The phone rings...
"Hey Jacka, they're doing a late release of Arsenal tickets. Game's on Tuesday. Want me to see if I can get some?"
"Yeh. Who are they playing?"
"Ha! As if you care!"
He was right. I don't care about Arsenal let alone who they are playing. But 'see some kind of important football game' is on my 'to-do-while-I'm-based-in-London' list and this was the perfect opportunity to tick a box.
So, last night I watched my first game of football live. Okay, that's a lie. I've seen live football before. I covered the Townsville Premier League for three years. But Burdekin versus Rebels isn't quite Arsenal versus...ahhh...Hull?
Yeh, it was Hull. Hull City to be precise. And it was the quarter final of the FA Cup. I know because I bought a scarf.
> No mingling allowed. Opposition supporters are caged in a separate section that represents about 10 per cent of the stadium. Presumably this is to avoid rival fans killing each other. 'Such is the passion', I'm sure any Brit would tell you. 'Such is the insanity', I argue.
> No alcohol allowed. It's sold, but you can't take it inside the stadium. Where's the fun? I know, I know, you don't need alcohol to have a good time...but it helps. Tell me I'm wrong.
> Football fans (or at least Arsenal fans) don't need alcohol to act like complete twats. "You fucking northern cunts," was just one of the charming insults on repeat for the game's duration. But what I lost in respect for the bogans sitting behind me, I gained in geography knowledge. Hull, apparently, is north of the Emirates.
> Football is still boring. I'm not trying to start a fight. It's simply an opinion. I grew up on a diet of rugby union and league which makes it difficult to adjust to the scoring rate soccer provides. The final score was 2-1 Arsenal and I am highly grateful I saw three whole goals. I got excited on two occasions and almost excited on about three more. I do, however, appreciate that if I had a vested interest in one of the teams, the experience would have been better. Beer would have also helped.
Post-game we headed to the pub. It was St Patrick's Day after all. Once at the head of the queue I noticed the bouncer looking at me as if I had done something wrong.
"How old are you?" he asked, cynical of my place in line.
"How old do I look?" I wasn't flirting. Promise. It's just that I am one week off my 28th birthday and riddled with desperate hope that I look younger.
"You look 18."
Now, I know I don't look 18 so there's no need to point it out. But this guy was serious and, god damn it, I'm going to tell everyone.
One more story. Inside O'Neill's. It was packed, sticky and warm. Ewwww.
Some random girl - let's girl her 'the skank' - accused my friend of topping up her glass with the bottle of wine she and her friends were sharing.
The reason? Apparently my friend was looking over at their group and smiling.
Oh my god. What a total bitch. Looking over and smiling at people. There could be no other explanation. She must be stealing our wine. I'm going to confront her.
Alternatively, you dumbarse skank, my friend could just be one of the most naturally bubbly (overused and trite adjective but very true in this case) people you will ever meet. Being Irish, she might have also been happy to be celebrating St Pat's with her friends. Happiness has been known to cause crazy side effects such as smiling. And, I imagine the few wines she had consumed, courtesy of HER OWN POCKET, could also have contributed to these smiles you speak of.
If I wasn't so committed to surviving my time in London without being stabbed, I would have confronted you for being so insulting. I didn't (but I did throw you an award-winning dirty look....while you weren't looking). On reflection, I think the fact you live in a world where smiling people make you suspicious is punishment enough.
So, that was yesterday. In also have massive blisters from the rowing machine. They hurt.
And Rick, this is NOT the blog entry I promised. But here's superfluous anyway.