The World Cup got underway today with a very exciting match in the afternoon and a turgid, borderline boring game in the evening. The problem during the day was negotiating the living hell that is the ITV Player. This supposedly wonderful way to watch the footie on the Internet in the office collapsed before kick-off in the first match, and sat there with either a big “loading” message or a blank screen for over an hour. Yes, the familiar swirly circle moved around the loading prompt in an attempt to convince me that things were actually happening, but this was a dastardly lie.
Finally the ITV Player did splutter into something approaching life midway through the second half, and further amused me by buffering constantly and then resuming from exactly where it left off, meaning that by the end of the game it was running over two minutes behind the live action. It did provide a useful replay service, therefore, for bits in the radio commentary that sounded exciting, but for a supposedly state of the art service, it was laughable. Hopefully the hamsters will run a little faster in their wheels to power the service for later matches.
Radio 5 Live was the commentary of choice this afternoon, then, but due to the cascade of vuvuzelas in the stadium, the sound mix gave the impression that Alan Green and friends were broadcasting from inside The Planet of the Wasps (no doubt the big-budget sequel to that Doctor Who episode with Agatha Christie in it). The later TV coverage of the second game proved to be a tiny bit quieter in terms of the balance between the commentary and the horns, but we’d better all get used to the noise fast. Of course, if England lose tomorrow night, the vuvuzelas will be nothing compared to the buzz of frenzied journalists scenting blood. But that’s not going to happen, right?