Euro 2012: A marvellous display of footballers’ silly arm scribble
How rude am I?
We must have been, what, 20-odd minutes into England v France when I very nearly turned to Daniel and asked him the most offensive question you can possibly ask any host.
Namely: “Is there something wrong with your telly?”
I didn’t, of course. I bit my tongue at the last minute. Age and experience have taught me to exercise at least a modicum of restraint in these situations. I’m not some sort of oaf.
But I can’t deny I was concerned.
Am I going to have to put up with this for the rest of the tournament, I was thinking to myself. It’s rubbish. It’s all fuzzy. It’s not a patch on my swanky new, stupidly huge, ridiculously overpriced, fantastically vulgar Samsung.
The problem, you see, is that Daniel and I have agreed to take turns to play host to one another for England and Ireland’s Euro 2012 matches. Nice friendly thing to do, offering each other company, moral support through difficult times, blah blah. He even lets me bring my mad dog.
Generous soul that he is, he’d also laid on a nice spread of food. Daniel, I mean, not the dog. The dog’s a girl. And yet there was I, contemplating walking out and heading home at half time. What was I going to give as a reason? A sudden adverse reaction to his tangy cheese Doritos? An urgent need to miss the traffic? Or would I say I’d forgotten to switch off the gas hob after cooking my porridge that morning? (This has happened for real, by the way, and several times – disproving the theory that having porridge for breakfast is good for you).
That, or would I just be honest, and point out that my new showy-offy, smartypants, can’t-afford-it-but-what-the-hell TV (the one I’ve assured Julie is an “investment”) is just way more fun to watch football on.
Of course, I did none of those things in the end. I chose to grin and bear it. And the gods of football rewarded my display of restraint and maturity with a decent result, of course. Cheers, gods.
But the fact remains that my telly IS better. Look, I’m not boasting, or gloating – well, all right, I am, and I probably deserve a good punch – but modern-day football coverage on TV is just so sharp and slick (picture-wise, I mean, not the pundits, don’t get me started on that lot again, at least not until the next blog…) that watching it on a really cool telly is . . . well, really cool. (I’m in one of my more articulate frames of mind today, can you tell?).
Take those brilliant close-up, slow-motion replays. Not the obvious ones where you get to see some soppy old goal again from 179 different angles, but those hyper-arty ones, where a bunch of players compete for a header, say, just like dolphins leaping for a fish, kind of, and their faces go all rubbery and contorted and you can see all the stretchy muscles in their necks. Those ones.
Obviously you can see those on Daniel’s set as well, but on mine you can see them really clearly, almost as if you’re standing just a few yards away on the pitch. Every hair on their head, should they happen to have any. Every bead of sweat. Even their spit, although generally that’s not so appealing.
Be honest, televised football coverage has never been this good, visually-speaking. Apart, that is, from those horrible swoopy cameras-on-cranes that make the whole thing look like a computer game. I can do without those, thanks. They just make me feel queasy.
What I think I like best of all is observing the players’ arm scribble. They’ve all got it now, haven’t they? Well, nearly all. Just like top footballers in the past used to feel obliged to have bubble perms and booze problems, almost every 21st Century footballer feels the need, it seems, to turn one of his arms into what he no doubt imagines, bless him, is a work of art.
I’m afraid I can’t see the appeal, I really can’t. I’ve never understood the whole tattoo thing in any case, mostly because: (a) tattoos are ugly, without exception; and (b) they’re surely the equivalent of waking up one morning and deciding that the way you have your hair, right that very moment, or the clothes you’ve chosen to wear that very day, are so unsurpassably great that you want them to stay that way for the rest of your time on Earth. What kind of blithering nincompoop fails to plan for the possibility of changing their mind in later life, appearance-wise?
Anyway, I digress. The great thing about my telly is that you can look at the players’ silly arm scribble in remarkable detail, at least if they have the good manners to stand still for a moment. And though I hate it, I do find it intriguing.
It seems there are two kinds. The first is an elaborate sort of scaly effect, as if the player wants one of his arms (it’s nearly always just the one – what’s that all about?) to resemble a big fat scary snake. To be fair, I can perhaps see the benefits of this in certain situations.
The second takes the form of a short inscription, ideally in an Arabic or Latin script. By avoiding his own language, the player clearly believes the inscription carries a certain mystique, which I suppose makes some kind of sense. Keeping it in his own native tongue, so that it would say: “I am an overpaid nincompoop with way too much time on my hands” may diminish its impact somewhat.
Anyway, I’m sure the whole footballer arm scribble debate is one that will rage for a good while to come on this blog, at least until I get bored with talking about it, which actually I think I may already have done.
Daniel, by the way, does agree that my new smartyknickers telly is better than his. He said so when he came to watch Ireland v Croatia the other night. So that’s encouraging isn’t it? Maybe he’ll agree we should stick to watching all the remaining games on my lovely new set, rather than on his fuzzy rubbish one.
If I’m going to become the permanent host, mind you, I’ll expect him to supply the Doritos.
Be rude of him not to.Tagged in: body art, England v France, euro 2012, Ireland v Croatia, Samsung, Tattoos
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