Got Any Flags

by bicyclemark

I have indeed arrived safe and sound though constantly hungry… here in Berlin. (watch this video for proof) The famous Tim is sitting to my right and most of the blog house has gone to sleep. I’ve no clue where I’m sleeping, so I’ll wait for everyone else to go to bed. Cept that some people are drinking like it’s 1999 and some teenagers just showed up at the door… so who knows when that will be.

Nevermind the shallow details, this blog is still about issues, regardless of how good the US plays or how awesome Ghana is.

I just pointed to an article in the Spiegel, about there being a run on German flags at all the shops. There have been quite a few podcasts recently covering the issue of the world cup and german nationalism. Interesting listening, for example, at Radio Open Source. Tim says this sort of thing was unheard of before this year. Normally someone running around with a German flag attached to their car would be socially cut-off… or scowled at.. or some sort of ostracizing.

A few berliner guests at the party tonight talked about this subject. They said it is pretty strange. Lots of mixed feelings about this new trend of being proud. I’ve heard Americans say its fine and good. But Americans are the last nationality I want to listen to about how much national pride is acceptable.

Naked Fussball

I digress. I’m in berlin for the first time in my life. Some of my favorite vloggers made the trip with me from Amsterdam and that makes it extra nice. Meanwhile, outside.. people drive around with flags attached to their cars. Beep beep beep.

I Speak a Different Kind of Football

by bicyclemark

I may or may not have mentioned that I’m involved in the We All Speak Football initiative that brings together a boatload of bloggers/vloggers/podcasters to produce content about the tournament and spend a few days partying in Berlin at some hipster penthouse apartment. Myself I leave for Berlin this weekend.

But contrary to the neverending amount of writing about the games and the players and the stadiums, I will be doing no such thing. While I like watching the matches; I suffer watching Portugal, I root for the Australians, I love the Côte D’Ivoireans, there are many aspects surrounding the games that I do not like.

First and foremost is the nationalism. The rabid, “we” beat “you”, rally around the flag, life will improve if we win, type spirit that surrounds so many games is not only alarming to me, it is sad. Sad because the world is a shadow of what it could be if governments and citizens had as much interest and invested as much money in infrastructure, education, science, etc, as they do in sporting events and of course – the other nationalistic passtime: making war.

I digress. Over the next few weeks, especially in my podcast and vlogs, I will be focusing on the theme of the social circumstances outside the games. Themes that address immigration and immigrant populations and their focus on the game. Economics, especially in the context of Berlin and Germany, and who benefits and who is left out in the cold during and after the tournament. And of course, the media, as the business of news reduces their attention on the real injustices and issues the effect people everywhere, and focus instead on people wearing funny makeup at the stadium in Leipzig.

All this and hopefully more, coming this month, so stay tuned, and better yet — subscribe to the feed. The first podcast of this series will be ready tonight later this week… unless I burst into flames during this Northern European heatwave.

Back Like Old Times

by bicyclemark

“So who’s still around?” Brooke asked me, fresh off the plane from Berlin. Who is still around. Tricky question in most beloved European cities these days. I tried to name names, stumbling when I’d realize she never knew this person or that person. Sometimes I’d name someone I knew from 4 years ago, other times I’d mention someone I’d only met in the last year… in both cases it reminded me of how tricky time is, resulting in this pseudo-expat-amsterdamer-alzheimers. Where you forget the year, mix up the name, or just go blank.

Photo Hosted at Buzznet.comStill having one of the allstars of my Amsterdam past back in town after a year in Berlin is a great thing. She looks at the city with great excitement, with a certain giddyness that in the daily routine, I sometimes forget. It is, as they say, a breath of fresh air.

Funny thing, as I look up at my first two paragraphs, I think I’ve said similar before when someone returns. It is the way, after all, around these parts. People come and go. They often come back, though it’s not the same. Sometimes they fall right back into things, sometimes they cherish the little things more than the last time. However you go about it, it is a tradition.

Oh.. and as a bonus today, a captivating video of my first mate and I navigating the ruthless sea.