With all due respect to Robert Green facing the music with Jim Joyce-ian resolve and Germany’s clinical dispatch of Australia earlier today, the big story of WC2010 thus far has been the oft-maligned Vuvuzela, the thin, plastic trumpets that have rendered each ESPN telecast nearly unlistenable. I know, that used to be Tommy Smyth’s job, but while he’s (thankfully) one of a kind, the Vuvuzelas are in ample supply at all South African stadia this week. Before the tournament even began, the Independent’s Neil Forsyth observed, “Some people, morons I think is the term, say that the Vuvuzela adds colour and atmosphere to the occasion….It doesn™t add either of those things. What the Vuvuzela does is drive you to sanity™s troubled fringes.”
For the USA-Australia game the small stadium had probably five thousand people in it. It must also be assumed that only a minority of those in attendance were in possession of a Vuvuzela. Yet the racket generated was horrific. Similar to a herd of baby elephants in distress, it swamped any other sound coming from the crowd and the commentators had to battle to be heard. In the full or nearly full stadiums that are to come, the effect will be ludicrous.
It might seem churlish for an armchair supporter to begrudge paying customers their enjoyment but my concern is for a far greater good “ the mental health of British commentators Clive Tyldesley and Guy Mowbray . They have six weeks of the Vuvuzela ahead of them. In the opening matches, as they sit perched above the hooting masses, they™ll swap wry observations with the studio about trying to œhear themselves think. Then the matter will be quietly dropped and then the two men will sink into very private hells. Just watch them in the World Cup™s fagend stage. Gone will be the thumbs up to camera when they do the changeover. Instead you will see two pale and drawn men, jumpy and easily rattled.
For Tyldesley and Mowbray, I fear this won™t be an affliction that ends with the World Cup. I hope the Vuvuzela users have their fun but come Christmas, when Tyldesley™s great aunt, or Mowbray™s brother-in-law lets rip with a toy trumpet fresh from the cracker and the commentator involuntarily leaps over the turkey and strangles them in front of a horrified family, who wins then?