As Germany lines up to face Spain in Durban tonight, the North East chapter in design will be rooting for a team that put England out of the Fifa World Cup what seems like eons ago.
This, at least, is what we can expect following a debate, The Design World Cup, organised by the Design Business Association at Newcastle United Football Club last week, which put England against Germany again in a game relying on knowledge and mental dribbling skills rather than fancy footwork. The consensus was that Germany will win the cup, let alone the semi-final.
Sporting a number 10 England shirt (Sir Geoff Hurst’s, he insisted, not the ill-starred Wayne Rooney’s), self-styled ‘goal hanger’ Bill Wallsgrove of Brand Voice City defended his country against the nimble Erik Spiekermann of Eden Spiekermann, who flew in from Berlin to get his result.
After 11 questions tackled head on by both men, England looked set to win, given that the final test was persuading the audience which team would win overall. With England already out of the running, Wallsgrove spoke up for Brazil – convincingly trounced the following day by Holland – while Spiekermann stuck to his native Germany, winning on the strength of his argument and effecting a draw in the debate.
England’s honour remains intact, but you have to question its prowess in design when you look at the questions it lost. Germany has the best typographic history and creates the best household products and the Bauhaus is preferred to the Arts & Crafts movement. It makes the best beer, according to the audience, and is undoubtedly best at scoring penalties.
But, while the Mini beats the VW Beetle, Gary Lineker is more popular to Jurgen Klinsmann, we had the best football captain in Sir Bobby Moore and the Beatles were voted superior to Beethoven, we field the best mullets (dodgy haircuts, for the uninitiated among you). We also own the ‘banger’ sausage, following an own goal by Spiekermann, who put the descriptor ‘wurst’ under an image of a plate of German sausage delicacies.
Umm. Is this really the cultural heritage we’d like to pass on? Perhaps we needed extra time to do better, but sadly the bar beckoned.