The Sinister Selfie Stick
There is an alarming increase in the number of people smuggling offensive weapons into football grounds – and the authorities seem not in the slightest bothered about it.
September 24th, 2014
With security at the very highest it has ever been in Premier League stadia, football’s new tooled-up firm is carrying not the bottle tops, pyrotechnics or banners that seem to so vex police and stewards, but something far more sinister – the selfie stick.
In the last few weeks I’ve seen them with my own eyes being deployed with vigour at Stamford Bridge and Eastlands – and also seen pictorial evidence of them at many other grounds.
(Let’s set aside the post-modernist nightmare of someone taking a picture of someone taking a picture of themselves).
I can confirm these things are a danger, having almost had my eye taken out by an American wielding one at Waterloo station this week – so desperate was he to get a picture of himself with that most British of sights, a departures board reading ‘cancelled’.
With international football tourism now a major part of the Premier League’s business model, clubs see plenty to gain in foreign visitors shooting themselves in the ground with an obliging mascot, or the backside of a warming-up goalkeeper.
The pictures are fired around the world immediately, via social media, for the approval of friends, family, Twitter followers – who then, impressed at the closeness of access, book their own trips to take yet more stick-facilitated selfies.
Like some massive and pointless chain letter, threatening eternal bad luck on those who fail to comply, the conduct compels more and more to pass through turnstiles half a planet away, pointed baton in hand.
I’m not against pics in the ground per se.
Our football stadia are impressive beasts – the flags, banners and pre-match player rituals are all essentially manufactured for little more reason than to be photographed.
I’m less keen on those that seem to want to watch the entire game through the four-inch aperture of an iPhone screen – why not live a little, chat to your neighbours, sing?
Which brings me on to the selfie stick.
Setting aside the fact that it is a yard-plus of metal with a great lump on the end of it, an item clearly outwith the scope of football’s beloved ‘ground regs’, why do they even exist?
As a traveller in a foreign country, where is there more joy to be had: in being a low-res front cam onanist; or in sharing the love with a new friend, while feeling the immense pleasure of a full 16 megapixel experience?
These things will be banned eventually, for sure. Most likely when, like the vuvuzela before it, someone tries through sheer frustration to inflict damage on an individual using his own selfie stick.
But until then it seems we only have only one option – to grin and, from a wide-angled straight to Facebook distance of three feet and three inches – bear it.