I remember… that video clip you just showed me
I caught a bit of a television programme last night – called something like The World Cup’s Most Shocking Moments. It was one of those affairs where they run a countdown of some things that have happened, in this case at World Cup tournaments, with the most shocking thing reserved for number one. I don’t know how many numbers there were as I unfortunately hadn’t had prior notice that this was on (I’m already nostalgically remembering March and April, when we used to have a TV Guide) so I can’t be sure how much they had to scrape the barrel for the not-quite-as-shocking moments as those horrifying events portrayed as the countdown reached a crescendo of shock-inducing international football memories.
This is a programme that very much follows the same format as those ‘I love 2006’ or ‘Best comedy sidekick’s catchphrases’, which start by flashing up a few seconds of the clips that’ll probably be in the top 5, and which then tantalisingly announce that the yearned-for number one slot is up for grabs but that we won’t find out the 51st ‘most embarrassing celebrity moment of 2007′ for another two hours, and then will have to tune in again for another two hours some other time for television to reveal numbers 50 through to 1.
Another feature that we all love about these programmes is the celebrity reminiscences that remind us what we all felt at that moment in time when that thing happened that we would later look back on with such nostalgia, when television would turn the cameras on itself and get us to watch those things again with some light entertainment stars’ memories provided for us to re-live it through, in case we either can’t remember properly or we weren’t interested at the time or we weren’t born.
It’s always been difficult to shake off the thought when watching these TV presenters and DJs putting the official celebrity version of television history on record, that there’s no way they could recall from memory all those precise details that happen to have been captured by the clip being shown. It’s clear that the programme makers show them the clip and ask them to describe it in a way that makes it seem as though the memory is real. I like the conclusion Stewart Lee reached that rent-a-memory Stuart Maconie had witnessed everything that had ever happened in the complete span of human existence.
In the programme last night there were assorted celebs describing how they felt when Romania’s national team bleached their hair in the 90s, and then Gavin from Gavin and Stacey describing the body language of Gianfranco Zola when he was harshly sent off in one particular game around the same time. Then you had the stuff relayed to us by Paul Tonkinson about the dastardly Germans being good at penalties and various degrees of England’s hurt, all described in that ‘someone you work with trying to think of something to talk to you about while making a brew’ kind of way.
I never made it to the end so I may have missed out on sharing the memories of a 23 year old kids’ tv presenter on the Argentine military junta’s influence at the 1978 tournament or someone from Hollyoaks raging at the decision that robbed the Hungarians in 1958. Probably though I missed Zammo from Grange Hill remembering Maradona’s handball or Fern Britton explaining that Andres Escobar couldn’t really have left that cross as there was an American forward ready to knock it in, so those Colombian drug lords who shot him obviously had no real appreciation of the demands of the split-second tactical decision making faced by an international defender.
I’ll be sure to watch the World Cup with renewed vigour this year, looking out for those details that I’ll be able to re-live in four years when Nadia from Big Brother recalls her horror of the ball that could clearly be seen crossing the line, or when former Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev assures us that we shouldn’t be focusing on the leg-breaking tackle by the big central defender, but the blatant attempt to discredit him by trying to evade the lunge in the first place, by that conniving, no-good ball boy.