D’you know, boyz and galz, but I can cope with the German flags painted on Teuton faces and fluttering from the balconies across the road and from car windows around town. I’m enjoying it while it lasts. (A friend told me German flags had to be imported when Germany were surprise finalists at the last World Cup. This may be apocryphal.) Because, for four weeks only (presumably), it feels quite nice to live in a place that doesn’t hate itself for existing. I haven’t seen a neo-Nazi display yet, but then I’ve chosen my football-watching venues vaguely carefully. And the flag-waving has so far been in good jest. And I even quite liked the opening ceremony. I bristled with pride at the men in lederhosen, thinking it was all a bit of a wheeze – what would ‘we’ have had up here if the opening ceremony hadn’t been in Munich? I suppose we could have had a number of Berlin stereotypes; there could have been groovy Prenzlauer Berg types, drinking coffees, preferably alone, and looking carefully dishevelled, some unemployed folk looking miserable at the Arbeitsamt and some rude purveyors of customer service, and our motto could have been, “Jut, dass ihr da seed” – and part of the ceremony actually made me bucket. When it came to rolling out the former champions – did folk notice that this was preceded by clips of past moments of World Cup glory and the first second was The Queen (I don’t know why she even needs a capital T, but she does, allegedly) handing over the cup to Mr. Moore (god be good to him, as old Irish folk might say)? Yep, the Germans had to show a moment of their own defeat to start with just in case folk thought they were getting ideas above their station (or farting above their arses, as old (?) French folk might say) (don’t know why I felt the need to put that in. Forgive me. I think it’s this blog’s first (and last) reference to flatulence), but then I’m all for self-deprecation. But what made me cry was the former champions trolling onto the pitch. The English came first, which I thought was just the Germans bashing themselves over the head once more, but it was in fact a chronological+number-of-wins thang. I was overcome with pride for a win that happened before I was born – I reminded the Russian that the line judges were Soviet so he could puff his chest out too – and I began to feel moist. But it was the Uruguayans wot done it for me. They won in 1930 and 1950, and only two of the winning players were still alive. I found that mythic. (Maradona couldn’t join the Argentinians. Rumour – invented by me half a second ago – has it that he scored a line off Claudia Schiffer and was still in the loo and missed his cue.)
Anyway, football. I’m a bit all footballed out, and it’s only day 3. I’ve watched five matches in two days, and the gay gene is struggling, it has to be said. England’s utterly boring match I watched at home. A line-up of pure stars – but who is that ten-foot-tall Rodney Trotter person with legs skinnier than mine? – were deeply unimpressive, but I’m sure they’ll settle now and win the thing. T&T were fucking marvellous. That was my highlight of the cup so far, but I watched the match in a homosexual establishment and they were too cool to turn their stupid fucking lounge music off, so that ruined the atmos slightly. I whooped with the Germans in the most goalful first match ever. Was indifferent about Poland Ecuador, really. And genuinely entertained by Argentina and Ivory Coast. Fucking good match, and that group, with Holland and Serbia and Montenegro – can a country that doesn’t exist – mind you, England is there – be allowed to take part? Couldn’t they be ruled out, as Yugoslavia was before Euro ’92 so that the Danes could come in at the last minute and win the whole thing? Are there any Montenegrins on the team? – must surely be being touted as ‘The Group of Death’. And rightly so.
Anyway, enough of my chuff. You need to go elsewhere too. The bookseller is in football mode, but also has breaking news from Germany, and it involves sausage. Daggi appreciates the World Cup from another angle (and there’s a wig). And an American in Berlin is determined to piss everyone off at his place.