Monday, June 11, 2007

Football disunited - Margin

This week I conducted an accidental social experiment. I got some school friends, university friends, and some colleagues together for a birthday meal and a night out.

With latecomers we numbered 19, and it turns out my friends are a diverse bunch. Around half had post or under graduate degrees in subjects like textile design, archaeology, history*, economics and fashion.

We were publishers, nurses, council staff, writers*, unemployed, and (whisper it) a lawyer.

We numbered Atheists*, Christians, Agnostics and Hindus, homosexuals, heterosexuals*, baritone choir singers, rockers* and house clubbers.

One went to public school, three private, two religious school, and the rest went to bog standard comprehensives*.

Most were from my native South East of England, but some hailed from New Zealand, Mauritius and Rochdale.

We may not quite have been the cosmopolitan height of modern Britain, but we were not far off. So we let our divisions unite us with talk of non league football.

There was some mention of Pilates and Yoga. There was more talk of house buying, relationship and job talk. We reminisced and bitched about old times and old friends, and speculated about when dessert would arrive.

But it was football that really divided us.

We largely split between West Ham, Spurs* and Arsenal, along with a lone Kingstonian voice in the otherwise Premiership crowd. The one Liverpool fan spent his time embarrassing a hen party at another table, and the sole Man City follower sobbed into her soup that Big Sam should have chosen them.

And so the conversation flowed.

We discussed the detail of Luton Town’s governance. They were owned by a bastard who stole their money until fans bought the club’s creditors. They then called in the debt while organising a boycott so as to take control of the club on the cheap. A new ground is finally being built and the new ‘owners’ have a contract that gives control back to the fans if attendances fall (under another boycott).

We discussed Chelmsford City’s large crowds since moving to the Melbourne Athletics Stadium. Last season they drew an average attendance of 1001 in the Ryman Isthmian Premier Division. That is the seventh tier of English football, putting Chelmsford as far behind Rochdale as Rochdale are behind Manchester United. Their travelling support even outnumbers the home crowd at some away games.

We discussed the upturn in fortunes at Exeter City where Spurs legend Steve Perryman is Director of Football. He lost a good manager to his former club’s youth academy recently but has seemingly replaced him an excellent new man in Paul Tisdale.

And we discussed Kingstonian, who sadly were not as lucky Luton Town fans when faced with a bastard in charge. They were subjected to high debts, the sale of their players, and were made homeless when AFC Wimbledon of all teams took their ground. They went on to be relegated three times from their Conference high to the Ryman Isthmian Division one South – one division below Chelmsford City.

And so with religion, race, sex, sexuality, class and hair colour to divide us, an Italian restaurant in Soho offered a glimpse of utopia. Everyone was happy and fed - and for one off-season afternoon there was no Premiership.

* = Margin's place in the crowd.

104 comments:

mimi said...

Interesting thoughts margin. I've never thought to consider parties I've thrown as "accidental social experiments" but I can see your point. One thing please do explain to this non-football person, Chelmsford City play at the Melbourne Athletics Stadium? They've gone to Aus??

MotM said...

Margin - I think I was there. Was it 1988 at Braganza?

Plus ca change - especially the getting off bloody house prices on to the things that really matter.

Margin said...

Mimi

Alas they have not moved to Aus - But have moved the the newly refurbished athletics ground (with retractable stands for the football) that happens to be n the edge of a large council estate called the 'Melbourne Estate'.

motm

ah 1988 - with the slow synth rock playing in the background being muffled by shoulderpads.

andrewm said...

Knowing something about football gets me through most awkward situations at work where I'm stuck with people I wouldn't normally talk to, and plenty of social situations as well. I consider that adequate recompense for the hours I waste obsessing over it.

andrewm said...

PS. By coincidence, this week I conducted some deliberate animal experiments.

Margin said...

Andrew
What animals and who do they support?

andrewm said...

margin, I know you're hoping for some GG/offside-style flight of fancy about having dinner with an ostrich who supports Stenhousemuir, but that's not my bag.

I have been injecting new makes of shampoo into the eyes of squirrels.

Ebren said...

did the cat make you do it?

