England defeated Scotland, 3-2, at Wembley Stadium Tuesday night in what’s being called an auspicious debut for Southampton striker Rickie Lambert. I mean, I would assume that’s a word that’s being used a few times. While the match itself was hardly uneventful, I’m not sure it measures up to the West End pregame scene-setting provided by The Fiver’s Scott Murray, who exhibited unusual restraint in not mentioning Classix Nouveaux even once.
The streets of Soho were this afternoon teeming with men in tartan skirts. The Fiver naturally assumed there had simply been a fissure in the space-time continuum, a result of Luis Suarez performing so many 180-degree turns in quick succession on both hemispheres that the world had started rotating east to west and as a consequence it was 1980 again, the New Romantic movement was in full swing, and Spandau Ballet (above) must be playing a gig tonight at the Blitz. But then we noticed none of the tartan-clad masses were wearing eyeliner, sweeping up thick lines of jazz salt from the covers of JG Ballard paperbacks, or injecting be-bop tincture into their eyeballs. So if they weren’t New Romantics, who the hell were these people? And was it really not 1980?
Apparently not. Turns out the England football team are playing an exhibition match this evening against what appears to be some random members of the public from Scotland, an ersatz re-enactment of a once-popular sporting fixture that was contested way back in the last millennium. The fans are joining in the retro fun, too, dressing up for the day and enjoying a wee sing-song – coincidentally in the chant format popularised by Gary Kemp’s aforementioned pop-funk pioneers – while taking attention-seeking dips in the Trafalgar Square fountains. All good, clean, wholesome fun, and a far cry from the joyous years when Scottish fans would make a pilgrimage down to England’s capital principally to see if they could fill up the entire London Underground with boak.