I don’t follow football, but I know the World Cup is almost upon us; I only have to look at the cars. Here in England, every early-model, locally-made car sporting a twin set of fluttering, St George flags. It looks like the world’s poorest diplomatic corps are out in force, on a £3 budget. The best thing about the flags? They were free in a newspaper… one with tits in it.
In fact, the newspapers here represent a wonderful trick that England’s managed to pull on the planet. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, England is like The Times: conservative, quiet, reasonable and always within arm’s reach of a cup of tea. But the reality of England is The Sun: Big print, offensive words and a massive pair of bangers on page 3 (just so the act of reading doesn’t make you gay).
You can even gauge the mood of the country by the location of the breasts in the paper. I only realised the gravity of the recent shooting in Cumbria when I noticed that the baps had been bumped to page 15. I gather this was out of respect for the dead; one page further into the paper for each of the victims.
But back to the flags; they make me laugh.
There’s a wonderful irony in the fact that these flags, which are so proudly declaring support for England, came free with a newspaper, which in order to be financially viable, means the flags were in all likelihood, made in another country. Probably a country that England would be furious about losing the World Cup to.
But what I really wonder is, why put the flags up at all? Why bother to declare your support for a team that the rest of the country is already supporting by default? If you’re going to put up redundant flags now, then why not all year round declaring “I breath oxygen”, “I’m a bi-ped” or “I’m my own worst enemy”.
But then I realised that not everyone in the country is supporting England. There are hundreds of thousands filthy foreigners, like me, living in England, barracking for our homelands, that we love enough to cheer for, but not enough to live in.
The flags must be for us. To remind us interlopers that we’re a blight on this country, an insult to her queen and a drain on her resources. To make us realise that if we had any self-respect, or even a shred of decency, we’d either put up a flag ourselves or fuck off home.
I don’t really care about the World Cup, but I do care about not being beaten up by a roving pack of “patriots” who pronounce England with three syllables, and so to that end, I’m leaving the country for a few weeks and heading somewhere with the good sense to not care about soccer.
I’d say “good luck”, but the only thing that would be more insufferable than England moaning about how they were robbed of the World Cup, would be England gloating about how they won it. So in that case, “Deutschland wünsche ich Ihnen viel Glück”.