Monday, July 19, 2004

June 24 (Thursday): In Camelot. I need my sleep, not only my beauty sleep but the whole fucking hog sleep. Sadly, dragged out for the X consecutive night is really hitting me hard.

At work though, I am buzzing. Football last night was awesome and I describe it to Jimmy with complete pride, even to the point that I state "after Sunday I've got my confidence back". And it soon becomes apparent that the match mended bridges between me and Stevo. Ben texts and he's bang up for it. At lunch time I stagger into town and I actually bump into Ellen Clarke as I am replying to a Ben text. Her wedding is this weekend (talk about a long time planning). I joke "where's my invitation?"

Five o'clock comes around it is time to make moves. I fly into town to MVC because the Sun is advertising they are selling the Tenacious D CD in the sale for four quid, got to be done. I make my purchase and return to the office to go watch the football. Stevo is in tow and with Ben and Mark out too, we have our firm (ho ho). Lucky Graham doesn't have a session this week, so there is time to spend, time to waste before the game. We plod around my flat for a few minutes to no amusement so we just head straight to Yates, getting there just after six, it being blatantly apparent I will get plied with booze and drink too much tonight. Ben and Stevo get on like a burning down house; they can bore the hind legs off a donkey with football stories better than I. Mark eventually turns up and there is reinforcements in the house.

Tonight there is a different vibe in Yates; I guess this must mean it is just busier than the Croatia game. The prime spot we had for that game is now gone, someone has decided to cash in and put a table and chairs there. We stand heartily around the main bar area, there are two plasma screens within view so we have our pick. We are also unfortunately opposite the staircase leading up to the toilets and this is where management appear to be setting up for the night, including the fit female manager there who looks five foot tall and not much older.

The game begins and I'm pretty much already next to pissed so when Owen finally scores a goal after a very long time coming a rush of emotion explodes and place goes off. Take that Portugal. To an early goal, we surely think the obvious, and this is a hatful will come. Our fuel and excitement are soon scuppered when those dirty Portuguese go and wanker Rooney. For the rest of the first half and we seem to do is drink, drink and drink. I can remember very little of the first half other than having to bob my head too much and make way for drunkards staggering back from having a piss.

The second half is bad news, basically Ben, Stevo and myself stand pissed up singing Col U, Wimbledon and Millwall songs in addition to "David James is homosexual" and god knows what other horrific crap we come up with. And we just get louder. Embarrassed? We should be. I think the "Killroy we love you" attempt was a bridge too far. I genuinely thought that any minute we would be getting thrown out but then again, our money is good. The sad realisation was that England on the pitch was really pushing it. When Rooney came off and Vessel came on our spark disappeared with Wayne's World and as the second half wore on it looked like we were involved in a real defensive scrap but one that we were maintaining. And never in our dreams did we now look like scoring (not even in a brothel). It was devastating when Postiga scored an equaliser so late, you could see it coming a mile off but at the same time it really looked like we were holding our own and would be holding our own until the end. And even worse, useless James, the shot as good as it was, was fairly saveable.

Sol Campbell's goal was France 98 and Argentina all over again. Our gut instincts were to grab each other and jump like lunatics to celebrate our winner moments for time, all against the run of play. In the light of day though, anytime a goal gets bundled in that way with the goalie flailing, ending up on the ground, it IS going to go in the favour of the keeper. Having seen the moment now more times the JFK getting assassinated though, Terry was the one obstructing as the keeper attempted to recover from the initial incident, surely rendering him out of play. Whatever, yet again we were cheated; we give good for our money but never seem to really accomplish anything.

No one around was confident about going into extra time, with no Rooney up front basically we had no game. It was a pretty scary concept to think that penalties were going to be our best bet tonight. It comes to an end in the 110 minute when Rui Costa, I am convinced that's golden goal. I find myself saying to Ben "let's get out of here" for fear that it is going to kick off. It takes about a minute for me to realise the game is playing on. When Lampard scores it comes completely unexpectedly, a gift from god. The goal is an explosion of emotion. When Rui Costa scored it really looked like it but I guess our efforts can be classed as tenacious. As the goal went in and everything everyone went off, I would say it was comparable to being there with it's own charm.

England plays out and get through to penalties. If anyone claims they were confident with England going into the penalties they are a liar and a fool. When Beckham balloons spoons his third England penalty in a row it almost comes as expected. And add this to David James looking anything but confident, it was almost over before it had begun. Still we flung ourselves into celebrations when we scored and they looked like they had missed, to the point some pisshead in red almost gets ratty when I accidentally bang him but tonight he would stand no chance, I felt I could shout anyone down (the wonders and joy of Stella!). I have to admit I was gutted when Vassel missed our ultimate penalty; I really am a fan despite the fact that for most of the tournament he had been pish (especially tonight). When the Portuguese keeper stepped up and bopped home the winner it felt that nothing could be more insulting, they could not possibly take the piss anymore. At the close "fucking typical" was said more times than once and sadness was prevalent over anger (internally though I was steaming). Ultimately I blame Sven.

