Thursday, 15 May 2008

Two stories, one common denominator

Two books that I have read recently are worthy of a joint review as they both deal with the same subject matter, being a spectator at the FIFA World Cup. The two books being Dancing In The Streets: Tales from World Cup City by Don Watson and Australia United by Tony Wilson.

Dancing In The Streets is the story of Don Watson, a Scotsman, who follows Celtic and Leeds and his journey to the USA to follow the fortunes of Ireland at the 1994 World Cup. Twelve years later, Wilson does a similar thing and follows the fortunes of Australia at the 2006 World Cup and tells us his story in Australia United. It is probably stating the obvious that both books are by their very subject matter, similar in nature and style.

Where the two books do differ is in their location and how the locals react to the event. For Wilson he is in football mad Germany where everyone is absorbed by all the events of the tournament and wants to talk about it. In contrast, Watson is in a country that on a whole, is largely disinterested in the event and often he struggles to find bars that will show the games on TV as in New York particularly, they are more interested in the fortunes of their basketball team, the New York Knicks in the NBA playoffs than they are in their national football team.

For most of us, we will probably never get the chance to go to a World Cup and these two authors capture perfectly what it is like to be at the event that we will have been watching on television. Both Watson and Wilson manage to get to their respective World Cup Finals and the events leading up to and at the final are well worth the read especially Wilson's mad rush through the streets of Berlin makes for hilarious reading. Just as entertaining is Watson's "inter-racial" warfare with the Tongs, who object to him standing up at the final.

Both books are well worth the read and it was nice to reminisce and remember the events of the two tournaments, especially the 1994 event, whose memories were a little less clear than those of two years ago. Myself along with a friend with all things going to plan hope to attend the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, hopefully our experiences are just as enriching as those in these books.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home