Margin said...

so - can blind squirrels still find their nuts?

andrewm said...

ebren, all the cat makes me do is get up ten times a night to throw it out of my room because it won't stop biting me.

margin, no they can't but they didn't cry when I did the injections, so we're moving ahead with the human trials. Do you need fifty quid by any chance?

andrewm said...

Back on topic - more or less - I once rescued an incredibly awkward social situation involving an Italian girl by talking to her about Juventus, to the astonishment of my non-football friends.

Football is great, and so am I.

guitougoal said...

andrewm,
did you get the girl and steal a kiss in the dark?

Margin said...

gg
nah - he offered her fifty quid.

Zephirine said...

But talking of bites in the dark, Andrew, I fear that you and that cat are locked into an abusive relationship. Have you thought of counselling?

Or perhaps it's conducting an experiment to see how much pain you can stand.

guitougoal said...

Margin.
btw, I enjoyed your piece it's very refreshing-do you think andrewn and his cat may be reunited if they only talk football?

mimi said...

I thought andrewm only borrowed the poor small cat. does this make it worse?

andrewm said...

margin, she was a classy lady. I doubt she charged, but I'm sure if she had then fifty wouldn't have got me far. Anyway, she was a Juve fan and I hate Juve (although I pretended to like them - the things I do for the ladies).

mimi, indeed he's not my cat, so we have to wonder why he's been here for six weeks. I could do with some sleep.

mimi said...

andrewm: I thought kitten was going abroad, so if indeed you have become parent to small beast, then questions should be asked. But how does creature prevent sleep? Can you not shut a door?

andrewm said...

mimi, it's complicated. He's probably still going abroad, but I don't know when.

Shutting the door is fine, if you can ignore the plaintive cries which he will keep up ALL NIGHT until you open the door.

I love him really, though.

.... and the topic was ....

offside said...

The topic... yes... what was the topic? I think we've been looking for the topic since about mid-february now. So, if anyone has any news of the topic or its whereabouts, please email the editor of Pseuds' Corner asap. In the unlikely event that the topic is found again, and if there is any danger it might actually be discussed, you can, as ever, count on me to take the appropriate course of action.

In the meantime, you may or may not be interested to hear that since I arrived in the Toulouse area, I also conducted a number of experiment on a (different) number of animals. They mostly (the experiments) involved testing the effect of said animals on various sets of tastebuds. I'll spare you the details and the list, as it might disturb some of our younger, more impressionable audience.

Please rest assured that in the course (entrée, main, etc...) of these experiments, all the animals have been killed, slaughtered, skinned, dismembered, skewered, diced, disembowelled, torched, grilled, steamed, and strangled, not necessarily in that order, but in the name of science.

Bon appétit.

guitougoal said...

scientific cuisine.
lapin a la moutarde
gigot d'agneau, poulet de bresse etc...

Ebren said...

mais non, c'est sûrement la cuisine zoologique

guitougoal said...

like alligator a la sauce bearnaise?

DoctorShoot said...

nile crocodile with
onions l'egypie
was napoleonic famous fare

ingested bravely with a smile
and the famous quip:
"let who would ask how come by, dare"

guitougoal said...

doctor,
french are disgusting, they eat like pigs then they go on strike unwilling to work and uncapable to use their energy-Thanks god Sarko is going to come up with a new menu:
clopinettes and clopinettes and feed the crocodiles withthe protesting crowd.
-n'est ce pas monsieur offsite?

DoctorShoot said...

let them eat peanuts as they will,
to each their wickedness and their swill,

for us so far removed from france
know only of their degas and dance...

and in a similar coquettish vein... isn't there a drink called distillate of the right sane (or similar? I believe the left bank has closed down now...)

DoctorShoot said...

....and as regards nymphs of illurian descent
still holding rome as home and castle
and comely as though heaven sent....

and briefly met at some hasty garden party to which one went
(in hopes of achieving romance at last) I'll
mention my own small dalliance in a tent

out in the great australian bight
(a gibber plain) where hot intent
translated into fried wombat repast full
dressed with grit and dust but she left on sight

leaving me there alone, her flight
explained in latin words that sent me
searching for some wild garlic to retempt her to delight....

but she hailed a passing truck (as was her right)
and went to perth while my hot ghastly fare
unconsummated crackled and seared in the bitter starry night...

well, that's it in black and white that's the italian bent for you....
and no mention of a coin to ease juventas to my side... no time just height not taken.... and stewing in ones singularly impotent
disculinariationess.

