Northern Rockers

25 Aug

On my way up to the shop where I buy my cigarettes yesterday, the sky opened up over the punchbowl valley that is Central London: I can’t be certain, but I don’t think I’d ever seen rain like that in Britain before. The Warwick Road became impassible, more a fast-flowing tributary of the Thames than a link in the West Cross Route. I eventually waded through, fucking up my shoes beyond repair in the process, and when I reached the shop, I found a small army of umbrella-less tourists huddling together for shelter. Have you ever seen Das Boot? You know the bit where the British drop depth charges on top of the submarine and the walls cave in? Well, that’s the only comparison I can think of that gets anywhere near to describing what it was like getting stuck in the Great Washout.

Washout was the operative word here: half an hour later, my esteemed colleagues and I were dodging puddles-sorry, lakes- in search of a pub in my area where we could watch the Newcastle/Chelsea game. After being turned away from several near-empty establishments, we eventually settled in The Goose on the North End Road, ten minutes away from Stamford Bridge. We’d expected a degree of abuse, but it wasn’t forthcoming: so sure of their impending triumph were the legions of Chelsea fans that they didn’t even bother glancing at our skunkish attire. The bastards were right, too: David and Goliath? This was more like that famous story of the Polish Army attacking the German Panzer tanks with cavalry, just without the suicidal bravery or the romantic image. It wasn’t spectacular, it was just embarrassing: Chelsea dealt with the northern visitors in a businesslike and unshowy fashion, humiliating the Toon Army with a tension-free 2-0 victory. I normally make for a pretty unconvincing football fan, but walking out of the pub into the downpour as soon as the match ended was a truly crushing experience. I ran to a cash machine in order to get money to buy a loaf of bread: INSUFFICIENT FUNDS. How the fuck had I gone 70 quid into the red on a debit account? Call me paranoid, but yesterday really was one of those bi-monthly incidences where I was convinced the elements had aligned to take the piss out of me.

 

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