Monday, 16 June 2014

That RVP goal

I was sitting here:

Tolworth station. Evening rush hour.
I became aware of it on twitter. Various people were saying RVP's header was everything from “very good” to “stunning”.

A couple mentioned he’d scored from some distance out. I thought I had an idea of what it might look like.

By the time I got home it was 2-1 to Holland. By the time I got the kids down it was 4-1 to Holland. By the time Arjen Robben scored his second to make it 5-1, I was actually in front of the television, but had to wait until some time after the final whistle before I finally got to see that goal.

Good God. On first view it’s amazing. On repeated viewings it becomes clear this is one of the greatest World Cup goals of all time.

(Yahoo Sports)
Barring something extraordinary, it will become the defining footballing image of Brazil 2014. To have the instinct, athleticism and technique to execute something like that…

First off, look at the run he makes after Blind hits the ball. A straight line 25 yard sprint which he covers in 3 seconds. Whilst doing this, he spots Casillas off his line.

BBC Sport

Then, as the ball approaches, van Persie checks, opens up his body, and takes two positioning baby-steps, with most of his weight still moving laterally across the turf.

Now in the perfect position, van Persie jumps off the tips of his toes, meeting the ball (which is travelling away from him) before he fully leaves the ground.

BBC Sport

In the microsecond of actual contact van Persie needs to nut the ball over Casillas powerfully enough to prevent anyone getting in behind and clearing it off the line. And he needs to kill the backspin to stop it floating over the crossbar.

RVP shapes his body to nail the upward trajectory and power. He creates sidespin with the angle off his forehead. The contact is perfect. The resultant swallow-dive as the ball loops into the top right hand corner of the Spanish net is a transcendent moment in sport. 

BBC Sport

Watching it from the aerial camera is eerie. For the briefest of moments, as the ball sails off his head, the small figure in the centre of shot appears to hang, defying gravity. Flying. Van Persie is three feet in the air, chest pushed forward, back bowed, eyes on the ball as it courses goalward. There is something about that moment which defies ordinary, mortal thinking.

BBC Sport

This sort of thing doesn’t often happen in football, let alone to change the direction of a massively important game on the global stage against the world champions. But, on Friday, it did. And I will be boring my grandchildren about it.


Friday, 13 June 2014

Getting rich quick

I got roped into an impromptu EuroMillions lottery syndicate today. I haven’t spent any money on the lottery in years. Jonathan Ross called it “The Stupid tax” on Radio 2 once. 

But when required to stump up £1.25 for the good of the lottery’s shareholders, it seems I can be persuaded. 

Having bought the ticket, one of our number led the fantasies in what we’d do with our money.

All I could think about was what a hassle it would be.  

First you’d have all the publicity to cope with, and that would be a big disruption. It’s my daughter’s school fete on Saturday and my wife is doing a lot of the organising. I’m down to help out on the gate.

Then we’d have to think about moving house and all that palaver. You’d have to employ people to do stuff, and I’m sure my motivation to work would diminish, even though I’d try to pretend it hadn’t.

Unless your purpose in life is pursuit of money, suddenly becoming rich beyond avarice is likely to be an enormous administrative inconvenience.

On balance, I’d rather not win.

UPDATE: We didn't.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

England's prospects

Having lined myself up to spend six days this week recording, speaking, broadcasting or filming in six different counties, I’m feeling like an earthbound version of a jet-setter. A train-setter.

Monday morning was a corporate in Berkshire.
Tuesday was spent filming Criminals: Caught on Camera in London.
Yesterday was spent filming for BBC South in Hampshire.
Today I’m filming Crime Capitals in Manchester.
Tomorrow I’m hosting a panel of radio bosses at a Radio Academy event In Leicestershire.
Saturday morning I’ll be doing the breakfast show on BBC Surrey.

Saturday afternoon will be spent collecting entrance money to my daughter’s school fete. 

Saturday evening will be spent asleep on the sofa in front of England vs Italy.

England have two types of footballing tournament in them. 

Type a: 
Sluggish to start with, 
Barnstorming transformational game to qualify from group, 
Heroic, inspiring, country-uniting progress to quarter-finals or semi-finals,
Exit on penalties.

Type b:
Sluggish to start with,
Limp through group,
Unconvincing last 16 match,
Exit on penalties.

For once, I’d like to see England win every game in their group, and then all the knock out matches, and then win the final. "Believe! Believe!" as Kevin Keegan so memorably mouthed to his players, shortly before they lost 1-0 to Germany at Wembley. 

Or just get past a penalty shoot out. Prove to us you've learned something in the last 24 years.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Three things I learned from being interviewed by a 15 year old

I was interviewed on a community radio station last year. The presenter was 15 years old. Three things stick in the memory.

First was her unabashed enthusiasm for the medium. She really loved radio. It shone through everything she did, and it was a joy to watch her at work, especially when she made mistakes. Her method of dealing with them was to laugh uproariously. It was infectious.

Second was a story she told about dragging her friend up to London to track down a limited edition Muse CD, which apparently had a psychedelic scratch n' sniff cover. She spent a good few hours traipsing round record shops trying to find it, until she was told the CD she was looking for was a US-only release. On hearing this, her friend then asked if they could now, finally, go to Primark.

Third was a quiz she sprung on me called something like Match The YouTuber To The Video, in which I was expected to know which YouTube presenter was most likely to have posted a particular video.

My host's frames of reference were so far removed from mine, it didn't even cross her mind that I might not have the first clue about the famous YouTubers she so clearly loved.

What I learned:

1) Presenting is fun. Enjoy it.

2) Music fans fetishise the artefacts which actualise their relationship to their favourite bands. The more responses this artefact provokes (through its feel, aesthetic, audio quality and in this case, smell), the better. Vinyl's superiority in a number of these categories outweighs its lack of portability and expense. It has more than a future. It could well outlast CDs.

3) If you're not on YouTube, you're dead.

I didn't do very well in the quiz, but I walked away with a lot to think about.

Thank you, Kirsten Poole, for the invitation.


Radio Academy Masterclass, Leicester, 13 June

If you can make it to Leicester on 13 June, have £20 and want to be a radio presenter, come along to this:

All these people will be there:

It will be fun.