x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Something's wrong when fans' cheers are drowned out

The problem is less the actual noise of the vuvuzelas, as the way the interminable tooting detracts from the spontaneity of the occasion.

Oh, those vuvuzelas! What a jolly tune they play. It sounds as though the queen bee has got the hump with all the chaps in the hive, because they all stayed out later than they said they would. Now she is giving each of them a piece of her mind in one long, stream-of-consciousness rant, lasting for 90 minutes per bee. Plus stoppage time. According to reports, some entrepreneurs have been making a pretty penny outside the grounds in South Africa by selling ear plugs to those supporters who do not see the attraction of the incessant din made by the trumpets.

Luckily, armchair viewers back at home can save on the outlay, and strap a cushion to either ear instead. Or, more conventional, press the mute button on the remote. Anyway, even with the sound turned down, there are no guarantees that you will be able to hear yourself think over the jackets of Terry Venables, the TV pundit. All I can think is that Panadol have missed a trick here. There is some prime real estate to be had on those LCD advertising hoardings surrounding the pitches at the World Cup. And given the constant drone, there must be more than a few people who are suffering from migraines.

The problem is less the actual noise of the vuvuzelas, as the way the interminable tooting detracts from the spontaneity of the occasion. The only time there is a break is for the few seconds after a goal goes in. The noise of fans celebrating is always far quieter than the drone of the plastic horns, which seems odd. Surely the moment when someone scores should represent the crescendo? On the whole, the matches have been entertainment-free zones. Perhaps the players have all fallen under trumpet-induced trances and forgotten how to play.

Pity poor Mark Hateley. The former England striker has been making a decent fist of keeping up with all his more experienced punditry rivals during his long shifts on the Aljazeera analysts bench in this World Cup. He must have had been polishing up his adjectives ahead of this competition. Shame he has had such drab fare to work with. Surely the only talking point of any worth is the ball or England's chronic goalkeeping problem, not those cheap and nasty trumpets.

The definition of the word vuvuzela differs depending on which Google entry you read. Some have it meaning "lots of noise", another suggests it means "shower of music". I like that one best. It is definitely a shower of something. pradley@thenational.ae