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Love all September 9, 2008

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.

If TV didn’t exist, Americans would have to invent it.

The US Open has just come to an end. For a tennis fan like myself, it is both the best of times and worst of times. Not it being over. It being on. Because my love is so ardent and my partisanship in any match so fanatic that I normally can’t bear to watch. Which slightly defeats the object of having a love in the first place. I might allow myself to follow the score online, but have to switch that off when the score approaches excitement. Or I might allow myself to watch a snippet of the first few potentially unimportant games of a match, but then panic when the player I’m rabidly supporting misses a first serve. I quickly instruct the remote control to move up or down one channel and alight on soft porn – there is a lot of this on German TV – which is a convenient backdrop as my heart-rate resettles. Perhaps Stephen Pollard is right that tennis is a sport for being who don’t like sport.

I’ve at least learnt that women flick their hair a lot during sex.

And there was even British interest in this year’s men’s final. It would have been exciting if Murray had won but I am thrilled that Federer, whose tennis can be so beautiful that I sometimes have my passions cryogenically put on standby so that I can absorb more than a few minutes’ worth, has, at last, won another Grand Slam.

And tennis is a great waste of time while the Russian isn’t here (and even when he is, to be fair). I can get a good few hours of work avoidance out of checking every result of every tournament happening on the planet twenty times a day. And once the results are known, and the suspense is deadened, I can try to find a replay of highlights.

And one of the presenters on the US Open website TV bit – I don’t know his name. He may be a mega-star in the States – was just so damned good, wandering around talking to random spectators, asking what they thought of this and that result, that I understood TV had to exist. He was made for it. And his excellence and charm make the viewers’ experience more enjoyable. Of course there must be good TV presenters from the UK. From Germany. From Azerbaijan. But it did appear, watching an unknown-to-me man in Flushing Meadow, that Americans had perfected the art. And cue much cringing when foreign broadcasters try to adopt and adapt some recipe that’s worked on American TV. French TV trying to be zany. The Price is Right on British TV.

This could be the success of American TV so dominating the market – when I was young, real life had English accents and the unreal world American – that it’s made me think anything that skews from the path American TV has laid out is less good. But if I want glitz and glamour, or upbeat fantasy unreality TV, I want it with an American accent. For feel-good, I want USA. For grit and comedy, I look more to the island.

Speaking of which, I am having the first strong pangs of home-sickness since about the year 2000. It’s meeting Londoners (or people who live there) what’s done it. I’ve had guests (or met others’) from London and the ease of contact makes me think, if I lived there, I’d probably make best friends on the Tube at least every day. So I’m going to come and nip the home-sickness in the bud by visiting the Big Smoke.

Anyone up for debauchery next week?


1. Mr D - September 9, 2008

You’re making plans beyond 9am tomorrow morning? That’s optimistic of you!

We all thought the Swiss were a neutral, peace-loving nation, but now we learn it’s all been a smokescreen. They’ve been biding their time, waiting to wipe out the whole world with the most powerful of weapons of all: a black-hole! (And not Federer’s forehand.) Who would have thought it?

Have fun next week in Lahndan, innit!

2. BiB - September 9, 2008

I’m sure I’ll still be asleep at 9am so I probably won’t notice if the Swiss do blow us all to kingdom come. How odd if the end of the world starts in Switzerland. Mind you, all sorts of Russian revolutionaries bided some time there so it may well have more to it than meets the eye.

3. Mr D - September 9, 2008

I plan to be asleep at that time, too. Perhaps I should find a hair-net to wear, so that I don’t look a dishevelled mess upon entering the vacuous oblivion that is possibly to be found inside a black-hole. After all, I’m sure I won’t have time for a shower once I’m engulfed by the big spinning, sucking monster. It’s hard to know, really, just what to wear for armageddon.

4. Liukchik - September 9, 2008

Si senor…

5. BiB - September 9, 2008

Lukeski, will you e-mail your phone number(s)? I won’t phone, of course, as I’m scared of the phone, but I’ll text like mad.

Mr D, it’s rather rude of these scientific folks to bring forward Judgment Day, isn’t it? I don’t know what to wear either. Perhaps you’d better not sleep naked. Stading in the queue to get into heaven naked! Worst nightmare evah!

6. Geoff - September 9, 2008

I’m always up for debauchery.

7. BiB - September 9, 2008

Geoff, hooray! Will e-mail you. Haven’t done a social thing in London for fifty years.

8. Geoff - September 9, 2008

Oh shit. That means I need to work out where to go to impress a Berliner.

