Friday, June 25, 2004

Why we lost?

Before last night's game, I got the following invite:

"[S]ince a lot of you live in or around god's county of Islington, I thought I'd see if any of you fancy joining us for football later. Some friends and I are planning is to watch it at The Islington Bar and Dining House. An unusual venue you might think? But the owners have barred Nathan Barley, banned the Japanese folktronica nerds and binned their entire stock of sun-dried tomato ale in favour of a huge screen and cold lager. Best of all, it was pretty empty for the last match, as no self respecting Ingurland fan (or Portuguese for one-night-only-Scot) wants to be watching the match surrounded by square glasses wearing chin strokers. So, a win-win; cool bar, nice screen, empty."

well, it was close to Bethnal Green, I thought. Why not?

So where do I end up? Back in the Portuguese-run Costa do Estoril cafe on Lavender Hill. And to rub salt in the wounds, we found ourselves next to two Scots who were baying for English blood all the way through.

Even if we had to put up with celebrations by the wrong side, it was quite enlightening watching the media war. The Costa do Estoril shows the game on the RTP network by satellite, direct from Lisbon. And after the game commentators took to the street to report on the cheering fans.

The English were particularly instructive. Standing outside a bar, all lagered-up and bare-chested, exposing red torsos and beer bellies, an RTP correspondent tried to interview a fan. Except his word were drowned out by belligerent shouting by other fans around him. Then a particularly inebriated individual not only tried to cover the camera lens but approached the microphone and started shouting obscenities to the Portuguese nation at large.


I wonder what new vocabulary young Portuguese fans learned last night which they might find themselves using in this morning's English classes.

RTP quickly cut away from the aggressive tone of England fans 'on holiday' to the sight of joyful Portuguese dancing in the streets. One woman had a T-shirt on, with English written on it:

"If you don't want the euro (under which the currency's symbol), then you can't have the euro (under which the logo of Euro 2004)".

Which, I think, makes the point quite succintly.

The next question though: where can I get one like it? Do I have any Portuguese readers? If so, let me know and I'll send you a classy blue Cambridgeshire in Europe T-shirt with the stars around it!

No comments: