Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last year or so, you can hardly be unaware that the World Cup kicks off today.
And if you want a chance to join in the fun, here it is at last...
Your Essential – Nay Ultimate – Cut-Out-And-Stick-To-The-Fridge-Where-It-Will-Gather-Dust-Until-The-European-Championships-In-2016 Survival Guide to Brazil 2014.
Getting There: If you haven’t bought your tickets and booked your hotel by now, forget it. Brazil is a very, very long way away (a member of the Bath Chronicle staff went there once and can confirm this), and is not a country to be visited lightly. Especially if your passport needs renewing, which in the current chaos will take at least six months. By which time, they’ll think it’s all over. And it will be.
Watching It On Telly: At home, or down the pub? Your choice, but at least you can be assured that almost everyone in the pub will actually want to be watching, whereas at home there may be the occasional dissenting voice.
Who To Support: England, obviously. But beware of divided loyalties. Mrs D’s ancestry means there’s always a bit of a frisson whenever England play Poland. Luckily, though, we got that out of the way in the qualifying rounds. Which means that the only cloud on the horizon is Australia, by way of Grandma Dixon. The upside is that we’ll have another team to support if England go out early.
The Office Sweepstake: The rules are simple: You will pick a team without the slightest hope of reaching the last 16, let alone the finals. Your team will lose. You will complain that the whole thing is rigged, and that the bloke who ran the sweep kept the best teams for his mates. You will be ignored.
What To Sing: England doesn’t have an official song this time round. Which is probably just as well for those of us who remember watching a succession of squads on Top of the Pops, all dressed up in their best suits, miming to a ludicrously over-optimistic dirge, shuffling nervously from foot to foot and wondering if they were going to meet Pan’s People.
Instead, there’s an official World Cup anthem by Pitbull (because nothing says “football” like a slavering attack dog), or an unofficial, and actually rather catchy, little ditty called Kick That Soccer Ball by spoof Twitter user @usasoccerguy.
Neither of which is doing very well in the download charts right now, being beaten hands down by Noble England, by the late, great and sorely missed Rik Mayall.
Which brings us to...
What To Wave: Dismiss any doubts you may have that it’s in some way beneath you to fly the cross of St George while Our Boys are giving their all in the steamy Amazonian jungle. We will proudly be dangling our ginormous red and white flag from the front bedroom window at Dixon Towers, and will remain resolutely proud.
England expects, and all that.
How To Celebrate If We Win: When we win, more like. If we can draw 0-0 with Honduras in the warm-up friendlies, what can possibly stand in our way?
Come on, En-ger-land!