Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Three Sided Football and the One Tree Hill Astronauts

Mentioned here recently that three-sided football was about to take off once again in South London with a game in Deptford Park. Apparently it went well, as Mark reports:

'Post first match report. I am very happy to say that the inaugural game went ahead and went very well. We kicked off with three a side and played three ten minute thirds with scores of 4:3:2. Only nine men on a full size 3SF pitch was a bit exhausting as there was much distance to cover but the forming and breaking of alliances which lie at the heart of the game were very much in evidence. It was fascinating to see how different the ownership of goals became though all of us clearly have the rules and tactics of traditional footie locked in our DNA. More games will clearly be necessary before the full essence of this amazing game begins to be properly experienced. Deptford Park also houses two normal football pitches for traditional Saturday morning games and our activity generated much interest.

After our short three sided game we were joined by players from the other pitches and proceeded to play another game but with five players per team over three twenty minute thirds with scores of 7:6:5. This was quite different in feel; much less exhausting and with fixed goalies but the exigencies of two sided soccer exerted themselves more noticeably. It was also clear that inter-team communication of shifting allegiances needed to be better explained as sometimes half of one team were playing with/for the second team while the other half were playing with the third. Very confusing...  All in all an excellent experience and everyone has committed to playing again. We have set up four more matches; March 10th & 24th and April 7th & 21st. Everyone welcome'.

So please note, next match is this forthcoming Saturday at 11.00am in Deptford Park - all welcome. The basis of the game is that the 'winner' of the three teams is the one that concedes the least goals, which encourages all kinds of shifting alliances.

There's some discussion at South East Central. See also some information at wikipedia and this video primer.

The Astronauts of One Tree Hill

Back in the late 1990s, three-sided football games were held in London and elsewhere as part of the training programme of the Association of Autonomous Astronauts (AAA), an outernational network promoting community-based space exploration which declared 'technology is developed by the military and intelligence agencies as a means of controlling their monopoly on space exploration; economic austerity is manufactured by the state to prevent the working class building their own spaceships; governments are incapable of organising successful space exploration programmes. WHAT WE NEED TODAY IS AN INDEPENDENT SPACE EXPLORATION PROGRAMME, ONE THAT IS NOT RESTRICTED BY MILITARY, SCIENTIFIC OR CORPORATE INTERESTS. An independent space exploration programme represents the struggle for emancipatory applications of technology'.

Denied access to rocket ships and space stations, we decided to use the means at hand for acclimatising ourselves to liberated life in zero gravity - raves in space, astral projection and three-sided football, the latter to get used to thinking beyond two dimensions (there is no up or down in space).

In October 1998, as part of a series of events entitled 'radical? Southwark!' we held an 'AAA training mission' on One Tree Hill in Honor Oak. A procession of cyclists set out from 56a Info Shop (by Elephant and Castle) to take part.

There was an astral projection exercise on the  concrete platform (site of the old anti-aircraft gun) on top of the hill - basically getting people to use their imagination to visualise being in space. And in that flattish clearing  half way up the hill we had a game of Three-Sided Football. I remember that some curious passers-by joined in (a feature of the game whenever it is played), as well as a couple of BBC researchers who were thinking about making a programme about the AAA. They never did, though we did make it on to the Robert Elms radio show.

Back of 1998 flyer - some poetic licence perhaps - the Battle to save One tree Hill
from enclosure as a golf course certainly happened; Blake's visions were on Peckham Rye,
but in those days One Tree Hill would have been seen as the far end of the Rye; the Boudica
legend is shared by many places, no real evidence the battle took place here; I haven't
been able to substantiate the Aleister Crowley story either (though he did marry
the Vicar of Camberwell's daughter).

Here's a short film about the AAA, including some historic three-sided football footage (not the Honor Oak game unfortunately)

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