There’s a part in Anthony Burgess’s novel “A Clockwork Orange” where the anti-hero, Alex, is subjected to “The Ludovico Technique”. This is intended to cure him of his violent tendencies, and the implementation involves him being forced to watch violent acts on a cinema screen while under the influence of a drug which induces nausea.
This reminds me of watching Scottish football.
SELF-APPLICATION OF THE LUDOVICO TECHNIQUE FOR SCOTTISH EXPATS, IN ORDER OF RELIABILITY
Method 1: Setanta North America
If you are an Old Firm fan in a major city in the US or Canada, there is probably a Rangers or Celtic supporters club near you (check www.narsa.ca or www.nafcsc.com). These guys meet in bars, at unholy hours of the morning, to watch live Scottish football. Most will welcome opposition fans, but check in advance in case you’re worried. This is your best option for picture quality (live satellite broadcast) and atmosphere. And you might bump into someone you knew from school; it happens.
By the way… my sources tell me that Setanta USA is unaffected by the problems of Setanta in the UK. So the deal that they strike each season to buy US rights for the SPL should be OK, though until it’s signed/sealed/delivered, I wouldn’t bank on it.
Method 2: Supporters clubs in other places
In Australia, Setanta also screen Scottish football including live Old Firm games, and in other areas people have access to various satellite and internet feeds. Again, your best choice for atmosphere. Check out www.nafcsc.com/clubs/world.shtml or http://tinyurl.com/lu8axl for Rangers or Celtic clubs; everyone else, check your club’s website, or google. I have heard of an Aberdeen supporters club in Dallas, and a Dundee fan in New York City. He cries himself to sleep each night.
Method 3: Slingbox
Most of you will at one point in your life have owned a VCR. This was the first tool available to do “timeshifting” of TV – watching a programme at the time of your choosing. More recently, there are things called DVRs (aka “Tivo”) that make this so much easier.
Anyway, a few years back “placeshifting” was invented for TV, and a device called a “Slingbox” was introduced which allows you to broadcast your TV signal over the internet to your computer. So, if you’re from Bishopbriggs on holiday in Bangkok, you can log on in your hotel room; take control of your TV; and watch it as if you’re on the sofa at home (except at home you wouldn’t have the ladyboy next to you asking when Willo Flood signed for Celtic). Amazing, I know; I mean, did Strachan really need another midfielder?
Anyway I’ve never set one up myself but I know a couple of dummies who managed to do it in less than a day so it can’t be that hard; all you need is a broadband connection and the slingbox itself.
So, if you have a mate at home who has… well… whatever package you’re going to need to see Scottish football next year – you can buy him a slingbox and piggyback off his subscription. Quality is decent on a laptop screen, a bit grainy on a big TV screen but good enough; there’s a slingbox HD out in the US that might be even better. And I know of at least one supporters club that uses this as their primary picture source. www.slingbox.com for details.
Method 4: Internet football sites
The official way: your club may have an official live streaming service, that you’ll have to pay for. Check your team’s website. Many teams used to use www.internetfootball.co.uk but that’s now shut down, which is a shame, because they were pioneers and it worked well.
Unofficially: Google “LFO football” and it should be the third link down; I didn’t tell you about this service. Might, just might, show most games on Scottish TV and morebesides. They claim they’re legal but it’s a very grey area… but I have used them successfully in the past, though recently a server upgrade has caused problems.
Even more unofficially: search justin.tv which has live streaming of just about anything, however I’ve always found it more trouble than it’s worth.
Don’t feel bad about using unofficial feeds; a few years back I tried to get hold of some TV rights for a Scotland friendly in the US and discovered that it’s basically a complete cartel controlled by one or two people, and the rights owners (ie. the people in charge of Scottish football) have no interest in getting their game to the biggest audience; they just sell for not much money to the people who are easiest to deal with. No-one was showing the game but they still wouldn’t sell the rights in case we became competition.
Method 5: The good old-fashioned way
Forget the internet. Buy a short-wave radio and listen to the BBC World Service on a Saturday afternoon UK time. When I moved to the US, first thing I did was head to J&R Music World in New York and get me one of these babies (it was before proper public internets and the like).
THE CURE FOR THE LUDOVICO TECHNIQUE
In the book, Alex tried to kill himself and was cured by the government. For Scottish football, sadly there is no cure; although alcohol has been known to help, it too can induce nausea if taken in large quantities.