March 17: waving at the camera when you are at football matches

When you are at a football match, or a rugby match, and you realise that you are being filmed by the camera that likes to register spectator reactions to the match, what you do is you wave at the camera. You keep one eye on the screen, which lies at an oblique angle to where you are facing the camera. It is quite an art to maintain your presence and watch yourself being present at two different angles at the same time. Grown-ups are suddenly, inexplicabley, transformed into toddlers waving at strangers from a bus as they are wheeled off to Alton Towers or Chester Zoo. Of course, the grown-ups are only waving because of the big screen and the promise of the even bigger screen of television where their mates might see them or they might see themselves later on Match of the Day. I wonder what I would do if I saw myself on the big screen at some match? I suppose I might wave to really confirm it’s me up there. But everyone waves, so it doesn’t confirm anything. By not waving, bucking the trend, I could confirm my identity more easily. I could just raise a knowing, quizzical eyebrow and the commentator might say something like ‘Wonder who he’s supporting?’ (I would not be sporting colours) or ‘Cheer up, sunshine!’. The cameras have now seen what happens when they film a wave-hungry spectator. Their dream shot has become the spectator who does not know he is being filmed. This has become their Eldorado: the unwary spectator, ideally involved in something heartwarming, some family scene or ardent manifestation of total fandom. The whole business has become a cat-and-mouse between cameraman and spectator. The second the waving starts, the camera switches away, earnestly seeking out some unsuspecting face in the crowd, or (God help us!) actually returning to the match because oops! while all this KatzundMaus was going on, United just scored.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s