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James Alexander Gordon and The Poetry of The Pools

by | 24th, August 2014

James Alexander Gordon and the poetry of the pools

BBC announcer James Alexander Gordon, whose voice was synonymous with the football results, has died at the age of 78.

 
Results1 James Alexander Gordon and The Poetry of The Pools

 

Although he started reading the results in 1973, in the heyday of flares and platform boots, he seemed to personify an earlier short-back-and-sides era, when the ‘wireless’ was still the main conduit for live football. A time when teams played at the same time – 3pm on a Saturday – allowing for a comprehensive results service at 5 O’Clock, heralded by Sports Report’s stirring theme tune, ‘Out of the Blue’ played by the Central RAF band (and here by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra)…

 

 

These were not any old results, like those garbled and sometimes unreliable missives that sprang from the manic teleprinter…

 

No, these were the CLASSIFIED football results, and their significance – aside from the footballing issues resting upon them – was that the football pools relied upon them.

The pools were the national lottery of their day, able to change people’s lives at a stroke. Dreams could come true, but so could nightmares, as in the case of Viv ‘Spend, Spend, Spend’ Nicholson…

 

Results2 James Alexander Gordon and The Poetry of The Pools
Results3 James Alexander Gordon and The Poetry of The Pools

 

Up and down the land, people would sit glued to the radio, in a quasi-religious shared national experience (in the days before people spoke in such terms), checking their pools coupons to see if they had predicted the requisite results to hit the jackpot. Gordon said he remembered complaints that results could be difficult to follow, and he is credited with innovating a form of inflection that indicated the outcome of the game, and made it easier to follow while studying a piece of paper full of tiny boxes.

Here he talks about his distinctive style…

 

 

But even those not interested in gambling – or football itself, for that matter – couldn’t fail to feel some affection for the litany of names, which ranged from the legendary to the most obscure creatures lurking in the depths of the lower English and Scottish leagues. Its soothing effect is rivaled only by the poetry of the shipping forecast.

Here the mellifluous Charlotte Green, successor to Gordon, applies her technique to the sacred text…

 

 

And here Mark E Smith tries his hand at it. Radio announcing’s loss was music’s gain, although listening to the auld curmudgeon’s idiosyncratic efforts, some of us live in hope that he will return to this fertile field in the not-too-distant future…

 



Posted: 24th, August 2014 | In: Sports, TV & Radio Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink