an idiot in london


Wednesday, 10th May.
From the halfway line

"It's not every day you make a speech using the words 'lob' and 'Seaman' in your opening sentence. I'd like to propose a toast to the Moroccan who brightened up all our lives exactly five years ago. It certainly made it worth my while getting up at some ungodly hour to watch Arsenal get beaten by Real Zaragoza. Ladies and gentlemen, to Nayim!"

When I got home I was interrogated by my flatmates. "Where have you been?" asked Simon. Dinner with a bunch of Spurs supporters. "I like the way you categorise all your friends by what team they support." Well, I know them through the Tottenham Hotspur Mailing List. I played for their soccer team the other Saturday. "Are they a good bunch?" Mixed bunch, married, single, an entire family turned up! "Good bloody onya!" (It's not particularly Australian, but they say it all the time. Along with "G'day dickhead!" I'm regretting teaching them that one.)

"Hey Jules guess where matey's been tonight?" Jules was in his room studying. "I don't know mate, where? Shagging a bird? Sorry, shagging a sheila?" "As if! No, he was out with a bunch of Tottenham supporters that he'd never met before! What a crackup!" laughed Simon. Jules was studing meningitis, and had a summary sheet stuck on his wardrobe. Simon leant across and covered the study sheet. "What are the five signs of meningitis?"

"Supporting Tottenham!" No. "Having dinner with Tottenham supporters!" No. "Having dinner with a bunch of Tottenham supporters that you've never met before!" No! Cheeky bastard.

Having successfully distracted them both from their studies, we started larking about. Two of the fish are dying, and look in poor shape. Jules explained to me how their fins were fraying. "They're fin-ished." I said.

After a conversation about girls (misogynists in the making, all of them!) I was about to hit the hay when Jules said "Mate, your barnet!" I knew it was big, but I was waiting for the Chop Shop to open. "The Chop Shop can open on request, why don't we open it now?" So open the Chop Shop is just what we did. One brutal number three later and I was done. Trimmed back the sideburns too, not before time.

Back to the Cuba Libre, the restaurant where the Spurs-list dinner was held. Happy hour lasted for three hours (two-for-one) which earned the restaurant a special place in the hearts of a few of my fellow diners. The restaurant is in the heart of Arsenal territory, but I was informed that if the dinner had been held in Tottenham we would all be standing on a streetcorner somewhere in N17 with kebabs in our hands.

The meal was ace, I had a chicken dish of some description with rice and beans and capsicum and fried banana. Nobody threw up (at least while we were at Cuba Libre) and nobody was thrown out by management for singing Spurs songs in an Arsenal area.

(Before the meal a few of us had met at the Walkabout - bloody Australian pubs, they're everywhere - and would you believe it I met a genuine English Carlton fan. Carna bluebaggers.)

And since I was one of the longest-serving listees present at the dinner, it was left to me to propose a toast to Nayim. In 1995 he scored the winner for Real Zaragoza against Arsenal in the European Cup Winners Cup with an Outrageous Attempt On Goal from the halfway line. Being an ex-Spurs player, he will always be remembered if not revered down at White Hart Lane.

Sing up you Spurs: (to the tune of Go West)
Nayim, from the halfway line!