Football, noise and the vuvuzela
Posted on 16 June 2010 | 8:06am
And to think that a couple of weeks ago, if you heard people talking about ‘vuvuzela’, you’d think they were pissed and reminiscing about their holiday in South America.
Now, thanks to the universal appeal of football, just as all English people are suddenly experts on goalkeeping, so everyone has a view on the vuvuzela.
But it has quickly become one of those issues where it is hard to have a nuanced position. You’re meant to love it or hate it. There can be no in between.
So when I tweeted that the annoyance at the vuvuzela was becoming more annoying than the annoyance caused by the vuvuzela, I was castigated by the anti-vuvuzelans as a pro-vuvuzelan crusader who therefore deserved to have them played outside my bedroom window as I tried to sleep.
Yet it is possible both to be irritated by the constant hornets’ nest hum, and yet still speak up against the waves of whingeing and hatred it seems to have inspired.
I am more for singing, shouting and chanting than I am for the vuvuzela. But I cannot stand the small-mindedness of people who think that because something is different to what they’re used to, we ought to get out the banning orders.
South Africa is not Britain. The blowing of the vuvuzela is an act of joyous celebration. Yes, when hundreds are going at once it can mean that even the cheering which greets a goal can be drowned out. But so what?
I speak as someone with very low noise irritation threshhold. Indeed I may have blogged not long ago about my desire to throttle slow-sweet-unwrappers and Coke-slurpers and pick’n’mix-chompers in cinemas. That is because they interfere with the concentration required to enjoy a good film.
I have also at times embarrassed my family by leaning over to complete strangers and asking them if they would mind not clicking their pen top incessantly on and off.
But noise at football is part of what football is. Go to a Scottish international and expect to hear bagpipes. Go to England and expect to hear the band playing The Great Escape. Go to South Africa and hear the vuvuzela.
It is not going to be banned, and nor should it be.
And to those who said how would you like it if everyone at Burnley had one? They won’t. A few might for a game or two, but it is not our culture. It is theirs and we should embrace it for the duration of a tournament on their soil.
And if you don’t like it, turn the sound down. Ah, but then it’s not the same is it? Proves my point. Football without crowd noise is like a book without words.
*** Buy Prelude to Power here at Amazon.
*** Buy The Blair Years and raise cash for Labour http://www.alastaircampbell.org/bookshop.php.