Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Odds & Ends

One of the highlights of my week is always five's coverage of the NFL on a Monday night, when they beam in ABC's Monday Night Football, and add on their own analysis. What's really good about it is the contribution of summariser Mike Carlson. Summariser is the most difficult sports commentary position, no matter what the sport, even in the studio, and his analysis is almost always spot on. You have to know your eggs, and he does.

Best sports summariser on British telly.

Last night, he elevated himself still further in my estimation, by announcing that 'Marc Bulger then completed a 70-yard pass to Torry Holt, the Tory you can support, who was wider open than Kate Moss's nostril.' Another player was 'more alone than George Galloway at a Labour Party Conference.' That's entertainment.

The reason for all this is that I was pondering summarising yesterday. You see, I haven't heard Jimmy Armfield on Five Live yet this season, and I'm worried the legend has packed it in. Admittedly, I haven't heard every game, so I may be missing something, and the great man might still be going strong. I certainly hope so. His radio summarising, and in particular the fact that he makes Alan Green seem much less annoying, is nothing short of miraculous.

He was also present at one of the most genuinely funny moments of sports commentary in the last decade and a half, when during a particularly boring FA Cup tie between Leeds and someone else, I think Coventry, the tannoy announcer read out a car registration number, and asked the owner to return to the vehicle. There was a strange silence in the box, before Green announced, in a somewhat sheepish voice 'that's my car.' Superb.

The legend that is Jimmy Armfield.

Carlson can only take his place as the best summariser on telly after the departure of Richie Benaud this summer. Richie was comfortably the best cricket analyst in Britain, and over the world for that matter, for years and years and years, and I for one am going to miss his departure. Of course, with Channel 4 losing all coverage, I'm going to have to get Sky. Not having it yet, I don't even know who's on their commentary, with the exception of Nasser Hussain and Beefy Botham. Does anyone know if they're any good?

Anyway, enough praise - you come here for criticism, so here it is - Mark Bright is just infuriating. Please take him away. His voice is so, so, so unbelievably grating.


This article is sort of interesting, sort of infuriating. It's supposedly about the decline in revenue in Hollywood this year, but it always just skates around saying anything actually useful.

The real reason that revenues are down this summer is that the films just haven't been good enough. The big film companies can spend as much, or nearly as much, on promotion as they do on creating the film, but with the advent of the Internet, and greater choice at the box office, people realise a bad film before they go and see it. Take 'Revolver', for instance. It's impossible to walk down a road anywhere in Britain without seeing a poster for it, a poster which, incidentally, contains the claim by The Sun Online that the film is 'Brilliant . . . Guy Ritchie back to his best', but the fact that it has panned by almost every single critic in the country, and humiliated by some, will ensure it flops at the box office. That's an extreme example, but even critical apathy seeps through to the viewing public.

The most sensible comment made in the piece is by Tilda Swinton, when she says;

"It can only be a good thing for film-makers at the end of the day," she said.

"It means that the audience is saying it wants something new - and wants a varied palate as well."

Let's hope that the near future holds considerably better prospects, because one thing is for sure, and that's that this year has been really quite poor so far.

Guy Ritchie's 'Revolver' will flop at the box office - and by all accounts, rightly so.


In possibly the oddest idea of the year, stuntman Jim Trella wore a suit that was on fire to collect his award at the World Stunt Awards. What an odd fellow.

The Rock doesn't seem to know quite what to say. Can't say I blame him really.


The Martin Scorsese documentary about the life and times of Bob Dylan screened on BBC2 last night. Gosh, what a disappointment. Can anyone who watched it, anyone at all, tell me in what way it significantly differed from any half-decent British documentary made in the last twenty years, bar the fact that it was an hour longer, and filled with fellows with slightly more facial hair than usual?

I mean come on, an average documentary costs about a tenth of what this one has costed, yet it does absolutely nothing that a smaller budget piece couldn't do. Scorsese is a brilliant director, don't get me wrong, one of my absolute favourites, but this was a real let-down. I really like Bob Dylan, and in some ways you could call it quite an achievement to produce something so boring on such an interesting subject.

If you missed the first part last night, but were thinking of catching it tonight, my advice is not to bother. It's two hours in the middle of your evening that you'll never get back.

For fairness sake, however, I should point out that others feel differently.

I wish people would stop fawning over Bob Dylan, I really do. Lyrically, musically, and most of all harmonica-playingly, the man is an overrated charlatan.

On a happier note: for the best review I've heard of Revolver, download Mark Kermode's latest podcast from the BBC. It had me in stitches:

Truth be told, I wouldnt know a good Bob Dylan documentary from a bad one. Was casually watching it whilst doing something and got pulled in a bit.

I'd say that Dylan was a charlatan to a degree, but to be honest, its part of what makes him interesting. The music, with a few exceptions I can take or leave.

I'm such a philistine.

ill man
"Tory you can support"
"more alone than George Galloway at a Labour Party Conference."

How surreal to hear such quintessentially British references used to describe American football. I hadn't even thought there was an audience for it abroad, let alone someone who would se enthusiastically localize his coverage of said sport. The mind boggles.

Dude with flaming suit:Alright, I want a hi-res pic of that for my next wallpaper.

hungbunny:Dillan occasionally pulled some lyrics out of his ass that frickin' floored me. BUT...I hate his frickin' harmonica. Sounds like a monkey got ahold of it.
Hungbunny -

You've right, Kermode tore it a new arsehole. When that man is flying into something, ain't hell gonna stop him. Despite not actually loathing the film myself, I was deeply amused by the kicking he gave to 'The Devil's Rejects' earlier this summer too.

By the far the best film critic in Britain, really, really knows his eggs, and probably the only one worth reading or listening to.

Including me, sadly.

Ill man -

Take it or leave it is about my attitude, too. I do, however, think he was an interesting bloke, and if Scorsese had spent more time with the camera pointed at him, and less time pointed at hangers-on, then it might have been more interesting.

SafeT -

I know it's somewhat sad, but I'm actually a particularly big fan of American footie. Nobody else I know understands this obsession, and to be honest, I don't think I do either.
Steve55: To each their own. I can't watch sports, unless they are solo competitions. I can't keep track of all the players and what's going on, and staring at the same field/court/stadium for the entire event, without a change in scenery or plot, is really not inspiring to me.
My wife loves the hockey (Detroit is just across a bridge from Canada) but I usually just read a book whilst she watches.

What other sports do you find interesting? Regular footie? rugby? Cricket? Baseball? Artillary Duel?
I love every sport ever created, with the notable exception of rugby, which is a sport for tossers, played by tossers, and is an absolute and complete waste of everybody's time. No rugby post will ever sully this blog.
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