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MURRAY RICHARDSON'S WORLD CUP DIARY

UK DJ, now based in Brazil, tells us his World Cup antics

Murray Richardson started off DJing in Scotland before spreading his talents far and wide internationally. He's released on labels such as 2020Vision, Low Pressings, Nordic Trax and Baker Street, and a couple of years ago moved out to Brazil to continue his DJ dream in the land of samba and football. This is the first extract of his World Cup diary for DJ Mag...


Having been based in Sao Paulo for the last two years, it's safe to say that I have been more than excited about the World Cup coming to Brazil — what a great opportunity it is to take in the whole event here in my adopted country! Although I must say that over the last year or so there has been times where I've felt like I was the only person here looking forward to the tournament. 

It has been well documented how the protests and riots started last year across the country with the increase in the metro fares. This then grew into manifestations against corruption, health, education and the rest and also sparked a huge anti-World Cup backlash, but as the tournament has progressed over the last few weeks there has been a big reduction in protests and riots on the streets across Brazil. The country has got more and more behind their team since the World Cup has started and Brazil have gradually progressed through the stages — and this World Cup has turned into one of the best ever! Shame, then, that England could only play less than a small roll.

The original idea was for me to write some sort of blog/diary as me and my two mates followed England through their World Cup journey, but that soon went out the window with us being on the lash each and every day from start to finish — leaving me in no fit state to write anything at all. But now, looking back, it actually felt that England's campaign was already over and done before I could even think straight — never mind blog anything!

We all had tickets to follow England all the way through the World Cup, right up to the final. Wishful thinking, for sure, but as we started our short adventure we did have a little sliver of optimism after Roy Hodgson announced that he was going with a youthful side, something that everyone had been asking for. We weren't kidding ourselves that our group wasn't a properly tough one and we would do well to get out of it, but still … to end up going out like we did with a whimper after just two games — and our worst World Cup performance since day dot — left us all really gutted, and me with not much to write about!

Before our tour started, I was coming off the back of DJing three nights on the bounce just days before my mates touched down. The week before the World Cup my Electrica Salsa night was guesting at Cio/Lions club in Sao Paulo with myself and fellow Electrica Salsa DJ Renato Lopes playing back to back all night, followed the next night by us guesting at Igrejinha — and then the next night playing at Mono club, also in Sao Paulo. So when I met my mates at the airport the following Monday, I was already ruff as a badger's! They had never been to Sao Paulo before and after a few good scoops at the airport bar it didn't take us long to get right on it...

The lads were due to spend a few nights in Sao Paulo before we all flew off to Manaus in the Amazon for England's first game, and we spent those nights making the most of the local bars and restaurants and enjoying the Brazilians going mad as they opened up their tournament with a victory over Croatia. I was booked to play at a club in Manaus called Sub on the Friday night, which worked out perfect as it would be a nice warm-up for us ahead of England's opener against Italy the following day. It was the first time for me in Manaus and the Amazon, and I had heard a lot about this club and especially its sound system. So off we went up the jungle catching an early flight from Sao Paulo and flying via Brasilia, meeting loads of fellow England fans on the way, and loads of Australians especially.

Marcio S, the owner and resident DJ of Sub, was away in Barcelona at the Sonar Festival while we were there, but he made sure that we were looked after and picked up at the airport, although the driver who collected us turned out to be a policeman and after flashing his ID and handcuffs we made sure that we were on our best behaviour!

It gets really hot in Sao Paulo and by now I'm used to it, but the heat you feel in the Amazon is a different thing all together. The first thing that came to mind when we touched down mid-afternoon was how on earth will anyone be able to play football in this heat? We dumped our bags and headed straight to the nearest sports bar, which handily enough was right next to the hotel and ended up being our local boozer for the duration of our stay in Manaus. 

There was already a load of England fans there at the bar and all the flags were on display with a load of Leeds boys especially making themselves known as we watched Spain get hammered by Holland in the tournament's first major surprise result. After a good afternoon followed by a short disco nap, we hit the Sub Club. I'm due to play the middle slot alongside resident DJ Iann Wenery and Alex Stein, which is perfect as by the time I take to the decks the club is already full, so I can really get stuck in. I'm loving it as they were right about the sound system in this place — it's absolutely belting it out. It's one of the only Void Acoustics soundsystems in Brazil, apparently, and the monitors are great. I play for two hours, finishing off with a few classics including The Night Writers 'Let The Music (Use You)', which sounds amazing on the system, and then finally playing Terry Farley & Andrew Weatherall's remix of New Order's 'World In Motion', which gets all the English contingent down the front bouncing and singing along with old John Barnes!

After a late finish we are up early and on the liquid breakfast and absolutely buzzing for the first game of the England campaign. It's roasting hot as we walk down the main drag to get to the Arena da Amazonia. All the bars on the walk to the stadium are full of England flags and there is a great atmosphere as the England fans mix with the Italians and the local Brazilians. 

There was a lot of talk about the stadiums for the World Cup not being ready in time or up to scratch. However, the stadium looks amazing as we approach it, and once inside we have a perfect view of the pitch. We're seated in amongst the England fans, all in good voice and sweating out the Amazonian heat. We all know how things go from here and you can suggest a lot of different reasons why we never managed to get a result against Italy, with playing Wayne Rooney out of position being the biggest complaint we heard in the stadium, but to be honest everybody still seemed quite happy off the back of our performance. We definitely felt we could go on from this game and get a result against Uruguay and still qualify. So we still manage to enjoy a good few caipirinhas after the game and still had a positive outlook — not knowing, of course, what was still to come.

You can't come all the way to Manaus and not go up the Amazon River, so we arranged a 'Real Jungle Experience' day tour with our hotel that was to include a boat trip up to the Meeting Of The Rivers — where the River Negro and the River Solimoes meet. It was mad being able to see a sloth, a python and a crocodile — and also your lunch — on a floating river restaurant. 

We were supposed to be picked up at nine in the morning, and as we still waited one hour later at the hotel our patience was starting to wain until this character dressed like Indiana Jones storms into the foyer to collect us. This guy is mad as a brush and zooms us away in his Land Rover down to the port and puts us into, not so much of a boat but more of a mini river speedboat taxi. Still, it's a laugh, and as we stop at a floating river petrol station and grab ourselves a carry-out we prepare for what turns out to be a right carry on up the jungle. 

There's no denying that flying through the Amazon at a hundred miles an hour isn't fun, but just as we are thinking how and when we are going to encounter these creatures of the jungle, our boat approaches a small canoe in the middle of the river with three young boys on it — one holding a sloth, one holding a python and the other holding a baby crocodile. This is obviously our 'Real Jungle Experience' and as we have a laugh at this wind-up, it just doesn't seem right that these poor little creatures are wheeled out for tourist amusement. 

Anyway, we are loving our little trip up the jungle, and after a decent lunch we just tell Indiana Jones to head back quick so that we can catch the Brazil game — which is music to his ears. As Brazil draw with Mexico and get a valuable point, that night Manaus is jumping and the atmosphere in the local bars is electric — and especially in our local. 

The Brazilians have been really welcoming in this World Cup so far, and everyone we have met has said the same — and this has been especially felt here in Manaus. Tonight is the real vibe of the Brazil World Cup. The Brazilians drinking, dancing, singing, the energy and the party atmosphere, it's what has made this World Cup special and one of the best. Fingers crossed that this energy will continue all the way to the final.

Read the second part of Murray's Brazilian World Cup Diary tomorrow...

Pic: Winnetou Almeida

 

 

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