Because stuff needs talking about.


Montage Madness

Well we’re nearly there; the whole nation holds their breath in anticipation for the most exciting event in Britain’s recent history.  Yes the time has come, for the BBC’s montage marathon.

It started innocently enough, at the end of sporting contests to summarise the course that the tournament took and the high and lows along the way.  But from these humble beginnings, the simple montage’s stature has grown to become an ever-present feature before, during and after each athletic feat.

To me it’s as if the guilty TV companies are saying that real life is no longer appealing enough for the average audience.  That reality is doesn’t incorporate the excitement that the typical, reality-TV loving viewers thrive on.  No, life needs to be dramatized to really get the point across, to really manufacture that sense of power and intrigue, or people might switch off!

So as we welcome the Olympic Games to London, with the BBC promising extensive coverage of every sport, athlete and queen-loving patriot exploding with national pride directly into the camera, expect to get familiar with a few of these summation traits.

Music is the key factor in making any run-of-the-mill montage into something on the scale of summer blockbuster epicness.  Basically there are two options; the overblown chanting and drumming option which offers the ‘going to war’ semantic, you know, like they always do with the Welsh rugby team, or the acoustic cover of a previously famous option, you know, like they use on all those clever and heartfelt adverts where you watch someone get old in half a minute.  There are a few ground rules that the editors have to follow when deciding between the two options; any rivalry or chance of violence = epic war music, individual sporting competition and lots of shots of relaxed athlete = acoustic cover.  There are also the factors such as race, stature and sex; any Eastern European competitor falls into the bracket of war music as well as anyone bigger than us, whilst the majority of female athletes will get lumped into the acoustic cover category, or maybe, if they’re really lucky, the current pop song bracket, because girls love dancing and that don’t they?

If anyone can remember back to their English GCSE days then you will already be aware of our next trait.  The phrase is pathetic fallacy, and it has nothing to do with erectile dysfunction.  This is the montage maker’s mantra and is basically when the weather reflects the mood in a film or a book.  However, in the case of montages, it can quite often be the reverse.  You can often find that if there has been rain at an event (with tennis and cricket being the obvious exceptions, you can’t make a montage out of nothing , although I’m pretty sure it will be tried soon) then the mood will be set as a battle with lots of slow motion shots of bedraggled competitors and rain lashing down past a scoreboard of some kind or a symbolic piece of equipment.  If the weather is sunny then everything takes on a jovial mood (despite the athlete clearly sweating their nads off) and the montage will be laden with footage of ladies in sun hats and children eating ice creams and maybe someone will have been slipped a tenner to get into a fountain somewhere, you know, to really get the message across.  Even the typical British cloud, the most boring type of weather possible, gets manhandled into meaning something, usually as a sense of impending doom or loss for the home team.

So as the whole nation is plunged into a slow motion world of tears and smiles, pain and adrenaline, defeat and success, all condensed into a minute and served up with a helping of emotive music, just remember that this emotion is already there in reality, not just in this Hollywoodisation of life, created by the BBC and Sky.  These feelings are being felt, in real time, in real life.

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A Page from the Diary of Tiziano Crudeli (The Italian Ladbrokes Man)

I just can't contain my joy when I see my beloved Milan's colours!

Saturday 24/3/12

Woke up with my throat hurting again. Went to Ray Winstone’s house for dinner yesterday, us faces of betting have to stick together. Not sure if I’ll be invited back again though, we played a game of Fifa and I got a bit carried away when I got my fifth corner. The wife didn’t look too impressed but what can I say? I just get a bit excited sometimes. She proper sniped at me on the way home and I got a bit angry, shouting doesn’t seem to have the same effect as it used to though.

Got home and was happy to see Sports Relief on the TV, if it was up to me there’d be sport on all the time. I offered to go Africa to do a special report and I showed them my portfolio to show what I could do but they said they wanted to go for a calmer and more sympathetic angle. I thought to myself, look at how much money my adverts get in and tell me my mild excitement doesn’t encourage the audience? Anyway, I was just in time to see that comedian that sounds like Gerrard with food in his mouth and the fat one from Take it Like a Fan. I like him, even though he does like to sleep with Beckham, and he makes me laugh, a lot. I went to bed quite late and my wife said she hadn’t slept at all because I was being too loud. She just doesn’t appreciate humour and subtlety like I do.

Anyway, despite my throat I was in a good mood, it was Saturday, football day! I checked the Ladbrokes website and put a few little wagers down. There’s something about betting on football that always gets me excited, I just can’t contain myself. I love it nearly as much as football itself. I don’t know what it is about English fans: they only care about goals, but for me, I love it all, the corners, the cards, the number of throw ins, it all just makes me want to shout out loud! With my adrenaline racing, I made my way to Stamford Bridge to see Robbie and his boys play Spurs.

Just got home and the game was amazing! It finished 0-0 and nothing much happened but I thought it was heart stopping entertainment all match! Not sure if everyone agreed with me though, couple of people shushed me in the corporate box and that idiota with his iphone from Paddy Power sneered at me when security told me to calm down. Honestly, these people think they like football, they don’t even cheer when an offside is given. My philosophy is: if you’re excited, the audience is excited, so if I’m super excited, then the crowd will go wild! You could learn a few things from me Motson.

