Fun not proscribed but prescribed
St Lucia - Those expecting an edict against fun when they arrived at the Beausejour Stadium on Friday were to be happily disabused but the message seemed to be “Have fun our way”.
Much has been made of the clamp-down on fans bringing musical instruments, including conch shells, into grounds during this tournament.
The sound of the conch and the horn, and the samba beat of the drum still ring out around the ground but if you look for the perpetrators you will find them wearing big plastic accreditation tags marked “Entertainer”.
Two such professional fun merchants are Vincent “Dr Secret” Fredrick and his friend Oswald Beausoliel who, short of a nickname, promptly accepted this correspondent’s suggestion of Dr Obvious.
“We’ve been doing this for fun ever since the stadium opened [four years ago],” explained Dr Secret, at the time sporting a string vest but shortly to change into a suit in the St Lucian national colours of yellow, blue and black.
“We submitted a list to the local organizing committee of what we wanted to bring in and they let us.”
The duo have a suitcase full of instruments but their main weapons of entertainment are the conch and a couple of complicated plastic tubes that look as if they have been stolen from a nearby bathroom.
They tour the stands with their impromptu routine, although when I caught up with them they had yet to make it as far as the grassy knoll where the bulk of England’s Barmy Army were stationed.
Many ground authorities try to split potentially rowdy England fans up but this areas seems to be especially designed for them, complete with disco and bouncy castle.
There wasn’t much for them to cheer about as England struggled against Shane Bond and company but the party atmosphere stopped them worrying too much about their side’s travails.