Tuesday, August 07, 2007

On a Good Footing


I sang the praises last year of the French football magazine So Foot, which is the greatest of its sort I have ever encountered (there may be better elsewhere in the world but there is certainly nothing to rival it in either English or French), and, for want of anything else to write about, I'll give it another plug. Even the close-season issue out at the moment is packed with fascinating stuff, such as a lengthy article on gypsies in football - the most famous of whom, the Austrian Zipflo Weinrich, whose promising career was ended by injury in the late 80s, is now an acclaimed jazz violinist in the Django Reinhardt mould and is to collaborate with George Benson on his next album. There are also interviews with French left-wing rap group La Rumeur and Congolese rapper Youssoupha, who claims that he is a huge Marseille fan because of his adulation for Chris Waddle when he was a kid. 'I even cut my sister's Barbie doll's hair like his,' he confides.

A nostalgic piece recounts the heady days of Bastia's UEFA Cup final appearance in 1977; the excellent football photography of Stuart Clarke gets a ten-page feature and two pieces demonstrate the magazine's twin qualities of intellectual inquiry (an article on the French league, entitled 'Jacobinism, the ill of French football') and hip, hedonistic swagger: an interview with former Argentinian national goalkeeper Germán Burgos. Burgos dismisses his recently-acquired goalkeeper-training badge as teaching him little more than 'how to talk properly to kids' and first aid of the sort that he hopes never to have to use: 'giving mouth-to-mouth to children, not really my thing.' He also says that he will encourage his son to become a centre-forward and not a keeper because 'goalkeepers only get to shag the fattest and ugliest birds'. When asked what he misses most about his playing days, he says it is fans taunting him with 'your mother's a whore.' Classic. All for only €2.90. If only they ditched that awful franglais name.

3 comments:

aidan said...

It's a great magazine - BTW I think the issue in your photo has an interesting article about a French man who spent time with the Bohs ultras in Dublin.

Seán Báite said...

Tis certainly not 'Shoot!' Seanachie - although I always took its inspiration as coming from the plethora of witty and fairly lefty English & Scottish fanzines from the 80s / 90s (foremost among them the still existing 'When Saturday Comes'). They also managed to attribute imaginary novels to a friend of mine (David Murphy) who did a piece on Roy Keane for a 'Bad Boys' special they had a few years ago. They turned him into an 'up and coming Irish novelist' whereas he's actually a post-colonial academic...

seanachie said...

There is certainly a WSC influence there, and in the post I did on it last year I mentioned the old mainstay of British fanzines, though I think the also excellent Les Cahiers du Football is a bit more in that tradition. Where So Foot differs from the British fanzines is its scope and its budget too. It would be nice to see an English-language edition of it, especially as there are no shortage of decent scribes in Ireland in the UK hampered by editorial conservatism.