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The Theatre of Eternal Football

Posted: June 14th, 2010, by Stan Tontas

I’m not going to pretend to care or know about the football part of the World Cup. What I love is the peripheral stuff — ill-informed, national chauvinist commentary, folk taking passionate positions on the correct weight of a football, counting the number of times African teams are described as “colourful”, or having “natural flair”.

But the chief delight this year is the fact that all of the matches are soundtracked by LaMonte Young. A cheap plastic trumpet, the vuvuzela, multiplied by 50,000 makes for a two hour drone performance worthy of the Dream Syndicate or the Theatre of Eternal Music.

The drone always has something of the ecstatic about it, from medieval plainsong  to buddhist chanting — now its introduction to the World Cup seems to be backing up all the clichĂ©s about football as religion, stadia as cathedrals.

Apparently it reaches 130 dB in the stadium. Imagine what it’d be like on the pitch, moving through that, the way the sound would change in an almost physical way.

I just wish that my TV’s red button gave me an option to silence the commentators and immerse myself in the noise of the vuvuzela. Maybe then football would make sense to me…



Stan Tontas

Stan lives in Glasgow.

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2 Responses to The Theatre of Eternal Football

  1. Dave S

    Funnily enough, the BBC’s red button service does allow to choose between TV commentary, radio commentary, or just the noise of the stadium! I recommend you try this during South Africa’s last group game for maximum immersion.

  2. Simon P

    I’d love Phill Niblock to do a piece for 80,000 vuvuzelas.