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A Chilean red hangover August 26, 2010

Posted by normanmonkey in Blogging and social media, Friends, In the news.
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I’m well versed in the tribulations of the hangover, but this one, quite frankly, takes the biscuit. More so because I didn’t see it coming. Then again, it’s been a week in which thirty-three Chilean miners stuck underground until Christmas was swiftly replaced on the news agenda by a cat in Coventry stuck in a wheelie bin overnight and neither the miners nor Lola the tabby saw that coming either.

Granted there had been personal training  just prior and the body had been twitchy after being abused at the hands of James Daly, personal trainer to the stars and Vernon Kay, plus the matter there hadn’t been a drop of alcohol in any shape for over a week (unlike the British Medical Council, I refuse to count the drinking of anything less than two large glasses of wine as alcohol consumption) There had been a Bloody Mary in the bar before dinner, a bottle of white, then a red. Now that’s a schoolboy error. Then espresso Martinis after dinner. Then back to mine for a nightcap with my dining companion. Come to think of it, that’s a perfect storm given those circumstances and that companion. It may’ve taken two hours of planning to lift the pillow from over my head, but I’m lucky to be alive and the house still standing.

All this has been made possible courtesy of a week off where the plan was to make positive strides toward fitness and rejuvenation. Things had been progressing nicely and this sudden burst of exercise during a week off work  is in no way related to being informed by a barmaid that Abbey Clancey is a regular at my Weybridge gym during the daytime.

There had been idealised plans of exchanging sweaty glances with Abbey and the promise to take her away from a gangly, unfaithful beau who earns £65,000 a week (spot which one of those three conditions is keeping Miss Clancey with Peter Crouch instead of a man with a QPR season ticket and hangover). Instead of skipping around with her, this morning’s torpor was my own Chilean mineshaft of misery, made only more tolerable that at least I was alone and not with thirty-three seriously pissed off miners.

Being stranded in a mineshaft until Christmas is certainly no laughing matter, but still infinitely preferable to  being stranded overground for five minutes in Coventry (ask the cat) or being stuck in a room with 33  iPad aficionados . Jesus, could you imagine being stranded with them until Christmas? It’d be bad enough being stranded in Las Vegas with them, let alone two kilometres underground. Especially as they wouldn’t be able to get reception. Living hell for all concerned.

Can an iPad get rid of my headache,  secure three points for the Rangers away on Saturday or permit me an introduction to Abbey Clancey? If not, I’m not interested so bugger off with your ‘future is now’. (An iPad can’t change my life, but sorting any of those three out would, even if only temporarily).

Perhaps we can arrange an exchange programme when the miners surface and let the public decide who from the UK should take their place. It;s exactly the sort of thing we need to give us a boost during ‘the current economic climate’ and would go down a storm with Channel Four.

With the iPad brigade, lets kick off members and fans of the bands The Young Knives or Scouting for Girls, Bob Crow, men who wear long trousers and sandals, anyone who gets excited when ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ is played, people who call radio stations to ‘make a point’, Andy Gray and Richard Keys, those who say ‘moving forwards’ in any context whatsoever unless they actually are physically moving forwards and there is a reason we need to be informed of this (such as ‘I am in a car on the edge of a cliff and it is still moving forwards. Help’), anyone who calls themselves a ‘guru’ in their field (until recently gurus were restricted to Indians who simply spoke a load of mystic shit and drank their own piss, now everyone’s at it), football bores who talk about tactics and team selection who would like to be Andy Gray and Richard Keys, ‘fans’ of the Big Four who’ve never seen their team play (see how inter-related it all is – actually lets add in most football fans…), most football fans and all of those whom support Chelsea, Foursqaure users, people who ask loudly in restaurants ‘Is it organic?’, most of the PR industry, Jamie Oliver, Islamic fundamentalists, Christian fundamentalists, organic fundamentalists, fundamentalists full stop, Clapham public school rahs, anyone who has complained about the gazpacho soup being cold or been associated with those fucking Halifax ads, Englishmen in baseball caps, private members club members, users of unnecessary or multiple exclamation marks in punctuation, my hangover, xenophobes, obese people in sportswear, anyone in sportswear who isn’t in a gym, X-Factor hopefuls and anyone who has ever, ever referred to an experience as ‘a journey’ .

That’s just to kick-off and already that’s the majority of the UK population. Perhaps we should just bury the country two kilometres underground and be done with it. It’ll just be us left. I hope we remember the Anadin.

