Monday, July 12, 2010

Run It Up The Flagpole And See If It Floats

But which flagpole and which flag?

It's Sunday afternoon as I sit quietly and put pen to laptop. Yes, yes it's been a while I know. I'm sorry about that but a serious lack of staff at work has meant that I've been involved lately in doing things that I usually don't have to do.

This has meant being out and about in my car, driving around and collecting from customers. It's been quite enjoyable, what with the gorgeous weather we've been having here, the fact that I've had a good few songs to learn and so have been able to listen to them whilst driving and the fact that my car is one of those that even David Blacker might just approve of.

As I've been driving things have popped into my head on a regular basis, things that I should write a post or two about. Have I remembered these things? Did I make a note of them to come back to?

No, like fuck did I. But I have a few things lurking in the murkiest depths of my sharp as a blancmange mind. One is about someone close to me who came out the other day. Well, I mean came out to me as I was last on the list of people to be told. It feels like coming first at the worst drummer in my band competition, something I don't actually know much about as I did in fact come third in that for the last two years in a row.

The other is about my quandary about deciding which team to support in tonight's world cup final.

Sadly for you, whose smutty and gossipy mind wants to know all about the coming out story, I've chosen the second item on the agenda.

You see this football thing is weird over here. Many of us have been brought up on football. We've played it as kids, perhaps as adults and have followed a club and our national team with that mix of pride, continual disappointment and eternal hope (in the case of England supporters). Perhaps it's like being a cricket fan in Lanka in that you don't feel as if you've chosen a team, the team chooses you, it just happens, that's the way it is.

One of the things I've observed during this world cup is how many Lankans have followed it and how they (or you) have chosen their allegiances. As far as football is concerned I'm English, except in the rare event that England would ever play Sri Lanka, in which case I'd be as Lankan as a fellow going on one of those three hour hunger strikes.

I've been in contact with people (girls mostly, who of course shouldn't really be watching football at all) who've told me in some detail why they're supporting a team in a particular match. In Germany against Uruguay it's Uruguay because the person like Diego Forlan's hair.

In Germany vs England it's Germany because of the fact that Wayne Rooney's a wanker. Well current opinion, unless you're a Man United supporter or Scottish, is that he is, but that doesn't mean we stop supporting England, nor does it mean we'll think the same of him when he next plays well for the national team.

For many people there are valid reasons for their choice of team in any one match, and I mean valid reasons that are true to the person's national allegiances. For example most England supporters will rarely be fans of Germany, a sad fact. Most Danish fans will want Sweden to lose and just about everyone in the world except those from Uruguay wanted Ghana to beat them. I doubt that there's a Kiwi or an Aussie who wanted the other team to prosper and everyone wanted Brazil to win after their home nation.

As we get to the final, with about forty minutes before kick off, I've struggled to choose a team to be blessed with the honour of my support, something I'm sure both managers will be keen on. As football teams go both of them have my respect, with a clear intention to play football as most fans want it to be played. A commentator here said the other day that the final will be "total football against, well, total football".

I have no blood line to either nation. There's no Spanish blood that I know of in the RD genes, though Academic bro's girlfriend is Spanish, so there's a slight connection there. Neither is there any blood from the Dutch side, though my passion for lamprais suggests that there might be.

I don't have any anti feelings either. Neither team knocked England out as a result of a foul, a dodgy decision or bit of cheating and, as far as I know, the Brits or the Lankans have never had any war with one of them.

Why would I go for Holland?

Well the main reason is that Dutch accents are just wicked. There's something to a Dutch accent that's funny and friendly. As soon as I hear one I want to laugh and be a mate of the speaker. And there's the lamprais connection, a tenuous one but one that exists nevertheless. That is, however, it. I can't cite any Dutch music as being influential on me, though I quite like Van Halen, and windmills and tulips aren't my thing.

What about Spain, I hear you ask.

There's the food overall. I'm not a huge fan of Spanish food, which is not to say I don't like it. I do, but it's just not up there with my favourite cuisines. But it's good and a damn sight better than Gouda and whatever other Dutch food there may be.

Then there's music. I like a bit of Spanish music and of course the debut to my expected long dance career took place in Barcelona itself. Solskala, the funky trippy Latin thing I'm in, is heavily influenced by Spanish rhythms and grooves. Incidentally we have a gig on Friday in central London if anyone wants to come.

That's about it. A finely balanced situation that could easily have gone any way.

The Spaniards have just edged it for me. As we approach the kick off I've decided to give them my backing, to shout, scream and will them to win. It might just make the difference. For I believe in these tipping point things, the principle that one small action might be the very one that breaks the camel's back.

By the time you read this you'll know whether I was right or wrong. We'll all know if the game has lived up to the promise, if it will be one of total football or if each team will cancel the other one out.

Happy Monday all.


Gallicissa said...

Paul, the Octopus was right again.

magerata said...

Good for Spain! But I know a lot, A LOT of people who want to eat that octopus as sushi.
Even though, I watched almost all championship matches (I missed a few) and my allegiance lies else where, got to respect the champs. as per Dutch, you should hear them say, Gotverdomme (godverdomme), nether funny nor friendly.
Another four years of club football but this time we got some US clubs and leagues too! with Beckham thrown in.