Where is Barry Davies?

Regular readers of the boards may be aware that Barry Davies is my heart.

For those who didn’t know that he’s a commentating legend, now you do. Educate yourselves here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Davies

Barry was magnificent. He never met a routine he didn’t want to describe as ‘shades of Silivas and Shushunova in Seoul’. Literally no gymnastics moment, none at all, could not be compared in some way to the 1988 Olympic AA. Which is as it should be.

He was BBC gymnastics long before that arse Matt Baker appeared (and am I the only one who’s been thrilled to see him go so far in Strictly Come Dancing, thus keeping him out of the way for both worlds and Glasgow?)

Back in the days when Britain was ranked 906th in the world at gym, Barry never let any perceived underscore or slight to one of Our Girls or Our Boys go unremarked, and in fact memorably managed to work Lisa Mason’s underscore in Sydney prelims into some portion of the MAG competition in Athens. Seamless.

Bronwyn may worship at the alter of Monica Phelps, and in fact this blog is eventually going to go down in flames after we rip each other into eternity over who is better. But Barry’s what she’d be like if she were more whimsical and not obsessed with pointing out the fat on a six stone fourteen year old. Monica, not Bronwyn. He’s like a fine wine, if I drank fine wine.

I’d love nothing more than to be able to prove this, but for some reason, Barry’s finest moments don’t seem to have made it to youtube. I believe this to be a conspiracy.

One of my favourites is his take on Miller’s vault in the Atlanta AA. This is a typical example of Barry’s ability to encapsulate the drama of the sport with just the right amount of portentousness and, dare I say it, queso.  Oh he knew when to fucking wallow in it alright.

After she nailed that second vault, like the hard as nails bitch we all knew she was however much shyness she wanted to dress it up in, Barry said what we were all thinking. ‘Not the finish she wanted. But a finish with guts, style and determination’. Tantalisingly, unbearably, there’s actually BBC footage available, but it cuts out just before the killer line.

Coincidence? Or the freemasons? I leave you to decide, dear reader.

Another insult is the seeming disappearance of his take on Milosovici’s 1992 Olympic AA floor routine. Here is some American coverage, which pales in comparison.

After she finished, Barry uttered the immortal words ‘Svetlana Boginskaya must be thinking to herself- not another Romanian!’ And no doubt she was. But the illuminati have conspired to remove all trace of this soudbite from the world wide web.

This is yet another example of a routine where Barry said something classic afterwards and the clip cuts out beforehand. Khorkina in the Atlanta AA:

Afterwards, he said something about her being quite alluring and sounded a bit like a perv.

The final insult though, is that the only available versions of She’s The One have had Barry edited out of them.

In this video, Robbie Williams achieves his Olympic figure skating dream, accompanied by cheesecake, tongue not necessarily in cheek commentary from our boy Barry. It was majestic.

I will personally hunt down the person/s responsible for creating this version without him in it. Bastards. This is an injustice.

Luckily, I was able to dredge up this delight. Barry’s dulcet tones are the first you hear in this montage:

Still though, something fishy’s going on here. It’s probably some kind of concerted effort by fans of Monica Phelps to keep the god that is Barry away from the world. Maybe she thinks there’s only room for one British gymnastics commentator to have a cult following.

I actually have many of his finest moments on video back at my mum and dad’s somewhere, probably under some big pile of crap. But the odds of me managing to get this online are about as high as those of me being the next Olympic rings champion.

So, the only solution is for Barry to return. The sport isn’t the same without him. My mouth waters at the thought of how he’d have handled the 2008 underage Chinese episode- Christine Still allowed herself one bitchy little dig, but Barry would’ve been majestic. And he’d have been in spasms at Mother Russia’s long overdue world team title win this year.  Fuck knows what he’d have had to say about Miss Mustafina, but it would probably have been rapturous. He always loved the commies best, even if he didn’t admit to it. Although I don’t know how he’d have coped with the open-ended code…

So come back Barry. Please. Lead your people.

-Posted by Clara

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9 responses to “Where is Barry Davies?

  • Bill

    If you want the Barry version of “She’s the One” here it is:

    You may or may not be aware that Barry got into gymnastics because his daughter Giselle was Southern Area champion at the age of 10.

    He didn’t exactly “fall out” with the BBC. his contract came to an end, he was already past retirement age (he was 67 at the time) and the Beeb felt that they had to let younger commentators get experience at covering the top football matches. They offered him a new contract but in a lesser role which he declined (they did the same to John Motson a few years later when he got to that age!).

    Barry will be returning to the microphone for Absolute Radio (Sky channel 0107, freeview 727) for the next three Saturdays staring this week (Sept 19th) as the commentator on their 3pm Premier League coverage whilst Jon Champion is away covering the Rugby World Cup for ITV!!

  • kj

    For all Barry worshipers he’s actually commenting on channels 4’s show the Jump where celebs take part in winter olympic sports…it almost makes it bearable to watch!

  • Stoi!

    Rachel, yes he did, it was something to do with the football. I can’t believe you’ve met him- how exciting! Of course you gushed. You’re only human. I bet he’s really indiscreet if properly pumped, or fondly hope so anyway. Any goss?

  • Stoi!

    Rachel,

    I can’t deal with Monica haterz.

    😀

    B.

  • Rachel

    I honestly can’t write in a public place what I think about Ms Phelps, suffice to say am glad she fled to France. Hope she’s still there.

    Didn’t Bazza have a falling out with the BBC a few years ago? Or maybe am imagining that :/ Either way I would rather eat my own hair than listen to Matt Baker’s ramblings. God only knows what will happen when Mitch goes. I love me some Christine though – and I swear she looks younger year on year, I wanna know what shit she uses on her skin.

    I met Barry once, backstage at the 2006 figure skating Europeans in Lyon. He was very chatty. Inevitably I gushed.

    His daughter Giselle (??) worked at the IOC up until a year or so ago I believe.

  • Stoi!

    Elizabeth, I absolutely require that footage. Do you know if it’s on youtube? I couldn’t find it.

    Rachel, welcome. It’s always a pleasure to meet a fellow congregant of the Church of Barry Davies. And thanks for the footage. I found this article from a couple of years ago, which discusses the range of sports he did, and the comments section provides a tantalising range of titbits:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2008/sep/03/4?showallcomments=true#comment-fold

    Apparently he said the manager of the 1978 Argentinian world cup team had ‘a face like a well kept graveyard’!!!!!!

    Has anyone in the history of the world ever said anything better than that, ever? I suspect not. I desperately want to go and get wankered with Barry and get his take on Bela and Marta.

    Barry, if you’re reading, drinks? I’ll buy.

  • Rachel

    How did I only find your blog a few days ago? 🙂 I too worship at the altar of the Davies.

    As am sure you know, his most famous commentary line came in the final of the men’s hockey at 1988 Seoul Olympics though in hockey when GB faced FRG. Absolutely hilarious.

  • Queen Elizabeth

    I loved Barry Davies, too.

    And before him, Ron Pickering, whose special Under the Christmas Tree wearing a bright red wooly jumper commentary to the 1983 world championships, complete with tributes to Yurchenko and Bilozerchev, is still my favourite BBC gymnastics moment.

    By the way, a really good way of reading your blog is to translate it into Russian using Google Translate, and then back into English. All sorts of hidden meaning then emerges, including the revelation that Christine Still’s Russian name is, in fact, Christine Nevertheless.

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