9. BiB - September 9, 2008

Geoff, I’m easily impressed, honest. If you can find me a place where I can get Weissbier for under 6 quid a pint, I’ll be happy.

10. Geoff - September 9, 2008

With the state the pound is in at the moment you’ll probably be able to afford everywhere.

11. BiB - September 9, 2008

Double hooray! Except I was planning to use the pennies I’ve got in my English bank account when I’m there, so it doesn’t make any difference. But I’ll try to convince myself I’m saving a fortune by being in London. Triple hooray!

12. annie - September 9, 2008

Hooray! You are actually seeing people when you’re in London? Include me in!

13. BiB - September 9, 2008

Annie, yep. Making plans in good time before my mother manages to arrange for me to meet some aunt or other I hardly know every day I’m there. Shall we go to a pub? With carpets and stained glass and bits of brass and one-arm bandits and people standing up drinking pints?

14. annie - September 10, 2008

Yes! (Though we might have to go to Yorkshire to find one.)

15. BiB - September 10, 2008

Annie, I’ll get the timetables for trains to Pontefract. This could take some organising. Have you got a compass?

16. Sylvia - September 10, 2008

ooh – it would be lovely to meet you! Choose somewhere and I’ll come along. Have oyster card, will travel…..

17. BiB - September 10, 2008

Sylvia, hoorah! I’ll e-mail folk as long as I don’t get overcome with lethargy the second I settle into the bosom of my family.

18. Marsha Klein - September 10, 2008

It’s only 4 and half hours on the train to Edinburgh, you know…

Oh, I am jealous. I could do with some advice re. Daisy’s education again. We’ve just spent the day at Glasgow University’s Open Day and she was swept of her feet by a VERY enthusiastic member of staff from the Slavonic Studies department, rekindling the whole “Romantic v Slavonic” languages debate… and, obviously, it would be lovely to see you, not just to bend your ear about the merits of Czech or Russian!

19. oyebilly - September 10, 2008

You’re in London. Yippee!

Oh and the tennis… why doesn’t Federer wear a monogrammed cardigan at the US Open?

20. narrowback - September 11, 2008

I thought we did invent it.

Im off in a week for a lengthy visit home as well but I’m combining it with an anthropological journey throught the heart of darkness – rural america during election season.

Enjoy the visit home and do treat yourself to some whitebread.

21. sylvia - September 11, 2008

Marsha! You put me to shame. I am a very bad mother. I have no intention of visiting any universities with my daughter. I have started mentally packing for her, though. Is that a bad thing? I did Russian as a subsidiary subject as part of my degree. Looked exotic on the CV. Can’t remember a word now, really should take it up again. A degree in slavonic languages should stand her in good stead. If you can master those, you can master anything. Good luck!

22. wierdo - September 12, 2008

London is a bit far for me even if I do really really really want a pint (god how much I want to drink…this working m’larkee was not explained fully to me) hope you enjoy!

Hair gets in the way and I think that is why it is flicked often. Inagine the flicking that went on when my boyfriend had long hair (teeheehee!)

Anyway, tata

23. Valerie in San Diego - September 13, 2008

We flick our hair because it gets in our mouth, otherwise. weirdo is right — boys with long hair flick it too. And two women with long hair, well. Anyway. I’d say “this is a family blog” but — well, it is. Different meaning, though. ;-)

As an American living with an Australian, we tend to think the only decent TV is British and are shocked when we find the US has managed anything decent. Took us ages to find things like Battlestar Galactica. And even then I had to be dragged kicking and screaming.

24. Sexless Berlin - September 13, 2008

@ Valeri — Yes, it does rather interfere with that other object we’d instead like to be putting in our mouths. Ahem. Why does soft porn have to be hetero, BiB? I vote for some nice gay soft porn, who’s with me on this??

25. Arabella - September 17, 2008

The men and women on American tv weather stations have their hair replaced by a plastic helmet – it’s the first thing they sign away. Before their souls even. Recently they’ve been in a state of bliss, covering hurricanes and hoping they’ll get blown onto a national news segment and never have to present the weather ever again.

26. narrowback - September 18, 2008

we call it “helmet hair”

27. BiB - September 19, 2008

Narrowback, didn’t a Scot invent the TV, or was that something else? I’m going to have to go to that fount of all knowledge, Wikipedia, and sabotage any entry that says otherwise. Gorging on white bread as I type.

