By all accounts we succeeded in hosting a fabulous world cup. But in the process I fear that we have visited a terrible affliction on the rest of the world.
Local palefaces and numerous people around the world have complained about the endless drone of vuvuzelas during soccer matches. Many took earplugs to matches as horror stories of damage to hearing from devilish decibel levels circulated. With the aid of earplugs my little group of palefaces and I managed to survive our first local live match (France v Uruguay) but I only lasted till half time. I left early mainly because I had to get to work early the next morning.
- But another factor was boredom. On a local radio Saturday DIY program Reuben the Screwman was asked if he intended watching the world cup final. He replied that he would rather watch paint dry or grass grow. He added that anything that could go on for more than 90 minutes and not produce a single goal just had to be basically boring. My own view is that soccer is a great game to play, but watching a whole match is purgatory.
So why is the vuvuzela so popular? One reason must be that it gives people something to do during long boring matches. If something happens blow your vuvezela; if something is about to happen blow your vuvezela; if nothing is happening blow your vuvezela. So, matches become one long buzz of loud sound. Another reason is that there is an art to getting a proper sound out of the thing. Once having mastered it one feels the urge to show off one’s prowess.
A further reason is that it has an attractive shape, and comes in many colours and designs. You can wave it at a friend, or hit somebody over the head with it without causing too much damage to the person or the instrument.
As radio presenter Aden Thomas said, “People hate vuvuzelas until you give them one to blow”. This remark was sparked by the tale of an elderly man who was reluctant to go to a match because of the “bloody vuvuzelas”. Then somebody gave him one, and couldn’t get it away from him.
I don’t own one, but have spent a lot of money because of them. During my only live match I wore earplugs. And when I got home I was forced to put them back in in order to get to sleep – some mindless blower somewhere nearby was sounding off at frequent intervals after midnight. The next day I found that I was almost completely deaf in my left ear because the earplug had pushed a wad of wax against that eardrum. I tried to spear the wax with a toothpick. No luck. I tried some special oil from a pharmacist designed to dissolve the wax. No go. After several phonecalls I traced the stockist of an expensive product called Audiclean (ear-cleaning wash) which was being extensively advertised on radio. Didn’t work. Eventually I had to go to a doctor who put a special concoction in the ear that fizzed and bubbled and softened the wax. Then she syringed both ears.
Thanks to the vuvuzela I can now hear much better than before!
Oh. If you get tired of blowing your vuvuzela remember that it has at least one other use. A caller to a local radio station said the things make great candle holders: just invert, and stick the candle in the mouthpiece. The light comes from higher up than a normal bottle or candle holder, and gives much better coverage.