the grainy footage of Stevie et al -- a glorious, uncoordinated, primal expression of the joy of escape, the thrill of release and the inchoate hope for the future that ensures we all get up every day. What I did not see coming was the wave of crippling melancholia that accompanied the mirth, as I repeatedly viewed the clip.
We Irishmen are an absurdly brittle lot, brimming with volcanic emotions and yet thoroughly reluctant to express them without the catalyst of powerful liquour. A standard bearer, in that respect, for my race, as I watched the chaotic cavorting of the men we'd followed so closely all season, I was contrarily filled with my first real feelings of grief at the departure of a club legend. I stood on the Kop as Gerrard said his farewells and nary a tear came to my eye, but somehow, the sight of that same legend, leading his troops in a frenzied and laddish parade broke me up. Shattered. Cry-laughing. Full-on ugly-face. The fact that it was the Kolo/Yaya chant, a staple of drunken gatherings everywhere, simply made it more daftly poignant.
As one of the two subjects of his teammates' manic chant, Kolo Touré had an added reason to celebrate the future, having recently been offered another year by the panjandrums at LFC, an offer the Ivorian was only too happy to accept. In the climate of bitter recrimination and barely restrained rage that has settled over the fan base of the Anfield club, it can be a dangerous thing to smile or indulge in frivolity. It seems that one must be VERY SERIOUS if one is to prove one's authenticity as a true fan. Frankly, that's nonsense, and in Touré the club has a player who is not only a highly competent exponent of the defensive arts but is also a hugely positive veteran influence, a proven winner and, to be frank, a bloody good laugh. His words on the subject are both encouraging and endearing, so very Kolo.
"I am one of the most experienced players in the squad and I have to play that role because we have so many young players," opined the AfCoN-winning captain. "For me, it's important that I try to help those young players when they need it. I am happy to do that, I like to take on that responsibility, and I enjoy that role. The manager has known me for a long time and we've been speaking very well together. He knows what I can do on and off the pitch.
"I have won some things in my career, but now I want to help the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Jordan Henderson and the other young players win something because they are great, great players. If I can help them in any way with my experience to achieve things next season, that would be massive for me. It was my first choice [to sign a new deal with Liverpool], but I took some time to think -- I thought about my family, my life and everything because I've been in England for a long time. But leaving England would be really difficult because my family and wife are here. My kids are really happy, they go to school here and love the country, so I decided it wasn't right.
It was all going so well there until he started talking about the ugly realities of life wasn't it? The cheek of the man, considering workaday concepts like family. Thankfully, you can always rely on Kolo for a rousing conclusion. As his gym buddy, Lucas, will testify, Touré knows how to rally the troops. He is a leader, in all senses, and to be frank, Liverpool's current squad, who will be quite bereft in the wake of Steven Gerrard's departure, cannot have enough inspirational mentors. Scoff, if you will, behind your reinforced walls of cynicism, but I think there is a real warmth in his protestations of affection for the club and his enthusiasm for the role he can play in its future.
"When you play in the Premier League, it is really special to play every week against some of the best teams in the world," he continues. "It's a great thing for me to be here. I am in love with the club, with the fans and everybody connected with the club. Liverpool Football Club is a great club and I know all about what it has achieved in the past. As a player, I want to try to win something for the club. That's why it was very important that I stayed here -- I enjoy every second I have at this club."
So there you have it. Don't say I never do anything for you, folks. As the fulminating hordes spit bile about the imminent arrivals of players that are simply not Liverpool class, why not find a quiet place and reflect on the saccharine delights of Touré's words and the frantic gyrations of his mates in his honour. Revel in the surprisingly adroit moves of the departing skipper, savour the wide-eyed glee of Mamadou Sakho and wince at the hopelessly awkward lumbering of Martin Skrtel. It'll be just like watching a match. But without the stress. Happy days. Now, let's boogie.
<blockquote class="twitter-video" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Reckon their assed about stoke then? <a href="http://t.co/IHluZyMfqW">pic.twitter.com/IHluZyMfqW</a></p>— Luke Quarton (@lukequarton) <a href="https://twitter.com/lukequarton/status/603481677453733888">May 27, 2015</a></blockquote>
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