Monday, September 29, 2008

Transylvania Cliche Watch (1)

This week sees the visit of Chelsea FC to Transylvania to take on CFR Cluj in the Champions League (Chelsea aren't actually champions, but that's the nature of UEFA competitions these days and another story about which I could rant for interminable pages. I won't, though). What this visit means though is that there will ample opportunity this week for the notoriously cliche-thirsty British press to repeatedly sink their teeth into the the Dracula vein, since they won't have much else to say about CFR Cluj (I suppose they might bring up the Cheeky Girls too, but I'm guessing it will be lots of blood sucking imagery instead). Anyway, in order to amuse I thought I would keep a watch on this.

First up this week, you might be surprised to learn, are not the tabloids but two bastions of the establishment.

The Sunday Times headlines its article "Chelsea must beware Juan Culio, the new terror of Transylvania: Argentina’s Juan Culio hopes to give the Blues a fright on Wednesday" setting their stall out early, letting you know that the angle they're taking. Then the first paragraph really takes the theme and runs with it:
LIKE all the best stories from Transylvania, the tale of CFR Cluj has a strong sense of mystery, of the unexpected. It also has its moment of shock and, at the end of the first night, even a perturbed heroine. “I didn’t believe it could be as bad as this,” shrieked Rosella Sensi, the president of AS Roma, as if she’d just woken up from a dream in which Bela Lugosi stood poised over her bedside.
Classy stuff you can see, he's really gone to town there, and actually made some serious effort to cram his Transylvanian theme into some kind of order there. Like all good writers, Ian Hawkey, for it is he, returns to his opening theme with his last sentence "Once bitten, twice shy, as they probably say in Transylvania." Ohh, very nice. Hats off to Mr Hawkey.

Next up is the BBC, who have provided a handy click through biography of the club under the heading "Who are Cluj" (by the way, that click through thing is absolutely not handy at all, is it? It's much more irritating to have to open page after page of the thing than read it all in one go, surely? Or am I hopelessly behind the web-architecture-times here?). Anyway, the scene is set with the use of a picture of Christopher Lee as Dracula on the front page, and then the second paragraph
The club hail from the city of Cluj-Napoca - the third largest city in Romania - situated in the province of Transylvania, home to the famous nocturnal blood-sucker Count Dracula, some 300 miles west of the capital Bucharest.
Now I suspect the Beeb are trying to be a bit knowing here rather than jumping completely unironically aboard the Dracula bandwagon, but that doesn't really excuse the geographically challenged nature of the positioning of the city. West of Bucharest? North would be closer, Northwest closer still. Plus it's got to be more than 400km from Bucharest. 300km west of Bucharest is somewhere like Belgrade.

Anyway, I'll be keeping an eye on the theme this week and letting you know how much Dracula (and the whole horror theme in general) gets mentioned.

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