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Football or neutron bomb?
August 31, 2010 4:17 PM   Subscribe

São Paulo, Brazil. With a population upwards of 11 million people and a population density of more than 7,000 people per square kilometre, it is a pretty crowded place. But on July 2, 2010 during the second half of the Brazil-Netherlands World Cup quarterfinal, the streets were completely deserted.
posted by salishsea (34 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
I can only assume that, somewhere in that big empty city, Michael Caine and a team of witty professionals successfully pulled off the heist of the century.
posted by The World Famous at 4:23 PM on August 31, 2010 [7 favorites]


Hah. And that's the story of how I spent the 1998 World Cup (That is - old enough to be bored by all the cheering, but still too early for the Internet as an alternative). It's a pity that 28 days later wasn't out back then for me to make the association... because that's how I remember it now.

Let me tell you, walking around in an empty city is an extremely relaxing exercise (even with fast zombies prowling in the corners). It was my smallish (300k) hometown at the time, I can only imagine the same in Sao Paulo.
posted by qvantamon at 4:25 PM on August 31, 2010


To view the video with NoScript installed these are the domains you have to allow to view the video:

-theoffside.com
-vimeo.com
-vimeocdn.com
posted by clorox at 4:25 PM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wonder what the deal was with the very few people you do see in the video, like the dude leaning against a fence at 0:29. "Finally, some peace and quiet!"
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:26 PM on August 31, 2010


Anyone know who's cover of "Tequila!" that is playing in the video? I really dig all the birds and lion roars...
posted by maryr at 4:28 PM on August 31, 2010


To clarify: In order to view the video, you must allow scripts from those domains, if you want to watch the video, because the video is dependent on scripts hosted on each of those domains, and to view the video, you have to let the scripts do their magic to have the video show.
posted by clorox at 4:29 PM on August 31, 2010


Hey, it's Wisconsin on Sunday! Seriously, Packers games are the best times to go grocery shopping.
posted by desjardins at 4:30 PM on August 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


Direct link to the Vimeo video, which has the following description in English:
São Paulo is not only the biggest city in Latin America but is also packed with people all over: The traffic is so regular that no citizen can catch a break during daytime, not even on Sundays.

This "Ghost Town" scenario is a unique view from the city, during Brazil's final match on the World Cup, where everyone's eyes got stuck on the TV broadcast.

Our experiment was simply to take motorbike ride over some famous (and crowded) city spots with an onboard camera during the event.

As most people couldn't afford to miss the game we decided to show what was (not) happening in the outside world at that particular moment.

If you think it will be only possible to register these scenes in 4 years, remember that next World Cup is going to happen in Brazil...so maybe not.
I was in Paris during the 1998 world cup, and because ten stadia (stadiums?) were used, Paris was relatively quiet for the summer season. Parisians are not as football-mad as other countries, so even during games there were people milling about. My closest experience to that video has been driving to LAX at midnight. Roads that are normally clogged with cars are vacant, and it felt like the world was mine.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:31 PM on August 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Reminds me of a few years ago when i had no interest in the Super Bowl, and I went for a run around my neighborhood. Totally empty streets.
GO SAINTS!
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 4:36 PM on August 31, 2010


damn /em tag
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 4:36 PM on August 31, 2010


Great clip, thanks!

> Anyone know who's cover of "Tequila!" that is playing in the video?

Don't know who the performer was, but it struck me as "Tico-Tico no Fubá" with a little "Tequila" tossed in. (N.b.: Tico is pronounced "chico" in Brazilian Portuguese.)
posted by languagehat at 4:48 PM on August 31, 2010


Anyone know who's cover of "Tequila!" that is playing in the video?

That's not Tequila, that's an old Brazilian standard, the oft-covered Tico Tico. First time I'd ever heard it given a surf-rock treatment. But it's only the first part of the melody that appears in this cover, they don't do the whole thing.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:51 PM on August 31, 2010


Hi, languagehat!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:52 PM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I had this same experience a few years back in Santiago, Chile, when Marcelo Rios was playing for (and eventually won) the #1 spot on the whatchamacallit ranking thingie.

THe empty streets were sheer bliss, and the almost empty big-box hardware store and baleful stares from cashiers forced to walk away from impromptu watching parties around the store's TVs and actually do their jobs was just icing on the cake.
posted by signal at 4:52 PM on August 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


I remember walking through Rome during a big WC game, 1986 I guess it was, and there wasn't a soul on the streets. But from every window, there was a blue glow, and you could hear every moment of the game as you walked down the deserted streets. And then Italy scored and the whole city erupted.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:56 PM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, it's like San Francisco during Burning Man.
posted by zsazsa at 5:09 PM on August 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


Ah yes CunningLinguist. Very much like the sound of Vancouver during the winter Olympics when Canada won the gold medal in ice hockey.
posted by salishsea at 5:10 PM on August 31, 2010


THe empty streets were sheer bliss, and the almost empty big-box hardware store and baleful stares from cashiers forced to walk away from impromptu watching parties around the store's TVs and actually do their jobs was just icing on the cake.

