Hamburg shenanigans and World Cup excitement

29 Jul

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Now that all the football excitement is over…     

A few weeks ago I spent the weekend in Hamburg. It’s a long time since I used to spend weeks there working for Unilever, with some of the funniest Germans I have ever met. This time I spent the weekend with some of the funniest Brits I have ever met.

hamburgThe reason..? My youngest son, Jonny, is getting married in September and this was his stag weekend, his Junggesellenabschied, I guess. We had one hell of a good time, suitable karaoke was sung (including a stand out version of ‘Dancing With Myself’ by most of the assembled party and a truly awful version of ‘It Must Have Been Love’ by yours truly). The lead singer of Sempe Fi tried to help me out while the bass player just wished he hadn’t got involved, but it was definitely car crash karaoke.

Punk bars were visited, many many beers were drunk, and many drinking games were played. And a veil will be drawn over the rest of the weekend’s activities.. ‘cause what happens on stag, stays on stag.

Best weekend ever!

But that wasn’t the point of writing this.

lsAfter the obligatory brewery tour of Ratsherrn brewery (the Summer Ale is fabulous, the Zwickel delightful), we ended up in the bar outside where fortuitously the World Cup game between France and Uruguay was being played. And the atmosphere was electric. Germans, French, Brits all coming together over a shared love of football. German girls who were dating Frenchmen. Russians who’d just turned up for the fun of it all, and the Belgians who’d turned up early to get a decent seat.

We sang ‘Allez les Bleus’ till we went hoarse, and ended up being corrected by the French who pointed out that, given the shirts being worn, ‘Allez les Blancs’ would be more appropriate. We wore furry patriotic French chickens. 
     
And when France won, we all celebrated in that crazy way that only football fans can do.

I’d like to feel we contributed in some small way to the French winning the World Cup this year.     

And the next day we went right out and watched England flatten the Swedes. Surrounded by Germans. Much singing. Much dancing. Much joyfulness.

This was a Europe united over a common game. This was a Europe celebrating victory. This was Europe at play, having fun. This was ordinary European folk – the Brits, the French, the Germans, the Belgians, the Spanish all just enjoying the sun and the football. This was Europe. Enjoying being European.

I want to stay part of this multicultural melting pot that is Europe. I want my children growing up as part of a united Europe, demonstrating a way that nations can get on together that’s unique in the world. Showing America what real democracy is. Celebrating individual freedoms and international compromise. Demonstrating what lasting peace might look like. I don’t want that taken away by a few fat cats looking to leverage their portfolio, by a few politicians seeking a leg up the political ladder, a few media magnates seeking their right wing agenda.

And so I am going to carry on saying what I believe, and standing up for a united Europe. Because that’s how democracy works. Because it’s all about the people. And our shared future.

Find out more at www.timhodgson.org

PS gratuitous Jonny picvs Kent

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