Margin said...

good thing we don't ban people for rhyme.

Zeph said...

Or frying wombats... no, come to think of it that's pretty much de rigueur around here.

greengrass said...

margin -

footy talk beats mortgage talk anytime (just made a ridiculous profit on a flat I flogged).

Please tip your Rochdale mate off about my plan to resurrect Rochdale footy: let the Co-op buy them out,
re-name the "Rochdale Pioneers", then have co-op organisations from all over the world buy local players and send them to the glowing beacon of co-operativism; the "Internationale" must be sung in all tongues present before and after games and at half-time.
I could go on, but I might save it for a PC article...

offside -
when I was in Toulouse I ate an excellent local stew, but don't remember the name. What is it called, and what flayed creatures does it contain (n.b. scientific
question)?

Back to the chapel tomorrow - concert on Saturday, Elvis show on the 14th. of July. If any of you are passing by (no excuses, Mouth, it's dead close to Värmland)...

andy -

you refer to our "flights of fancy", then blandly inform us that you squirt things into the eyes of squirrels.
What's wrong with Stenhousemuir?

Margin said...

Greengrass

please do write an article on it - I really want to read the proposals.

offsideintoulouse said...

gg,

if it really was local, there's a good chance it was "cassoulet". It contains (typically) three kinds of animals: duck, sausages and beans. And quite a lot of fat, which they call "confit" because it's more distingué.

I always thought andy was a dodgy character, but I had no idea how twisted he actually was. Injecting squirrels is a heresy. Eveybody knows they taste better if they're stuffed.

andrewm said...

doc, that was very colourful. I really enjoyed that. I must be in a good mood.

GG, the problem with Stenhousemuir is they're not Cowdenbeath.

mimi said...

Andrew: ah! Cowdenbeath! Are you not just trying to invoke obscure Scottish legends here? If you want to go for lots of consonants, then how about throwing into the mix the Cally Thistles? Inverness on its own brings some nice letters into the mix and it's been an interesting season for the northern lads in the SPL.

marcela said...

ah, here you all are, replicating margin's birthday dinner with your talk of non-premieship sports...

andrew; of all the jobs in all the world i might have imagined you doing...

no more tears? isn't that an existing brand already?

cassoulet pour moi, if you please. there certainly don't seem to be any other taverns offering rhyme nor reason round here.

byebyebadman said...

Which area of Scotland do you live in mimi? Are you anywhere near the mighty Inverurie Loco's of the Highland League?

mimi said...

Marcela: joy to find you on our threads again!
Byebye: I'm up on the Firth and far from much action. Elgin City seems to do well with its juniors. We had the kids from Manchester up the other week, and I think we lost, but everyone had a fine time.

offside said...

Come to think of it, andy as a mad scientist who enjoys inflicting pain on small, defenseless animals is not that far-fetched. And in case you ever need a new job, there's always the tavern...

guitougoal said...

C'est quand meme un cas se saouler at Toulouse.

marcela said...

mimi, thank you. :)

mimi said...

Isn't there some phrase about plus ca change, plus la meme chose? from my time in la belle France this was mostly about Mitterand and his mistresses, but a noveau era and nouvelle temps. Is it now about andy and his little kitten? Who knows?

byebyebadman said...

I hope the young lads from my home town left Elgin as they found it! :)

mimi said...

Well, byebye, the football ground is as was, but naturally the Abbey is as left by the Wolf of Badenoch, so still a ruin!

guitougoal said...

mimi,
I love ruins, the beauty is their power to be for ever
an evocation of what they were once.

fred said...

Margin -
this will be a long summer in the sticks, though I may be able to borrow a backwoods computer now and then.
If not, I'll be back in a few months with state-of-the-articles on Crown Green Bowling, the Rochdale Pioneers, Alexander's junk shop in Milnrow and the global supremacy of Holland's meat puddings.

OffsideByaCountryMile -
I couldn't give a flying fox for stuffed squirrel; je voudrai jig-a-jig le cassoulet.
A friend from Bordeaux informs me that you can get it in cans - or maybe he meant Cannes.
Perhaps we should stock a few cannes at the tavern - cassoulet, steak and kidney pie, haggis - to tide us through when tapirs are in short supply. Nesta could recycle the cans as snake traps, which would further improve the menu.

