Feb. 2nd, 2008


Feb. 2nd, 2008 09:29 am
peterbirks: (Default)
And so, Later with Jools reaches its 200th episode. Characteristically, it did so with the start of a new series that was unheralded, tucked away at its normal time late on Friday night, and at a time of year when Jools Holland is normally far from the confines of the BBC Studios.

And I suspect that it was also the first edition of the programme to end with a song in 5/4 time. Thom Yorke and Radiohead did this, and I'm becoming a bigger fan of Thom Yorke as time (hah hah) moves on. Also on the show were Cat Power (who is a kind of latter-day Patti Smith and whom I really feel I should like, but yet cannot really warm to), the impressive Feist and the 'not my cup of tea' Mary J Bligh.

I looked at my DVDs and I reckon that I have between 78 and 82 of those shows on disc, althought there may be a few more hidden away on video-cassette that I haven't transferred. That's not a bad hit-rate, considering how unpredictable its series have been (31 series in 15 years, usually in May and November, but, sometimes not).


In 2005, 93m people watched the American Football Superbowl. Of these, 3m were not in the US (and a million of those were in Mexico). Although Basketball appears to have superseded cricket in the Caribbean (mainly, I suspect, for financial rather than aesthetic reasons), the fact remains that American sport tends to be something that non-Americans, as a rule, find it very hard to get enthusiastic about.

Given the American global hegemony economically, annd the extent to which its movie and television industry dominates the world, it's something of a puzzle why the rest of humanity continues to consider American sport to be a pile of toss. After all, when Britain sallied forth to far-flung reaches of its then Empire, the locals were quick to take up cricket (Asian sub-continent) and football (everywhere else). The Americans, for obscure reasons, seemed to go for rugby and rounders, which evolved into American Football and Baseball.

So, the question remains. Why does the rest of the world consider American sport to be wank? I mean, I find American football interesting, but emotional involvement just doesn't come. I'm no great lover of football either, but when I do watch a game, I certainly feel myself becoming more emotionally entangled in the event than if I was watching, for example, a Seahawks vs 49ers game.

Personally, I quite admire countries that resist the cultural dominance of football, although their number seems to be shrinking by the day. Even India looks to be falling into line, and this is a country which still can't work out when the financial year starts (it still insists, like the Japanese, on starting on April 1) or how to write numbers (1,35,67,82,000 anyone? Or, in that other charming Indian fashion, 135.6782 crore. 1.35 billion to you and me. No wonder the Chinese are beating them in the economic race. It takes accountants five days to translate the Indian figures).

But let's rock it for the Japanese defenders of Sumo, the Melbourne-nutty Australian rules fanatics, and the parts of Ireland where they still play Homicidal Hockey. Oh, and also for that small place south of Canada where they play that obscure variant of rugby.


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