Monday, June 14, 2010

"I'll be buzzing round your hive, every day at five..."

GREAT news, all you devoted vuvuzela fans – they’re not only here to stay, but could soon be coming to rugby and cricket grounds near you.
That should prove a rude awakening to any aged MCC gents trying to sleep off those lunchtime Long Room gins on a summer’s afternoon at Lords.
The entertaining prospect – or chilling, you choose – emerged today from World Cup officials growing more bullish, the more the anti-cacophony crescendo builds.
The horns have been part of South African football fan culture all the way back to, ooh, at least the Eighties, but are now being heard at high-profile rugby matches.
Rich Mkhodo, from the World Cup’s organising committee, suggests: ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re used in cricket in future.
‘You either love them or you hate them. We in South Africa love them.’
Well, up to a point, Lord Copper – traders here have been selling out of anti-vuvuzela earplugs, yours for 15 Rand (£1.30) per pair.
Yet all-comers, not just locals, are carrying customised versions into games and looking liberated with every honk – even if the horns will end up stuffed in some cupboard back home.
And in the ear-smothering open, the vuvuzelas don’t actually drown out every other sound: plenty of cheers, chants, “oohs” and boos rise above.
But they do ensure an incessant storm of noise, even in those under-populated stands sadly seen so far.
Even in the conventional, Subbuteo grandstand-style setting of Pretoria’s Loftus Versfeld Stadium – used more for dull rugby, wouldn’t you know – Sunday’s football was lukewarm, but the atmosphere molten.
Not that this offers much comfort, I know, for those jamming their TVs’ mute button – even if some of the pundits should make those accursed horns a blessing after all.
En masse, they do of course sound like Satan’s own swarm of wasps – or the intro to Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight Of The Bumblebee, only endlessly held in suspense.
(As performed on record by that Muppet, the Great Gonzo – not to be confused with that Muppet, the not-so-great Gonzalo, as seen up-front for Argentina the other day.)
Then again, plaintive single blasts sometimes heard early in the morning or late at night resemble the call of a faintly-resentful elephant.
Being amid the full din can certainly feel like being part of World Cup history – that is, a TV fuzzily transmitting from tournaments back in the Seventies and Eighties.
To other ears – well, at least, mine – it can call to mind orchestral ‘nightmare’ section of The Beatles’ A Day In The Life.
Still on a ‘musical’ tip, visiting Brit Neil Morrissey claims it ‘feels like I’ve been in the front row of a Status Quo concert’.
Love or hate the vuvuzela?
Well, I like it, I like it, I like it, I like it …

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