View from the Sofa: As Barry Davies and now Metallica know, it’s good to shut up

Glastonbury BBC 2; Wimbledon BBC 2

There’s an important rule of music stating that any band with the genre contained in the name should be avoided at all costs. Yes, Metallica, that means you.

The po-faced, four-man riffing juggernaut were controversially headlining Glastonbury on Saturday night – controversially because James Hetfield, the lead singer (who, at 50, bears an uncanny resemblance to the newsreader Peter Sissons) said recently that he enjoyed bear hunting, which is considered a sport by bloodthirsty gun-wielders.

It isn’t, of course. Shooting animals as a survival method: fine. As a means to get food: no problem: As a sport? Nope. Not when the contest is as horribly mismatched as Rafa Nadal against… well, pretty much anyone on a tennis court.

A mismatch was in our minds earlier on Saturday when we settled down to watch the world No 1 against Mikhail Kukushkin, a Kazakhstani who arrived on Centre Court grinning like he’d won a raffle.

He had oversized shorts and a name that sounded like a reject for a Kate Bush song. Surely Nadal would deal with him as Metallica appeared to do with their critics when they were rewarded with a rapturous reception from the Glasto great unwashed – no doubt helped by Hetfield keeping schtum about his “sport”.

As the match began, Barry Davies and his cohort Peter Fleming said they expected a trouncing. Then Kukushkin started playing – well. Davies filled us in as best he could on who the unknown was by recounting that he had asked around on the practice courts and all the other players and coaches could tell him was that Kukushkin was very nice but one of the quietest players on the tour. Then at 3-3 he exclaimed: “I’ve never heard of this guy but he’s really good!”

Even better than that moment of candour, the commentators kept silent for much of the first set, in which Kukushkin bamboozled Nadal with some tremendous passing shots at unconscionable angles. In fact, they were both quiet for a full five minutes for one game, which Kukushkin won. The silence was broken by a single word from Davies: “Superb.” Fleming fleshed it out by telling us the Kazakhstani “probably won’t hit another three crisp shots like that in his life”. He may have been right, as Kukushkin won that first set only to lose the next three 6-1.

The match was a good reminder that the best commentaries are given by people who know when to shut up. Earlier, during a rain delay, BBC 1 replayed Grigor Dimitrov’s epic five-set win over Alexandr Dolgopolov.

The match was great, but Chris Bradnam’s commentary was like a farmers’ union dinner on a budget: overrun with tripe. Between points we had “wow, he is a magician, he has brought a wand on to court”, and “the ball keeps coming back until it doesn’t”.

Bradnam should heed an important rule for TV commentators – and singers with unpopular hobbies. Silence is golden.

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home