Arabella, there’s far more of that type of hair here (in the UK, I mean) than in Germany, I think. I’m still a bit concerned by many of the hairstyles I see on women’s heads here. The men don’t seem to offend quite as often.

Katchita, the soft porn on German TV is certainly 100% hetero. I’m not sure there is soft gay porn. Perhaps there is. I remember once seeing a film which had lots of semi-naked men and, oddly, one of them having a wee. Don’t think it had any actual rodding, though it was certainly aimed at gays. Certified 18, rather than anything with an X.

Valerie, I think the very flick which caught my attention was, indeed, to free up the actress’s mouth for other duties but also to show what a fine figure of femininity she was. Locks that Gerry/Jerry Hall would have been proud of. The gent’s job was to grimace demonstratively, I suppose in pleasure.

W., call me traditional, but I hadn’t even thought of that permutation. I don’t want to reveal every detail of everything I’ve ever done in my life, of course, but I don’t think I’ve ever ‘known’ a long-haired gentleman. And with a short-haired chap, if he does flick his hair, forgetting his locks are gone, naturally you just assume he’s having a fit and wait for it to pass.

Sylvia, we pass seamlessly from pornography to academia. Is one of yours dashing off this year? About 80 million of my nieces and nephews are about to be delivered to reasonably far-flung corners of the kingdom. And good for them, I suppose.

Billy, because Wimbledon is the bastion of tennis at its most traditional and Federer, being the gent he is, probably loves all that pomp and wank. Actually, the Swiss, so I’m told – there is a Swiss person on the blogroll, actually, but they are a very infrequent blogger so probably won’t leap to our aid – have all sorts of queer rules to do with jackets (and everything) based on whether you’ve served in the military or not. Honest gov. So maybe Fed’s a bit of a militarist on the (very) quiet.

Marshypops, well, committing to a purely Slavonic degree is quite a thing if it’s not Daisy’s total bag. If she wants to do two languages, then I say, hell yeah, go for Russian + Spanish or French or whatever. I remain steadfast in flippant and nonchalant dismissal of any Slavonic language bar Russian. Until much further down the line, when it will be interesting to study Belarusian for comparative purposes. Or something. But, yes, go for what is of interest.

28. Mark Holland - September 21, 2008

didn’t a Scot invent the TV

Logie Baird invented a sort of TV but it used some kind mechanical strobascope, had about 30 lines resolution, had a picture like a negative and was, quite frankly, rubbish. Proper TV was I think invented by a chap in a dusty town in somewhere like Missouri or Montana. Jeremy Clarkson did a programme about it, ‘Great Inventions’ or something.

29. BiB - September 22, 2008

Mark, you got in there before I’d even wandered over to Wikipedia, which I am yet to get round to sabotaging. But 30 lines resolution sounds pretty good to me. Should the number be lower or higher?

Speaking of documentaries about things presented by stars, did you see Stephen Fry on the Gutenberg Bible and how it was printed? That was pretty gripping TV and made me wish I had a stronger aerial here in the Bundeshauptstadt.

30. narrowback - September 24, 2008

see, I told you tv was “invented” by a yank

A (of O&A) can point out the location of the first german tv studio over in his neck of the woods and the first tv broadcast of the Olympics was the ’36 games.

31. BiB - September 24, 2008

I wonder if Ms. Riefenstahl was involved in the TV side of things too or whether she just made amazing-looking documentaries. (A quick Wiki-look doesn’t say anything about her being involved with the TV broadcast, though she was, of course, involved galore with filming them.)

32. Mark Holland - September 25, 2008

Killer German TV fact: Sir Hugh Carleton Greene, Director General of the BBC and nemisis of Mrs Mary Whitehouse, set up NDR.

33. BiB - September 25, 2008

Bloody hell, Blognor, that is a corker. I’m guessing this must have been a post-war, Besatzungsmacht-benevolence thang… Indeed, I have just gone to, yup, Wikipedia, and indeed it was. Actually, Hugh Greene has passed me by – he doesn’t even create a minor ripple in the old memory – but I see he was Graham Greene’s younger brother, which instantly makes me dislike him as Graham Greene drives me up the fucking wall. Then I wondered if he could be Hughie Green too, but see that would have been a coincidence too far.

34. Mark Holland - September 25, 2008

Hugh Greene has passed me by

Before our time for sure.

35. BiB - September 26, 2008

Not Hughie Green though. He was very much in my time. Are you too young to remember him? Him being Paula Yates’s father has got to be at least as killer a fact as Sir Hugh Carleton Greene and the German media.

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