Andy -
Stenhousemuir sounds Scandinavian to me. Cowdenbeath - pure poetry!

One of the joys of Saturdays way back when was hearing the final scores read out, with all those - for my Sassenach ears! - unfathomable names of clubs in Scottish footy's nether regions, my father cursing in the background as his coupon collapsed.
As the announcer read out the name of the away club, you could tell by the sound of his voice if the game was a home win, a draw or an away win.

Maybe you should kick out the kitty, move in with Mimi and practise your black arts on the Black Isle...

greengrass said...

Sorry about the confusion - must be this heat wave!
I am, of course, "fred".

Zeph said...

Ah yes, the poetry of the Scottish football results. My favourites were Hamilton Academicals and Airdrionians.

I know you can get cassoulet in cans (though possibly not in Cannes) - some friends went on holiday and stocked up with the stuff, blithely convinced it would taste the same as it did in Carcassonne when it was warmed up and served in Crouch End. It didn't.

Hope we'll hear from you over the summer, gg.

greengrass said...

zeph,
yes, I liked those too - once thought Airdrie Onions must have been a strange crowd.
Third Lanark, anyone?

mimi said...

Always feel that Inverness Caledonian Thistles have a nice ring. But maybe that's cos they're local - or have too many syllables.
For pure poetry on the radio, go the Shipping Forecast. Names of places to travel to, but only in dreams!

marcela said...

the shipping forecast...

next you'll be recommedning 'sailing by' for easy listening, mimi.

gg - will you serenade us before you go off to the sticks?

Zephirine said...

It's a Brit thing, Marcela. We're genetically programmed to love the shipping forecast. Can't be helped :)

mimi said...

Marcela: do not scoff at Sailing By. A truly wondrous bit of dozing off music, and very safe. I like safe. Brilliant bit of TV some years back when Beeb telly and radio got together for the New Year and there was fab footage of marine life and things to Sailing By. I love it.

marcela said...

if you say so, you two.
if you say so.

what i think is really odd about both the forecast and the tune, is how many people leave the radio on while they're broadcast. i mean, you'd think it was a good time to tune into a different station for a brief flavour of somethink else, leave the shippers to get their important info...

also, do you understand the shipping forecast? i mean, actually understand it. because i don't. not one word, letter or number. maybe that's the point.

what are you ladies up to tonight, then?

offsideintoulouse said...

Ladies' night, is it? My favourite. Although, there's a pretty good south-american night thingy going on here:

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/sport/2007/06/13/in_fog_we_trust.html

I'm sure Zeph and Mimi are just dying to drop a foggy comment on Argentine football.

Zephirine said...

Offside, you know football is as clear to me as cricket is to you. I did read Marcela's piece and noticed some quite unnecessary carping and bitching going on in the early posts, but people sprang to the defence of Marcela's excellent writing and I thought I'd stay out of it, really. Hope you weren't bruised Marcela?

I'm just watching a programme about birds in which hawks and owls are tearing little furry creatures apart, quite like the Tavern really. Or Andrew at work...

Zephirine said...

Blimey, yes, I've just looked at Marcela's blog again, it's turned into a three-figure marathon, hasn't it? Some familiar names there.

offsideintoulouse said...

Marcela's writing defends itself very well. And the killjoys weren't even a minority, they were a non-entity.

I really admire the way Margin effortlessly turned his thread into a tavern of sorts. And, at this point, I'd like to leave a haiku for andy:

Wee Scottish kittens
If you kill them and skin them
Make real nice mittens

Zephirine said...

Well, it was a piece about a dinner party.

How's Toulouse? Stables finished yet?

mimi said...

oh no - not the kittens into mittens again! I once had a house-mate who threatened to turn the kits to mits - and that was pre-small fiend days!

offsideintoulouse said...

Toulouse is magic.

(we'll call it Toulouse for convenience, instead of "my uncle's house in the country where I've spent all my childhood holidays")

The stables are nowhere near finished and I won't see the end of it this time, but there are now two massive holes in the wall where there used to be two small windows.

That crowbar and me are getting on like a house on fire. Or rather, like a house being brought down...

mimi said...

