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Château de Toilette July 2, 2006

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.

Darlings, what can it mean when an Engländer WANTS Germany to win the World Cup? Am I sick? Have the nasty old Boche somehow managed to spike my Weissbier? Is it time to get a one-way Easyjet ticket the hell outta here? (God, I hope there are tickets to Gatwick. I won’t even get as far as immigration at Luton without swallowing cyanide.)

Well, it’s still all a bit too raw to muse about England’s defeat. Was it heroic? It probably was. What a shame they weren’t leading 5-0 at half-time and didn’t then somehow manage to throw it all away with six Portuguese goals in the last six minutes. That would have had a bit more glory about it. And I must say I hadn’t quite realised to what extent my enjoyment of the World Cup was dependent on England still being in. Because I’m now a Euro-mongrel, I thought I’d better do something drastic to demonstrate my grief. Not violent, obviously, because I’m not four. Nor did I throw the TV out the window, which I might have done if I’d had a true Slavic soul. And it couldn’t even be spontaneous, as I didn’t watch the match and only found out the result when two friends sent SMSed condolences. I trundled back into the flat, opened the bottle of wine I’d just bought for dinner, poured myself a glass and then, in a very grown-up gesture, went and poured the rest down the loo. It wasn’t even Portuguese. But it was red, and believe me, darlings, if this now starts a wave of copycat protest actions, may I suggest you buy white wine instead as the red doesn’t half stain your bowl. (I regretted this piece of theatre the second my glass was empty, of course. Luckily, there was some emergency beer in the fridge. Rooney and the kick-missers weren’t going to keep me sober after all.)

So now I can get back to straightforwardly supporting Germany. Germany’s win on penalties over Argentina was a moment of sheer sporting joy, the intensity of which I don’t think I’d felt since I read on the trusty BBC website one winter’s morning that England had won the Rugby World Cup. I watched with a smattering of foreigners and we outgermanned the Germans with our joy. It was high-fives, roaring and physical intimacy all over the shop. And drinking. The Russian and I wandered down the streets afterwards holding German flags. I wondered what our ancestors would think. I remembered that one of my previous moments of sporting joy was watching Bulgaria knock Germany out of the 1994 World Cup at the quarter-final stage. But my about-turn has been complete. The carnival atmosphere and Germany’s intense rush of self-approbation has been completely contagious. Nothing will bring the party to a more sudden end for me than an Italy Portugal final.

In any case, through gritted fingers, and in the spirit of grown-upness, I congratulate my several million Portuguese readers on reaching the semis. (Have they got this far before?) But just so that the party might go on as long as possible, Klinsi and the boys, keep doing your thang…



1. lukeski - July 2, 2006

First time since 1966 they’ve made it out of the first round.

2. BiB - July 2, 2006

I’d sort of failed to notice that Portugal was a footballing power. But final of Euro 2004 and now World Cup semi-finalists. Pretty fucking good.

Has the blame game begun in England yet? Whose fault is it? Beckham’s? Rooney’s? Sven’s? Blair’s?

3. Welshy - July 2, 2006

Sven’s. Although I hadn’t actually thought about it being Blair’s – I prefer that to be truthful. No, it is most definitely Sven’s fault over here. For not taking enough strikers. For rubbish formations. And for repeatedly telling the papers he didn’t care that England were playing dull football, as long as they continued to win. Well we played dull football and lost, you moron!! (Sorry, momentary loos of cool from the Welshgirl).
Anyway, I sort of feel like I should now support Germany but something in me just can’t… So I find myself instead backing the delectable Thierry Henry’s France, which sticks in the throat even more somehow, and I definitely shan’t be telling my dad about it…

4. Welshy - July 2, 2006

When I said “loos” I meant “loss”, obviously. And I’m more upset than I thought I was, it would seem. How odd.

5. chendaberry - July 2, 2006

Apparently Becks has resigned so maybe it’s his fault. For having so many bad tattoos and a girl’s voice, maybe…

6. BiB - July 2, 2006

A female friend and I did, I confess, exchange slightly saucy SMSes about Monsieur Henry shortly after the match. He’s a proper babe, isn’t he, but charming too, which helps. So Welshy, embrace that inner urge to support France with abandon. I somehow thought that Germany’s reputation had been rehabilitated in the eyes of the whole world and that, ergo, everyone would happily be cheering Germany on, but that’s just my thinking that we’re all the same again.

Chendaberry, yes, let’s blame Becks. The Russian – not a major football expert – had told me that both Rooney AND Becks had been sent off. I realise now that he had merely been substituted, which is quite another proposition altogether. Anyway, does that mean only that ludicrous 20-foot-tall person was playing up front for England? I think I can feel an internal backlash welling up inside of me. It could turn nasty…

7. patroclus - July 2, 2006

Becks was substituted because he hurt his leg, but he wasn’t sick this time. The extraordinarily tall man skittered about like a newborn giraffe. The lovely [firstname unknown] Lennon ran about enthusiastically and endearingly, and I think I like him a lot. We played pretty well, considering we were down to ten men from the 62nd minute. Otherwise it was just the same as every other England knock-out match I’ve ever watched, ever. Totally boring for 62 minutes, then quite exciting, then unbearable, then we lost.

8. BiB - July 2, 2006

Do you think if there was a UK team, they’d do better, Pats? (Then at least you wouldn’t be chastised for being an Anglo-Scot, or Scotto-Angle and not having the right to call the team ‘we’.) I’m sure they’d do better with the likes of Ryan Giggs and Kenny Dalgliesh. (Kenny’s still playing, isn’t he?)

9. lukeski - July 2, 2006

Giggs is the only non-English plyer who would have got in the team in the last 15 years. It would’ve been good to have Dalglish, Souness, et al back in the day, but now?

10. Welshy - July 3, 2006

Ah, THAT’s why I can’t support Germany, isn’t it? I had forgotten somehow (goodness knows how!) No wonder people looked at me a little strangely when I suggested it! Ok, lovely Thierry and the lads it is…
Dalglish is still sort of playing actually! My boyfriend went to see him in a charity match. Apparently he played three minutes and then went off to rest.

11. Beaman - July 3, 2006

I want France to win too. Somehow I can foresee that the arrogant smirks of Berliners for the next 12 months would become unbearable if Germany won. I’d never hear the last of it.
The French, well, they are always arrogant, in a savoir faire kind of way.
The Portuguese are just cheats! but England didn’t deserve to go too far.

12. BiB - July 3, 2006

Lukeski, I think Souness would be better suited to the German team with that barnet and facial hair. Are there really no Scots, Welsh or Ulstermen that would have made the team in all these years? Admittedly, I can’t name a single player from any of those almost-countries. I was going to say Henrik Larsen, but I know he’s not REALLY Scottish. Would Ally McCoist still get in the team?

Welshy, Beaman, I half-heartedly condone your supporting France. If it’s a France Italy final, then I’ll certainly root for our cousins outre-Manche. But I still hope that Germany beat France, narrowly, in an utterly wonderful final, perhaps even in extra time, but not on penalties.

13. Welshy - July 4, 2006

Lukeski: Mark Hughes, surely?

14. BiB - July 4, 2006

But isn’t Mark Hughes 100? (Is he still the Welsh manager?) But I’m sure he’d have got in the UK team in his day. And what about that other famous Welsh man, Vincent Jones? He’d have been good for being sent off in an important match that the UK team could then go on to lose on penalties.

15. lukeski - July 4, 2006

Hughes ahead of Lineker and Beardsley? Or Hateley? Or Kerry Dixon? Or Alan Smith? Or Shearer? Ally McCoist was a Sunderland reject, and was only capable of scoring in the second rate pub league that constitutes the Scottish Premier division.

16. BiB - July 4, 2006

Lukeski, and you almost qualifying as a Scot too. But I am glad we’re allowed to berate Scottish football. I can’t bear that having to give a toss about Celtic and Rangers. My sister lives in Glasgow and we all have to put matchsticks in our eye-sockets the moment Larsen’s brilliance is measured. Still, I’ve always had a soft spot for Alloa Athletic.

17. BiB - July 4, 2006

Mentioned. Not measured.

18. leon - July 4, 2006

Speaking of wine and of Germany, have you tried any German red wine yet?

I had a bottle of Austrian red once and it was actually quite pleasant, if very light indeed.

19. BiB - July 4, 2006

Poverty and curiosity have, on occasion, led me to the Dornfelder range of German reds. My undistinguishing palate was pleasantly tickled, and I dared to mention this liking once in front of a German whose wife is a violinist and he nodded approvingly so I think Dornfelder is properly acceptable. In Prague in 1992, my pals and I fell in love with a Czech red called – I think. Although this might actually be Roger Federer’s girlfriend’s surname – Vavrinec (diacritic on r), which might easily be bleach with ketchup as a colouring agent, but even that seemed fine at the time. Russian sweet reds – Kagor, for example. I think it’s church wine and actually is vinegar with cherry juice – are beyond redemption though. And Thai red wine really is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever tasted.

20. leon - July 4, 2006

I’ve heard that the reds from the Ahr valley can be quite good, though I don’t really know enough about it to say more than that.