I came home and my wife was cooking my favourite meal for dinner. I was jumping for joy! There’s something about good food that gets me sooo excited! I was ecstatic, and to top it off, when I went for a shower and balled up my socks and threw them at the laundry bin on the other side of the room. The first one sailed in, I praised the Lord, my heart raced as I took aim again. I threw it and time seemed to slow down, the sock looped through the air and to my horror bounced on the edge of the basket. I swear my heart nearly stopped, adrenaline coursed through my veins. It bounced again, and then, amazingly, dropped right in.


I got in the shower still smiling to myself. When I got out my wife said that the neighbours had complained again about the persistent noise. Some people just need to lighten up. I thought I’d better smooth things over with them so I went over to apologise. When I got there they were watching a film on their home cinema system. There’s something about home cinema systems that gets me really excited. I started celebrating with the couple and they didn’t look happy, when I tried to kiss the man on each cheek in joy, he took a swing at me. I ran out of the house, half scared, half full of joy, and as I got on to the lawn my emotions took hold and slid on my knees and punched the air.

We had dinner and my wife went straight to bed, I had a great time, first Match of the Day and then the Football League Show. I went to bed over the moon. Better get some rest I suppose, I’ve got a really awesome day planned tomorrow!


Top 5 #8

Top 5 Reasons Why England Never Win Anything (And It Isn’t the Manager)

Seeing as Capello’s done one, I thought it was time what else could be the possible reason behind England’s glorious footballing failure.  Surely it can’t just be whichever unlucky manager that has been thrown underneath the England team bus, can it?

5. Shocking Tactics:  There is nothing worse in world football than watching defenders hoofing it aimlessly up field, oh sorry, I don’t mean world football, players don’t seem to go for that abroad whilst here in Britain they get applauded for it.  It seems to be an acceptable and commended style of play for a defender as if this has been the hardest and most skilful option they could have chosen.  It’s like they are constantly playing last ditch football when there is barely any threat in any of the previous ditches.  Also the long standing tradition which originates in school teams is the tactic of ‘pass it to the best player and everything will be alright’.  Happens every time with Beckham, Gerrard, Lampard, and now Rooney.  It’s just like how Barca do it with Messi. Oh actually, wait a minute…

4. English Mentality:  Far too many times have we been told by a brain dead pundit that an English player “may not be the most skilful player on the park (always park!) but he never stops running”.  This may show dedication to the cause but surely it’s not worth the amount praise that English fans gush on to the players guilty of being a talentless battler.  It may actually be the most highly prized trait an Englishman can have, just look at John Terry’s seal dive in the world cup, the fans loved his never say die approach when really, that situation wouldn’t have occurred if people were better at football. Fair play though, he did give it his all, 110%, dedication to the cause, fight to the last…

3. The Media:  As far as ‘The Sun’ is concerned it IS football gospel, and in their eyes football is a war.  The team is the pride of the nation, the standard bearer of England, personifying everything it means to British and patriotic.  Until we lose, and then it’s no longer our boys fighting versus the world, it’s us against the foreign manager, or the people versus that player who made the mistake which led the seventh goal which was definitely the reason we lost.  The problem is, people read these red top stories and think, ‘yeah, it can’t just be that someone’s better than us or that we’re shit at football, it’s his fault.  You can’t have a some foreigner managing England, bring me the most English person ever, bring me English football personified, god damn it where’s Harry Redknapp, or Ray Winstone, or Dick Van Dyke!?’  What chance does any manager have when they have to defeat the world with a team full of ball-hoofers (cheeky) and big front men?

2.  Emile Heskey:   I know, I know it’s not all his fault but he is really shit!  It’s not just Emile Heskey though, it’s what he represents.  Heskey can be in terrible form and not even got a shot near the goal in the league but he can sit back at home just waiting for the phone call to come.  The fear of change is rife throughout English football and holds the England team in paralysis for the foreseeable future.  But who do you play, Gerrard or Lampard?  Why not neither?  Why not try something new like that German team beat the shit of you in the World Cup?  How about playing your best forwards rather than just one god one and one that’s over 6’5”?  Because that means change, and that’s not acceptable.  All the fans complain, like the newspaper told them to, at the lack of adventure and creativity under the last managerial casualty, but then explode with anger and fear if the new guy changes it up a bit.

1.  The Players:  Of course this is number one.  The England team isn’t good enough to win anything.  Fact.  No British players are anywhere near being the best in the world but the majority of them believe themselves to be anyway.  The battle of egos in that dressing room must be sickening to witness, the air thick with unearned confidence.  ‘It’s only Spain innit, hardly any of their players play in the Premier League so they can’t be that good.  We’ve got defenders who can hoof it loads further than theirs, and look how small their strikers are!’  Just because you get talked about the most doesn’t make you the best.  All this ill-gotten bigheadedness has really clouded the issue of technical ability and most of all teamwork, something that a team of individuals can never hope to achieve.

So there’s my Top 5, I was going to include Steve McLaren in there somewhere as I’m pretty sure he can’t be classified as a manage but I resisted.

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