FIFA gone Longby Roger Young / 07.12.2009
I’m old school when it comes to street parties. I expect fights. So the World Cup Long Street thing was pretty disappointing by my standards. The highlight of the event was, for me, seeing Flat Stanley live and not being able to hear them above the vuvuzelas. Me, I hate Vuv’s, but yeah, if I had to choose between Flat Stanley and constant atonal ear shattering hell, you know which way I’d lean.
I went to FIFA’s Long Street™ purely for research-into-human-behavior reasons. Basically I wanted to see what kind of violence would break out if we didn’t get placed in the group with Tibet and, oh say, Mars? But I was pretty sure they were going to fix that draw to ensure all the waitrons gave good service until at least the second round. This line of thinking was obviously misinformed, we could win the cup and the service will still suck in any restaurant in Cape Town and not just over FIFA Time. Yay!
And true to form I arrived at FIFA’s Long Street™ and there was a queue. I don’t know about you, but to me there is something fundamentally wrong with having to queue to walk down MY street, I mean, yeah, sixty thousand people, security, all that, but outraged locals like me need to vent about something. So the beer was also overpriced.
It’s at this point that I think it’s appropriate to talk about racial stereotyping in football mascots and TKZ. Not that they’re related subjects they’re just what sprang to mind. I mean, okay, giant Bafana mascots on sticks and TKZ, not the same thing but even though there were FIFA Huge Screens™ all the hundreds of meters from Kloof to Wale and Big Stacks of FIFA Speakers™ as well, it was impossible to hear the music at all. So during TKZ’s set I instead fixated on the two story high mascots on sticks that were just not representative man, one was brown fabric and that’s right, but the other was blue and I know that Booth can be scarily white sometimes but he’s not blue white, he’s more pink white.
And no white people ever get that blue, even after dying in their chairs waiting for waitrons and slowly decomposing (yeah waitron-at-Mojito’s-who-when-we-saw-you-for-the-first-time-after-waiting-half-an-hour-asked-us-to-surrender-the-table-because-we-hadn’t-ordered-anything-yet-and-we-were-holding-up-the-queue, I’m talking about you) but I digress.
There was this really strange moment when David Beckham came on the stage and everyone cheered. Except it wasn’t David Beckham, when it went to close up on the screen it looked like Dave Guselli or some other greatest hits radio DJ. The MC had this irritating habit of telling us to clap for some theoretical entity, like “Okay everyone, lets give Seb Blatter™ a round of applause,” and then the Miss World Finalists walk on stage. We were even asked to applaud for Helen Zille which most people did quite enthusiastically until Flat Stanley came on stage instead, that just really blew minds, like, “whoa! That’s not who I voted for.” Anyway, the Miss World finalist were all kinds of bland hotness but I was just looking for the two girls who got kicked off for filming themselves in a three-way but then realized they got kicked off and that that was Miss Universe, typical of FIFA to bring us substandard non-porn beauty queens™.
The most exciting thing that happened was when I was looking up at the foreign camera crews on the balcony and placing bets on which one would get mugged first on the way home (Result: A draw between the Germans and the BBC. I lost fifty rond on that. I was pretty sure the French were going down). A guy in a full fluffy bear suit came ambling past me (yeah, bear suits, so 2006, trust FIFA to bring out the most derivative in us) he wasn’t walking straight and he had his bear head in his hands, I mean, it was still on his head and he was clutching it, then he did this half pirouette and sorta fell gracefully to the ground and then was trampled on by an impi of vuvuzela brandishing guys who were just, y’know, joyfully passing through. The medics rushed in and picked him up and got him out of there before the vuv impi could turn around, but yeah, there was something poetic in the way that the hated vuv’s kept killing all that was terrible about FIFA’s Long Street™.
So I had pretty much had enough, and the press of the bodies and the warm beer and the sports references and the terrible music kept reminding me of Splashy Fen so I wanted to leave but the people I was with had gone exploring and there I was granted a moment of perfect clarity about all the Good FIFA is Going to Bring Us™. Outside Mojito’s there was this large German man. How could I tell you ask? He was pasty and wearing a German flag as a cape and one of those floppy tall football hats in German flag colours and sweating unnaturally. Also he kept shouting, “Germany!” while hitting a djemebe like it was an extremely naughty child while on some highly refined crack. He was banging that thing so fast and so out of sync with anything that could be called rhythm that it was almost impressive. So this young white barefoot dreadlocked Long Street hippy comes up to him and seems to be trying to show him how to play it, he plays a beat for the German Flag Wearer and then asks him to copy it, but no luck, more hamster-on-speed type bashing. The hippy gives up but then a few minutes later a young black woman comes up to GFW and tries to drum along with him to show him a rhythm but again our kind South African gestures were met with the childlike smug machine gun banging of the GFW. Finally a coloured woman walks up to GFW and says, “listen, I don’t know you but, could you just shut the fuck up!”
In the coming months our patience is going to be tested by all sorts of foreigners misappropriating South Africanisms left and right wing, what this will teach us most definitely is what being a South Africa is not, it will also unite us (in way that no other emotion can) with hate for everything other than South African and we will be able to spend many hours in the years to come bonding with our fellow countrymen by regaling each other with stories of the awful FIFA Soccer Tourist™ We Once Met Who Made Us Happy To Be South African™.
All images © and courtesy Jaime Smith. Contact her here.