04 July 2008

Wait 'til our PR man hears of this


Shortly after the dawn of creation I mentioned that I had ordered a bespoke About page from a professional blurb writer. Thing is, it didn't turn out too well. My suspicions were first raised when what was supposed to be the finished article flounced into my inbox. Instead of a lovingly-crafted paean to the hallucinatory transcendence of my wee corner of the blogitorium, I was instead confronted with the back-cover scrawlings set to accompany a DVD to be released in time for the new season calling itself Tim Lovejoy's Footie Freaks!!, which threatens us with "hilarious howlers, barely believable barnets and ker-razy Colombians who shoot players who score own goals!!" (it seems this tendency towards double exclamation marks is deliberate).

Before undergoing professional hypnotherapeutical treatment to ensure I feel like vomiting should I ever wander within purchasing distance of a HMV special offer rack, I contacted the writer to inform her of her mistake. Not four minutes later, I received the correct document. Alas, I was to be disappointed; as I proof-read it thoroughly before its intended publication (contrary to my usual practice, I hear you snort), I was struck by its similarity to the previous incorrectly-forwarded literature. In fact, so similar did it appear (it read practically the same, except for details such as names) that I immediately dispatched an email to this 'expert' scribe seeking an explanation. It turns out that it was produced by way of an automated blurb-composition program employed by all of the major publishing houses. The 'writer' enters a few keywords and it spews out a piece of tender, fat-marbled propaganda ready for market. Mine had somehow got mixed up with a batch labelled 'sport' and 'wacky'.

I, of course, demanded my (sizeable) deposit back. Needless to say, I'm still waiting. The company must be owned by the same crowd as Setanta.

Stuck for a solution, and even contemplating writing the About page myself (the blog equivalent of speed dating), I decided to procrastinate awhile by googling my own name, as you do. Amid the glowing references to my acclaimed 2002 theological treatise "WWJS: Who Would Jesus Support?" (answer: Partick Thistle) and the hilarious Photoshopped images with my head on the body of someone wearing a Chelsea jersey (if you're reading this, kerry_dixon_4eva, I know your email address and I'm gonna spam your account seven ways to Tory-boy hell, mate), I came across a rather cutting review of this very site. No, cutting doesn't do it justice: you know that scene in the Itchy & Scratchy version of Fantasia where the cat chops the mouse up into millions of tiny pieces? Well, that doesn't do it justice either. It slashed straight to the heart of every dream, every pretension I have for Sport Is A TV Show, and in doing so presented a sadly accurate picture of what you see before you. I cannot think of anything better to say that I might present as an About page, so this will have to suffice until I've swept up what shards of my previously blog-swelled ego remain on the floor of the forest of despair in which I now find myself. I haven't provided a link or reference for the review, so shaken has it left me. In any case, here is the full the full text in all its sickening glory - it's harsh but, I think you'll agree, fair:

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NEXT UP is Sport Is A TV Show. This new blog on the block is a receptacle for the sports-based witterings of one 'Fredorrarci', about whose site information is as yet scant. We can, however, rustle up a rough sketch from what he's divulged so far.

It's obvious that his adoption of an Italianate pseudonym is a compensatory device, an attempt to sub-consciously deceive the reader into an anticipation of continental sophistication. One can understand this wish, given the half-digested mush he serves up. And we are presuming it's a 'he', given his apparent fascination with a certain not-very-popular Merseyside beat combo from whom he has stolen the image which accompanies the site's header, as well as his borrowing of their work for several post titles and, our music correspondent tells me, possibly even that very nom de plume - this band tend to attract a certain kind of slightly nerdish and socially deficient male football fan.

If you're looking for the merest modicum of insight into the world of sport, you'd best look elsewhere. His football worldview encompasses little but simplistic and reductive arse-drivel. You know this before you read a single post - it is telegraphed by the inclusion of that tired old Danny Blanchflower quote about "glory" and "style" in the sidebar, a sure sign of an insufferable self-styled 'soccer romantic' if ever there was one. Perhaps he'll develop a vitality-consuming opium habit and die a suitable death, strung out on his flea-ridden bedsit floor, reeking of laudanum, damning the gods for the invention of the three-man defensive midfield screen. One hopes so. It's how he'll want to go.

