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Saturday, June 12, 2010

The vuvuzela drowns the sound of the crowd

Three games in and I've had it with the Vuvuzela. I know it's the local custom but there are local customs all over the world that I can do without. If this noisemaker had been taken up by German or American fans rather than South African crowds it would be denounced as the tiresome annoyance it is. We had a go with one in the office yesterday and even as a solo instrument it's fearfully loud. I can only imagine what 70,000 of them would sound like. That's only a problem for those people watching in the stadium. I'm speaking on behalf of the TV viewer.

Clearly there's nothing wrong with making a noise in any way you think fit but not if it drowns out the gloriously expressive human noise that is an inescapable element of the experience of all proper sports, and football in particular. The beautiful thing about crowd noise is that it reflects even the tiniest nuance of the play. 30,000 fans chorussing "yessssss" or "refereeeee" or even just gasping is a unique and wonderful noise. If you listen to a lot of football on the radio, as I do, you can tell what's happening before the commentator has told you. The sound of an actual crowd is as varied and powerful and eloquent and moving as the best music. Terrible that we should be robbed of that wonderful human music by a musical instrument.