559 Channels and nothing on, A.K.A. I didn’t know Richard Bacon was a world football expert

5 06 2010

Last week we tried to take our minds off the impending world cup by watching TV.

It was good at first; Minder and the Professionals were on ITV4 and there were some films was on Film 4. After that there was nothing so we had to surf the channels. Our luck ran out, the world cup was everywhere. An advert told us Piers Morgan was going to South Africa. We thought we’d better cancel those tickets.

Whilst surfing we suffered a plague of campness; camp presenters on QVC offered us tasteful world cup jewellery and the camp presenters on Bid-Up Tv offered tastefully rendered prints of world football stars. Forgetting our purpose we flicked onto Sky Sports News, out of impulse you understand. They encouraged us to fret over something that they couldn’t fully explain at that stage. Luckily we remembered Coach Trip was about to start

We resumed surfing during a Coach Trip ad break and caught an advert for a programme on BBC three, the ITV1 of BBC’s output. The programme was entitled “World Cup’s Most Shocking Moments”. There was something intoxicating about the advert’s colour and music, an impulse went straight to the masochistic part of our brain, we had to see this programme just to see if it was as bad as we thought. Those executives really know how to control minds.  Thanks to the dazzlement we forgot when it was on so we  expectantly scanned the guide. It was on this Wednesday. Damn, we were stepping out. We would have record it on our generic programme recording device.

Before we dish out the main part of our  review we should say that there were tolerable parts of the programme; Peter Crouch’s self-deprecating humour was charming and the  sometimes entertaining opinions of the players, even Danny Mills, were ok.

As for the rest of it the programme, it didn’t disappoint. It was a large  collection of twats banging on about thick footballers, penalty shootouts,  efficient Germans, bloody Argies and funny haircuts (they’re hilarious aren’t they!!!). The drollery was delivered in that “it’s like sooooo irritating when…” tone for two, yes TWO, sodding hours. We should be able to sue the BBC for abominations like this 

If you’ve ever wanted to fly into an uncontrollable rage in record time this was definitely the programme for you. It was difficult to judge which person was most irritating but we’re not going to let that stop us. Here are the nominees for the “Biggest Twat in a factual programme based around clichés 2010” in ascending order:

Matthew Horne – The only good thing about him; he’s not Corden.

Lynsey Hipgrave – Just because a person is beautiful and can read Radio 5’s travel bulletins this should not grant them automatic access to British television in order to pass judgement using a contemptuous tone. We don’t care if you’ve been in FHM flaunting your wares either.

Jack Whitehall – We didn’t even know who this dick was prior to watching but we’ll never forget him now. (He’s a smug comedian by all accounts.).  His contact with the  world of football prior to the show seems to have rested in his mastery of the following tricky manoeuvre;  “cleaning  your house captain’s football boots with your tongue, whilst acting as footstool for the house master”, but that didn’t stop him having an opinion. These programmes are always full of twats behaving like him – trying to sound like a genius by spouting the clichés they found on google. It’s been a long time since we came across anybody on TV who was this much of a cheese grater to one’s soul.

It’s some feat to have a programme featuring Lovejoy and he doesn’t even register on your scale of irritation. While we’re on the subject of the World Cup, it’s refreshing to know that we appear to be on Charlie Brooker‘s wavelength.

“I wish I enjoyed the World Cup, if only for some fleeting sense of common unity with the rest of humankind. But I simply don’t get it. A huge number of my fellow citizens tune in and witness a glorious contest of ecstatic highs and heartbreaking lows. I see 22 millionaires ruining a lawn.

If the fans want to enjoy their sport, fair enough. Judging by their rapt faces, I’m the one losing out. What puts me off isn’t the game itself, but the accompanying patriotism; or, more specifically, the hollow simulation of patriotism used to hawk products throughout the contest.

