Archive for the ‘World Cup’ Category


[READ: March 1, 2022] The Devil Made Me Do It

As South Africa entered the new millennium, things were progressing very slowly (and sometimes regressing).  And Zapiro was watching.

Homophobia was spreading throughout African nations.  There’s a banner that says Queens against Mugabe.  Zapiro ties it together nicely with a picture of Queen Elizabeth with a paper that says “Mugabe lambasts U.K.”

And an anti-rape ad (starring Charlize Theron) was banned because there was public outcry.  Which leads to a later strip in which children learn the rape message: it’s not bad to rape someone in your own family (A lenient sentence was given to a man who raped his daughter); rape is less offensive than an anti-rape ad that offends men; you can get away with rape if you are famous and hire a hotshot legal team.

Apartheid fallout was still happening.

There’s a an amusing picture of Apartheid Hell and the devil is showing all of the people there a video called No person shall be discriminated against on the basis of race, gender ethnic or social origin, culture, sexual orientation….”  Although clearly the powerful men aren’t all getting punished as we see Craig Williamson, a constant figure in these battles, telling the Amnesty Committee to sit, lie down and fetch his amnesty. (more…)

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2002SOUNDTRACK: ANT & DEC-“We’re on the Ball” (2002).

indexEvidently, for nearly every football tournament since 1970, the English team has had a theme song.

Occasionally one of those songs will reach non-footbnall fans.  In 1990 New Order did “World in Motion” which New Order fans will know whether they like football or not.  One of the band members described the single as “the last straw for Joy Division fans.”

Who the heck are Ant &Dec?  They are TV presenters (of what I’m not sure) with really questionable haircuts.  I don’t know if they wrote this song or just sing it. I’m not even sure what the verses are on about as they seem to be irrelevant–filler until you get to the chorus.  A vibrant horn melody introduces the easily chantable:

We’re on the ball
We’re on the ball
We’re on the ball
We’re on the ball
We’re on the ball
We’re on the ball
We’re on the ball
We’re on the ball

The final verse is one that any football fan can appreciate:

Japan, Korea, here come England
It’s Neville to Cambell
Cambell to Rio
Rio to Scholesy
Scholesy Gerrard
Gerrard to Beckham
Beckham to Heskey
Heskey to Owen
To Nodd

Honestly I prefer Fat Les’ “Vindaloo,” which has a huge na na na part and this wonderful boast: “We’re gonna score one more than you.”

[READ: September 25, 2019] “We are the World”

Nick Hornby wrote his final music article for the New Yorker in 2001.  He then wrote this article about soccer and then stopped contributing to the magazine at all (until mid 2020, it turns out).

This article is all about the World Cup.  I’m sure there are many writers who can write wonderful things about the World Cup, but I feel like Hornby’s unbridled love for the game, combined with his quick wit and mild snark, make his World Cup writing excellent.

It’s always weird to read about things that happened nearly twenty years ago as if they were current. It’s even weirder to read about things that happened nearly twenty years ago that you didn’t care about, or possibly even know happened, from someone who cares very deeply about it.  “It is mostly pointless to try to convince an American readership of the joys of football (yes football) but it would be hard for anyone not to take pleasure in the rhythm of life in a football-mad country during the world cup.”

The world cup was on at 7:30 AM in England most days . England’s tabloids had to battle the World Cup for eyeballs and gave up: “On the morning of England’s game with Brazil the cover of the Daily Mirror showed only the flag of St George–England’s official flag–and the caption, ‘This page is cancelled. Nothing else matters.'” (more…)

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grant12SOUNDTRACK: BELA FLECK, EDGAR MEYER, ZAKIR HUSSAIN-Tiny Desk Concert #70 (July 26, 2010).

belaBela Fleck is a rather legendary musician, and yet I realized I don’t really know that much about him.  And somehow I never knew he was a banjo player (that’s a pretty serious omission on my part).  I had never heard of the other two musicians, although they are apparently world-class masters of the bass fiddle and the tabla.

I also didn’t expect this Tiny Desk Concert to be so interestingly world-musicy.

This set is only two songs but each is about 7 minutes long and they are both very cool (and from the album The Melody of Rhythm).

Fleck’s playing is amazing, with a tone that is often unlike a standard banjo sound.  And I absolutely love the tabla–I am fascinated by this instrument.  The first song, “Bubbles” is an amazing demonstration of Fleck’s banjo.  About midway through he is playing in a decidedly middle eastern style (which works great with the tabla).  And when the bass starts getting bowed around 1:50, it adds an amazing richness to this already cool song.   There’s a cool bass solo (I love that the tabla pauses a few times during the solo).  The ending is just wonderful.

Before the second song, “Bahar” (which means “springtime”) they talk about being nervous, which is pretty funny.  This song opens with the bass fiddle’s bowed notes (including a very very high note).  This one seems to be a more solo-centered, with some elaborate work from Fleck after the introduction. And the tabla solo, while brief, is really cool to watch.  I prefer the first song, but the more traditional nature of the second song is a nice counterpart to the first.

[READ: August 24, 2015] Grantland #12

I enjoyed this issue as well.  This was mostly the spring and summer of 2014, which sounds so long ago, and yet so many things seem so current.

CHUCK KLOSTERMAN-“The Life and Times of Kiss”
I love this article about Kiss.  And I wrote about it back here.

WESLEY MORRIS-“Poison Candy”
This is about the disastrous state of female comedies.  It focuses on the movie The Other Woman which is ostensibly a female centered comedy but is entirely other.

BILL SIMMONS-“Sterling’s Fold”
A drumming down of Donald Sterling.  It’s hard for me to believe that this happened over a year ago.

ZACH LOWE-“Building the Brow”
An article about Anthony Davis of the Pelicans, who is proving to be better than anyone imagined. (more…)

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