You have a really weird definition of "sheer bliss."
posted by dhammond at 5:12 PM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


You have a really weird definition of "sheer bliss."

Yep, that's why I was pretty much the only one on the street. Everybody else's definition included watching guys in white shorts chase a little ball around with spaghetti strainers.
posted by signal at 5:25 PM on August 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


My whole city waits until the Fall NFL schedule is published before it schedules anything. Once it's published there's this mad rush to put Fall schedules together avoiding Steelers games. Governments, churches, schools, museums, galleries, 5k races, neighborhood festivals, political campaigns and charities all scramble to find dates to run their events that don't conflict with games.
posted by octothorpe at 5:25 PM on August 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


I picked my girlfriend up at the downtown sea taxi station in Vancouver on Christmas morning. Besides the half a dozen other people playing chauffeur there was NO ONE for blocks around. It was freaky as hell.
posted by Mitheral at 6:13 PM on August 31, 2010


I totally know where they should do the next Grand Theft Auto game.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:22 PM on August 31, 2010


the oft-covered Tico Tico.
posted by flapjax at midnite


This one form there is super.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:46 PM on August 31, 2010


In the US the freeways are pretty empty starting mid-afternoon on Thanksgiving day. Not completely deserted, but different enough to feel weird. It's like driving around at 3 AM, but it's bright and sunny out. During this annual window, I've found I can get from San Francisco to San Luis Obispo in just under two and a half hours.
posted by ryanrs at 6:59 PM on August 31, 2010


Having spent ten days in Sao Paulo this past April, where our hosts had to plan our trips into the heart of the city based on which car was allowed to go in that day, every experience on the highway punctuated by hundreds of crazy motorcycle riders zooming in and out of traffic, and traffic jams no matter where you went, I was fully prepared to be underwhelmed by this video. This is amazing, truly.
posted by tamitang at 7:00 PM on August 31, 2010


Hm. By the time you have access to 61 different recordings of a song, does it pass from "cover" to "standard"?

Anyway, for anyone else that is curious but, like me, did not actually *watch* the entire video despite their curiousity, the end credits suggest the song to be "El Tico" by a group called Gasolines. They are on Twitter and MySpace.
posted by maryr at 7:04 PM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hm. By the time you have access to 61 different recordings of a song, does it pass from "cover" to "standard"?

It's both. The terms are not mutually exclusive. A song can be covered 10,000 times, but that doesn't mean you can't call any individual recording of said song a "cover". And yes, it's a "standard", as I indicated in my first post upthread: "That's not Tequila, that's an old Brazilian standard, the oft-covered Tico Tico.".
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:09 PM on August 31, 2010


But your point is well-taken, maryr, and indeed, when someone recording a song is not basing their performance exclusively on one primal and definitively original version, then it is more "standard" than "cover", arguably.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:15 PM on August 31, 2010


11 million people? 20 million is the figure that I think gives you a better sense of the size of the place by including the whole metropolitan area. That place is huge.
posted by umbú at 7:18 PM on August 31, 2010




maryr: it says who did the song at the end, its "El Tico" by the Gasolines

tl;dw? :)
posted by Mach5 at 9:08 PM on August 31, 2010


oh god, do i suck ar reading.
posted by Mach5 at 9:08 PM on August 31, 2010


A friend of mine was living in a small town in the northeast of Brazil during the World Cup of 1994. When Brazil won the final, it was sort of like the inverse of the video here. Every single person in this tiny community ran outside and got into their cars and trucks--those who couldn't run were carried--and drove the one main street, up and down, up and down, honking their horns. It's likely that was the first traffic jam that town had ever seen, and it lasted for hours.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:09 PM on August 31, 2010


I live in another (smaller but even denser) Brazilian city. During the games the eeriest thing isn't the empty streets, though I do have pictures of friends playing futbol during halftime on one of the busiest streets in town. It's the absolute silence. This is a noisy place and even in the middle of the night there's always so much going on. During the games it is dead silent, even the dogs seem to have gotten the memo. Until, of course, someone scores!

And forget using the opportunity to shop in empty stores. All the stores are closed for at least thirty minutes before and after the game. You're SUPPOSED to be watching the game.

A German friend said she was missing one of their games to go to a birthday party. I just couldn't imagine that happening here!
posted by wallaby at 2:41 AM on September 1, 2010


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