Saturday, June 19, 2010

Honk honk

There was a bit of hoo-hah last week from people complaining that the South African vuvuzela - which looks like an elongated toy trumpet and sounds like an elephant trying to clear his trunk - was spoiling their enjoyment of the World Cup. I thought the lack of goals would do that.

The vuvuzela, which South Africans claim is a traditional instrument despite it being a) plastic and b) has only been mass-marketed in South Africa since 2001, drowns out all other noise, a safety risk as well as just plain irritating.

But not being in South Africa, I hadn't realised how the droning sound - a B flat, I believe - gets under your skin until the Great Britain men's eight arrived to cheer on their team-mates at the Munich rowing World Cup today, all carrying their own vuvuzelas. I'd have thought if they wanted to honour a local tradition, a Wagner tuba would have been more appropriate and just as loud.

Seven of the crew have been sat a few rows behind me here in the grandstand making the most almighty racket on their three-euro honkers, which they picked up in a Munich supermarket yesterday. Apparently they tried to play them in the hotel bar while watching the football last night and got evicted.

One of the crew was missing, though. Greg Searle, the 1992 Olympic champion who is making a comeback this year at the age of 38, was not in the orchestra. Was he too mature for it?

No, I was told, Greg is the ringleader. And sure enough, he showed up later with two vuvuzelas in hand. But where does he stick the second one? I could make some suggestions...

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