World Cup ‘fever’? For Gavin Haynes, the screwdriver is firmly embedded in the pig’s bladder – and not just because of the woeful new Dizzee Rascal song
“Ball ball ball,” sang Joe Cornish in his Adam & Joe Show standard ‘The Footie Song’: “Footie footie footie.” I have to say, I concur wholeheartedly with his wise words. Football… well, whoop-de-doo!
Summoning up fake enthusiasm for ver byootiful gayme is a practice I have long since dispensed with, and I’d rather hoped the rest of the nation might’ve decided to finally give it a rest too.
No such luck. As that time of the decade approaches, and the International Millionaire Spitroasting Conference descends on South Africa, the entire British way of life is about to undergo a collective aneurysm. Even Glastonbury will soon suffer the indignity of big screens showing big games, while your favourite art-punk act is rendered as a far-off din playing to a crowd of three on the Park Stage.
An NME colleague once tried to convince me that Joey Barton was a ‘rock’n’roll footballer’. Not long after, he was jailed for assault. But our hack had already missed the central point: Barton couldn’t be rock’n’roll to start with no matter how many pints he sank or barstools he nutted, because football is just not rock’n’roll.
It is not outsider culture. It is the opposite. It’s homogeneity as culture. Its central message is that you are not an individual, but a tiny cog that delivers unqualified obedience to club and country. And that you must therefore on all occasions leave your brains at the stadium door.
The act of caring overly about 22 men and a pig’s bladder is inherently ridiculous. That’s why every footie song ever ends up sounding like ‘Agadoo’. Music amplifies meanings, so stretching sport-based words across a musical canvas only holds up to the light how pathetically arbitrary the whole thing is. That’s why there’s more soul in the worst song in the world about sex than there is in the best song about football. Except ‘Three Lions’. Natch.
Still, no matter how well-tested this theory is, another season of silliness is now upon us. Dizzee Rascal, not content with inflicting a literal interpretation of old new rave heroes Shitdisco on the nation with his recent Number One, is serving up a big number two in the form of his James Corden collaboration – for Simon Cowell and charidee.
It’s a cover of Tears For Fears, spliced with Blackstreet’s ‘No Diggity’, and can only potentially be worse than it already seems on paper if Corden sings it all in a West Indian comedy accent. Even Mark E Smith has finally found the one thing in the world that doesn’t sound cool with him mumbling over it, in the form of Shuttleworth’s ‘England’s Heartbeat’.
There are the stolid official songs, the musical equivalent of a corporate box: Shakira’s phoned-in number emphasising warrior parallels, and K’Naan’s Official FIFA © World Cup (TM) Anthem ‘Some Shit About Waving Flags’.
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And what’s this? Yes, there’s even the return of ‘Agadoo’ hitmakers Black Lace, with ‘We Are The England Fans’. Well, there you go… Push pineapple, shake that tree England.