What I watched.
There are a hundred things that I miss terribly about not living in America but as I watched the American Superbowl last night, it reminded me that one of the biggest things, are the parties.
No one parties like an American. It seems to kick off in college and is pretty much exactly like you see in the movies; Fraternities and Sororities, nerds and preppies, kegs and tequila, kissing and drinking games, the complete and utter hedonisticity of it all!!! Maybe it has something to do with not being legally allowed to drink until the age of 21, because there seems to be a pent up longing for a good party, knowing that it is illegal. Older kids buy booze for younger kids, you master the art of the fake I.D. card and being a graphic designer, that came in handy! Once college is over, it is like the party nature is ingrained in you for life. Halloween doesn't just mean you pop on a mask and watch a scary film, you have a costume party for 100 people in your flat, some you know, most you don't. There is a reason to have a party most months and dressing up is a bit part of it.
When I moved back to London, my one house rule (when I lived with 5 others in a big house in North London) was that we had a costume party every month. And we did. I couldn't help myself, I had to bring the art of dressing up back and it was absolutely brilliant. Our landlord didn't agree but that's another story.
So that brings me back to the Superbowl. I miss the massive sports events where the whole nation watches together, whether they like the sport or not. Everyone parties. It might be a BBQ with the family, watching in a bar or a tailgate party in the car park. Note: for the Brits and Europeans reading this, a tailgate party is where you drive to the car park of the sports event, having loaded up the trunk (boot) of your car with alcohol and food and basically party with all the other people in the car park (thousands) for the duration of the game!! It is brilliant fun. I know this because I was living in San Diego when the LA Raiders were in the final one year, and so 8 girlfriends and I decided to drive to the tailgate party in the arena car park. Blurry but fabulous.
So at 11:25 pm last night, with one eye propped open, I tried to watch the Superbowl. I might not have bothered if it hadn't been the New England Patriots playing but it was my team when I lived there and you have to stay loyal, even if you've moved countries, don't you? The other reason I wanted to watch, was for the half time show. Many won't admit it, but it is a huge reason for watching the football. The half time show is an institution that has grown bigger and bigger every year. Years ago it was just a few cheerleaders and a marching band.. now they get the biggest names performing and the most extravagant sets I have ever seen. All 15 minutes of it.
Last night it was Madonna's turn. She had said how nervous she was but blimey, wouldn't you be? She is 53! What other 53 year old do you know that could dress up as a gladiator with 4-inch heels and sing and dance with 300 backing dancers, for quarter of an hour, in front of 110 million people? That statistic is absolutely mind boggling... 110 million. I had to watch it again on YouTube this morning because it really was ridiculously razzmatazz. She had several guest stars, my favourite being LMFAO, a duo who have perfected the "running man" dance shuffle. To see Madonna trying to do the "running man" was quite hilarious! Of course the controversy, as there always is, was MIA flipping Madonna the middle finger and mouthing the words "I don't give a f*ck!" My theory is that the whole thing was staged. Madonna probably asked for something like that to be added, the Queen of controversy couldn't just do a straight 15 minutes without something a bit shocking? There was only one other slightly strange addition and that was a male acrobat, in what looked like a womans' nightdress. bouncing up and down on a tightrope on his genitals. Maybe I wasn't focusing at that late hour but it was really odd! That and the fact it cost advertisers $4 million for a 30-second ad spot at half time. All that money. It is madness isn't it? But is it?? For one event to bring that many people together is quite awesome, watching and partying with your friends and family, all bonding together in a strange patriotism.
The only other event in the past few years, that I felt that same wave of togetherness was the Royal Wedding of Will and Kate. I think, however, that this year will surpass all of that. It is the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, both held in central London, separated only by a month. The street celebrations will be phenomenal. London will be one giant party. I can't wait.