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Sporting Tunes

Submitted by on August 9, 2010

The World Cup is over and it’s safe to remove the earplugs – not actually inserted to drown out the Vuvuzelas, but rather the endless round of sub-standard football anthems that have become part and parcel of the sport.

It’s all very well for the ‘beautiful game’ to take over the airwaves for a month, but only once or twice in my memory have the accompanying attempts at singing about it brought anything other than abject horror.  The 2010 anthems were worse than ever, no great surprise in an age when wit and wisdom have been sacrificed to reality TV… although some sports have done rather well for themselves.

Last year cricket got a thorough working-over by the genius of Neil Hannon, who stepped out of his regular pop persona of The Divine Comedy to create The Duckworth Lewis Method.  Among the many pop gems sung about test cricket my favourite was Jiggery Pokery – a song about Shane Warne’s ‘ball of the century’ told from the perspective of the recipient, Mike Gatting, including such classic reflections as:

Robbery, muggery, Aussie skull-duggery
Out for a buggering duck
What a delivery
I might as well have been
Holding a child’s balloon

Motor racing, like cricket, has seldom caught the attention of pop stars… unless they happen to be in the paddock at a Grand Prix.  Certainly they’re not too prone to mixing business with pleasure in that respect, leaving us only with old chestnuts like Queen’s I’m In Love With My Car or the frankly bizarre disco anthems dedicated to Nigel Mansell and Michael Schumacher in their prime, which basically involve drum machines, occasional engine noises and shouting.

Doubtless the many Cologne and Koblenz-registered motorhomes that have jubilantly returned to the European races this summer will still echo to the lager-soaked Schumacher fan’s preferred anthem: ‘Veeee are ze chempions’.  And of course there’s always the bassline of Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain for the most devout among us to bop along to while waiting for Lindsay Buckingham’s squealing guitar and the forthcoming Grand Prix.

However, with his Duckworth Lewis persona now safely back in the dressing-up box, Neil Hannon allegedly had the motor sport world in mind while composing his latest album as The Divine Comedy.  The title track, entitled ‘Bang Goes the Knighthood’ has got many a music hack in raptures while recalling a certain former FIA president.

Talk amongst yourselves…

Nick Garton

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