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Matt Norman

Football in drag

Posted from: Benjamin Constant
We filmed Bruce walking around the corner to the Bloco football match and we were met by quite a sight. A loud cheer went up to greet us from the friendliest bunch of Brazillian men who were halfway through putting on their dresses, wigs and makeup. A beer can was thrust into Bruce's hand and he was instantly embarrassed as the newest member of the football team.

Bruce and a fellow team player take a breather
Bruce and a fellow team player take a breather

There was a mass of leopard skin lycra and brightly coloured tights being stretched over muscle, hairy chests and beer guts so Bruce fitted in well with his black and pink glittery evening wear. My favourite was the team's Centre Forward, a huge girthed man dressed as a baby, complete with bonnet on his head. The application of their makeup was a serious business.

I zoomed in for a close-up of a stubbly face having bright red lipstick carefully painted on by a female makeup artist who was looking after the fellas. Bruce was mingling well when a loud cheer went up, and in walked the team's goalkeeper - a dwarf who was only three foot tall and also dressed as a baby. He too grabbed a beer and the team was complete.

The team's goalkeeper
The goalkeeper

Quite a crowd had gathered in a grandstand and a real party atmosphere was in the air as the teams ran and skipped onto the pitch, many holding hands. It was very funny as these butchest of guys were really going for it. Pete and I took to the pitch to follow the action with a hand-held camera as Bruce shouted to the camera that because there were no team colours, just dresses of all colours, it was hard to tell who was even on his team.

The whistle blew and it was chaos. Two goals were scored as the ball whizzed out of reach over the dwarf's head so he then refused to be in goal any more. At the other end the fat baby was wheezing and could run no longer so he picked up the ball and threw it into the net making it 2-1. Pete and I, having filmed enough in and among the carnage, and because we felt under-dressed, retreated to the sidelines where I could pick up some long lens shots of the action.

Matt, Pete and Rob with the team
Matt, Pete and Rob with the team

This mix of camera styles will intercut well and help reinforce the chaotic nature of this scene. Suddenly there was a commotion on the other side of the pitch and a girl fight broke out with hand-bags swinging and lots of dramatised hair pulling. Bruce was at the centre of it and, to his team’s outcry but much cheering from the crowd, was given a red card for unladylike behaviour.

He was later let back on because the fat baby and dwarf were both running out of steam in the sweltering Amazonian heat and the match ended with these tough-looking men hugging each other and having a last discussion about what frock they will be wearing later for the beauty queen contest.

Find out more about the Brazilian Carnival


  • 1.
  • At 01:07 PM on 07 Mar 2008,
  • the twins wrote:

we don't watch football matches but this one we would have paid good money to watch!!!!!!!

  • 2.
  • At 11:39 PM on 07 Mar 2008,
  • Paula Matias wrote:

What a mess!
Points to the uniform!

Looking sexy there bruce!!..somehow it actually suits you!!

Good luck with the rest of your adventures!...wish i could join you!!

All the best!


I've seen him play football before and this is his normal kit.

Keep the cross dressing on the pitch and not on the terraces - that's what I say, in fact that's just what I've said...

...and with that he was off.

  • 5.
  • At 10:32 PM on 12 Mar 2008,
  • jobby butler wrote:

very disturbing. hope they picked up the dog poo before you played - would be hard to get out that dress!

  • 6.
  • At 11:09 PM on 12 Mar 2008,
  • sam wrote:

you just couldn't make this up! I am so totally roflmao, thank you so much for making me smile (for days probably!) and fair play to you all :-))

  • 7.
  • At 08:01 AM on 13 Mar 2008,
  • Priyanga wrote:

You never stop at anything, do you Bruce? You are one of the unique people I have seen. Good luck and Best wishes.

  • 8.
  • At 09:49 AM on 13 Mar 2008,
  • Boo wrote:

Fantastic! You've really made me laugh. Thanks for cheering up my day.

  • 9.
  • At 09:52 AM on 13 Mar 2008,
  • dave wrote:

HA HA HA...Bruce..I love all your never fail to get your hands dirty and always mix it up with the local traditions....a true ICON

  • 10.
  • At 09:57 AM on 13 Mar 2008,
  • Tom wrote:

Bruce Parry - typical bootneck!

  • 11.
  • At 10:24 AM on 13 Mar 2008,
  • David Loudon wrote:

Can we have a world cup please?

  • 12.
  • At 10:38 AM on 13 Mar 2008,
  • Paula Ley wrote:

Excellent - really made me laugh - brightened up my day too :)

i love you

  • 14.
  • At 10:41 AM on 13 Mar 2008,
  • Angela French wrote:

What great pictures can't wait to see the whole thing!Monty Halls was talking about 'my friend Bruce' at the dive show on Saturday and how galling it was to see him so often on the BBC! Perhaps Monty should take up diving in a dress - it would give the sharks something to chew on . . .

  • 15.
  • At 10:57 AM on 13 Mar 2008,
  • Kev wrote:

Ive been to Rio and they play cross dressing football in the street on New Years day. It's a very strange sight to see.

  • 16.
  • At 07:44 AM on 18 Mar 2008,
  • Mitzi wrote:

Bruce I love you, you are a real man!

  • 17.
  • At 07:53 AM on 18 Mar 2008,
  • chloe Ashby wrote:

I wish I'd be the referee at that game!

Hurry up and get back on our telly's Bruce!

  • 18.
  • At 08:53 AM on 18 Mar 2008,
  • Butternut wrote:

Wowzers! I'm all over pink and black sparkle this season! Good work as always, Bruce! Reading the Tribe book right now...Superb!

  • 19.
  • At 09:38 AM on 18 Mar 2008,
  • Dekudu wrote:

I dont like any of his shows. Its anthropology all over again.The study of "native" cultures and all that rubbish masked up as a good bit of fun which is really an intrusion on the cultures of other people.

  • 20.
  • At 09:51 AM on 18 Mar 2008,
  • David Smith wrote:

I wish to make an official complaint about the use of the word dwarf. Who do I talk to?

  • 21.
  • At 10:11 AM on 18 Mar 2008,
  • Kally wrote:

Love them!

Hello David

Thank you for your comment. The blog in question does not intend to cause any offence. The term dwarf is an official medical term therefore its use is acceptable.

Thank you,
The Amazon team.

  • 23.
  • At 08:50 PM on 20 Mar 2008,
  • anna upton wrote:

Hi all,
sounds like such fun, I love your work and I look forward to your blogs (as I cope with 2 young children on a wet windy day in Kent!) I remenisce about my travelling days!
keep writing


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