Monday, April 16, 2007

La vida loca

Not how I would normally spend my time, but on Sunday evening we went to watch , El Superclásico, which you probably don’t know (I didn’t until yesterday) is the local derby game between two Buenos Aires football teams, Boca Juniors and River Plate.

Obviously, the OH will watch anything sport related but the reason I went along was because we were meeting up with Red Malc and his girlfriend Lara, who is from Argentina. It was a great night out – good company and one of those times that makes you glad you live in London. (I can’t imagine there being a very big Argentinean community in my hometown, where you are treated with suspicion if you come from the next town along).

The screening was in Zoo, a bar/club thing off Leicester Square, which isn’t the sort of place I’d normally frequent (they are the place offering the new style karaoke in front of live band). The atmosphere was brilliant – mainly people from Buenos Aires, with a few other South Americans and a few British people as well. There was lots of good natured singing of football songs which Lara kindly translated for me as my Spanish isn’t up to much.

At half-time there was a disco of Argentinean pop classics – a dubious selection the highlight of which was a reggae version of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’. The DJ was apparently a member of Argentina’s mafia, known as the ‘El Gordo’ who as well as DJ-ing runs a market selling Argentinean produce, not usually available in the UK – bizarrely one of the best selling products is Hellman’s mayonnaise which people are convinced doesn’t taste the same here so there is a large market for importing it from Argentina!

Before last night, I had no allegiance to either side but since Lara is a Boca supporter, it seemed polite to cheer on her side who also seemed to have the most support in the room. Our friend Marc for some unknown reason decided he would support River Plate. Later, I asked Lara what dictated who you supported back in Buenos Aires – in her case it was because that was who her family had always supported, but generally Boca are the team of the poor, in Lara’s words ‘from south of the river, where it smells!’ whilst River Plate are the team of the rich. So I think I would have picked Boca too anyway.

The game got off to a very exciting start (although rather later than expected) with a goal in the first few minutes from Boca, but it ended 1-1. Whilst I won’t be hunting down every screening from their league, I will keep an eye on the progress of my new found team.

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