Swans TV Unlimited

I bought a new album today. It’s a precious thing, finding a disc you want to add to the shelf. Mainline is the work of Sydney hip hop collective ‘One Day’—four of Sydney’s leading hip hop lights working together so they could tour together. It’s intricately bold. Clever computer kids producing lyrical tunes with such deft rhythmical manoeuvres that solid musical ground is irrelevant. And I’ve always loved clever hip hop for the wordsmithery. Tonight, I’ve been cooking to the new album, just chopping and listening, seeing the poems come to view in thin air.

The swans have a new recruit. Someone there is making their own creative mark. Someone who has put their stamp on the pre-season like few others have.

I tuned into Swans TV some weeks ago to check on pre-season training. There comes a point in January when the mind starts to wander to Lakeside oval, to tanned bodies strapped into heart rate monitors, arms raised above heads, to skills and game plans and genteel Centennial park in the background—it’s a collective image that smacks of good potential.

In fact it was just inside the first week of January when Swans TV posted an interview with Marty Mattner talking about his new role as a development coach. Bless Marty, one of this Swan’s favourite players, we called him the general in the O’Reilly. That extended arm which urgently shunted players from side to side down back, the long left kick doing the rest. But he was a man of undifferentiated media offerings. Renown for the ‘Yeah, no …’ with which he began every answer and his quick delivery of stock standard phrases, Marty was a solid and tidy media performer.

Until January 6th 2015, when an ambient sub-continental soundtrack took him in another direction. Accompanied by sitar and beats, Marty began his Swans TV analysis of the draftees and the integration process. It drifted in long sentences across happy footage and zoomed on stills … and so much focus pulling. The soundtrack was forcing Marty to talk in groove, his syntax following the build up of the track until the drum beat crescendoed somewhere around the one and a half minute mark and smoothed to a controlled summation of the importance of mentoring and getting things right from the start. I sat stunned at the end of the clip. Either Marty’s done a double degree in musicology and public speaking during the off season or Swans TV has a new editor.

The Community Camp golf day got a similar treatment. Buggies crossed in slow motion to the teasing pips of experimental electro. Skewed tee shots disappeared to the movement of an unlikely hint at melody. It was melancholy. And it was all slow motion—David Lynch on the Coffs Coast. Putt sequences were peppered with real-sound intrusions—Get in there! Has anyone heard Kansas sound genius Aaron Martin?

February’s intra club hit out had us back on the subcontinent. De-saturated images with upped blue highlights. No more slow motion. Real speed. Lots more coming into view—the coach prowling the back of the player pack and the finale, the focus pull along the boundary line, dissolving to black.

Only days later, the extended highlights—aka remix—was scored to rigorous rock. Full speed, full colour. A steadier frame. More of the locked-off shots, kicks completed. Something far more emphatic about this number. Some lovely climactic slow speed and then we were off again. All intensity and pressure and syncopation.

I’ve been feeling a bit gun shy about this change of Swans TV heart. It’s a bit sexy and very silly. It feels like an unfamiliar character who’s accidentally wandered centre stage when they should still be in the wings, a rookie accidentally elevated to the senior list before they’ve earned their stripes. It feels like a triumphing of brand and production and veneer over footy. I’m all for the collision of art and football; they are the two poles of my fascination planet. But this guy or gal is building a film clip portfolio with my Swans.

Ambient hip hop underscored today’s training highlights, gentle but sure beats with an introduced keyboard melody. There’s a story building at Swans TV. This is choreography not football. But just as I longed to listen to my new CD tonight, without visual distraction, so that I might make the visual poetry my own, I yearn to watch the boys create their artistry on the field, sans soundtrack, sans promotional lure.

I just replayed today’s training clip without sound. It’s Lars von Trier meets silent Buster Keaton. There’s vulnerability and effort. There’s isolation and co-ordination. There’s Marty doing the centre bounce. You can actually see the plain art of it.

About Mathilde de Hauteclocque

Swans member since 2000, Mathilde likes to wile away her winters in the O'Reilly stand with 'the boys', flicking through the Record and waiting to see the half backs drive an explosive forward movement. She lives in Sydney and raises a thirteen year old Cygnet.


  1. Hi Mathilde,

    Your loving Swans are good sides in the competition and I guess that new boys will develop under the good culture.

    I have watched the Swans training video and found that it was impressive with playing music. But I prefer the sound of balls (handballs, marks and kicks) even if it was an intra club match.

    If you have talents in art and music, you can create videos featuring the unique and interesting footy games.

    Thanks for sharing your thought and it was interesting to read.

    All the best :)


  2. Great piece Ms Mathilde. It almost had me interested in checking out Swans TV. Then I checked myself. Swans TV? I’ll pass. Many lines to savour but “Lars von Trier meets silent Buster Keaton” particularly tickled the funny bone.


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