Could Fifa Learn Something From The Super Bowl?

In the UK, American Football is not a popular sport – it is basically Rugby but with extra padding. However, us Brits love a bandwagon. All year we can go all year without even hearing or caring about horse racing but when the Grand National comes along the whole family get involved, even your granny is down at William Hill putting a line on for the latest newborn. The Super Bowl is similar, the majority of us Brits don’t watch American Football nor could we name you a player but you can bet a good chunk of us Brits stayed up till silly o’clock along with over 100m others to watch the Broncos and the Panthers battle it out and several businesses were willing to part with $5m of their hard-earned for a 30 second commercial, but why? ENTERTAINMENT.

Without a doubt, the most-talked about part of each Superbowl is not about the actual teams, their performance or the players but everything else that surrounds the event. From Fall Out Boy, Skrillex, Alicia Keys, Metallica, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Hunter Hayes all performing free shows during the week in San Francisco as a pre-Superbowl party, Lady Gaga being the latest A-list pop Queen to sing The Star-Spangled Banner and a pre-game ceremony that would even shame the Olympics – and that is all before a ball has even been kicked!

The match goes on and I don’t even know what’s even going on but I put a £20 bet on Denver Broncos to win thanks to my Granny’s advice that has been passed down through generations. Thanks to her I won nearly £80.

Grandma Stewart – “Always pick the one with the best name.

Fast-forward to half-time, without a doubt the most anticipated annual event, no the match but the half-time show. A show that has attracted the biggest stars in the world such as Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Justin Timberlake, U2, Madonna and this year was all about Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars w/ Mark Ronson on the decks. It was literally everything but the kitchen sink crammed into 15 minutes. Coldplay trying to break the record for biggest orchestra, Beyonce realising she has a new single, album and tour to plug along with a cushy $50m deal with Pepsi who conveniently sponsor the halftime show, Bruno Mars woke up from his year-long hibernation to put himself back out in the public eye because he’s dropping his new album soon as well and Mark Ronson was clearly just happy to be there for the banter ’cause he loves a party, what better way to do that by performing the biggest-selling song of 2015?!

 

After all the chaos and the match resumed and the Denver Broncos won it seemed like that every bit of confetti in existence rained down on the stadium, owners, coaches gave speeches that boomed around the stadium while everyone cheered while the pitch. Overall, It was interesting to watch and definitely entertaining.

However, I am getting sidetracked from my original point I planned to make, I’m a regular football (soccer) guy and have been since I was a kid. However, never have I witnessed anything like that at a football match. The Fifa World Cup comes along every 4 years, the biggest footballing event isn’t even a yearly event! During a World Cup final, the teams come out, sing their own national anthem and then go on to the pitch, play football, half-time comes and goes with minimal fuss, followed by the second half and the winning team go up and collect the trophy. The only difference being between the final and a regular match is the closing ceremony – albeit usually quite a tame affair, the crowd is a bit louder, the pundits will wear smarter suits and the teams collect medals at the end of it. There are no public emotional speeches belted out to the stadium. Sometimes, they might let off some fireworks though at the end to use up some of their mind-boggling profits rather than pop it in their bank accounts.

Can you imagine during the Fifa World Cup 2018 final in Russia at half-time instead of dealing with Michael Owen stating the obvious we could watch The Rolling Stones or Justin Timberlake or even have our very own left shark?

I am a tad jealous, my sport doesn’t go all out for its biggest event when the Super Bowl alone eclipses the World Cup in terms with regards to off-the-field entertainment. Maybe in a sense, it is better that people talk about Mario Goetze’s winning goal in comparison to the Super Bowl where the headlines will be dominated with that of Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars instead of the players. Hell, even the commercials are more talked about that than the game.

Do you think the World Cup is best left to focus more on the sport or would you like to see more of Fifa’s budget get spent on entertainment? Let me know in the comments or on social media.

 

Bowie May Be Gone, But His Legacy Lives On

Do you ever know one of those people who are just well-respected? The type of person where, maybe some people may not necessarily like them yet still respect them and their talent. John Lennon, Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain to name a few. Icons who have, let’s say broken past the “social norm” and pushed boundaries, and for me, no one pushed boundaries like the legendary David Bowie.

I must have been about 6 when I first heard “Space Oddity” on the radio I was confused and fascinated in equal measure by what I was hearing. Growing up in the 90’s with only a mother figure in my life I heard a lot of Cliff Richard, Shania Twain, Spice Girls and Take That. All of them good pop acts so I accepted that pop songs could only be about romance or partying. By the end of the song, I had to ask my mum who it was – in a time before the internet accessing music was a lot difficult – once she told me I was hooked. Never had I experienced a song that actually told a story beyond the usual love/heartbreak or party anthems that were constantly being churned out throughout the 90’s.

That week, my mum had brought me in the “Let’s Dance” album and I remember being gutted due to the only song I knew not being on the album. However, an album containing “Let’s Dance”, “China Girl” and “Modern Love” soon had me bashing the repeat button on my chunky CD player. The rest, as they say, is history…

Bowie was nothing short of a genius born ahead of his time. As I glance through Twitter to see all these people from all different backgrounds, cultures and groups they have still been affected by Bowie in some way:

Pop  – Justin Timberlake, One Direction, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Mariah Carey, Lady Gaga.

Rock – Paul McCartney, Guns & Roses, Fall Out Boy, The Rolling Stones, The Ramones, Oasis, U2

EDM – Diplo, Skrillex, David Guetta

Hip Hop – Kanye West, Kendrick  Lamar, Eminem

All the artists mentioned have all stated at some point that Bowie has influenced them at some point or another. Other subgenres that also follow under those genres have also been shaped due to David Bowie’s decades of originality and talent. No other artist apart from Michael Jackson, possibly Madonna and very few others have been so widely accepted that their level of acceptance goes beyond music into various other areas of popular culture such as art and fashion.

David Bowie was more than just a musical icon, he was an icon for popular culture icon as well by breaking down stereotypes and social barriers. He came out as bisexual when homophobia was very much alive, he wore female clothing and makeup and pushed musical boundaries with his songwriting.

Next time, you see Lady Gaga in a fancy costume, Madonna reinventing herself again or Matt Healy pulling off his usual on-stage theatrics then just remember one simple thing – These artists would not be here without the existence of this one man.

For although you are gone your characters, music and your overall affect on pop culture shall live on. And, you shall go down in history as one of the most influential pop figures of all time.

David Bowie – “I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.”

1947 – 2016

 

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