Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Probably the only post I'll write about the World Cup (Soccer edition)

Let's face it, all this obsession with vuvuzelas, it's cos the name sounds a bit like lady bits, right?


Carol said...

I don't care what it's called. That noise has put me off watching the matches. The buzzing got me talking about it before I knew what was causing the irritating sound.

The instrument doesn't look like it belongs to a very old local tradition. It looks more like a plastic import. There are far better and more musical sounds produced in South Africa, and that I'd be happy to listen to.

Random Lurker said...

I don't watch soccer and I don't know much about this vuvuzela discussion but the the word only serves to remind me of Vusi Mahlasela.. not lady bits.

As for the sound.. seems okay in this video, if a bit boring: BBC Newsnight

Carol said...

RL, thanks for the link. That sounds fine when it's just one guy playing a tune on it. If that's how it was being used at the world cup, and for a limited period of time, it would be fine.

But the sound we hear while a game is being played is a constant monotone buzz - probably from the sound of loads of people blowing them randomly.

stargazer said...

i'd have to agree with carol. the noise drove me crazy while watching the all whites last night. it is truly irritating, and quite loud.

but go the all whites!!! great result in their first match.

Anonymous said...

Carol, it's a traditional Xhose instrument that is now made of plastic, but was traditionally made of wood and/or hide.

Julie said...

I should just clarify that I think people (perhaps subconsciously) think the word vuvuzela is vaguely reminiscent of words like vulva and vagina, not the actual sound the vuvuzela makes. I think that was pretty clear to everyone here, but I did have someone misunderstand me on FB in relation to this precise same thing.

Carol said...

Anon, thanks for that information. So the plastic version makes it cheaply available to large numbers of people? I guess I would probably have really enjoyed hearing these instruments played reasonably well at selected moments (I gather from the attempts on Morning Report, it's quite hard for a novice to play with any degree of musicality).

Or even for them to be blown nosily at significant moments - eg before and after games, after scoring a goal.

But the continuous monotonous hum throughout games doesn't do them justice.

Stargazer, I watched the beginning of last night's game before I went to sleep (with the sound on mute). It didn't seem to be a very exciting game to me. I guess it just got exciting at the end.

DPF:TLDR said...

Sorry, that last Anon was me. How did I get logged out?

Er, anyway, I did some research on this today and it seems that initially they were mass-produced in tin, but some European stadiums banned them as weapons, so they switched to plastic.

They seem to be a hugely important part of South African football culture. Personally I find the noise bloody annoying too, but I think it's one of those points where we need to accept that if we find somebody else's cultural practices annoying, it's we, not they, who need to change.

Carol said...

Hugh, should we accept everybody else's cultural practices unquestioningly? When is it OK and when is it not OK to be critical? I certainly don't accept everything in my own culture. And if we did, there would have been no feminism and other resistance activism? No changes of all kinds.

I like to watch rugby on TV, having grown up in a rugby household. But I never go to live matches any more because I don't appreciate some of the behaviour that is considered by some to be part of traditional rugby culture. So is it wrong of me to put the sound on mute when watching the soccer world cup, or to avoid watching it altogether?

Also, what happens, for instance, if the practices of one culture are directly in conflict with those of another culture?

Soccer is not part of my cultural background, by I could be encouraged to get into watching it during a world cup. As I understand it, for many countries competing, there usually is a lot of singing, chanting etc, That is the cultural practice used when some fans watch their teams. I haven't heard any of that during the world cup. Does the continual buzz drown it out? So we don't get any of the atmosphere and excitement that usually goes with shifts in the crowd sounds during soccer.

Should we accept that, as South Africa is the host, their crowds can follow their own practices? Or does the world cup belong to all countries? Should South Africans be allow to blow their Vuvuzela's when supporting their own team, but not during other games? Should the cultural practices of the teams playing be promoted instead?

Lew said...

Carol, who's advocating being unquestioning about it?

Question all you like, but fundamentally if you can't see the problem with a bunch of foreigners coming to a country and telling the locals they can't blow their horns like they normally do of a football match, then I'm really not sure what to say. Do you suppose that there should be a ban on haka during the 2011 Rugby World Cup? Or a ban on singing bawdy, humorous songs next time the event is hosted in England?

I'm in full agreement with the chap on Nine to Noon who reckoned the only thing more annoying than the incessant drone of vuvuzela was the incessant drone made by those complaining about them. It's part of the African football experience. Deal.