My World Cup Waste Of Time
ITV1 are getting into the World Cup spirit early. I’m not a big follower of football. I keep tabs on how Northampton Town are doing, mainly thanks to listener Martin Shipperley, who texts in their half-time and full-time scores to the 6 Music Chart every Saturday during the season. But I do turn out to the armchair to watch England when they are involved in the big international or European tournaments. Every two years, basically. I have no problem being a fairweather fan. England are largely useless, despite talented individuals, and following them does not bring an awful lot of pleasure, so they should be grateful that I take the time. I am excited about the World Cup nonetheless. We know the score – England will do well against Paraguay and give us all false hope, then they’ll lose to Trinidad and give themselves more stress than they ought in the rest of the group matches, scraping through, only to be knocked out in the semis, on penalties. (See? I don’t know much about football, but I understand England’s chances all too well. That’s why I am wearing this excellent cut-out Wayne Rooney mask that came free in the Sunday People.) Anyway, to business – we sacrificed substantial chunks of Saturday and Sunday to the otherwise cruelly-ignored ITV1. On Saturday, it was the World Cup final. Oh no it wasn’t, it was England vs The Rest Of The World in the Soccer Aid match at Old Trafford. (Soccer Aid? Who thought of that? Who calls it Soccer?) I’d caught some of the preamble during the week, which was fairly weak, but the match was the meat and potatoes.
This was well presented by ITV. Ant and Dec made credible live sports anchors (a future career-swerve for them there perhaps?), and the game itself was treated as seriously as a real match. This turned out to be the correct approach, as the celebrities on both teams took it totally seriously too. England won, 2-1, one goal scored by Ferdinand, the other by Jonathan Wilkes, aka Robbie Williams’s Official Best Mate, who looked pretty useful. The ROW team pulled one back when a slimmed-down Maradonna pootled a penalty past an otherwise commendable Jamie Theakston, who is a very tall man. (I know. Surreal isn’t it?) Other non-professionals of note included Bradley Walsh, Dean Lennox-Kelly off of Shameless and, despite his years, Angus Deayton. Clearly, England had to win, or else captain Robbie Williams would have found another reason to write a self-pitying pop song and release it as a single. In all, I enjoyed this. If you want to donate some money to Unicef, do it here.
Then last night, I am almost ashamed to say I gave 90 minutes of my life not to a football match but to a documentary about a party. That’s right, a feature-length documentary about some people having a drink, nibbles and a meal in a marquee in a back garden. Admittedly it was the back garden of Beckingham Palace, for this was Full Length & Fabulous, whose subtitle was corrected punctuated at most of the ad-breaks (“The Beckhams’ World Cup Party“) but not for one of them (“The Beckham’s World Cup Party“), which was odd. Almost as if the Beckhams themselves only had to time to correct one of them. They are busy people. Especially Mrs Beckham, who seemed to be on top of all the other details of this bash, right down to the colour of the wine glasses and the fake butterflies being stapled to the fake trees (“I really like butterflies”).
For the record, I have no problem with Victoria and David. They seem to at least quite like each other, and he comes across as a fairly natural, unaffected young man. She certainly has a propensity for sounding like she has no idea what people think of her (she stated with confidence on the programme that men don’t fancy her but that women like her – do they though?). My objection to this documentary, and to the half-a-million-costing bash, is that I watched it.
So many rich people in expensive clothes bidding huge sums of their money at an auction for things they don’t need, under the moral umbrella of charity. If it cost five hundred thousand quid to lay on, why didn’t the Beckhams just give that money to charity? I’m not doubting their commitment to the cause, simply questioning the need for this Roman level of opulence for its own sake. You could say that they’re keeping a lot of waiters and flower arrangers in business, but the same could be said of the Royal Family, or the Nazis. Job creation cannot be a justification on its own. You could also say, hey, they provide entertainment for ordinary people with grey lives. Yes, but what kind of entertainment? An hour and a half of having our noses rubbed in the excesses of the wealthy? Look! They can afford to stick their hand in the air and commit a hundred and fifty thousand pounds to have a meal with Puff Daddy! (This was Wayne Rooney, by the way, unless it was an ordinary member of the public wearing the mask from the Sunday People. What is he going to say when he turns up on Mr Daddy’s doorstep with Coleen? “Alright, Puff? Where shall we put our cases? . . . You remember! That big party in a tent in the back garden? David and Victoria Beckham? He’s a soccer player. Hey, get your hands off me, I’ve paid my hundred and fifty grand!”)
The biggest phony of the night was Robbie Williams, who pretends he’s bothered by the cameras, but would surely shrivel up and die if there weren’t any to record his sincerity and self-depracation [see: comment below]. Perhaps that’s why I enjoyed the football match: Robbie was just one out of 22 men on the field, and the camera sometimes wasn’t on him!
Hey, 12 days to go.