Football Anthems.

Sitting here tonight waiting for England to play in the 2020 Euros I revisited this post from the 2018 World Cup. ‘Come on England- another step closer to bringing it home’ ⚽️

As the 2018 World Cup draws to a close I wanted to add a thought on football anthems and their role in major football tournaments. There have been a fair few of these over the years, most immediately forgotten once the sporting moment has past. However two have stuck in the country’s hearts, one even more so as the 2018 World Cup has shown.

So, the first is the repetitive ‘Vindaloo’ by British band Fat Les, released as a single in 1998 and recorded for the 1998 FIFA World Cup. The majority of the song consists of the phrase “nah nah nah” and the word “vindaloo” repeated over and over occasionally interspersed with other lines such as “And we all like vindaloo” and “We’re England; we’re gonna score one more than you”.
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The other is “Three Lions” a song released in 1996 as a single by English band The Lightning Seeds to mark the England football team’s hosting of that year’s European Championships…written by the Lightning Seeds’ Ian Broudie, with comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner…providing the lyrics.

This is another song with simple and very repetitive lyrics and this seems to be one of the secrets of the staying power of a football anthem. Three Lions contributed to the nations feel- good feeling as hope slowly started to build that we might actually get somewhere this World Cup and we very nearly did! This song, more so than Vindaloo, which is catchy in its own right, sums up nationalism- ‘its coming home’ and although it didn’t this time, hope slowly started to rise that it might.
Ultimately that was what this world cup was all about for us British people- national identity, national pride and national cohesion.

The Power of the Dog

Rudyard Kipling – 1865-1936

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie—
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find—it’s your own affair—
But… you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!).
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone—wherever it goes—for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we’ve kept ’em, the more do we grieve:
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long—
So why in—Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

Find Them Dead by Peter James

Find Them Dead (Roy Grace, #16)

Find Them Dead by Peter James

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My first Peter James and #Roy Grace. I’m hooked. Clever story telling with historic and literary references woven in. Set on the Sussex coast with lots of local mentions,’ Find Them Dead’ covers County Lines drug runs, a detailed court case, including jury nobbling, an in-depth insight into the workings of Sussex Police. An interesting ending that I didn’t see coming. Brilliant.

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Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce.

Miss Benson's Beetle

Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Miss Benson’s search for a Golden Beetle in New Caledonia had me running to the atlas and searching Google images for pictures of shiny beetles. This is a book about being different, about everything not being as it might seem on the surface. It’s about gender difference and class difference. Most of all it is about striving for your dreams and not giving up. Life is for living and going out there and living it, whatever struggle that might entail. And it is about Golden beetles.

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Death Comes Knocking by Graham Bartlett.

Death Comes Knocking: Policing Roy Grace's Brighton

Death Comes Knocking: Policing Roy Grace’s Brighton by Graham Bartlett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I haven’t yet read any of Peter James’s Roy Grace series- set around Brighton and East Sussex. I will do now. James’s books draw on in-depth research into the lives of Brighton and Hove police. His friend Graham Bartlett was a long-serving detective in the city once described as Britain’s ‘crime capital’. Together, in Death Comes Knocking, they have written a gripping account of the city’s most challenging cases. I really enjoyed these real life vignettes of the crime world in and around Brighton, as told by Graham Bartlett- especially fascinated with the chapter on Brighton and Hove Football Club and the policing involved on match days. Looking forward to making my way through the fictional series now.

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Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare.

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

Much Ado About Nothing

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amusing romantic gossip and goings on in Messina- women trying to snare their men; men trying to escape, then succumbing:

‘When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married’
-Much Ado About Nothing, Act 2 Scene 3

The BBC Radio dramatisation of this Shakespeare comedy , with David Tennant and Emilia Fox is excellent.

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Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie.

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book will stay with me for a long time. We hear about freedom fighters on the news- young British Muslims going off to fight the jihad and the horrors this involves, but the huge reality of the consequences and the devastation on themselves and their families is often not comprehended . Kamila Shamsie goes right to the heart of this in succinct, no-nonsense prose. Direct, matter of fact and hard hitting. The words smacked you in the face before you realised what had happened. Enjoyed it? Maybe not. However I was deeply moved.

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