After the disaster we stormed out onto the streets of Colchester, having expecting the outpouring from the Wig & Pen to be setting the town alight. Surprisingly the place was pretty sedate with everyone down and no one really ratty. We walked past the Nandos and felt like knocking its Portuguese front window in. How dare they! We end up in the beer garden of the Hogshead drinking Stella and freezing out tits off, depressed and dejected. I can't speak, I have shouted myself horse. Could it get any worse? Yes, Ben suggests we go to the Hippodrome being that its casual night. Oh joy. Worse though, everybody acts gung ho for it the mistake in question. No no no. By this point I am very very drunk and when Chris Lox's brother Tim Jeff comes over to say "hi" I am only able to ramble incoherently about Tenacious D. By the time I have finished talking to him I find myself being lead to the Hippodrome, nightclub of nightclubs. We stop at the cash machine and I have reached my limit and can't get any money out, maybe I'm saved! Like a food parcel to a starving nation, within seconds a score is shoved in my hand and I am still very much in.

We walk down the High Street and it is dead. No sign of trouble, no sign of violence. We get to the entrance of the Hippodrome and they don't even search us on the way in! This is very casual. I am however in one of those states where I am actually too pissed to give my ticket to the ticket collector.

The Hippodrome. I came here in 1993 and never came back. And I can see why. We soon rendezvous and Stevo remains AWOL. We then watch as staggers out of the crowds giving a wanker sign to some guy and watch the guy follow him for a bit, we brace ourselves for trouble but doing the thing of watching him look for us instead of us going over to him.

I go for a piss in this place and there is a toilet attendant there. I'm getting used to these annoying people now, spending so much time going up to London, I can see why the fit Girls Aloud bird slapped the piss out of one of them. And this one has Chuppa lollies also, a real red rag to a bull if ever there was one. And the ultimate seal of tackiness, what were the fragrances on offer: CK One? Hugo Boss? No, Lynx aerosols. Nice. Frightened I slump into a booth and notice at the bottom some pennies. I put my hand in my pocket, throw some coppers in too and make a wish. Is this clubbing equivalent of a wishing well?

We regroup upstairs (I didn't even realise there was one). The vibe is strange, most people are acting like rude obnoxious wankers but occasionally, usually when you expect it most of all, a few real gestures of kindness and friendliness are shown. Personally I think the four of us stick out like sore thumbs but whatever we are shitfaced and monging, just like goldfish. Upstairs the DJ is playing much better music, 100% hip hop that is 66% decent and 50% recognisable. Compare this to my trips downstairs where I hear that DJ shamelessly playing Foo Fighters and Christina Aquilera together. I spot a free sofa and make a b-line for it. My friends are slow to follow, some almost look like they prefer to stand, but we get in some chill time. Opposite us three real disco tarts plonk themselves down. I look is disbelief at their sneers and brace myself for a least a little abuse. No need, as one girl hops on the lap of another and starts riding ferociously and giving us all a show, Stevo points and gawps in amazement, almost producing more of a show himself. The non-involved disco tart three points and laughs, taking the piss out of Stevo, taking the heat off the rest of us. Stevo innocently asked the girls "are you lesbians?" to which they respond "no, we're trisexuals", a term Stevo has to ask me about. When I tell him it means "try anything" he goes back to interrogating the Disco Gal. God knows what he says to her/them but immediately what little reception we have (albeit sarcastic) goes.

We go back to standing up at the bar like chumps when it is decided more alcohol is required as lifeblood and I begin scoping the DJ, trying to egg myself on to request 99 Problems by Jay-Z. My apparent familiarity with the phat tunes he be dropping gave me a delusional air of being down with the kids. At the same time though, I look around at the kids and think "what a bunch of wankers". And this isn't me riding some high horse, they genuinely were mostly pseudo-players acting up. Mark tells me that he just spots some guy pissing up a wall and then we see security drag another bloke out the house (there are legendary horror stories about the security of the establishment), maybe that means time to leave. We actually reach until around 1.30 in the morning and the whole point of the evening and coming to the Hippodrome has taken on the weight of being some kind of endurance test, to see that we can make it until 2.00. Doesn't happen. Words are said and moves are made. Ben tells us he's off for a piss and as soon as he gets back we will leave: we never see him again. Eventually, after waiting, we trolley out onto the street where there is the usual carnage of some girl falling on her arse in the street. In my usual socially minded way, I could care less.

Right now, my number one desire ain't pussy nor world peace, its kebab subsistence. Earlier, while on our way to the Hogshead, Bodrums was shut post football. As we head in that direction, I attempt to steer things towards Queen Street and the ghetto side of town for some reliable kebab houses (usually fronting prostitutes and drug dealers). I get outvoted 2-1 and the promise of meat somewhere somehow, with Sam's Pizzeria sounded the best bet, marvellous. I nearly die when we pass it to see it shut but saving the day, Bodrums is open and trading. They've worked on that place, done up the interior and put in a new counter in. Also they may have gone on some staff training, tonight rarely are they this polite. With the football now long forgotten, things begin to look better.

It looks like Stevo and I are in for a LONG walk home (or a bit of drink driving) when Mark says his parents are away and we can stay over at his crib. This is a relief, to be honest I am really a bit funny about having people over to stay at my flat. The walk to his is hilarious and despicable. Of the three of us, for some reason I am the only person to have bought a kebab and it is plainly obvious the others want in, want some so I spend the entirety of the walk to Mark's hiding my chow and pretending not to be eating whilst literally attempting to fend them off. For some reason I allow them some pitta I rip off but nothing else. I'm an only child.

When we get into Creffield Road we don't fuck about. Mark directs us to his dad's study and immediately pulls out old duvets and mattresses in the realisation that time is heading towards 3.00 in the morning. I've never seen this part of Mark's house before, I don't know where I am. I sleep in my contact lenses, I rebel to the end.

np: Dizzee Rascal - Fix Up Look Sharp


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