|There's No Excuse|
|Written by PAC|
|Tuesday, 10 January 2012 21:53|
So as is traditional in Scotland we start of the new year’s celebrations’ with Jonathan Watson’s ’Only an Excuse’ a witty satire of all things Scottish football related over the last 12months condensed into a mere half an hour. Remember the days where it used to last longer? Now it feels like it lasts longer but it’s actually shorter and a pale imitation of the glory days from over a decade ago. Seriously is somebody asleep at the wheel when they sign off the writers' material?
Progressively now since we’ve entered the new millennium 'Only An Excuse' gets less and less funny and even less relevant. Is this because Scottish football has become less funny in the last decade?
Well my answer to that is ‘Hell no’. Just think we’ve had Berti Vogts as national team manager: the absurd rise in prominence of shock-jock hacks like Keevins, Traynor, Jackson and Leckie: the emergence of characters ranging from Lenny to Kris Boyd: Vlad Romanov to John Yorkston and Artur Boruc to Nacho Novo as swell as various clubs financial woes,: SFA mismanagement on a grand scale and the collapse of more than one TV deal. For any satirist worth his salt the last decade should have been rich pickings within the world of Scottish football yet every year the same old hackneyed pish is blurted out and even the canned laughter refuses to acknowledge some of the skits.
Watson and his team have become as lazy as they have become isolated. In the past Tony Roper provided an ample sidekick though he washed his hands of it years ago. Then there was Alistair McGowan who isn’t the funniest but can at least do a good impression. I mean even the guy who did the Archie McPherson sketches jumped ship. Does anyone see a theme here?
Is it maybe that wee Jonathan believes it’s all about him and that as long as he’s there it’ll be alright on the night? Well if he does he couldn’t be more wrong and somebody will have to show him the wood for the trees because this most recent ‘annual’ offering was quite possibly the worst yet. Lazy, unimaginative, desperate and unfunny.
The Lenny impression remains hardly passable, the apparent ‘piss take’ of the Green Brigade hardly raised a snigger and the Fergie dialogue never changes. His impression of Craig Levein was awful and it took me a while to get that was who he was doing. It looked like Bill McMurdo meets Donald Findlay and sounded like a bad impression of Walter Smith.
But at least all of that was somewhat relative to the environment of Scottish football. Why he continuously harps back to Dennis Law (is he still alive?) and Frank McAvennie (do we even care if he’s still alive?) is beyond me. These characters have had about as much input to the contemporary Scottish football landscape as Oleg Kutznezov but yet are wheeled out with the same lines every year. Yeah we get it Jonathan, Frank likes birds and The Law Man is forgetful and goes off at a tangent. It would be hard not to get it as it’s been the same for the last 15 years.
So Craig Whyte and Rangers got it in the neck a bit which was just about the only thing that raised a smile. But what about Lenny’s clash with McCoist? How about making reference to Craig Brown continuously apologising to the Aberdeen away fans for showing up in great numbers only to leave humped? The small issue of Hearts not paying their players on time for 3 months and Ian Black having to take up a job as a painter and decorator? Vlad Romanov just being Vlad Romanov? The walking talking pastiche of himself that is Colin Calderwood? Danny Lennon’s fantastical Barcelona-esque football ambitions for St.Mirren? Kenny Shiels and his unblinking charisma? How about having a go at Traynor, Keevins, DJ, Roughie, David Murray, Alistair ‘No Surrender’ Forsyth, Paul McBride QC, Terry Butcher, El Haj Diouf, and that self gratifying little tit that is Pat Nevin? What about the fan that jumped Lennon, the one’s who tried to send nail bombs or even the ‘F*ck UEFA’ banner? For crying out loud what about George Peat?
Could it be that Jonathan Watson and his writers don’t watch what’s going on in Scottish football anymore or is it in fact more likely they just can’t find a gag or manage to do an impression of the aforementioned protagonists? I suspect all of the above to be honest.
Alas it’s a sad demise to what was once a truly loved and prized Scottish football tradition. But maybe all is not lost. Maybe Watson will wake up, smell the coffee and hand over the reigns, over even just share the load, with some up and coming talent such as after dinner speaker Paul Reid.
Paul does spot on impressions of all his targets which range from a pitch perfect take of Craig Levin (the polar opposite of Watson’s attempt), as well as terrific send ups of Martin Jol, Jose Mourinho and our very own Neil Lennon amongst many, many others.
His impressions have attracted up to 120,000 views so far on youtube which is probably more than the number of people who actually stayed tuned into the end of 'Only An Excuse'. The fact that Paul Reid has found an audience online shows us that we have at our disposal a medium where talent can bypass the tired mainstream press and show them how it could and should be done.
I guess entertainment, satire and journalism have become have all become like home improvements where if you wants the job done right then you have to do it yourself.