Michael Moynihan: 'Pogmentary' will get lads putting on their thinking caps

As a title it deserves credit for what it may spawn. However, I know that Paul Pogba is a chap well able to draw attention to himself anyway
Michael Moynihan: 'Pogmentary' will get lads putting on their thinking caps

Manchester United's Paul Pogba: The subject of a new Amazon documentary. Picture: Dave Thompson

As announcements go, it begins on a calm note.

“Amazon Studios today announced it has signed an overall deal with Paul Pogba, one of the world’s most talented and influential football stars,” was the opening salvo — practically Zen in its acceptance of “influential” as somehow being on a par with “talented” — but the floodgates opened soon afterwards.

“As part of this deal, Prime Video also announced the greenlight of a new French Amazon Original, The Pogmentary, a docuseries giving a unique and intimate look at Pogba’s life, passions, and origins, and opening up a side of him never seen before by fans.”

Even allowing for differences in language, this is a crime against common sense.

The Pogmentary?

The POGUMENTARY. It’s right there, can’t you see it? One U inserted in the word and it’s poetry. Without it . . . Ah well.

As a title it deserves credit for what it may spawn, however. I know that Paul Pogba is a chap well able to draw attention to himself anyway, but this documentary title (would docmentary be a cheeky description?) is likely to get a few other lads to put on the thinking caps.

After all, if the way to get Amazon to commission off-beat documentaries is to make the title an easily-marketed play on the content, allow us to submit our ideas and imagine how that meeting would unfurl.

The Documentary: in which we track the key papers — the ‘document’ of the title, if you will — in a significant GAA transfer, and how those papers are sourced, conveyed, and studied by the relevant county board authorities before the controversial decision to ... No? Okay, I have others.

The Clockumentary: great timekeeping controversies of sport are revisited, with the camera located within a mocked-up, 10-times larger than real-life clock.

Yes, a giant clock.

As the protagonists in the 1972 Olympic basketball final and the 1998 All-Ireland hurling semi-final break down the milliseconds that led to those immortal conclusions, all the time the clock is ticking — audible but not intrusive — in the background ... No? Okay, I have others.

The Blockumentary: a deep dive into one player blocking another in a Gaelic football/soccer/rugby game, they re-enact the passage of play on a table with blocks of Lego. (Blocks blocking. Meta, see?) We can then move to stop-motion recreations with the Lego figures, though assembling them before shooting ... No? Okay, I have others.

The Crockumentary: injured sportspeople sit around a large empty room and insult each other. Starting with calling each other ‘crock’, but then moving to more upmarket name-calling, with plenty of finger-pointing and storming out of the room. Well, storming as fast as someone with a busted Achilles tendon can storm.

Obviously this would be post-watershed on terrestrial ... No? Okay, I have others.

The Sockumentary: tipping into worldwide conspiracy here, but I think we have found something here nobody else has noticed. We plan on tying the performance of the global economy, the stock markets, etc., to the stocking heights of certain professional soccer players. Socks rolled down? Recession on the way. Stockings religiously tied up? Boom time. It’s a historic one, and we have cooperation promised from the likes of Tony Galvin and Rafael Gordillo, who’ve been very supportive ... No? Okay, I have others.

The Dockumentary: Immersive, fly on the wall stuff here as we track a GAA disciplinary case from beginning to end. Obviously we’ll have to encourage someone to misbehave in order to catch that on film, then move to the appeals process, talk to the person drafting those appeals, see how much they cost and who exactly pays, end with a shot of the appellant in the . . . dock, get it? Dock. Dockumentary.

You are? Very good. I’ll be in touch with my budget requirements.

The unsung sports heroes

Small victories? We’ll take them all.

Kids being allowed back to play sport next week is not a small victory by any measurement, of course. For their mental health as much as their physical well-being, letting kids out into a field to run around like crazed dogs — in a good way — is a great milestone on the route back to some kind of normality.

The absence of that sporting outlet has surely led to a heightened sense of awareness of what’s owed to the people who give up weekend mornings to help my and your kids play sport.

If not, then it should, because when you have to take a step back — as necessitated by a pandemic — you realise it’s an everyday miracle that on Saturdays or Sundays there are thousands of people all over Ireland who decide not to make a cafetiere of the ‘good’ coffee as they peruse the property section of their paper.

Instead, they pull on tracksuits and past-their-best runners and head to their local club, whatever code it plays, and wrangle kids into lines and circles and teams and get them acquainted with their own fine motor skills.

Park your cynicism (ahem — ed) and show your appreciation. Or better yet, become one of those people yourself and help out.

No certainties in this Olympic year

It seems strange that only 12 months ago we were wondering about the chances of the Tokyo Olympics going ahead in 2020. Does that make it more or less strange that we’re still unsure about it happening in 2021?

Last week there was an interesting intervention on the Olympics from one Toshihiro Nikai, secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party (the ruling party in Japan): “If it seems impossible to do it any more, then we have to stop, decisively.” He added that in the case of a surge in infections caused by the Games, “there would be no meaning to having the Olympics”.

Nikai backtracked somewhat later, and his boss, the prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, stated there was “no change to the government position to do everything to achieve a safe and secure Olympics”.

The observant may detect an escape route in Suga’s comments — as in, “doing everything” to achieve a safe and secure Olympics may not quite achieve that aim — but for athletes building towards a lifelong dream of competing at the Games, it’s hardly reassuring.

Factor in situations like that of Irish pentathletes Natalya Coyle and Sive Brassil having to withdraw from a recent event in Sofia, because of positive Covid-19 tests there — an event that would have been valuable prep for the Games — and you get an insight into the lack of certainty being faced by athletes.

The ‘Where Eagles Dare’ man returns

Geoff Dyer has a new book out: good news. When saying See/Saw: Looking at Photographs should be worth your time I’m going on the evidence of Dyer’s past work, which is widely varied and hugely entertaining, two attributes which aren’t always mutually inclusive.

I came across him first with But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz, one of the best and most innovative books about jazz I’ve ever read, and one crying out for an accompanying Spotify playlist. I’m also saving one of his more recent efforts for the holidays (fingers crossed).

After all, if you’re a man of a certain age, how could you possibly resist a book entitled Broadsword Calling Danny Boy: Watching ‘Where Eagles Dare’?


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