And thank goodness for the Lord Ebren, because when I read a certain Frenchman in Toulouse on GU, I am so, so tempted to respond!
Marcela: can't understand what all the hostility was about, but didn't read all 233 or so comments. Seems there are just a load of w***ers out there.

Zephirine said...

Writer, rower, tapir chef, demolition man... it's an impressive range of skills.

mimi said...

Strange how whenever I join in, someone (thanks Zeph) always reminds me of the Tapir. Look, I'll say it here again. It was not MY Tapir. I thought he'd be safer in the Taproom then left alone at GU Towers. I was wrong. He was eaten. I'll never again subject a defenceless creature to the crew. Barely even have the courage to venture myself!

offsideintahiti said...

That may be wise, Mimi. Last time you were there, I could have sworn greengrass was eyeing your rump, while flipping through his little book of sauces.

marcela said...

i don't think there was SO much hostility. a couple of posters - or maybe four - didn't think much of my blog.

speaktruth was very good. he said he approves of a little marcela-bashing now and again... democracy, he called it.

and then, a hundred or so and a day later, cal and a poster i don't recognize got into an interminable spat.

but it all goes one way, then another, and then back to orsay, zidane, and whether or not argentina were any good at the world cup :)

it was a bit of poor blog post, but a good thread nevertheless. particularly all the match reports; with guitou master of ceremonies.

we shall perfect the art of live coverage by blog, i'm sure.

any laphroig at this dinner party?

orsay, are you being roped into the construction industry by 'your uncle'?

Zephirine said...

But Mimi, we managed to rescue the otter (I think). And the orangutan is now heading up a department at a well-known design company and planning his first exhibition.

mimi said...

The otter got out unscathed, but the hamster got eaten, and now, I find I can only lurk on the sidelines as Offy is suggesting me on the menu! Huh!

Zephirine said...

Not to mention the goldfinch brochette exchange at Other Stuff. We're dealing with some twisted minds here...

offsideintoulouse said...

I have to confess I helped the otter escape (otherwise, Mrs Offside would kill me, skin me, etc.)


Marcela, I am not going into the construction industry at all, just lending a helping hand. Least I can do since I've been enjoying free room and board here since I was born. And let me tell you, when you spend a couple of hours with the crowbar and the sledge-hammer you work up one hell of an appetite. Mimi as an entrée doesn't sound too daunting.

Seriously, you have trouble seeing how much Riquelme and the fog have in common?

mimi said...

Offy: leaving aside your suspect desire to put a bit of Mimi on the menu, I thought you were doing deconstruction? Which would be good for poetry, non?

marcela said...

seriously.
you see it?

share it.

zeph, why in the world you're watching nature documentaries when 'Inside Deep Throat - documentary looking behind the scenes of one of..." etc. is on is beyond me.

marcela said...

construction, deconstruction... what's the difference. construction good for poetry too. non, mimi?

mimi said...

Marcela: to see the beauty in the words and phrasings of the poetry, I think you must deconstruct first. In fact to grow and learn, you must mainly deconstruct the teachings of your past. Non?

offside said...

What could have put me in mind of cannibalism? Thinking of Argentina, the fog, the Andes, that plane crash? Yummi-mi.

Anyway, my own brain is getting too foggy at this time of night, so I'll share whatever hazy, deconstructed thoughts I have on Riquelme and the fog later. And since I don't have access to saucy documentaries, I think I'll just go to bed.

Sweet dreams, ladies.

Zephirine said...

I guess I was just enjoying the random feathered violence and sex, Marcela.

I should warn you that only this afternoon, File and I challenged each other to write a poem about the shipping forecast. You might like to join in on this one, Mimi?

Zephirine said...

Night, Offside. and flights of finches sing thee to thy rest..

marcela said...

crumbs...

i'm only just gearing up to file's challenge of writing about a classic sport moment with a fresh take, or whatever the challenge was. it was so long i can't remember!

so you do understand the shipping forecast then?

i agree, mimi, deconstruction is part of the process. but so is construction. me thinks.

marcela said...

yes, sorry, good night orsay

que sueñes con los angelitos :)

mimi said...

Zeph: a tempting thought. I may well have to throw my hat into the ring if it's the glories of the SF. A challenge certainly, and one wrapped in memories when I think of those to whom I have introduced the dulcet tones of such as Charlotte Green. Um, must muse on this, and now to bed. 23 mins away from tonight's forecast. I will try and stay awake.

