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June 27, 2006

melbourne is obsessed

Posted by dogpossum on June 27, 2006 5:03 PM in the category brunswick

The adult population of Brunswick is somewhat subdued today. Last night's finals match between Australia and Italy offered everyone in this part of Melbourne a team to barack for, whether you're born in Australia, Italy, Greece or some other part of the soccer-playing universe.
In one of the most Italian cafes in Brunswick the owner wasn't in, but there was a vigorous play-by-play discussion of the match carried on by the Irish and Scotts staff.
At Nino and Joes, there were only two butchers working, neither of whom was moving very quickly. There was no bantering.
And the mediterannean supermarket was deserted except for a few skips wandering vaguely up and down the isles, fondling all sorts of things but really only coming home with a dozen cans of diced tomatoes.

It's the second week of the school holidays here, and the parks and streets and front yards in my neighbourhood are full of unsupervised gangs of kids playing complex variations on the regulation soccer match, adapted for concrete pitches and passing cars. It's only 8 degrees, the wind is bitingly cold, but it seems appropriate.

I haven't seen any of the soccer, but it's everywhere. Melbourne is obsessed. And Brunswick is particularly so. Perhaps my favourite story is from the bus ride home the other day. The Italian bus driver (the one who steps down to welcome people onto the bus, or stops the bus to chat with passing friends) was busily engaged in a complicated discussion of the matches to date with a young skip alternakid and a tall and elegant African lady. After the tentative "who did you go for?" and "Australia of course" responses, they assessed the socceroos all the way to my stop.

Posted by dogpossum on June 27, 2006 5:03 PM in the category brunswick