Concert to plants in Barcelona, Spain, during lockdown
This article is driven by my intense hatred of canned crowd noise added to football matches behind closed doors. I’ve spent probably half my waking hours during these lockdowns in some form of escapist activity, mostly TV. So why does a bit of extra recorded crowd sound which approximates the sound plenty of real people would be making, are even making in the moment watching at home on TV; why does that offend me so badly? It’s less of a lie than most stuff I readily accept on telly. Why does it matter if stuff is real or not? Does reality matter? And if so, what is it?
The ingredients of reality
Is football even real? It’s a construct. Two opposing teams of people who aren’t against each other in real life. Do they have ‘beefs’ against each other that need sorting out? Maybe, but that’s a side issue. The towering edifice of a throbbing Anfield on a European night, with ‘everything‘ riding on the result, is still at the end of the day, made up shit. We all know it’s not actually a life and death situation; it’s a game. It symbolises the success or failure of real life struggle, but it’s not.
However, we football fans feel it’s a matter of incredible urgency that the basic, simple ingredients that make football so real, don’t get diluted or stage managed into something contrived. We are attuned to the axis of pleasure and pain and messing with its finely balanced fluctuations is like messing with the substance of reality itself.
So what are these ingredients? Something happened. It was equivocal. Like a science experiment, there was evidence, a result. The ball was in the net. There was weather. The senses tingled and the swell of emotion, the ooos and aaaahs picking up every nuance of the action and vocal ejaculations of the crowd spread out through the wider world on the plasma airwaves…. and lo! It was real. It was also artifice, but we knew that; within the parameters of the construct something truly authentic was present.
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