Zephirine said...

Marcela, you know this map?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/coast/shipping/index.shtml

it shows all the different areas which have the evocative names... otherwise it's wind speed and visibility, the sort of thing we all naturally need to know at all times :)

Anyway, quite understand your reluctance to write a shipping forecast poem, but it would be good to read your 'new take on a great sporting event' piece.

Zephirine said...

BTW, Marcela, while you're here, SeanI did finally reply and say he thought my cricket piece was really good, and he suggested CiF, but by that time I thought the whole thing had been really well covered (there was a good piece by David Conn, too)so I've let it be.

marcela said...

maybe a quick click on this, mimi. inspirational ageing from the old pro!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3N_rNz2oAGA&mode=related&search=

i'll check the map out, zeph. i doubt it will sway me, though.

marcela said...

oh, good.

well, if you ever feel another coming, now you know!

what do you think of robert mckee? i was being read a bit out of Style, Structure, Substance, and the Principles of Screenwriting the other day. wondered if you've any thoughts.

if YOU'RE still here, that is...

Zephirine said...

How long have you got? :)

McKee is a forceful speaker and has influenced a generation of producers (not always for good). He's very prescriptive, and bizarrely always bases his lectures on 'Casablanca' which was famously written in a completely chaotic way, the opposite of what he advises. The real script guru is a guy called Syd Field, who writes excellent books but doesn't do the live lectures that McKee has made a fortune out of.

All the Hollywood script theory is just dumbed down classical drama theory with new names, though...

Stop now, Zeph.

Zephirine said...

That's it, one mention of R McKee and they all go off to sleep. And quite right too.

marcela said...

sorry. not sleeping, ms.

just paying attention in lectures always easily mistaken for a snooze...

my cousin read me a bit out of the book (great title, surely) about aristotle pondering why the emotional response to an event is so different to the emotional response to a representation of said event. and then there was some interesting stuff about intellectualizing the feeling at the same time as you're feeling it.

forgive the lack of elegance in my 'narrative'.

point is, wasnt sure how much was aristotle, how much was mckee, how much was my cousin!

but it was fascinating.

and it reminded me the is football art thread, and offside claiming 'football is real'. and i thought, ahh... but is it?

or is it, in fact, someting that happens on a stage?

have i lost you yet?

Zephirine said...

Hello, still here. Yeah, this is kind of what I mean, all the good stuff is Aristotle. He was the man.

I guess McKee is a good example of the person you hate because of the people who love him! He gets endlessly quoted at you by producers who don't know a drama from a dead lizard.

Here's something for you to think about - in western society, people watch more drama and/or sport in a week than they would have done in a year in former times. Why? Why do we want it? Why do we need it?

Zephirine said...

I think most sport is kind of next door to drama. Athletes have allotted roles, there's a limited time-frame during which an adventure will happen. It is 'staged'.

But you wouldn't bet on the outcome of 'Hamlet'.

marcela said...

maybe precisely because we can intellectualize it at the same time as we experience it.

escapism. literally. otherwise, processing emotion becomes the 'real' thing. too cumbersome.

or maybe western modern life has become so sanitized and corporate (in the loose sense of both words) that the drama fix is lacking in reality.

so we seek the emotional intensity that in the olden non western days we would have got from reality...

mmm. you're trying to make me think.

i wonder if it will work.

still a good title. style, structure, substance...

did you check out the marianne faithful clip?

marcela said...

missed the hamlet post...

'next door' - very good :)

no, but hamlet is a classic and you assume people know it. you could easily take bets on a whodunnit which was new.

and you can - and do - get ad infinitum 'deconstruction' of classic games, and even instances on a game. even when the outcome is known and all bets are closed.

Zephirine said...

Yes, I watched old Marianne, bless her, croaking away. Then I had to watch 'The Ballad of Lucy Jordan' too, which is so good but deeply depressing.

Or is modern life too oppressive and overwhelming, so that we need to take manageable chunks of excitement/experience out that we can handle on our own terms?

This is too heavyweight a discussion for this time of night..

Zephirine said...

