Thursday, April 10, 2008

Get Out Of Purgatory Free Card

Now that TV3 no longer hold a monopoly on eircom League highlights I have left purgatory far behind me. Not that I ever devoted Monday nights to hanging around until midnight or thereabouts in order to have Trevor Welch wind me up and deprive me of a sound night's recharging.

No, I indulged myself in the filthy temptations of a Sky+ box; perversely Sky - the arch enemies of all things eL - made it easier for me to get my weekly highlights fix. It seems like I've stepped unknowingly into the tardis and emerged from some distant time into the late 20th century. MNS is My New Sex - it has restored my belief in television, reinforced my decision to buy that absolutely necessary plasma screen with matching stand.

Deprived of Top Gear, there was little left on screen to engage me - the odd decent documentary; Shameless has its moments; Jools Holland's late night show; now I think I'm falling in love with Con Murphy. Did anyone notice his tan last week, or is it just me?

It's by no means polished and perfect - the show, not Con's tan - but would we want it to be? The efforts to bring on a diversity of guests will always lend itself in the early days to edgy and incoherent performances from panellists unused to full-on TV exposure. In comparison say to the 3 wise men - Dunphy, Giles and Brady - there is a way to go. That particular trio are totally comfortable with what is going on around them, a condition induced by familiarity. Their relaxation allows them to concentrate on the conversation allowing for lively intercourse and debate.

If one is to take Emmet Malone's appearance on MNS as an example of the opposite - Malone is widely respected and highly regarded amongst the eL community, but he contributed very little to proceedings on the program and it seemed as if an opportunity had been lost. Hopefully he will be back and better.

The show is crying out for a good argument, someone to challenge eL Rico or Rowdy Roddy Collins - that duo are never short of an opinion and are consummately comfortable before the cameras. Chillingly so in the case of the latter, who sat legs akimbo right in the centre of my sitting room all through the show a couple of weeks ago. The full frontal of Roddy's least effective tackle reminded me of a gruesome story I had heard about a certain unnamed ex-footballer who arrived into the dressing room one evening cheerily informing his mates of a certain acquired condition which might make choice of shorts an issue for his teammates. Obviously, his TV confidence suggests that the condition has cleared up.

Raiders of the Lost Archive has limited potential, 60 can be cringeworthy stuff, but appealing to younger fans I suspect. The luxury of a camera and post match interviews at every ground is the stuff of fantasy for long suffering fans. Re-runs of the same clip over and over from the same angle offer no fresh insight to an incident, yet we were forced to endure the like in TV3 purgatory. The blindingly obvious interventions of Paul Osam would terrify inmates of Guantanomo Bay.

While MNS is not perfect it is certainly progress. Highlight packages have the power to make the mundane look exciting, a bit of background music and a visual effect can make it look sexy. This is what our league needs, not live coverage. Already I have detected in my workplace an increased awareness of our domestic league; the show has aroused some people's curiosities. Possibly enough to encourage one or two to attend a game.

The powerful and invasive tool that is TV is being used to good effect for the eLOI. MNS presents easy access to lazy would-be punters - we just need a few to catch the virus - the sneezes will do the rest. Another tiny step on a mighty journey for domestic football in the 21st century.

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