Sunday, June 13, 2010

Favourite World Cup moments so far

My two favourite moments from Cape Town so far came not at the France v Uruguay game, which was a turgid affair with little atmosphere – due in no small part to the vuvuzelas drowning out singing and the lack of foreign fans. They came out on the streets.

Cape Town's Fan Fest was full from early in the morning on Friday, so come kick-off thousands of fans were milling around outside. They surrounded the fence, many of them climbing up onto trees to catch a glimpse of South Africa on the big screen, which was framed by the imposing table mountain. One enterprising fan climbed up onto the concrete roof of the neighbouring bus station, egged on by the rowdy crowd below, who were honking their infernal horns furiously. Three policemen clambered atop a fire engine to talk him down. Their efforts quickly became half-hearted, then non-existent, when they realised they could watch the game from their vantage point.

On Saturday evening, I went down to the V&A Waterfront to watch the England v USA game in the Dubliner bar, where I met a lovely American couple, Jamie Marie and Stephen Turner, who were watching the game with their 16-month-old son.

As we chatted at half-time, a pissed-up, fat, sweaty female English fan, wearing a nasty muffin top, heaved herself up onto one of the round tables. She was part of a group of equally fat and drunk men, whose face paint was running – together they looked like a group of paedophile clowns. They had earlier been lambasting a bunch of US kids draped in flags, who seemed bewildered by the wide repertoire of songs at the command of the English fans. The kids could only respond with chants of “U-S-A”, to which the English replied: “You've only got one chant.”

Upon seeing the drunken English fan gyrating seedily and wobbling perilously close to the edge of the table, a clean-cut young American girl – they were all clean-cut, with nice teeth and good skin – took to her table. While she was far prettier and slimmer, she was clearly far more uncomfortable – and sober – than her competitor. She shuffled around awkwardly as the steamer peeled off her jersey and did the bump-and-grind. The English fan probably would have taken more clothes off as the whole bar cheered, but the show ended before it could escalate to pale, flabby nudity. The US girl leapt off, fully-clothed and clearly relieved.

The game may have ended 1-1, but is was clearly 1-0 to the English fans.

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