Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Breaking News - Infobartastic!

Hi, JJ here,
The music comes from an epic movie trailer; the set comes courtesy of the ‘serious news’ section of Ikea and infobars come from absolutely everywhere. Ladies and gentlemen we’re on a whole new level here: it’s Sky Sports News 2.0.

After years of the dreary light blue set we’ve instead got a new dark blue set. I know, I was shocked too. They even have handy tabs for each news item that appears on the large infobar below the presenters.

Basically, if it says ‘Dennis Wise has been confirmed as an arsehole’, then the story comes under a handy heading saying ‘League One’. Not that you’d confuse a Leeds story with anything that has some relation to the Premiership.

If we’re told that Steve Davis can’t compete in the World Championships because of a sprained hand, we’ll know by the ‘Snooker’ tab that it’s referring to the former world champion. Not the Norn Iron midfielder at Lawrie Sanchez’s Fulham. Genius, I’d of been lost otherwise.

Above the large infobar with all the tabs, another red skinny infobar runs over it with fixtures and – should you be lucky to see it – a further infobar runs above this in times of ‘Breaking News’. ‘Breaking News’ is always yellow by the way, always.

The concept of ‘Breaking News’ is a loose one at Sky Sports News. This is not a new practice though, this is something that has been the backbone of the channel for a good five years or so now. Leighton Baines signing for Everton is definitely breaking news. Henry leaving for Barcelona is breaking news. Perhaps even Southampton turning down Derby’s offer for Kenwyne Jones could be considered worthy of a yellow bar.

But once it’s a slow day and the director upstairs wants a yellow bar he will get one whether a story deserves it or not. A Southend player in a contract dispute – yellow bar. David Beckham says America is “a little bit different, at the end of the day” – give that man a yellow bar. Luton Town announce new shirt sponsor on a two year deal – do you even have to ask, give them two yellow bars. One for each year.

In all honesty, I can slag off this generally meaningless, utterly repetitive form of television as much as I like but do I watch it? Of course I do. What if a real yellow bar story comes up? How can I abandon them? No, no I hang around long enough to hear them read a text from ‘Dave in Surrey’ who says that Carlos Tevez is going to be a “good buy”. Addictive TV at its best.

The presenters can be idiots though at times – in fact every time they deviate from the teleprompter for some “banter”. Today they discussed Sol Campbell making a possible England comeback and went over his international record and in particular his one goal for England against Sweden in 2002.

“Course, that’s the goal that stood. He’s had a few that haven’t,” one of the shiny male presenters said to another shiny male presenter. He was of course referencing the goal that Campbell felt he scored against Argentina in the World Cup in 1998 (when Alan Shearer landed an elbow into the Argies’ keeper); and Campbell’s disallowed effort in the quarter final of the European Championships of 2004 when the Portuguese keeper was shoved behind his line by an England player.

The other presenter then kept up the theme by saying “yeah, yeah, there were a few that didn’t stand, not they should have or anything but… eh they should”. Not only were they being smarmy Little Englanders but they were messing up the whole show.

I wonder did they realise what they were doing to the poor director’s heart? As he went through his notes for the upcoming hour’s news and realised that this little bit of repartee has cost them the few valuable seconds. The very seconds they had to tell people that ‘MK Dons are set to field a full strength side in their final pre-season friendly’. I suppose it can wait until the next hour.

The male presenters might be gobshites; the real news may be scarce; and the info bars may make it impossible to see much of the decent looking female presenters but there is some genius in Sky Sports News. Managing to say an awful lot without saying anything of any importance for 24 hours seven days a week has to be commended.

Here’s Apres Match saying it better than I ever could… http://jp.youtube.com/watch?v=uEAKFGBFykE


Parrotbait said...

I watch a ridiculous amount of Sky Sports News, its rubbish and they're constantly repeating stories but I still persist!They do have some cracking totty on it though, I do like their hiring policy!

Mark V said...

ah yes, the news is great, i especially like the way they put the leagues up, even all the way during the summer when there is unlikely to be any change!

the world cup is also great cos they have no rights to it and you know they hate every minute of it...but they can't ignore it

JJ said...

It's a disease but then again there is that totty you just mentioned parrotbait.

My favourite bits of timewasting are those interviews with minor SSN cronies like Kenny Samson, Paul Merson or Phil Neal where they interview them in their respective house (with the curtains dragged over for dramatic effect) about something like Fabregas going to Real Madrid.

Hey presto, add the headline 'Legend warns Fabregas not to leave London too soon' and you've got ten minutes of news. Genius.

Mr C said...

Argghh! You've struck a raw nerve in the English psyche. The Sol Cambell goal against Portugal should have stood. I thought it was a foul for a bit until Ricardo flapped at a cross in pretty much the same way against Greece in the final. The Argentina ‘goal’ was a foul though although this is never brought up due to the red top's love of an us-and-them mentality and the general reluctance of the English media to criticise Sir Alan of Shearer.

I've never had Sky Sports so I don't know what I'm missing out on in that regard. My flatmate from last year had a freeview box and so could get it for free and I would go out to lectures in the morning coming back five, six hours later and nothing had changed. Frankly, I'm disappointed that in the six months I've been listening to the podcast and all the references you've made about the lovely ladies on S.S.N., not once has you made reference to Stan Collymore's claim in his autobiography that in one tender, love struck moment with Kirsty Gallagher, he watched her do 'things with chocolate fingers that have stopped me looking at them in the same way ever since'. Trying to guess which of the remaining S.S.N. lovelies have also fallen victim to fallen football idols’ sexual depravities must surely make it more entertaining.

JJ said...

Well apparently Bryan Robson got stuck into Claire Tomlinson. The filthy beggar.

Stan's autobiography should actually appear during the 'hate' section at some stage. If only for the fact that he can't be a Legend and also that the story does indeed deserve to be documented over and over and over again.

JJ said...

Oh and this is given as a foul every time... even if it shouldn't be. Two players, one keeper blocked off, only one result there.


Motson's commentary is hysterical in every sense of the word by the way. Like a baby after losing its blankie.

Mr C said...

Good use of the term 'getting stuck into'. If we're going to be salacious, at least we're doing it in the right terms. I'm slightly surprised that Robson is still out and about, making the beast with two backs- following years of severe alcohol abuse, he looks old enough that sex would represent a welcome excuse for a lie down.

As good as it is, Stanley’s filthy ways still don't top my favourite scandal, which to this day terrifies me for its sheer randomness and the fact it didn’t get the attention and outrage it truly disserved. All I'm going to say is journeyman striker, youth-team player and a banana.


Mark V said...

mr c - a truly disturbing story. can't help recalling stefan postma though...

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