Film of the Day #6

George Szirtes was thinking out loud about music:

Thinking about the fortieth anniversary of Sergeant Pepper, I started wondering about those occasions when I had only to hear a bar of music to know that something had radically changed.

…if anyone has the inclination, you could send me an email with a link (or if you can’t, just a title for me to find) to one track, bearing in mind that it is the first bar or so of that one track that is the moment of opening that new door or new landscape for you.

You’ll need to read the whole thing to get the full idea (and if you’re here, you probably already have) but in essence it was all about music changing rather than the other things.

It’s a good question, but – especially after suffering through that achingly long thirty-something paean to arrogance and megalomania, The Seven Ages of Rock on the BBC – I find it hard to believe anyone who really, truly, believes that a DJ saved their life. (And while I’m on the subject, Joe Strummer’s politics strike me as remarkable only for the degree to which he himself appears to have felt them remarkable – and the efforts he didn’t put in to prevent his fans turning him into a ludicrous secular saint during his lifetime).

Music might have changed, but nothing changed as a consequence. (And that was never George’s point in any case: it’s other people’s contention that punk/rap/r&b/barbershop quartets had that 1917 effect on the world).

No one claims that a change in football styles changed the world – at least, they don’t make that claim quite as frequently. If the music fans are right, the world suffers one of those lurching traumas at least every six months. And what was so wrong with disco anyway? Not high art, sure, but inoffensive enough otherwise, and really rather modest compared to what it was sandwiched between. Here’s some now:


Grouching about music aside, George’s question got me thinking about sporting moments when everything changed. I mean, when everything changed within the sport; I’m not maintaining that Bob Beamon ended world hunger or ended the Cold War or inspired women to break through the glass ceiling.

He did ruin his event rather, didn’t he? His Olympics happened in the year I was born, and I was an adult before everyone else caught up with him. But his reaction to his jump is still worth the time. It’s as though he’s just watched someone else do it:

Some of football’s moments – many of them – are hidden from my eyes and ears because I don’t understand Brazilian Portuguese. I can’t think of anything after 1914 that might be described as British in origin. Here is international football, largely going on without us, 60-70 years ago but already in its familiar form:

Unlike music, football has a habit of changing, then changing back. Here’s total football, back in 1971 (Ajax’s first European Cup win). 17 years later, Wimbledon won the FA Cup.

On a personal level, this was how so many of my summer afternoons would pan out in the ’70s and ’80s; cricket still looks a lot like this.

Here, for Clive Davis and other golf enthusiasts, is golf coming of age, the age in question being that of Palmer, Player, Nicklaus and Watson.

6 Replies to “Film of the Day #6”

  1. Interesting to see footage of Total Football about the same time most people were first exposed to it. It feels quite fresh, like a dew-covered garden at dawn.

    And as for music, I would say there have been some genuinely revolutionary musical moments over the last forty years. Certainly the first time people heard those three chord combinations of the Ramones must have been pretty remarkable. I don’t think there have been any genuinely new moments in the last decade at least, but then chances are we wouldn’t have heard of it yet anyway, if it had happened….

  2. What happened with ski jumping exactly I wonder. One minute they were Telemark styling tips together and the next they’re all tips akimbo. Something about the equipment must have meant the distance gained by the technique outwayed its lossed style points.

    That could be the nub: technique and technology. Dick Fosbury must have overcome a lot of incredulity before he went airbourne. Now you’d get laughed at scissor jumping old style.

    Aerodynamics, wings and ground effects on racing cars. Greg Lemond’s ski-tuck handlebars he’d pinched off of tri-athletes got a lot of comments until he won the Tour de France by 8 seconds ahead of Laurent Fignon. 18 years later and no rider in London this Saturday will be without them.

  3. As a person who still plays a lot of guitar today, I guess you would say in the style of ‘heavy metal’, the life changing musical moments for me are:
    -Eddie Van Halen’s Eruption solo from Van Halen’s first album and
    -Master of Puppets from Metallica

  4. Total football was wonderful – but how slow it seems! And no tackling back by Panathinaikos. It was a gentle affair in some ways. Wimbledon FC would have been the perfect contrast.

    The great revelations in football in my time?

    The masters (the age of):
    Pele, Moore, Best, Cruyff, Platini, Maradona, Zidane. Probably left a few out. Have I?

    One-phrase embodiments:
    Total football: the Dutch. The beautiful game: Brazil. Catenaccio: Italy. Animals: Argentina 1966. Anarchy: Italy v Chile, 1962. Sheer stubborness: Germany. Triumph out of dead loss: Manchester United 1999. Deep-lying centtre forward: Hungary 1950s. Wingless wonders: Ramsey’s 1966 team. Again, I might have left out a few. Have I?

  5. Well, Babes and Kids are two more, but you’ve already tagged MUFC as it were.

    I’d have paid good money to watch Holland 1974 take on Wimbledon 1986 – FIFA 2000 had the facility to lay on such games. The Magical Magyars made fools of everything I put in front of them, including Cruyff/Beckenbauer teams.

  6. I was never a big fan of Nirvana, but “Nevermind” managed to spread its influence outside the world of music into, well, fashion. That album absolutely *did* for glam metal, leather jackets and big hair. It was really weird; an entire scene basically disappeared within literally a couple of months. I can’t help thinking that there must have been some poor bugger of a market trader stuck with a massive inventory of bandanas, spandex trousers and studded leather bracelets, as his cousin looked on, knocking out the flannel lumberjack shirts and chortling.

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