Jenny Eclair on the World Cup: The first person to get their vuvuzela out gets a smack!

"I shall, in true female non-sporty-type fashion, be cheering on the countries where I've had the nicest holidays"

Apparently it’s World Cup season again and I tell you the first person to get their vuvuzela out gets a smack!


Don’t get me wrong, I am not entirely anti-football. After all, the non sporty of us have spent the last few weeks gorging on The Allotment Challenge, Eurovision, Chelsea Flower Show and MasterChef, so it’s only fair that the more athletically inclined viewers get some slice of the action – and anyway, there are worse things to watch… like golf.

That said, what I can’t abide about the “beautiful game” is when it’s shoved down my neck and I have no access to the remote control. 

Having been on tour with The Grumpy Old Women’s latest show, Fifty Shades of Beige since April, I’ve lost count of the number of times the cast have returned to a hotel, post show, only to be confronted in the lounge area by a three-mile wide telly screaming football in our faces.

This seems to be the case regardless of how many men are in the bar, or if the only punters consist of three old ladies in need of some Chardonnay – by which I mean my fellow Grumpies and I. The last time I politely asked
the man behind the bar if perhaps we could either turn it down or off, a nylon football-shirted bloke appeared from nowhere, almost rising from a beer tankard, like the Genie of Sexism and told me to, “Be a good girl, drink your drink and chill out”.

Had I not spent the previous two hours cavorting around the stage and been on the verge of fainting with exhaustion, I might have asked him out into the car park to settle the argument once and for all.

Instead, like a good little lady, I just took my glass of dry white wine to bed and caught up with an episode of The Archers on my iPad.

However, like any self-respecting woman, I reserve my right to change my mind about watching the footie. Let’s face it, there’s a very big possibility that I shall get swept up in the drama of the World Cup and do that annoying thing that most middle-aged women do, which is morph into an instant expert, yelling instructions at our boys and informing the ref that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. 

I shall also, in true female non-sporty-type fashion, be cheering on the countries where I’ve had the nicest holidays. In fact, if there’s any fairness in the world, thanks to its lovely beaches and the fact that the city of Dubrovnik has pavements that are clean enough to eat your grilled sardines off, Croatia should win the World Cup hands down.

Alternatively, I will save my flag-waving for the first country to have a Conchita Wurst lookalike onside – come on football, you can do it! 

Now that’s what I call house music 

Gigging at night can really muck about with your TV viewing and I find myself lolling around in hotels watching daytime telly.

My current favourite is Homes Under the HammerI like nice Martin Roberts and the way he tries to dress himself slimmer, and I like his sidekick Lucy Alexander, who really knows her housing onions. But most of all I like the soundtrack. Next time you watch Homes Under the Hammer, listen out for how the background music matches the storyline.

Recent examples include a sitting room being knocked through into the dining room to the strains of the Spice Girls’ When Two Become One and close-ups of a filthy kitchen, accompanied by Franki Valli bellowing out Grease is the Word. Clever stuff. What they really need to do is release a Homes under the Hammer compilation album including all the greats, such as Shakin’ Stephens‘ This Old House and The Dave Clark Five’s ode to pebbledash, Clad All Over. I’d buy it! 


The Return of the Grumpy Old Women: Fifty Shades of Beige is currently touring the UK. For live dates and tickets, visit