Sunday, 12 August 2012

Yeah Definitely

Commentating must be a desperate business. Having to think of something to say, while fascinating events unfold in front of you. No chance of second thought, no editing, no time to think, no reflection; it goes out as you say it, and there's no getting it back.
What is even worse is that people like me, and people much more skilled than me, are sitting there listening, ready to pounce on every dumb comment, every out of place word or wrong piece of data.
“Murray is forcing Federer into unforced errors,” says John Lloyd. 
So now we have an extra category of errors, not just the usual, forced and unforced; now we have forced, unforced errors. How could that come about, just supposing for a moment that it wasn't just John Lloyd getting over enthusiastic. Maybe if Murray is simply creating an atmosphere of pressure, the possibility of unforced errors goes up. Is that what a forced, unforced error looks like. I can just about get my head around that, but what about unforced, forced errors. Maybe those are really impossible, but perhaps if one player has such a great style that even when they are completely relaxed, playing with no pressure at all, barely even trying, so you couldn't say that they were forcing anything at all, they might still force errors, without even meaning to. Those would be unforced, forced errors.
Enough of that. I may be getting the commentators disease, of having to talk all the time. Possibly the worst moment of this was after Ben Ainsley won his forth sailing gold medal. We saw him talking, being shown on the big screen at the venue and the idiot commentator is doing a voice over telling us what Ainsley is saying. OK, if he was talking chinese, that might make sense, but all the commentator is doing is stopping us hearing what Ainsley is actually saying. English does not normally need to be translated on the BBC. 
The crowd did get their own back; the same commentator was doing vox pops on the shore after the women's laser radial. The Belgian girl had just won the bronze medal, so why not interview some Belgians.
’What did you think of that?’ says the interviewer.
’Fucking great.’ says unknown Belgian. Whoops.
While I am in ranting mode, there are two more pet hates, I'd like to get out of the way.
The first is the over-adoption of certain words. I've given up on Yeah No. Is it one word or two? I know longer know what it means, I've heard it so often I'm not even sure I can any lomger explain why it is a daft thing to say. I've not however, given up on 'absolutely'. Over and over we hear both interviewees and interviewers using the word when it is simply not necessary, and often not really appropriate. I was pleased to hear the various fighters from the independent republic of Yorkshire who said “Yeah definitely” as their first words to many answers. If it is impossible to avoid these instant replies, I think I prefer “Yeah definitely.” Whereas absolutely is rarely true, and is frequently inappropriate; yeah definitely, is OK, it's expressing an opinion, and that doesn't seem inappropriate.
There is obviously something built into commentators genes that makes them adopt words. It is now seemingly impossible to use the word early without saying early doors. What on earth have doors got to do with anything? I once thought that it must be referring to leaving early, in the way the Eddie Waring talked about players getting an early bath, when they had been sent off. A glance or two at the web suggests that it comes from theatres, the doors opening early for the cheap seats. So what exactly does, 
"They let the New Zealanders get away early doors," mean in a sailing race. What doors, they are on the ocean.
Finally, there is the background music. The constant need to put some sort of thumping beat behind commentary and voice overs is beginning to make me change channels. Surely if the words are not dramatic or interesting enough to hold attention, then re-write the words. Adding a thumping beat is just a cheap trick and adds nothing. After watching these olympics, surely any one can see that we don't need to add drama, or worse still, some sort of false sense of excitement. Let the events speak for themselves. As I write this, the BBC is running a repeat clip of some of the rowing, along with a background beat that was not there during the events. Why?
For those who have read this blog for some time, I should apologise for going on about this, I have mentioned it before.  (Stop the bloody music;postID=2686805028156897544)
Will someone in broadcasting please listen. I am tired of my wife yelling at the TV every time the news bomp bomp bomp head bomp bomp bomp lines bomp bomp bomp come bomp bomp bomp on.

Post script.
In the into to the closing ceremony Gary Lineker
"They came from all four corners of the country and all four walks of life." All four walks of life? Really Gary, and what four would those be?

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