Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We’re banning the vuvuzela

"Further to their hugely debated involvement at this summer's World Cup finals in South Africa, Arsenal Football Club has decided to forbid the use of vuvuzelas within Emirates Stadium with immediate effect. This decision has been taken to ensure the enjoyment and safety of supporters on match days, which is of paramount importance to the club.”

It seems a strange thing to me to ban the vuvuzela. The Emirates is a stadium of comfy padded seats, ample leg room, and a Jumbo-tron which tries to exude the kind of atmosphere that 60,000 excited gooners would normally provide... if it wasn’t for the padded seats and ample leg room. It seems that the Arsenal would want to encourage more atmosphere at the stadium, rather than less.

It has echoes of Peter Hill-Woods’ famous “we don’t want their sort” type of insular paranoia. Why is it that anything that doesn’t have British roots is automatically treated with distain? The vuvuzela might not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s just football support in another language. Who are we to say that boozy singing by pallid Englishmen is really a better way to support the club? Or polite clapping and apologise to the guy behind you for standing up at exciting moments? To ban the vuvuzela is to give a massive “f**k you” to international supporters and to imply that only British forms of support will be tolerated at the Emirates.

It’s not particularly welcoming.

What I’d like to see is 60,000 gooners smuggle vuvuzelas into the stadium during the first match of the season, and then blasting one out at the opening whistle, just to show the Board that we don’t really give stuff whether they ban the vuvuzela or not... and then I hope they’ll pack them away quickly, because I find them loud and a bit annoying, myself.

So on the 278th last day of my 20s, I saw a couple of kids at work who are going to my old high school. It made my day; they were such nice, polite kids and it made me think about myself at their age. It was 12 years ago. At 17, I would never have understood what life would be like at 29. Makes me wonder what it’ll be like when I’m 41, and in the throes of my mid-life crisis.

Or I could just watch Greenberg, I suppose. I hear it’s a great film.

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