I unashamedly LOVE Aussie Rules footy, which as a Richmond supporter has been quite the frustrating little challenge on many an occasion since around 1980. So, I hope the blokes out there reading this will excuse my grabbing Rockin' Footy for review, as I am always keen to be enthralled by the magic and incredible skills of the game (not just the bottoms in tight shorts!)
So what's in store? Well, with an introduction by Dermott Brereton, as the title implies it is a collection of footy highlights set to a collection of 'rock' tracks, to be more precise we get…
Holy Grail - Hunters & Collectors: Highlights from the Adelaide/St Kilda Grand Final of 1997. The Saints woz robbed! (As are the Hunnas as they're fighting a losing battle to be heard over the commentary and crowd noise).
Leaps and Bounds - Paul Kelly: A collection of clips of classic marks, often timed to the beat of the particularly apt in this case accompanying song.
Boys Will Be Boys - The Choirboys: An assortment of fights, bumps and what often appear to be humps. The less said about the song (in my opinion) the better.
Bound For Glory - Angry Anderson: A series of those fabulous run, bounce, keep running, baulk, spin, bounce, run some more then dob the six points moments from through the years. As for the song, hmmm - stick to ACA Angry honey…
Out of Mind, Out of Sight - The Models: A collection of snap goals accompanied by one of The Models' weaker moments. It was also their biggest hit. Go figure.
Treaty - Yothu Yindi: Ooh, the rock version rather than the dance one - oh yes, this is presented by Triple M, isn’t it? A series of black and white clips showing marks plus more thumps and bumps from the days when the Swans called South Melbourne home. And surprisingly not a single Rioli or Krakoeur in sight, either!
Do You See What I See? - Hunters & Collectors: Another great Hunnas song accompanied by more of the seamier side of football - bumps, thumps, crunches, trips and outright brawls.
Before Too Long - Paul Kelly: Appropriately a classic Australian song with vision featuring a collection of classic Australian marks.
Hot Chilli Woman - Noiseworks: A variety of bits and pieces, accompanied by an utterly hideous song.
Livin' in the 70's - Skyhooks: Oh go on, I'm sure you can guess what we get here!
Counting the Beat - The Swingers: More brawls, biffs and dackings, to the tune of the song that will sadly always now be remembered as an ad for a rather large discount store.
Last Ditch Cabaret - Mark Seymour: Sans Hunnas, Mark's wonderful little ditty sounds a tad odd in this context, all the more so when accompanied by another collection of football highlights.
Strangers on a Train - The Sports: There's no Hitchcock to accompany this great song, rather a collage of snap goals and the reactions from players afterwards.
Just Like Fire Would - The Saints: Mercifully it's not the footy club singing, rather the phenomenally talented Chris Bailey. Seemingly this is a collection of finals action dating back to the '70s.
Effervescence - Pollyanna: Ooh, a last ditch effort for indie cred! A homage to some of the great players of our time, Jezza, Schimma, Blighty, Tucky, Bartlett (oops, sorry, 'Hungry') and more whose names can be shortened to end in a vowel sound, a very important thing to consider when you think of undertaking a footy career it would seem.
As a wonky disclaimer disclaims at the start, some of the footage may have suffered deterioration due to its age. It certainly has, but it would be rather unfair of me to be cruel about the fact when we're talking about television footage that dates back to the mid-'60s. Naturally the quality varies markedly throughout this presentation, with that from recent years looking quite wonderful.
My bugbear with this disc visually comes down to the wide variety of cheap effects that have been utilised on much of the footage included. It appears much like somebody dug out their Commodore 64 and went to town at times, running the gamut from overlays that should have been anti-aliased to random colour washouts, to squishing the video into letterbox format (making the players look like stumpy little Lego men) and more. At times it is virtually un-watchable, one noticeable example being when a number of frames are dropped giving a stop/start feeling that did my head (and tummy) in without my having even plied myself with VB - heaven knows what may result if the slab's already half downed!
It has all been encoded at a rather high bit rate, as there was plenty of space to do so, and I can’t see a lot of value in my going into the likes of saturation levels, contrast etc as the footage used varies so much. Suffice to say that at times there are examples of slight aliasing and also jaggies, but considering the nature of this disc I don’t think these would be too much cause for concern, as you'd be buying it to marvel at the action, not the quality of the transfer.
Rockin' Footy is a curious idea that results in quite a fun little example of both the wonderful, often almost balletic qualities of the great game, as well as the stuff we could happily do without - the over the top aggro and sheer violence. I would have appreciated much less focus on the latter, however obviously as I am unable to click my mind into bloke-mode perhaps this stuff is just as appealing to many?
Value-wise the short running time of 54 minutes (not an hour as claimed on the case) makes this disc a little questionable, as I'm not sure how re-watchable this is, although get a bunch of guys together, give 'em a slab and a few pizzas and I'm certain they'll have an absolute ball. If nothing else for not much more than the price of a CD you get a mostly good compilation of classic Oz music plundered from the archives of Mushroom, from those good old days when they actively cared about local music, rather than clambered to dump anything remotely resembling an Australian artist off their roster as seems to be the case today.
The only other issue I had with this disc was the absolute plethora of advertising it contains - as well as the aforementioned 'trailers' (which admittedly are completely avoidable), every song is punctuated by a promo for Triple M, which tends to land things quite firmly in overkill territory. Still, I guess by its very nature Australian Rules is one big advertisement in itself nowadays, with sponsorship patches emblazoning every spare fragment of jumper-space, boundary fence and even the ground itself.
Speaking of advertising, was there really a green Big M once? EWWY!