Wednesday, 26 May 2010

World in motion

My eldest (4) goes to a nursery which is very multinational - all sorts of foreign kids, from all over the world. It's very good but its make-up is nothing special; it just reflects the nursery-using population round here.

He knows the local team is Arsenal and he's being indoctrinated by the nursery teachers (local girls) to follow them - he recently informed us, apropos of nothing: 'I hate Chelsea'. He knows that some Arsenal players are Spanish and French just like some of his nursery friends.

I assume this is why he simply doesn't understand the World Cup. The notion of an England team makes no sense to him despite our spending a while to explain it. His biggest objection was that unlike him some of his friends wouldn't follow England even though they lived in the same place as him - this was literally inexplicable.

Do a child's horizon's broaden gradually, country coming behind other identifications? Or is this how he's always going to think, as a Londoner first and foremost - a born and bred cosmopolitan?

By the way, the title of this post gives me an excuse to refer to the very greatest World Cup song (below). It's actually the only one that's good in any way at all. It would have been a hit without the football tie-in and you can't say that about any of the others.

Its use in the current Mars advert is a great idea, I think. Not much happens: a now-tubby John Barnes (too many Mars Bars probably) does his rap - yes, still badly - and lots of people dance around him, unorganised and, it appears, spontaneously. They're in a park. They look normal - they're not even over-excited as people often are in advertland.

As was pointed out here, 'a montage of people having a good time being alive' is something the internet does very well and, as one would expect, TV advertisers are making the most of the insight. It seems you don't even need a montage: fairly ordinary people having innocent fun allied to a memorable soundtrack seems very affecting right now.


Brit said...

John Barnes was one of my boyhood heroes. I know all that rap.

Also, I can confirm that he eats too many Mars bars. About 5 or 6 years ago I was at Anfield and he was sitting with his kids on the row below me, about 6 seats along. At the end of the match as everyone stood up, a lady behind him spoke to him. She was holding a partly eaten Mars bar, and Barnesy turned round, leaned forward and took a bite out of it. Absolutely true.

Must quibble with WIM being the only England song that's 'good in any way'. 3 Lions has the vanishingly rare value of being singable on the terraces - with wonderful irony, the Germans love it and adopted it after Euro 96

Sean said...

Nope I think we all might have it wrong.Pavarotti

Does not go too well with this though

Watch out for the playground arguments Garth!

Gaw said...

Brit: I suppose 3 Lions is 'good' in that way. But I've never liked it partly for that 'singable on the terraces' reason - which probably makes me a very unsuitable judge of football songs. But the main reason I don't like it is because of its pathetically self-pitying sentiment '30 years of hurt', as if that entitles you to anything. Diddums. More stoicism please.

Sean: The Pavarotti is superb, so much so that it surely can't be considered a mere football song?

zmkc said...

We used to live in Vienna, but my husband's work covered Croatia and Bosnia and various other places, so we used to travel a lot - and our youngest child (then about 3) always asked as we crossed a border: 'Are we in a new world now?' or 'What world is this?' These days the children blame us for a lack of any proper sense of belonging to one particular place (although one of them at least has a strange attachment to Vienna). Therefore I think yours are much luckier than ours and you can feel happy they feel strongly part of where they live - at least, if ours are to be believed.

Brit said...

It's 44 years of hurt now, and counting. That's the best line; admirably honest and accurate summary of the England supporter's lot, rather than the usual 'we rule' business.

You can go too far with that approach - remember Del Amitri's one for Scotland in 98? "Don't come home too soon". Arf!

malty said...

Reflections...four is a an enchanting age Gaw, the little twerps melt your heart, enjoy ye while you may, later they get expensive, stroppy, restless and bothersome.
At four our sprog No 1 knew what a Morgan looked like, a habit he later turned into a career, his sister could act at three, a habit she later turned into a career.
Perhaps No 1 Will play for Tottenham or Arsenal, think of the freebies.

Barendina Smedley said...

Snap. My 5 year old son required a considerable amount of convincing before he understood that Chelsea was unlikely to win the World Cup. (He also learned in his nursery days to hate Chelsea, but as he said recently, 'I still don't like Chelsea, but my friend likes Chelsea, so I don't tell him I don't like Chelsea because that wouldn't be kind, would it?' What a nice place those terraces would be if populated by empathetic 5 year olds only!) Meanwhile, his World Cup incomprehension was only increased by the fact that most of his best friends come from countries not notable (as far as I know) for their football prowess - Iran, India, the USA - while this London boy who rejoices in his Scots heritage simply couldn't understand (a) that England and Scotland weren't part of the same team, but also that (b) Scotland rarely even qualifies for anything. Also, over the past few weeks his class has gone absolutely cricket mad, causing further confusion. This may well be a long few weeks.

More to the point, Gareth, you have now got "World in Motion" going through my head. Thank you so very much for that.