World Cup 1 – National Sanity 0

It has been unforgivably long since I last posted an entry on this godforsaken corner of the internet. This is due to a number of reasons, none of which are admissible for someone who fancies himself leaning toward possibly maybe being somewhat of a writer one day. Thing is though, schadenfreude is a powerful force. It’s funny when people do stupid things that come back to bite them on the unmentionables but life has been pretty good and uneventful in the best way possible for me so I didn’t really have the impetus to write at length about how I may or may not have mortally embarrassed myself recently. What can I say? Happiness doesn’t make for good comedy. Ask any British sitcom writer.

But what’s this on the horizon, rocketing towards me like a runaway train with all the speed, force, terror and pain that implies? Its World Cup season everybody! Now, now, I’m not here to piss on anyone’s parade, if it’s your thing then fair enough. It may not be mine but much like your sexual preferences, as long as it’s legal and you’re not hurting anyone else who doesn’t want to be hurt then good for you, enjoy yourselves (oh wait that whole hooliganism thing…). Once again I must defer to the ineffable wisdom of one Mr Charlie Brooker:

“I wish I enjoyed the World Cup, if only for some fleeting sense of common unity with the rest of humankind. But I simply don’t get it. A huge number of my fellow citizens tune in and witness a glorious contest of ecstatic highs and heartbreaking lows. I see 22 millionaires ruining a lawn.”

It looks like you’re all enjoying yourselves quite a lot and I must admit to being a little jealous of that, but then I see a piece on the BBC website about some total brain donor who laid turf out in his living room to best experience the World Cup and want to kick my own face in even though that’s not physically possible. The sport isn’t the issue, I may not have a sporting bone in my body but I can’t very well attack someone for doing what they love so incredibly well (I do however reserve the right to attack them over the obscene amounts of money they make for it). What gets to me is the insanity that descends upon the world (mainly the UK… mainly England) that causes all logic and decency to do a backflip out of a tenth floor window. Weird, common sense molesting things like this:

Flags! Flags everywhere!

You haven’t seen this much pointless brandishing of the St George cross since the Crusades or the last time you saw This Is England. Leaving to one side the patronising and self-satisfied ‘well they’re all made in China anyway’ argument, it seems particularly strange to me to deck out the outside of your entire bloody house with an England flag or worse, upwards of four little ones on your car. Consider me an alien who has never experienced hoo-man football culture before, how would you explain this? Is it some sort of competition whereby whoever has the most flags is considered the superior England fan and all the other England fans must accept him as the most logical mate for the females of the pack? National pride during a sporting event is one thing but it’s quite another to look like you’re all driving the wedding car for the country’s most nationalistic newly-weds.

Three cheers for inherent sexism! Hip, hip- Not you woman! Get back in the kitchen!

I know women have those flags on their cars too but I made it about men for a reason (I’m a clever shite like that) and that reason is to fit in with every other aspect of the World Cup. There’s an article on the BBC’s website that lists ten ways football haters can tell it’s World Cup time but the link is titled More Chick Flicks. One of the ways listed is that there are more woman-type films and programmes on when the football isn’t on, you know for the little lady indoors. Not only does this rather callously suggest that women as a whole will not interested in football but it also suggests, as one comment on the link rightly points out, that they are all interested in ‘makeovers, cookery, gardening, antiques, Kevin Costner and Jane Austen’. Unfortunate implications all around; why didn’t the BBC go the whole hog and suggest they bake a lovely cake and have a gin and tonic waiting for their men folk upon their arrival back from work? Incidentally the person I know who is probably most excited about the World Cup is a woman and an American one at that! That’s a two-fer-one right there! (Or a Diane Abbot as it’s called in political circles – BA-BUM!)

I’m not trying to bill myself as a feminist here, I’ve always thought that men who refer to themselves as feminists should always be watched carefully with a suspicious eye, but haven’t we moved beyond this crap yet? I’m pretty sure more men are interested in the World Cup than women are but surely there are enough women who do to warrant a more balanced- …Sorry? …Oh I see, apparently no there aren’t and women don’t like sports! Go get me a beer for the football is on, wench! Lolololololololololololol etc

The news goes tits up.

For however long it takes for England to fail, the mee-jer spout complete and utter nonsense throughout. It’s as if a particularly unskilful surgeon from the future has hacked out the admittedly small section of their brains that allows them to present important facts from around the world and has replaced it with a cable that transmits nothing but football results and football related anecdotes. Except the cable is defective and all it does is just spit out the same stock phrases and clichéd headlines over and over. The result is a million and one ‘England Expects’ headlines in the red top rags and nothing but nothing apart from lengthy analysis on every channel, every website, every publication. Some of it interesting and relevant, most of it boring and totally pointless if you were watching the bloody match, which you were. The cable is defective as I said (jesus christ have I tortured this analogy enough yet?).

I dream of a news show that has the football results as an ‘and finally’ piece presented by a barely intelligible talking ape. He just shouts ‘Red team kick ball in net three times! Blue team NONE! Why can I talk?! Please end agony!’

I’m going to stop this one now or else I’ll end up like one of the other commentators on that BBC piece who offered his way of telling that the World Cup has started as being when news sites start writing ‘endless vacuous lists in a bid to fill column inches before the games start’. Afterwards he presumably, leant back in his chair and stroked his beard whilst muttering ‘Hm, yes, quite’.

The fucking adverts.

Once again, Brooker writes what I think way better than I ever could so just read that and imagine I wrote it.

One last nail in the insanity coffin I’ll leave you with is this uplifting factoid: due to the extended amounts of internet surfing and general skiving from the work place over the 2006 World Cup, the UK lost around £4bn.

Truly football is serious business. I’m not escaping it out here by any means. It is a world cup after all but I must say it’s refreshing to meet so many people who will be supporting so many different teams and not as many flag-waving, face-punching, public-vomiting living embodiments of Private Eye’s Yobs comic strip shouting ‘EEEEENKLAAAN!’ long in to the night.

I know that’s a small minority but if I have no embarrassing stories to fall back on, I may as well dabble in some offensive over-generalisations for a bit.

DH.

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One thought on “World Cup 1 – National Sanity 0

  1. This is somwhat overdue but now enhanced by the experience of travelling around Asia whilst the World Cup is on.

    My first comment is after reading a BBC News article online about mobile phone services in the UK wanting to lose their high bandwidth subscribers and/or putting a cap on the use of mobile internet for TV streaming. It prompted a whine from some cubicle inhabiting molusc from old London town who wants to watch the world cup on a mobile phone on his commute home. In full David mode I commented back that he should find a pub get a pint, watch the match and GET A LIFE!

    I have now had the pleasure of watching the world cup in three countries, China (Mainland), Malaysia and Singapore over the last week and I can honestly say I liked the Chinese version the best as I couldn’t read the scores or understand the commentary and it was all the more entertaining for it! The other two countries have invested squillions in having a number of the over paid and under performing pricks from the england team (I hesitate to use an upper case E at the moment) cropping up in adverts for Carlsberg, Tiger Beer etc. Oh and bloody Christian Renaldo promoting some substance better left floating on the gulf of Mexico than being plastered on someone’s head. Ah it was so much better when it was Jimmy Greaves and Brylcreem……

    The point I make is, poor bastards, these countries have to watch ads with the soon to depart england twits in them, the pubs are full of england shirts, footballs etc. and next week it will be two Balkan countries of indeterminate identity in the final.

    My old man used to say he never saw a football result of Germany: 1 England: very-nearly-came-close-on-two-occasions. All they have to do is kick it in the net………………

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