Fredorrarci has employed the common trick of the desperate new blogger of piggybacking on the presence of a major event, in this case the European Championships. This has ensured a steady stream of material on which to base what he would doubtless call his 'musings'. The posting of almost thirty articles in less than a month of the blog's existence certainly impresses the innocent tripper-upper-over. A basic perusal of said posts, however, swiftly disabuses one of such notions. His Euro-analysis can be summed up by either of two statements: "Yay! The team I wanted to win won, and I'm so happy I must rashly enthuse about it in my spiffing new blog!!!"; or "Boo hoo! The team I wanted to win were shown up for the woeful inadequates I, deep down, feared them to be - in fact, perhaps that's why I identified with them in the first place - by a bunch of horrid big beasties, and I'm going to pour my little romantic heart into my spiffing new blog!!!". It displays the emotional continence of the sissy kid at the birthday party who can't find a vacant chair when the music stops. He claims to be in his twenties. Presumably he means in dog years.

And, woe is us!, he supports Arsenal. Once he's wrung every last drop of nonsense out of Euro 2008 - his latest post on the subject was a typically pseudo-profound pool of spew on how "life is transient" because he didn't VCR any of the tournament's games - it seems the blogosphere will be subjected to more of the same ill-considered menopausal claptrap, given that he has hitched his wagon to the most dysfunctional, self-deluding and self-pitying team in all of sport. Be afraid, web watchers.

One thing that this lake of Euro-induced tears has drowned is the idea that 'sport' - remember, Fredorrarci? The first word in your blog's title? - includes anything other than 'The Beautiful Game', as he probably has tattooed on his buttocks. So far there has been a solitary post about a sport other than football - a six-word missive about a tennis match which seems to mistake itself for the very essence of wit. It looks more like a "memo to self: must post about other sports!!!". How much he does veer from the oh-so-well-trodden path of soccer blogging remains to be seen, though I obviously wouldn't recommend it.

Punctuating the mood swings are intermittent stabs at what Fredorrarci must believe is humour. I would be more apt to call it 'humour-like substance', or better still, 'not humour'. I struggle to get across the precise ghastliness of these follies. Imagine if the late Alan Coren, instead of being one of the English language's greatest modern wits, had been a lobotomised Arsenal-supporting halfwit who spent most of his time daydreaming about how clever he could be if only he didn't keep daydreaming about how clever he could be, and who would bang his head violently and repeatedly on the desk before composing a piece. Imagine that, but slightly worse.

There is barely room to declaim on the many crimes against style perpetrated by Sport Is A TV Show, so I will grudgingly limit myself. His fascination with italicising every other word does little but enrage the reader and proclaim "I have read Catcher In The Rye at least once". Then there's his indiscriminate use of parentheses. This habit almost encapsulates the spirit of the blog, but not quite; Sport Is A TV Show is not so much an aside to the blogosphere as an actor leaning forward and vomiting into the orchestra pit.

The site's title was no doubt meant to convey some deep truth that Fredorrarci must have spent some minutes pondering. It is perhaps more revealing than he intended. It offers the pathetic image of one who perhaps invests too much meaning and emotion into what is, after all, a moving collection of pixels on a screen. He would be as well off re-enacting the battle of El-Alamein with clothes pegs for all the significance it has, yet here he is, narcissistically uploading his every cerebral flickering on the subject like it was worth a damn. It almost makes you feel sorry for him. Then you read on.

I would advise Fredorrarci to go play in the traffic, except he's unlikely to see any.
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2 comments:

fredorrarci 4/7/08 4:33 PM  

I can only respond by quoting from the same song from which I took the title of this post:

The fearsome hollow boom of the older boys in the deep end
The green shoots of recovery shrivelled up in harsh tomorrows
Left to pick dry sticks and mumble to myself
A melancholy emblem of parish cruelty


Now excuse me while I go and listen to an early Manic Street Preachers album for a while...

Steve 7/7/08 5:43 PM  

All I can say is that I'm glad your reviewer didn't bother to go through your readers' comments. Subjected to the same, I doubt my own skin would be thick enough to fend off such barbs. Typically anything as scathing as that is written in jest, perhaps even by oneself in a stream of self-deprecating humor. It must be difficult knowing that this critique was offered by someone else independently -- found doing a cyber self-search.

With a self-search of a different sort, I find that I, too, may have the soul of a soccer romantic. (Plus, with a tendency towards alliteration and parenthetical asides, I invite further ridicule.) Like I said, I'm glad they picked you and not me.

Now I'm off to learn more about HMHB and Alan Coren.

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