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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.

14 comments:

  1. I hear you. I said I hear you!

    FIFA say they haven't banned the vuvuzelas because they're a traditional part of South Africa's football culture. Hmm. Well, smashing up train carriages and city centres is a traditional part of ours, but FIFA don't encourage that, do they?

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  2. I got in the car at three o'clock yesterday afternoon and couldn't hear a word of the commentary. What can possibly be "traditional" about an instrument made of petroleum by-products?

    It's a monotonous drone that sounds like a lorry endlessly trying to stop in a motorway escape lane.

    Calling it the vuvuzela only panders to the tendency. It's a plastic arse trumpet

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  3. Speaking of crowd noise - during Northampton Saints Rugby Union home games at Franklin's Gardens when anyone takes a penalty or conversion kick the whole ground is silent. Absolutely silent. And that's for both teams. Yes, both. Incredible.

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  4. I keep thinking to myself, that ain't samba. The only plus would be if it drowned out The Great Escape, played by what Patrick Barclay described as 'that wretched band'. If.

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  5. I switched from 5 Live to Talk Sport yesterday and it was blessed relief. Just a tweak of the balance away from crowd mike and the pain dies away.

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  6. watching on analogue "terrestial" bbc covverage for Argentina game doesn't seem as bad as ITV yesterday less SA fans i suppose. But much better

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  7. simbn beat me to it! the vuvuzela's sound of the beehive meant that it was almost half an hour before I finally heard "self preservation society" thumping away. Mind you, "That wretched band" sounds like a pretty good band name.

    Oh and while I'm at it, as a Scot can I now let 12 June mark the day when it is finally no longer acceptable for any England fan to make any wisecracks about Scottish goalkeepers? Having said that, I'm rooting for England.

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  8. I wish you had finished the sentence, the one that stated that it would have been denounced if they were American or German crowds. Do you honestly think it's because they are African, in this day and age?

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  9. It sounds like a bee infestation, but I've almost adjusted to tuning out the monotone drone.

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  10. I'm adjusting to it but it does make each game sound like it's being played in a beehive and the games are robbed of the crowd atmosphere which is a huge part of footie.

    The people playing these things can't be watching the game either. Just spoiling it for those who are trying to.

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  11. I love the vuvuzela. If you stand with the Brigate Rossonere at the San Siro, or attend a Fenerbah├že home game, or just about any game in South America, it's just the same: the racket in constant, and the pitch and volume doesn't change. It creates an atmosphere that is electrifying, intimating, and appropriately gladiatorial. Who wants nuance when you can have noise?

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  12. It's making it unwatchable.I had to keep switching over for a moment's respite.

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  13. Surely this runs in parallel with a recent Massive thread: fuckwits talking all the way through gigs. That said, trying to reason with 2 people can be a thankless task - you try persuading 80,000 to pipe down.

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  14. They're in B Flat by the way.

    I checked.

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