an idiot in london


Saturday, 19th August.

The Ispurs were short of players for the match against Ipswich Town this morning. So last night I asked Jules if he wanted to turn out for a Tottenham team (he's a Chelsea supporter!) and he readily agreed, and managed to rope in a couple of his mates as well.

The plan was for everyone to meet at the Dawes Road Palace at 9am and then we'd drive to the ground in Mile End. Mile End is in east London. Jules rang Andy at 9am - Andy said "You're kidding me aren't you?" and got his act together. Then Jules rang Mo, and to our collective surprise Mo was already ready. Both of them had been to a party last night, and were feeling a bit rough. (Which is better than feeling a bit of rough.) We pumped up the stereo and set off for beautiful Mile End. Oh yeah, and we were running late.

The speakers were thumping, I was navigating (we didn't get lost!) and things were going swimmingly until we reached some roadworks. All the cars had formed an orderly, single queue. We joined the queue, and two silver convertibles screamed alongside us and tried to barge their way in. "The Fiesta driver in front of us is going to let the BMW in," said Jules, "why are Fiesta drivers all so spineless?" Sure enough, when the traffic moved the BMW slipped in front of the Fiesta. Then the Saab started to squeeze in in front of us. My window was down. "YOU'RE A WANKER!" I yelled out, then I acted all nonchalant-like. The Saab had the top down, and there was no doubt that the driver (who was, unsurprisingly, wearing a cap and sunglasses and a polo shirt) heard me. Jules reckons the driver tried to shoot a dirty look in our direction, but we were all laughing too hard to notice.

Mile End is not the kind of place you'd take a young lady to impress her with a night out on the town. Unless she's a right old slapper. After a brief flirtation with the staff car park, we parked and dashed off to the pitch, where everyone was awaiting the Dawes Road Allstars. (that's us) No time for a warm-up (just a waste of energy for a stroller like me), we kicked off as soon as we were on the pitch.

Damy, Andy and I made up the backline. Damy and Andy put in solid displays, and I was consistent. Consistently beaten for pace, a shortcoming which led to the first goal being conceded. We equalised soon after when a cross was turned into the Ipswich net by one of their defenders. At that stage that bloke was in the running for our man-of-the-match award.

After the goal we got our act together and the rest of the match was a blur. Ipswich lent us one of their players (a kid called Fraser who was slower than me) who managed to fluff a couple of clear-cut chances in front of goal. His brother, playing in attack for Ipswich, thought it was hilarious. Yeah, great.

Soon after the goal our left winger discovered that Friday night had caught up with him and he stumbled to the sideline and puked his guts out. That wing reeked for the rest of the match, and there didn't seem to be a lot of play in that area.

We attacked relentlessly, and still managed to lose 3-2. The Dawes Road Allstars just couldn't get the team over the line.

The journey back to Fulham was spent searching the FM dial for "Freestyler", the current single from Bomfunk MCs. It's the anthem for the Dawes Road Palace, not because we like the song, more because Si hates it so much that we turn up the volume every time it comes on the radio. We (well, Jules and me) have threatened to buy the single so we can have "Freestyler" on demand. In the forty minute drive to Fulham we managed to find the song three times! So every time we found the song we turned it up to eleven and I could close my eyes and see Lygon Street. Mo had the window down and was pumping his fist in time, our heads bobbing to the beat.

Back at the Dawes Road Palace I whipped up a tagliatelle carbonara - mmmmm, yum - wolfed it down, had a shower and a shave and set off for Westminster. I had an appointment with a local MP.

Peter Asif! I was meeting a bloke called Mark and another bloke with the unlikely name of Rocco (he's German!) and we were driving up to Leicester together. Ok, let's go back a step. Mark and Bonnie (for they are one being) are having their final going away shindig at Mark's parents' place in Leicester. Now this other bloke called Mark (hereafter referred to as "Big Mark", if I refer to him at all) and Rocco used to work with Mark at County Hall, which is across the bridge from the houses of parliament. Confused? I was, because I couldn't find the main entrance to the bloody hotel! I was battling my way through the throng at the London Eye (the oversized ferris wheel) and ended up walking nearly the whole way around the hotel before I found the main entrance.

Rocco navigated us out of London (never before have I been all the way around so many roundabouts) and onto the M1. It was my job to get us off the M1 and to the suburban village where Mark's parents live. We ended up taking a road that wasn't on the map, but in my defence the map was very poor and lacking in detail. I made up for my momentary navigational lapse by getting us back on track.

for they are one being

The party was still going when an utterly exhausted Ian decided to retire to the accommodation arranged for me at the local hotel. It was after 11pm, so of course the hotel was locked up. Carl, Mark's brother (geddit? Carl...Mark' ya? do ya geddit?) made enough noise in the street to get the attention of someone inside, who let me in. I checked in, and was shown to my room.

What a dive. The shower was dripping, there was water all over the bathroom floor, there was a spider in the handbasin (they let me have it free of charge), there was hair all over the pillow and there were dodgy marks on the sheets. All this for 25 - what a bargain! Now let's work it out in Australian dollars! No, let's not.