July 31: winning the world cup

I was in Paris when France won the World Cup. When they beat Belgium in the semi-final we were on a bus going back to the flat in Menilmontant. There was a lot of glee from the people on the street. France were in the World Cup Final. The more I got to see of it the less pleasant it became. As the bus travelled through the streets progress became more and more difficult. People on the steets stopped its progress. They hammered on the sides of the bus, smashing against the glass with fists or whatever metal they had on them. It got so that the bus was being rocked. You would think it was a revolution or a riot. Some people lay down on the road in front of traffic. It was dark now. This was tantanount to a death wish. I looked around at all the joy. This was joy coming out in a dangerous way. You wondered if all these people were really all that interested in football. You wondered if all these people were really so patriotic. You wondered if these people had anything else in their lives that this thing should be so important. The more thay got joyous, the less I got interested. That’s the way it is with me. I have little desire to follow the enthusiasms of others. This, I suppose, was like Carnival of old. A day when all was forgotten. You could run in the town square and the Sherrif of Nottingham would not haul you in for disturbing the peace. You can trash a bus and it is accepted. After the final a few days later there were over 500 arrests made. We didn’t take the bus that night.


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