The 10 laws of vuvuzela etiquette
Barely midway through the World Cup, and the vuvuzela, the unofficial musical instrument of the 2010 games, has not only become late-night comic fodder, but it has generated a cottage industry of computer applications, mobile or otherwise, that can remove the paint-stripping sound from bootleg copies of matches downloaded from the interweb. Oh, and the Vuvuzelas are coming to Asia as well.
It's a stark reminder that the sound of 2010 World Cup is rapidly extending beyond the African nation. Soon -- like it or not -- this loud piece of plastic will contribute to the din at sporting and other events worldwide.
Be that as it may, you don't just pick up a vuvuzela and simply blast away. There's a code of conduct that needs to be followed no matter where you are.
Here is a guide for the novice vuvuzela-ee:
1. Blow only your own hornThere are obvious hygiene reasons here, but more importantly there are some things you share with people -- such as stories, cake and the restaurant bill. There are things you don't share, like a glass of beer and underpants. The vuvu is in this latter category.
2. If you can't blow it, don'tIf your vuvu sounds like a constipated person struggling to get anything out, then your musical talents should be directed elsewhere. Try the triangle, or better still, clap your hands. You aren't worthy to play the plastic.
3. Sounds of 'music'Know when to use your vuvu. Don't just blow randomly. Aspire to be musical -- remember, symphony is better than cacophony. If someone is leading the vuvu band, then follow as appropriate. The vuvu is best used at moments of great anticipation -- such as penalty kicks, freekicks, corner kicks and even the rare goal. Not just because your mate has returned from the bar without spilling any beer.
4. Rule of 12sThe vuvuzela should only be heard between the hours of noon and midnight. Even midnight is a bit of a stretch. If the kids are sleeping, put it away. You don't want them interrupting all the vuvu-fun the next day with sleep-deprived tantrums, after all.
5. Work the anglesFor your own health and safety reasons, the vuvu should never be used at an angle less than 135 degrees to your body. Ideally, you incorporate your vuvu action while standing upright, or even embarking on a little jig. You would be surprised how many novices fail here.
6. Don't eat and blowThe vuzu is used for sound projection, not to convert the contents of your mouth into some semi-digested shrapnel-blasting weapon of mass destruction. So swallow first, then blow, lest a bit of that half-chewed hot dog launches itself onto the cheek of an unsuspecting punter.
7. Size mattersThroughout this World Cup, the number of tourists brandishing mini vuvus, whistle-assisted vuvus or cheap tacky versions that replaced the chocolates on your South African hotel pillow, were embarrassing. As one gentleman pointed out, these are "girl's vuvuzelas"'. Man up, and use the real thing. It sounds better and you will only be mocked for wearing a stupid Socceroos shirt. ('Socceroos'?! Seriously?!)
8. Never use a vuvuzela in an enclosed spaceNever. Ever.
9. Don't blow on the goThe vuvuzela is a stationary instrument, like the timpani or the stand-up bass, and should never be used on a mode of transport. Except maybe when walking but only if all the other etiquette guidelines are followed. This rule also covers airports. Like the durian fruit, the vuvu should never ever be brought out in the departure or arrival halls or anything else in between. It is akin to terrorism.
10. Avoid hangovers
The vuvuzela should only be used in a hangover free zone. This means pretty much any day after.