04 June 2013

Oy, Denilson! Santos! Tell the police to cancel the caxirola-ban!

Now that Denilson's contract has been canceled, is it too much to achieve the same with Santos? It's a shame that the two Brazilians didn't pan out (although they really do have only themselves to blame). It's not like either distinguished himself for his tenacity of effort on the pitch). I don't mean to kick a man when he's down, and I like Denilson enough to regret that it didn't work out for him. Santos is one I can't be as generous to after his fanboy-ishness with van Persie way back in November. It's one thing to be star-struck, but at least have the common sense not to pull that crap while you're still on the pitch.

Anyhow, I'm not holding any grudges. I do, however, have a quick favor to ask of our Brazilian friends: tell the Brazilian police to un-ban the caxirolas. Now, I wasn't at any of the games in South Africa four years ago, so I didn't get the full vuvuzela experience. From the telly, it seemed harmless enough (though I may be wrong); the incessant droning did eventually fade into a background buzz, and it did, for me, add something memorable to the event, something to set it apart from other World Cups played elsewhere. I actually came to enjoy it after a few cocktails (we were in the Dominican Republic at the time at a resort that positively swarmed with Limeys. Anyone who was there in Santo Domingo might remember me from the one-legged dance I had to do on stage in whatever bizarre competition we all were in. Did I mention that it was an all-inclusive at which the liquor flowed freely? I don't remember what-all I ended up doing. I'm still married, though, so it can't be too bad). Anyway, I thought that part of the whole point of moving the World Cup around is to celebrate different cultures and nationalities and so on. If we wanted a sterile, predictable World Cup, they'd have to host it in the same damn place every four years. If I ever get a chance to see a World Cup somewhere (I did get to see matches when the U.S. hosted in 1994), I certainly don't want to eat at McDonald's and drink Budweiser the whole time. Along the way, world, sorry for relentlessly exporting our crappy restaurants and beer to you).  And you can bet your sweet bippy that if I ever get to the Emirates, I'll be insisting on that world-renowned British cuisine everyone's always raving about.

Back to Brazil and these caxirolas. There's concern that upset fans might thrown them on the pitch if they're angry at something? I'd rather they throw plastic-cup thingies instead of, say, batteries, coins, or anything liable to seriously injure somebody. I don't know how hefty a caxirola is, but at least you can see the thing coming. With a battery, you have not a chance in a hundred of dodging it. In fact, maybe they should un-ban them to provide irate fans with something "safe" (or at least safer) to throw. Left to their own devices, who knows what they'll end up throwing? I want to see matches with caxirolas buzzing in the background. Carlinhos Brown, the apparent inventor, has said that "the caxirola respects the sound limits. It reproduces the sounds of nature, of the sea, and because of that, we worked with the best acoustic engineers so that the sound was nice and pleasant". Awww.  I can just hear the Enya-esque New Age music lilting behind his voice. And if he's wrong, I'll just turn down the volume. More to the point, though, it's not like the instruments lend themselves to excessive noise the same way that vuvuzelas did--you can blow harder to create louder buzzing, but shaking the caxirolas won't amplify their sound in nearly the same way.

In all seriousness, though, the fans create the atmosphere. They are the water in which the players swim. I watch Arsenal and thrill to the sounds of the chants and the songs and the cheers. I actually don't mind having to endure the same when we travel to Old Trafford or White Hart Lane and we concede a goal. I can't imagine forbidding fans from supporting their team--or expressing their anger within the bounds of reason and safety. If you're swearing within earshot of my kid, I'll let you know. If you're playing a vuvuzela, I'll ask you to give it a break from time to time. I want the exuberance and the flavor that fans bring; they fuel the passion and excitement that the players feed off of. If Brazil's police force does go through with the ban, I worry that we'll lose a large part of the experience. Go too far, and we'll end up with the kind of cheering at a lot of American stadiums, where fans only cheer after a goal/point/run/etc. is scored, after which they more or less sit on their hands.

FIFA did, after all, coronate the instrument as the official musical instrument of the 2014 World Cup. It would be a shame not to hear a least a few of them.  If any of you out there have experienced their melodious din first-hand, or have horror-stories about it or the vuvuzelas, please share. It's one thing to extol their virtues from my living room, another altogether to sit in a stadium surrounded by the things.