Sniffle : RTE… wasters, mumble, mumble, idiots *
Bock : Cappuccino is it Sniffle?
Sniffle :McGurk, smug, sanctimonious, D4, blather, blather……………. Two sugars please Bock.
Bock : You talking about NAMA? Cappuccino and an Americano please, Nancy.
There are voices we tune into, voices we like. It’s a lilt, an accent or a melody inviting the listener into the story. And like good poetry, before we ever understand the verse, we know we like the piece just from the sound if it. There’s a dearth of such voices reporting the modern game and especially the Irish game, either in the narrative or written word. The game here is still elitist for the most part, excepting those few blue-collar places where it is played equitably. Consequently, we get elitist voices with narrow prejudiced views and afterwards, we talk among our friends about our truth, our version of events and test out our theories amongst peers.
Sniffle : Ryle bloody Nugent, Gerry bloody Thornley… God give me patience.
Bock : Hook is it, Big George you mean, his harrumphing holiness?
Sniffle : *sigh*
RANT Part I
Tom McGurk is smug. His practised composure and accent are for somewhere else, somewhere not me. I could never have a conversation with this man about anything — never mind the game. Does Ryle Nugent sound like an adoring school-boy and breathless Tracey, what is she bringing to the table? Are they like a couple of excited and privileged teenagers let loose in a world they struggle to comprehend? George Hook is idiosyncratic which in itself is interesting but the game is a raw and simple thing and just doesn’t hold up to his type of fussy scrutiny. He seems to best articulate that elitist voice within the Irish game, a voice which still echoes in the halls of Blackrock and Clongowes. Brent Pope tries his best and coming as he does from a hard place, where actions and not words count, he uses one, where George and Tom use hundreds. But RTÉ are stitched into this elitist fabric, along with Gerry Thornley’s Irish Times. Ireland is their team and they are reporting to their constituency delivering their mandate through a George conduit in a George mantra.
Bock : Howareya Dodo, sit down there girl. Sniffle, make room for the dogs and mind that pram a minute till I get her a cup of tea.
Dodo : S’up Sniffle?
Sniffle : RTE, Gerry forking Thornley, Tracy bleeding Piggott… You’re looking well Dodo darling.
Dodo : Shower of, total and utter. Remember that kerfuffle at Lansdowne Road? Same thing again at Donnybrook. Wouldn’t let the dogs in when I went up to meet Marion.
Classy music from somewhere
One of the Brookes or Buck Shelford described the game as being “the ebb and flow of spiritual momentum”. I can still hear Bill McLaren’s voice talking about John Jefferies, the “White Shark” from Kelso or a hundred other tit-bits of information (a lá Micheal Ó Muircheartaigh) about players, their clubs and families. When Len Dineen asks on 95 FM “who have it?” it makes me smile. Before the miracle match, when Munster won 33-6, Eddie Butler asked incredulously if we realised what was needed from Munster that day. (We’d skived our way into a couple of high-vis vest jobs in Thomand Park). Eddie was one of the few who’d worked out the four tries and points difference needed by Munster, he knew the final conversion was critical even if O’Gara didn’t. How many times before RTE sold out because the Government didn’t ring-fence fixtures at Thomand Park, like they did at Croaker, how many times did you turn down your TV and tune into the two Lens? I did most times. Mercifully, we can still do the same and silence the Rupert Murdoch muppets.
Bock : There you go Dodo,
Dodo : Ta Bock. A saucer for the dogs love, they like a sup of tea.
Sniffle : *sigh*
Rant Part II
This is not a democratic argument about them having a different opinion and me disagreeing but defending to the death their right to articulate it. No, this is about RTE and broadsheet coverage being total and utter shite. Unlike the renaissance in Leinster rugby, there has been no transformation within the inner sanctum that are broadcasting and reporting our game. The people who dissed Warren Gatland when he was Irish Coach, who failed to grasp the reason behind Munster’s gradual ascent and labeled it instead as an it factor, the people who dissed the Bull Hayes and Tomás O’Leary, these are the same people reporting the game now.
Dodo : Munster Cup Sniffle, remember, the pipe band, the place heaving, the crack?
Sniffle : Not anymore Dodo. *sigh*
Bock : Cop on Sniffle…
Rant End of
The colour of rugby is a passionate and bloody red, not dull grey or shrouded in black and white statistics about possession and missed tackles. Of course it’s the man’s game and the man needs to measure stuff so that eventually he can first suffocate rugby and then, choke it to death. Ryle and Co lend their compliant voices here. These drones provided the backdrop to the emergence of the most successful club and national teams in our history but failed to understand why or what the differences were between the old days and now.
Epilogue Elbow’s “One day like this” as background music.
When Declan Kidney was interviewed, I think first time round in the Munster gig, he spoke about the humanity of the players, that players turn up to training with baggage just like the rest of us. It’s difficult to place that in a statistical chart.
There is a voice for rugby, a voice which reflects the vibrancy and passion in the game. It’s multi-faceted and colorful, energetic and enthusiastic, well informed and in touch with emotional swings. It is not Neil Francis, it was never Fred Cogley or Jim Sherwin, it’s not RTE’s own cosseted fun-boy-three and definitely not Ryle, not Tony nor Tracy.
Last season I watched Ireland win the Grand Slam on radio with Michael Corcoran. He’s good. Donal Lenihan has a solid weekly column in the Examiner. The two Lens are a joy to listen to. Conor O’Shea has an excellent chance if he can lose the others. There’s hope.
I remember Tommy Creamer juggling with the pronunciations of French and Italian players which was a giggle, and I remember him explaining the reverence for the kicker which was not. Or that time we played Stade when Claw and Didier introduced themselves to each other early on, the crowd growled and the newbie Cork fella next to me said to no-one in particular “ tis like a bear pit here”.
It’s not difficult to improve on the current crop and probably, at half the price.
Bock pulls his robes around him, beckoning Dodo and the dogs to follow.
Sniffle : *sigh*