立秋

August 7th, 2008

Today is the start of autumn according to the traditional Chinese calendar. lzh informs me that if it rains today, it’ll rain all autumn, and that won’t be good for those harvesting grains. Pity, because we really need rain. The air has closed in again. Yesterday was Beijing air at its depressing, grey average. Today is Beijing summer air at its suffocating, close, humid, murky and filthy worst. Not good.

And I notice CCTV 5/Olympic is back to its old tricks. In the Athens Olympics I was sent into paroxysms of rage because the idiots who run that channel interrupted a really exciting women’s volleyball game to show shooting. That’s right, shooting. And not just because China stood a chance of winning the shooting, either, because China was also playing in that women’s volleyball game. I can only conclude that decision was made out of sheer stupidity and terminal incompetence. Anyway, this morning I wanted to see the torch as it passed Badaling, so I got on the CCTV website and checked their schedule. 8 am it said the live broadcast of the torch relay would begin. 8 am came and went and they still had the usual idiots (why are sports commentators so inane?) blethering on about nothing of any interest. 8:3o they announced they’d go live to the relay, but keep blethering on. Then there’s ads. Then probably about quarter to nine we finally get to the relay, but by this time it is well underway and they’re focussing on the torch bearers, their very short runs, and their silly antics at each handover. Dammit, I wanted to see what they’d done with Badaling! I wanted to see the whole scene, the mountains and the wall and they spectacle of the relay’s starting point! No, all because the idiots can’t keep to their own scedule or make intelligent decisions about what makes for good TV and good coverage.

Well, the games have already started. We watched the China vs Sweden women’s football match in Tianjin last night. China won, which was good, but most of the match left me thinking the Chinese women have been watching too much Chinese men’s football, who in turn spend far too much time watching Italian football. So:

Dear China,

Italy does not have football. Italy has bad soap opera actors putting on football uniforms, prancing around the pitch like a bunch of prissy prima donnas, diving on the ground and writhing in fake agony whenever an opposition player comes within a metre of them in a pathetic, childish attempt to milk a penalty and perhaps win the Oscar for most over-acted fake injury. Please stop watching Italian football. Try Scandinavia instead, they actually play football there.

Yeah, I couldn’t help but notice the Chinese women were quicker to go down on the ground, wave their hands around and try milking the penalty. The Swedes didn’t. The Swedes got off to a slow start (indeed, for the first few minutes I thought I was going to see every stereotype of Swedes I had drummed into me when I was in Norway confirmed), but after China’s first goal they came out firing and played a tight, aggressive game and kept it together for the whole match. And they did not try milking the penalty or hollywooding or any of that nonsense.

Still, China won and their two goals were thoroughly deserved, two pieces of very good play. Oh yeah:

Dear Sweden,

Get a goalkeeper.

Anyway, tonight at 7:30 is New Zealand vs China in men’s football. That should be good for a laugh.

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