The Ultimate Guide to World Cup Culture in London
The games may be in Germany, but the real action is right here in London
It’s here at last! After weeks, months, even years (four to be precise) of anticipation, the 2006 World Cup is upon us. But that doesn’t mean we should be glued to our sofas for the next month.
There are plenty of places in London to watch the games, and a host of football-related cultural events happening around the capital for those slow days, like when the most exciting match scheduled is Iran vs Angola. Week-by-week throughout the tournament, Time Out will be featuring the best places for you to get your football fix. Check out this week’s recommendations.Advertisement
Numerous bars and pubs will be providing big-screen action, but you can watch matches in all sorts of other places like restaurants, cinemas, clubs and outdoors. On every England match day, Dalston’s Vortex will host a World Cup Jazz Ball, featuring musicians versed in the music of our opponent’s country doing battle with English jazzers in front of a huge TV showing the game. The Carling Academy Islington will be hosting Football Rocks events, with tribute bands playing World Cup classics at half-time. And book now for Guilty Pleasures’ World Cup Final party at Somerset House on July 9.
Music and football are often uneasy bedfellows (think Hoddle & Waddle and ’Anfield Rap’), but throw some comedy (or comedians) in there and something strangely magical occurs (think ‘Vindaloo’ and ‘Three Lions’). Embrace’s official England song ‘World At Your Feet’ may be calculated to uplift, but much funnier and more realistic is ‘We’re Gonna Do Quite Well (Injury Permitting)’ by comedians Steve Gribbin and John Ryan. Time Out spoke to them about the genesis of this gem.
If your eyes haven’t turned square from watching round-the-clock football coverage, you could head to the cinema for some soccer-themed films. The Barbican and Curzon Soho are both running special seasons and new releases ‘Offside’ and ‘Things To Do Before You’re 30’ have a strong football flavour. And selected Odeon cinemas will be screening matches alongside their regular film programmes. Or for some more contemplative visual stimulation, several galleries are showing World Cup photography exhibitions.
If you must stay at home, read our guide to the new technology designed to enhance our TV viewing experience, and discover who won our BBC vs ITV battle of the broadcasters. And in the ad breaks, you could do worse than flicking through one of these World Cup books. Wherever you are, Blanka's novel range of brightly-coloured WRLDCP t-shirts, spelling the names of international teams but without the vowels, is the ideal garb to set you apart from the strip-wearing masses.
And once England have been knocked out, raise your spirits with a nostalgic trip back to swinging London in 1966, when the World Cup belonged to us. Or find out why Terry Venables is Paul Heaton of The Beautiful South's favourite Londoner.
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