Always fancied trying Georgian wine given their supposed long history of grape cultivation, but I’ve never been able to find any. It’s probably dire.

21. BiB - July 4, 2006

In Russia, if you were willing to pay – wine costs a total fortune in Russia – you could get good wines from Moldova, Georgia and Armenia. I don’t think I ever tried good Moldovan wines – if you were skint and wanted plonk, Moldovan plonk was the thing to buy, but it was pretty bad. It’s even served here in a good(ish) Russian restaurant – but I did have good Georgian stuff and, on one occasion, a nice Armenian, which probably had Ararat in its title. Anyway, the Georgian and Moldovan wine industries might be about to collapse as the Russians have just put a gazillion percent tariff on the wines they export to Russia, their biggest market. Punishment, à la Ukrainian gas prices, for not towing the Moscow line, of course.

22. Welshy - July 4, 2006

Hughes ahead of Lineker but not Beardsley. He’s no longer Wales manager sadly (can’t have a manager doing well now can we?!) – we’ve taken a mammoth step backwards to Toshack, I believe…

23. lukeski - July 4, 2006

He manages Blackburn, and is building a team very much in his own image. The only one of Sir Alex’s proteges to show any real management talent – I guess it’s the same with Clough and O’Neill.

24. BiB - July 4, 2006

John Toshack? Wasn’t he connected to Swansea in their glory days? But I thought he’d retired at least 200 years ago.

While we’re on Welsh football – you never know where a conversation might end up – I think it’s scandalous that Cardiff and whatever else teams from Wales there still are – Wrexham? Newport? Swansea? Bwlch Athletic? – don’t play in that nice little Welsh league they’ve got with Cwmbran and TLS Wales Thistle or whatever they’re called. Though I understand that it’s a money thing. But still.

Leon, as an almost Welsh person, are you refusing to comment on Welsh football? You can do Welsh wine if you prefer.

PS. Word verification – grwrlu, which must be Welsh for gorilla.

25. Welshy - July 5, 2006

Scandalous it may be but they still don’t really do very well do they? I can’t really imagine Bonymaen, Calsonic and Garden Village playing in the real leagues, can you?
I wanted O’Neill for Forest recently (along with three thousand others I expect) but instead we got someone I’d never heard of, whose name escapes me.
Toshack did indeed retire a million years ago but then after Sparky Marky left we had him back again… Grwrlu! (Gorillas is good but I like it as an expletive)

26. leon - July 5, 2006

Wrexham (a town that was the nearest thing we had to ‘civilisation’ in my corner of Wales) were a pretty formidable team in their time – I think the Welsh FA was headquartered there until about 20 years ago, too – but have been near-moribund recently. Welsh wine is probably a slightly better bet than Welsh football, especially with the effects of global warming. Expect grape terraces in the Rhondda within 20 years, Cotes du Cwmbran, that kind of thing…

27. leon - July 5, 2006

Oh yes, I managed to get hold of some German red last night, too. Not bad at all.

28. BiB - July 5, 2006

Leon, but yours is the best-designed blog there is. So good, in fact, I didn’t even know it was a blog.
I plan to write about nothing but Wales, wine and football ever again. I’ve never had as many comments…

29. BiB - July 5, 2006

Leon, for ten angry split seconds, I planned to boycott Italian red for ever so might have been going for the German reds with a vengeance, although, admittedly, the wine-world does not stop beyond the confines of Germany and Italy. Anyway, glad you found some decent German red. And I look forward to some Cotes du Cwmbran in my dotage.

Leon (still), Kutchi coup. Very good indeed. Sorry to comment here, but there isn’t a way of commenting chez toi is there? (Everyone, Leon’s put up a new post!) Was it also chez toi, Leon, that I read an axcoriating appraisal of Wrecsam in all its glory? Must have been. I think I’ve actually been through, or was that Welshpool? Can’t remember. But I love Wales. Really love it. Just not for its sporting prowess, or – yet – its wines.

30. BiB - July 5, 2006

I am not TOTALLY illiterate. That was meant to be excoriating… (Why oh why is there no spell check for comments?)

31. leon - July 5, 2006

No way of commenting at present but another redesign is in the offing so there may be at some time in the future.

Wrexham is a dreary place, even more so since it lost all its industries and character in the past twenty years. At the moment it’s more of a dormitory town for the North-West with pockets of hellish deprivation.

32. Welshy - July 5, 2006

I was going to comment on the number of comments…
Hyddqlm – another welsh word verification… well, nearly…

33. BiB - July 5, 2006

Admittedly, most of them are from me, and then from me again, correcting spelling mistakes.

(WV – iafdox: Welsh anti-depressant.)

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