David Goldblatt and Footy Culture BBC Radio 3

David Goldblatt, author of The Ball is Round, has an interesting radio series coming up on the metaphors, language, and culture surrounding the national teams at the World Cup. More info below:

2010 FIFA WORLD CUP Night Waves Monday 7 to Friday 11 June 9.15-10.00pm BBC RADIO 3 * www.bbc.co.uk/worldcup

With the World Cup just five days away, Night Waves presents a week of letters by writer David Goldblatt exploring football and its metaphors around the globe. Scratch a football culture anywhere and it bleeds in metaphor – ideas, comparisons and phrases that reveal much about the game but a lot more about the country that coined them. Each night, David chooses one of this year’s national teams as his subject. The Italians have the richest literary culture when describing the beautiful game and Italian sports writing even has its own Dante.

In tonight’s programme, David Goldblatt delves into the meaning of phrases such as “melina” (a gruel-like soup) and “arbitano” (a callow young priest) on the pitch and discovers that the language of Italian football is woven into the tapestry of politics and religion. Programmes later in the week explore the relationship between the tango and football in Argentina (Tuesday); look at the origins of the black star on the Ghanaian team shirt (Wednesday); and consider the geometric beauty of the much-celebrated, but rarely imitated, Dutch “total football” (Thursday). Presenter/David Goldblatt, Producer/James Cook

Tip o’ the hat to Peter Alegi.