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A Bridge Too Far March 17, 2010

Posted by normanmonkey in QPR, Suburbia.
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The other morning I was woken from my slumber by REM’s Shiny Happy People, provoking what can only be described as a Fred West style assault on the radio alarm clock.

Today the first words to enter my transom from the badly bruised and nervy alarm clock was a reminder that Chelsea had crashed out of the Champions League in front of their home fans. Slowly, but surely the alarm is working its way back into my good books.

There is nothing good about Chelsea Football Club nor its oafish fans and I should know. For most of my life I lived in Worcester Park which is a Chelsea stronghold, often tripping in the grooves in the pavement made by the years of knuckles dragging against the ground. In two pubs The Huntsman and the ghastly Tone’s, the latter decked out in memorabilia and the location for fan interviews in a feature length documentary about Chelsea, a bad word about ‘Wisey’ or Zola (Gianfranco not Emmanuel) could quite easily result in a glassing.

Yet where did they come from? They weren’t there when I was growing up in the 1980’s, when Chelsea for much of that time weren’t even in the top division, nor even the 1990’s and early 2000s. Look carefully at their fat, bald or shaven sweaty heads. That isn’t dandruff you can see but filings from where they’ve emerged from the woodwork at the scent of money and success.

Chelsea weren’t even in contention before being fuelled and revved up by the billions of a Russian oligarch. Instead the Champions League has become something of an open wound that now festers with the failure of every season. With every departure from the tournament there is also recrimination usually directed at some refereeing decision and a UEFA or Sepp Blatter conspiracy. If truth be told there have even been times they have deserved to win the thing, on the cusp of doing so, only to throw it away spectacularly.

Level with Manchester Utd on penalites in Moscow, the fulfillment of that ambition and struggle seemed to come to ferment in the perfect scripted ending. Up stepped John Terry, Mr Chelsea, as he was known around Worcester Park, Cheam and the Kings Road, cut him, they say, and he bleeds blue (though that has most recently proven to be not blue but the murky green of greed, avarice and money – much of it the ‘hush’ variety) representative of all that is Chelsea and all that is ugly about football.

This was every football purists nightmare. The man Chelsea loved unquestionably was about to take the kick to win them their first ever Champions League in a moment the fans of CFC would treasure for the rest of their lives and the last thing they would see to make them smile on their mortal passing. This was about to be the defining moment of their lives.

He missed. He slipped, hit the post and fucking missed. Man Utd scored. Chelsea lost. Within seconds, without prior forethought, I was straight in the car roaring down to Tone’s in Cheam. There, as expected, were about 100 Chelsea fans sobbing into their pints and walking into walls, blue and white flags on the ground soaked in beer and spittle. I mingled. Felt their pain. Not dissimilar from when a killer joins in the search party knowing that there is no life to be found except for a grisly body. Sure enough it was only minutes before they started fighting amongst themselves and I left them to it with the sounds of howls, breaking glasware and recrimination in my wake.

Last year I caught the last minutes of the Chelsea – Barca semi-final poolside from Bellagio in Las Vegas. Having completely forgotten about the game, the heart sank at the scoreline. As the final seconds ticked away with Chelsea leading Barcelona 1-0 and having been denied in all probability two cast-iron penalities. Even in these opulent surroundings and 100 degree heat, I found myself dragged back to Cheam, to Tone’s and pictured the scene, just as I could see them signing and celebrating at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea weren’t just winning, they’d dominated and battered the best team in the world into submission. This year was, at last, going to be their year and we all had to brace ourselves.

And then up popped Andres Iniesta. Barcelona mustered one shot after 94 minutes of football. It flew into the top corner. Goal. Game over. Out Goodnight. She Who Loathed Football, sat in the sun in her bikini, glared at me disapprovingly over her mango prosecco as I pounded the bar with my fists. All I needed was a few more seconds of those uncomprehending, wounded, twisted pie-fed faces, the faces who’d been taunting and celebrating seconds before. Then I was done. Back to the pool, back to the sun and a fresh round of cocktails ordered, knowing that we can rejoice for another year.

Now they’ve not even made the semis. Not only taken apart and humbled at home in the first qualifying round, but at the hands of their own beloved ‘Special One’, Jose Mourinho and his Inter Milan side. ‘Mr Chelsea’ left the pitch, face snarling like a Rottweiler with a finger up its posterior, spewing bile and spitting feathers. Immediately followed the post-mortem, ingraciousness and high-pitched wailing of another UEFA conspiracy. The rest of the right-minded football world looked on from Shepherds Bush to the San Siro: shiny happy people.