Thursday, August 23, 2007

Premiership, super happy fun times and beach

Since the age of three or four when Dad tried to make me kick a football I’ve bumped, ran, fallen, lunged, jumped and thrown myself over had, wet, soft, uneven ground. I’ve split knees, my head, hand webbing, fingers broken and collar bones, and I’ve looked like an epileptic high on crack whilst walking under a strobe light doing it. So after trying to win premiership with Gembrook Brookers, Haileybury Bloods, Balmain Tigers and the UTS Bats, it’s with great relief that after 27 years I can finally hold a medallion with the South London Demons.

A hard fought game was blown apart in the last quarter with the final result of 1.4.10 to 5.11.46, which did not reflect the first three quarters, but showed the arm wrestle across the middle that it was. But game over, I wished I could have stayed, but it was off to V-Festival for a music extravaganza….with medal in hand of course. Some photos of the day here.And this was the line up we were to face:

Foo Fighters
Snow Patrol
The Killers
Kanye West
Paolo Nutini
The Kooks
The Fray
Damien Rice
Corinne Bailey Rae
Sophie Ellis Bextor
Basement Jaxx
Manic Street Preachers
Lily Allen


Mark Ronson
The Fratellis

Arriving in Chelmsford at 3.30pm I realised finding Doc, Lucy and Neil was going to be a problem with 75,000 and bugger all phone reception. So searching for my tent, which had been kindly put up by Lucy, it didn’t take long before I realised that 75,000 campers have a lot of tents also. After hiding my bag in a tree I set back off to the concert grounds before realising that 3 in 75,000 people in several square miles of farm land are even more difficult to find. So I decided to just lap up Kanye West and let what ever will be simply be.

Through delayed text messages and a mutual love of booze, we ended up finding each other by one of the bar tents. From then on it was a slightly messy, fantastic, funny, wrong, but oh so right evening. So after Pink and Snow Patrol, we pushed our way right down the front for Foo Fighters, who didn’t disappoint. Dave Grohl has to be the funniest frontman going around, and by the end of the set had people eating out of his hand. By 10pm the rain was pissing down, but the collective heat of the crowd meant that people were not getting wet, rather the water evaporating about a metre above the crowd.

By the end we were all very, very loose units, so Doc and I decided the world needed to be tackled - so much love to give, so many people trying to run away from us. Off to the tents to continue, but not after eating a hamburger from the ‘Great British Grub’ van (it was no Posh Burger, which markets itself as ‘a finer class of fast food' - because when you’re knee deep in mud, sleeping in a wet tent, haven’t showered for two days and using the same porta-loos as 75,000 people, a finer class of fast food is what you want).

The next day it was difficult to get up. I was sore, could barely sleep the night before and was cold. The rain was bucketing down and I stunk. So, shower in can, packed the bags away in the car, bacon, egg & sausage roll, breakfast beer and back to the music.

By the time the day got going it was great fun. After deciding to buy random things, find random signs and tackle random strangers (including an inflateable condom), we hit the mother load: Police officers. With our Aussie charms we managed to get a hat swap going on. And that’s when the Essex police made a bad decision: giving two random fellas who were nowhere near the right frame of mind a symbol of power - badges. Mind you they were just pin badges, but what junkie/drunk/kid knows the difference if you shout out with confidence:

“ESSEX POLICE – I'm confiscating all your contraband!”

We had people shitting themselves all over the festival! One poor little man that I walked up behind and said: ‘Essex police, move out of the way thank you’ actually screamed and ran away.

Mistake - talking to me

Mistake two - giving me something I could play with

Essex police!

After a little while we decided to pop off and see Sophie Ellis Bextor. Three minutes later I felt like I had been labotomised, so we left to watch Mika. In my frame of mind, watching a man as camp as a row of tents bouncing around on stage singing ‘big girls you are beautiful’ was not doing it for me, so Doc and I continued with policing ways. Returning for Lily Allen – who won a new fan in me – was a good move, with her giving shit to basically everyone and playing the crowd very well.

About 9pm it was time to head back to the main stage to see The Killers. While they didn’t have Dave Grohl up front, their music definately got the crowd going more. With the rain pouring down and the festival winding up, The Killers did three encores until it was time to go. So going back to crash tackle the tents – finally – we left on a high. Photos and videos of the V-Festival here.

One week later...

After a short week of work, some 38 of us headed to Mallorca (Majorca), Spain for the football trip. But as we all know what happens on trip, stays on trip.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Denmark: Well, the nightclubs at least

Den kvinder er hed , den foreninger er sjov og JEG ligne hver anden dag pågældende.
There are only three times in a man’s life when he is allowed to cry:
  • If he’s kicked in the nuts;
  • If his dog dies; and
  • In anticipation of the pain that he will experience on Matthew Oliphant’s stag do.

So with this in mind, Choca and I boarded a flight from Heathrow to Copenhagen. Arriving in Copenhagen it was time to carbo-load before the big weekend ahead, so two hot dogs for me, hotel to freshen up and it was off to hit the bars.


Thirty-three phone calls in 2.3 minutes from the 18 guys already in the establishment we were heading to (they got in earlier) and we knew the weekend was starting. Approaching the door we were informed by the bouncer that: ‘most people in there are 20 – 24,’ in an effort to say we were too old – although I still looked younger than everyone else – and it was up the stairs and in. The first thing that struck me was the drinking style. You pay 60kroner (£6) and it’s unlimited beer and champagne. The other option is you buy a bottle of spirits and four mixers for 200 kroner – fun times all round. So several vodkas (Breno – who buys gin?) and the night was starting. Now, when you are a foreigner in a strange land many things are your oyster - mainly coversation. People can pick you out of a crowd and often come up to you to ask you where you are from. Unfortunately for me, I think I have found my origins, and they must be Danish. Most places I looked there was me looking right back at me. Same hair colour, eyes, complexion, etc - damn god looking mob I must say.

The Danes are very talkative, quite flirty, fun to have a laugh with, very approachable and, well, not the ugliest of people you’ll meet. So a good night was had with my exact doubles before back to the hotel at first light and to the hotel bar, which I couldn't believe we had to wait until 9.30am to be served! Contemplating hte day ahead there was not enough time to fit sleep in, so we headed down to the harbour to board a yacht cruise. There really is not a lot to tell you about 20 blokes on a yacht with free drinks, so the less said the better. At least Frank let the locals know he was there.Arriving back in the evening it was time for a quick shower and back out to the clubs. Arriving at K3, thanks to Colourful Bird - one of Ollie’s mates who lives in Copenhagen - we had a reserved balcony/table area looking over one of the many dance floors, many bottles of vodka, rum, red bull and mixes as well as personalised service and the night went well. No more stories to tell for eveyone's sake.

Another sleepless night and the only thing to do was for the remaining group to head to a park for some sunshine and to wait until our flight. Walking through Copenhagen – the first time I actually stopped to look at the city – all of a sudden I started recognising sites and places. It’s a bizarre feeling to look at a statue or Tivoli Gardens and recognise something that you recognise, only to realise that it's because you were in the exact same spot 17 years ago. Then contemplate the state of mind you are in and how much it’s changed from such a long time ago. Time travels pretty quick.

In the end no sleep caught up on most of us at this point so a quick nap on the grass with KFC chicken bones being thrown at my head, roused from my slumber and packed off to the airport, safe in the knowledge that I’ll being doing it all over again in Mallorca, Spain in two weeks.

More photos of Denmark here.