Take the current Carlsberg campaign featuring an insanely jingoistic dressing room “pep talk” which blathers on and mindlessly on about national pride. “Know this,” the voiceover whispers portentously, “that shirt you’re wearing? Your countrymen would give anything to put it on.” Really, Carlsberg? I wouldn’t put down a sandwich to lift the World Cup, let alone pull a sweat-sodden sports jersey over my head. And would even the most committed fans really do “anything” to wear it? Would they saw their own feet off with a bread knife dipped in cat piss? No. They wouldn’t. So stop lying.

Having grossly overestimated the cachet of said hallowed shirt, the ad treats us to a cameo from virtually every notable English sporting hero of the past 50 years, pausing briefly for a patronising moment of silence for Sir Bobby Robson, before depicting an ethereal Bobby Moore, bathed in heavenly light at the top of the tunnel, standing proudly beside a lion. The whole thing plays like a masturbatory dream sequence for Al Murray’s Pub Landlord character, the punchline being that the whole thing is a sales pitch for a Danish brewing company. The tagline should be: “Carlsberg: as English as Æbleskiver”.

The American confectionery company Mars is also keen to pat our patriotic behinds. It’s paid John Barnes to jokily recreate his notoriously poor rap from the 1990 New Order single World In Motion. And – ha, ha! – it’s hopeless. But if you’re not familiar with the original, it just looks as though we, the English, have absymal taste in music. Tourists watching this advert in their hotel rooms will spread tales of our cultural ineptitude on their return home. Thanks for that, Mars. Incidentally, Barnes’s lyric has been altered, so he’s now rapping about “three lions on a Mars”, which rather implies that the sacred England shirt that Carling was getting religiously excited about is, in practice, interchangeable with a calorific chocolate-and-nougat slab.

Japanese technology giant Sony is also capitalising on the World Cup. It’s got an advert starring Brazilian star Kaka which aims to convince viewers to trade in their old TV sets for shiny new 3D ones. It’s an exciting prospect, only slightly undermined by the fact that the World Cup is being transmitted in the UK by the BBC and ITV, neither of whom will be broadcasting any of the matches in 3D. In fact, if you want to watch the World Cup in three dimensions, you’ll have to go to the cinema, where Sony plans to show it, in 3D, on around 50 screens. That’ll mean leaving your brand-new 3D telly at home, of course. But never mind. You can watch Avatar when you come back. In 2D. Because the 3D version won’t be out until months after the World Cup. So you might as well not bother getting a 3D TV till then. And come to think of it, it’s probably best not to bother anyway, because Avatar is rubbish. (I couldn’t stand that tribe of pious, humourless, surly blue luddites. Fuck their stupid tree. I was cheering on the bulldozers).

There are other adverts of course: Coca-Cola, Nike, Pepsi-Cola, BP, Blackwater Security, The Tyrell Corporation, Damien Thorn Enterprises and so on. All hitting the same phoney note of concord, all somehow cheapening the fun that millions will extract from the tournament itself. Not me, though. I’ll be out of the country for the whole thing. When I think of all the adverts I’ll miss, I’ll try not to sob too loudly.”

Bravo Charlie!!

We’re beginning to crave the attention of people who don’t like football.

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2 responses

7 06 2010
Kowalski
6 06 2010
guyincognito76

Danny Mills gave me my single best ever moment at a football match, well he had very little to do with it to be fair.

I was sitting, yes sitting, in the North Bank at the old Arsenal Stadium when the hapless Mills had ushered Thierry Henry (who he’d been cynically fouling all game) towards the corner flag. Somehow, and I’m still not entirely sure how he managed it the Frenchman swiveled and placed the ball between the hatchetman’s legs, spinned around and placed a short pass before trotting backwards fixing mills with an emotionless (smug) face.

Another great Henry moment, that I witnessed from the North Bank, was at a long forgotten game (whilst the great man was at the peak of his powers) when he attempted an audacious shot from thirty yards that flew way above the bar.

“What the fucking hell was that” sang the Arsenal fans whilst Henry turned with a wounded look on his face everyone stood up and applauded him. You’ve never seen a wider smile on a man’s face *wipes away tear*.

Er? Okay, I’ll read the rest of your post now.

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