Thursday, 9 September 2010

So 'This is England'...

Shane Meadows' televised follow-up to his acclaimed film harks back to an era when sport wasn't controlled by "bloody Sky"!

Great goal Adam - shame most back home won't have seen it!

For many people, Channel 4's This Is England '86  (which began on Tuesday) evokes memories of all that was wrong with Thatcher's Britain; depicting as it does life among those much less fortunate than the wealth-flaunting City "yuppies" whose image tends to be the enduring one of the period. 
By contrast, to others it simply provides a chance to reflect on some of the sights and sounds of an era which holds particularly fond memories.
And for me the programme provided something worthwhile to watch on free-to-air telly given that the Beeb, ITV et al couldn't be arsed to obtain highlights rights for the England Euro 2012 qualifier taking place in Switzerland that same night.
I've aired my contempt for "Bloody Sky" on here before.  Whether that be with regards to this same argument about preventing people from being able to watch their national football team on the box without having to pay for the "privilege" and/or for dictating schedules and moving dates/times etc at a whim without having to worry about the consequences.
Yes, despite being in favour of private enterprise, I don't mind admitting I f_____g hate Sky.  But when it comes to sport on the box I also resent the apparent lack of will on the part of our free-to-air services to fight for us.
As with our performances on the pitch, we can learn a lot from the Germans.  Germany has resisted the advances of pay TV, both for its internationals and the Bundesliga which is still shown on terrestrial television.
So, having already decided against swallowing my principles and investing following Hull City's promotion to the Premier League, I now try to ensure I no longer get worked up by Sky's interference with my attempts to watch top-class sport on the box.
But then they do something else that really p____s me off - like their recent stance over Yorkshire's CB40 cricket semi-final, which the broadcaster initially maintained could not be played at Scarborough due to a lack of production facilities.  Thus, with Headingley not an option because of the following day's England-Pakistan clash there, for a time the Tykes were faced with the ridiculous prospect of moving their "home" semi-final (earned by virtue of convincingly topping their group) outside the county boundary.  Bloody Sky!
Still, it would appear that I'm not alone in my growing resentment.  The landlord of the Holderness Inn at Patrington (provider of four choice cask ales and my first choice of venue for Tuesday's England game) explained why his telly was showing Twenty20 cricket on our arrival at kick-off time: "I can't afford the full package anymore so I've cut back to just having Sky Sports 1".  He also went on to quote some quite staggering figures when outlining the number of pints he needs to sell to cover the cost of a month's subscription to "Murdoch's Mob". 
As it was, the one pint he sold to me (I was driving) was a corker, courtesy of Woodforde's Wherry Bitter (3.8%). 
Still, having enjoyed this to the accompaniment of 5 Live's audio coverage of Rooney's early goal and England's first half dominance, we (that is the Garage Rocker Fuller and I) eventually tore ourselves away from the pub and drove through to the almost cask ale-free zone that is Withernsea, where we managed to watch the second half in "Butts" (The Butterfly).  To my knowledge it was one of only two pubs in the town that was showing the game - another example of Sky's ridiculous pricing structure dissuading pubs from subscribing perhaps?
Whilst I can appreciate that England's woeful showing in Sith Ifrika meant that the public outcry was never likely to be as great as it was over the Croatia and Ukraine World Cup qualifiers, it is still a scandalous state of affairs when the only free-to-air coverage of the national team on Tuesday came via a report at the end of the late news bulletins.
Still, this is England 2010. 


Uwdi Krugg said...

Well said Slush, I agree with all of that.

Michael said...

Couldn't agree more, mate. It's not going to get any better under this government either. In fact, by the time the next World Cup rolls around, it might be a lot worse.