Right now, you are probably asking yourself why Common Sense Dancing has posted a video by Take That, the aging, recently reunited British boy band best (worst?) known for imposing Robbie Williams upon the rest of the world. Well, four of our six contributors rowed competitively at the college level, and so we are always on the lookout for rowing in popular culture. At a party last night, I met a British graduate student who said "I don't anything about rowing other than what I saw in The Social Network and that Take Five video," prompting a response of "wha say wha?"
The song is full of the sort of meaningless pop poetry that sounds as if it was written by junior high school girls ("Standing on the edge of forever/at the start of whatever/shouting 'love' at the wooooorld" and "although no on understood/we were holding back the flood/learning how to catch the rain/we were holding back the flood/they said we'd never dance again" are my two favorite lyrics), but I can't say I expected anything different. As for the rowing sequences, the band wears a previous generation's Henley shirts, baggy trou, and "spoon" oars, rowing a never-before-seen five-man scull. For those unfamiliar with the sport of rowing, team racing sheels have two, four, or eight rowers in them, and "sculls" - boats rigged for oarsmen to have one short oar in each hand, as opposed to "sweeps," where oarsmen hold one longer oar in both hands - never have more than four rowers in a shell. By comparison, sweep shells hold as many as eight oarsmen, though there are no five, six, or seven-man sweep shells.
My feelings are ambiguous. Of course, the video is ridiculous. It gets the rowing all wrong, and possibly makes the sport look more effete than it did already, which is saying quite a lot, if you think about it. On the other hand, if it introduces even one more person to the sport than it alienates from it, then its a good thing.