I thought I’d get topical this week.
Because the Olympics is plastered all over the telly-box, you may’ve noticed.
And with televised sport comes the obligatory post-event interview.
Stuffed with the same old platitudes, it’s rare these interviews provide any insights into anything.
All I’ve been able to gather so far is where each athlete grew up, and I can only do that by listening to their accents.
Let’s face it, a lot of these Olympians seem markedly inarticulate.
And I used to be a little smug about it.
To make up for my sense of inadequacy, I would secretly think:
“For all that athlete’s fame and perfectly toned abs, he’s a bit of a rambler isn’t he…a bit tedious. Not like me.”
Was my smugness misguided?
Yes it was, and I’ll tell you why.
Because TV sport interviewers don’t ask questions any more. They make statements.
And as a result, sports men and women look boring and clumsy when they’re forced to spout banalities in response.
If you don’t believe me, listen closely to a post-event interview from Rio this week, and count how many times you hear one of the following words:
Is; Are; Am; Was; Were; Will; Do; Does; Did; Have; Had; Has; Can; Could; Should; Shall; May; Might; Would.
These are the words you need to make a question.
And I bet you won’t hear many.
Instead, you’ll hear the interviewer state the bleedin’ obvious, and then just press the microphone into the athlete’s face.
So the poor athlete has just one option: say “Yeah definitely” then garble the bleedin’ obvious back.
And because there’s no focus to the interview, they feel compelled to just carry on talking….and talking.
They’re lucky if they get interrupted. But usually the monologue is allowed to simply waft and flutter to a close. End of interview.
Now I know what you’re thinking: “Writer-O is getting a bit worked up about this isn’t he. What’s his problem?”
Well I’m venting, because in my own small-fry way, I’ve had personal experience of this.
You see, that smugness I described was dashed to pieces on the one and only occasion I was interviewed by BBC radio after a rugby match.
I’m no Peter Ustinov, but I’d never considered the business of putting one word in front of another as a weakness of mine.
However in that interview, I sounded like a fucking numpty.
And while my friends and family took the piss, I listened back and realised that it was an interview without any questions.
At one point the journalist even said, “So the front row then…the ‘dark arts’…” then just thrust the microphone under my nose…and off I went.
From then on, I started noticing the same thing on every sports programme I watched.
You may be sceptical, so I thought I’d bolster my argument with some evidence from the world wide web.
It didn’t take long to find examples.
That’s why I decided to create a little compilation, just for you.
Watch out for the same thing in Rio. I guarantee you’ll notice it now.