You couldn't bet on a whodunnit because all the people involved in performing it would already know how it would end. It would be like betting on a fixed match. You can bet on a reality show though - so are reality shows sport?

My head hurts...:)

marcela said...

mine too, noe that you've thrown the reality show spanner into the works.

i mean, are they reality, are they show...? WTF

haven't watched big brother since the first series. ever again.

and i'm proud of that.

tbc...

Zephirine said...

Other brains can take this up tomorrow.

'Night.

marcela said...

don't let bugs, squirrels, tapirs etc. bite -

munni said...

Once again I’m too late, and besides nobody asked me, but how can I not wade into this? Wanted to add that both drama and sport are also next door to religious ritual, with their set patterns and prescribed rules that must be followed, but also living things that, if they are played out fifty or a thousand times, will never be the same twice. Not to mention having the capacity (ideally at least) for transformative powers, and for all hell breaking lose.

Marcela, are you saying that intellectualizing a thing detracts from its emotional impact (or vice versa)? Because if so, I disagree.

Zeph, re. watching more drama/sport in a week than people used to do in a year, how are you defining “watch” – as mindless consumption or as being actively engaged with what we’re watching - Does having the tv on when you’re not really paying attention count? Can it be as simple as, we watch more of it because it's always there, on tap?

And, I am reliably informed that most reality shows are in large part staged and scripted, not to mention edited beyond recognition. Not so much reality then – the show part is arguable.

Zeph said...

Hi Munni,

Good to see you joined the somewhat sleepy debate!

I just came back to post this from Cedric Pioline on GU Small Talk:

"I like watching music reality TV shows, like talent contests. You know, you have these young people who want to be music stars and for six months they all have to work like hell knowing that there's only going to be one winner. It's like sport so I find it very interesting."

Great minds, etc.

The reality shows are undoubtedly staged and edited to give the audience particular views of the contestants, so they're a bit like fictional drama, however the audience votes are still out of the programme-makers' control. So it's not like sport really, or only if the outcome of a football match could be decided by audience vote... imagine...:)

I think you're absolutely right that these are all rituals, and they're obviously something we as a species need, to take us out of ourselves.

As for why we watch so much now, I don't know the answer, obviously a lot of it is 'just on' but we still must prefer our 'wallpaper' to be sport, drama (or reality shows) because ultimately the TV, cinema, theatre, sports organisations will provide what people want to watch. I just find it an interesting aspect of modern industrialised life.

byebyebadman said...

I wonder how conscious footballers are of the fact that they are being watched? Not to the point where it makes them unbearable show-offs and controversy merchants like on reality TV, but does it influence the way they act, or can they really block out the crowd and atmosphere (and the thought however many watching in TV land) like many claim?

The overriding fear of being the player that makes the defining mistake has only heightened through the saturation of football coverage - is this a factor in why so many cup finals/crucial matches are awful non-events these days?

You could make a case that football at the professional level isn't real if the players' freedom to play naturally is restricted.

Just a few thoughts.

mimi said...

margin: you could always try a social experiment of running the Taproom.

DoctorShoot said...

Margin
well run football is the reality show of today as long as wags dags fags live-to-air-commentary scrags and others too numerous are allowed to participate in the 24hour-a-day last on first off tv bonanza,

and anyhow
have greatly enjoyed your garden party taproom
and
wanted to be the 100th poster and a century for you margin not out well done.

Margin said...

Wow - 100 posts

Whats the taproom?

bluedaddy said...

Very enjoyable thread. And i would have been happy enough just to read Margin's piece.

Big occasions like parties and weddings are fascinating to observe, but I think I avoid properly taking part when present, preferring to drink heavily and dance free spiritedly, which the English seem to find unnerving. This is quite odd as people often praise me as a 'good' party person. I prefer there to be children present so there is someone pretty much guaranteed to be interesting to talk to.

Reading the stuff about footballers being watched made me think of George Best's goal where he beats everyone (I know that doesnt necessarily narrow it down much) and then does a kind of weird ecstatic double arm stretch after scoring. He looks like he has just really satisfied himself (and yes I mean that in all its senses). I love that moment.

What it contributes I dont really know. But it wasnt staged that's for sure.

offsideinantibes said...

"What's the taproom?"

I can't believe this. Seriously, Margin, I thought you lived here, too...

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