Cricket World Cup: They think it's `All Over The World' isn't yet

World Cup Diary
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The Independent Online
IN A week or so, apparently, it will hardly be possible to move anywhere on the planet without hearing "All Over The World". Just for the moment, however, this upbeat little ditty, the official theme song of the World Cup, has been a better kept secret than the tournament itself.

The chorus of "Everybody, everybody all over the world, Join the festival, Everybody, everybody all over the world, Life is a carnival" (this is much slicker than it reads) has been conspicuous by its absence. The record is not being released until 31 May.

"We thought that was odd at first," said Josie Stevens, the elaborately titled marketing communications officer of the World Cup, "but we are told that this is the way records are marketed. There's a build-up with a few air plays which creates a sense of anticipation before the release."

"All Over The World" is written and performed by Dave Stewart, the north- eastern pop musician who has extremely close links to cricket - as a child he lived next to a cricket ground. Stewart, 47, did not have in mind the sport or the tournament when he wrote the song. It was chosen because the organisers liked it and its reference to carnivals.

"All Over The World" will have competition. The Barmy Army have released (or at least will on 24 May) their own World Cup song, "Come On England". The background music, perhaps surprisingly considering the Army's less than traditional image, is "Soul Limbo", which has been the BBC's cricket theme tune for more than a decade. The lyrics are much less profound than Stewart's.

The Cup will not, it seems, be graced by a song from the most famous cricket-loving songwriter on earth. Tim Rice has written a host of record- breaking musicals and won three Oscars, the first of which he received by paying tribute to Denis Compton in his acceptance speech. Rice was not approached. Nobody seems to be able to explain why. Perhaps they were afraid he would mention cricket.

DURING THE opening match at Lord's the music was provided not by Dave Stewart ("I don't think we could afford him," quipped an events spokesman) but by the jazz quartet, the Bob Bates All-Stars. They are one of several bands booked for the competition. One will appear at every match. The All-Stars (trumpeter, Brian Jones) did not play "All Over The World", "Come on England", or, so far as was possible to tell from a passing acquaintance with their output, anything from the Rice canon.

AND THEN there were Willow and Yorker. These are the competiton mascots, a role first performed in this country, for football, by World Cup Willie in 1966. Willow, naturally, is the thin one and a batsman, Yorker is the ball-shaped one and a bowler.

But are they boys or girls? "Willow is definitely a boy," said David Scott, managing director of Rainbow Productions, the company responsible for the pair's public appearances. "Yorker's more difficult to specify."

What about underneath the costumes? "Underneath the costumes?" asked Scott, incredulously, who also looks after Dennis the Menace and Bugs Bunny. "You'll be telling me Mickey Mouse is a person under the costume next."

Willow and Yorker are - or were at the opening match - females under the skin and are so treasured that they had a minder every step of the way round the ground.

THE LORD'S turf was emblazoned with the logos of the four tournament sponsors. Had the organisers managed to acquire the eight they originally sought it might not have been possible to see the grass.

Pepsi and Vodafone were in front of the members in the pavilion (what members there were, that is) while NatWest and Emirates Airlines were at the Nursery End beneath the new media centre. NatWest, who funded the wonderful structure, wanted their name there. The airline had to follow because it is competition policy that the pair are always seen together. Marketing is obviously as sophisticated as a World Cup lyric.

IT WOULD be jolly encouraging to be sure that everyone connected with running the World Cup had sound knowledge of the nuances, the etiquette of the game. "The half-time scores you've just had are wrong," said a media centre assistant during what used to be the luncheon interval at the inauagural match.