The Great British Centre-Back Off

Right. (And with opening this post with that word, I present this an informal and somewhat personal thing). TL;DR, I looked at England and Wales’ centre-backs but in audio form, and the link to the Soundcloud is here but me writing a small introduction carries on beneath. If you jut want to listen, go ahead, if you want to know a bit about it and why I did it, read below.

I wanted something to focus on footballing-wise between the group stages of the Euros and the knock-outs, and this crappy pun came to mind. However, it would require watching 5 full games, as well as writing an article with video clips (which I’d have to clip and edit myself). This would be a lot of work in just a couple of days, especially given that I had a bunch of organising and packing to do in my actual real life too.

I somewhat naively thought that doing an audio version might be slightly more time-saving (it really really wasn’t).

I had other reasons too. It would be a good thought exercise: How do I describe actions that a player does? Do I give different examples than I would if I were able to show things visually? If yes, what kind of things would work better. Away from the actual football, how would I put this kind of thing together? (I ended up drawing inspiration from Serial).

More personally, I like the idea of doing work in other mediums – partly because it’s a good way to diversify an audience, partly it’s something I just would quite like to do, partly curiousity as to how it would work, partly because I get kinda restless doing the same thing. (It’s also been a good exercise in realising how different writing for speech is to writing for articles).

Once I started with this idea, I also had to finish to prove to myself that I could. I’m very self-conscious when doing something like this if I feel like someone can hear me, and I quickly realised that if you’re recording your voice you can’t half-arse it. There was a lot of sitting in front of my laptop wanting to press record. There was a fair amount of tailing off after a paragraph as my confidence wavered and bottled it. There was also a lot of me just saying the words wrong.

I know that the recording (I’m not really sure what to call it, a podcast?) isn’t perfect, and there are bits that if I had the energy I’d re-record, but it’s an amazingly huge amount better than it would have been if I hadn’t spent *checks watch* something like two days on it.

As I mentioned earlier, I had to think about how to make it work (once I’d recorded the audio). Me reading on my own would be boring, but I also don’t have access to radio commentary or the kind of background atmosphere recordings that radio journalists put in their reports for this exact reason. Most of the podcasts I listen to are multiple people talking each other, so I picked up on what Serial does and tried to add some simple, pleasant but unintrusive simple background music.

Basically:

  • this is an experiment
  • I’m aware there are bits that could be done better (writing, audio recording, sound mixing in places), but I’ve already ploughed so many hours into this I can’t bear going down the rabbit-hole any further to properly perfect it – as proof of how long it took to do, this was supposed to be done before the knock-out rounds began, and the round of 16 is almost over.
  • EDIT: I just realised that I never explicitly said that I’ve never really done anything like this (football or no football) before, but I’m assuming that’ll be everyone’s starting assumption anyway
  • I think bits of it are actually quite good
  • If you’ve read this whole post, thank you for sticking with it’s self-centricism

I’d like to hear what you think, about what works and what needs improving. I dunno if I’ll do anything like this again.

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