I talk the talk but……..

22 10 2011

I have a confession to make, last week I talked the talk but I didn’t walk the walk and I ended up in Cardiff at 9:15 am last Saturday morning. It’s taken me a week to pluck up the courage to tell the world about it.

Here’s what happened……..

The process of my resolve weakening begin on the Tuesday of last week (11th October). I tried to fight it but slowly and surely my resolve dissolved until the following thought; “What the hell, I’m going to south Wales anyway I might as well watch the rugby!!!”, popped into my head. Well the train tickets weren’t going to get any cheaper. My resolve wasn’t likely to be very strong thanks to my rugby-loving dad.  I’ve been watching Wales play rugby since I was in primary school so I decided that I wasn’t going to let the plebs stop me watching a rather big match.

There was only one problem; my reason for going south.  I had to be in Llanelli by 1:30 pm at the latest to watch Bangor’s match in Llanelli. Before my gradual dilution of my stance  I was going to leave on the 7:25 am train from Llandudno Junction but if I took this train it would mean missing the rugby match. Luckily enough the generic timetable website told me there was a train at 5:15 am. If I got that train I could watch most of the rugby match and still get to Llanelli in time for a few refreshments!!!!! Unfortunately this would mean having to get up at 4:00 am.

Last Saturday morning I arrived at Llandudno Junction and found the Marie Celeste of stations. Even at 5:05 am trains still run late and my train eventually slouched onto the platform with an unrepentant shrug.

I thought the train would be packed with plebeians put there were only two people with rugby attire. Safe in this knowledge I sat back and fell asleep. In Chester I awoke in a haze to hear a crackling announcement tell me that we had to change carriages. Thankfully I found a new seat with a table. Unfortunately my reverie was shattered by three Tory-faced battleaxes.

You may be wondering how I knew they were Tories, well in a carriage that contained no reservations and over 40 free seats they demanded to sit in the precise seats that their tickets stipulated. Their jolly reasonable demand forced a man out of his seat just as he had become comfortable. Only Tory cunts act like this.

A player from the XXX XXX XXXXXX got on the train at Gobowen but they all look the same to me so I can’t tell you which one (He got off at Newport in case you’re wondering). I know it wasn’t Steve Evans as the train seats remained urine- free. Yet more Tory-faced harpies sullied the train at Shrewsbury. You know the equilibrium of your zen won’t last long when loud contempt for Wales and loud discussions about Big Brother are heard from the other end of the fucking carriage. These harridans pushed me in the direction of the red-shirts. Oh how I despise the Daily Mail reading ways of the border country mindset.

Each station was deserted on our southward journey, even Newport. The only person I recall seeing on Welsh soil was a young man on a rugby pitch in a red shirt. It was obvious he was dreaming of glory as he lined up the match winning conversion. Maybe the Welsh news had been right all along, maybe this was the most important thing in the history of Wales.

At 8:45 am Les texted me to say they were in the Millennium Stadium. This was odd as I’d arranged to meet them in an unspecified pub. I’d read on a message board that you needed tickets to get in. When I asked him Les said I could just blag my way in. I thought about it briefly, in years to come I could live off the kudos of watching the semi-final on a giant screen in the Millennium Stadium; “Oh yes you watched the semi-final but were you in the Millenium Stadium?” I foresaw doors held open in perpetutity and the key to Llandudno around my neck for the citizens of Llandudno remain impressed by this kind of shit.

As we pulled in to Cardiff I could see its streets were deserted as well, maybe everybody actually did have “rugby fever”. I arrived outside the Millennium Stadium to hear the commentator say that Warburton had been sent off. I looked at the stall selling programmes for £7, I wondered what they were programmes for.

As a less than natural blagger getting in was rather easy. All I had to say was “My friends have my tickets and I’ve come all the way from north Wales” and they let me in. It must have been the sincerity in my eyes.  I suggest you try this for six nations matches.

I knew Les and the others were standing on the pitch area by staircase 310. (The pitch had been removed and we were all standing on tarmac.) I went to this area but couldn’t find them. I looked at the screen, the score was 3-3. I walked around to find Les but I couldn’t. Whilst I was in the toilet one bloke told his mate that sending off was a joke and you don’t need any more conclusive proof than that.

After a couple of minutes walking I felt very odd. The volume 0f noise generated by the crowd was so awesome I suffered sensory overload. I was encased by a cocoon of white noise, virtually deaf and unable to think clearly. It was one of the most disconcerting sensations I’ve ever felt in my life, I think they do something similar in Guantanamo Bay. The best way that I can describe it is being helplessly adrift in an ocean of loudness because when I looked up at the screen I felt better, just like a seasick man looking at the horizon feels better. When I resumed my search and I was adrift in the white noise.

As a result of not feeling myself it took me a few minutes to register the stares. Then I realised that in their eyes of most people in the stadium I had made a faux-pas; I was wearing a blue shirt in an ocean of red material. I was wearing my 1986 Argentina away shirt because during my last trip to south Wales to watch Bangor I wore it and we won. Therefore I thought the jersey had magical properties. In the excitement of blagging my way in I forgot this little detail. It’s funny but I thought rugby fans didn’t look at opposition fans as football fans do.

The white noise abated a little so I reasoned that Wales were doing as well. Now I was able to concentrate on finding Les and the others. I managed to find them and they had what Scousers would call a “good spec”. I stood next to Alwyn and everything was fine, I had a good view, I was with friends and I had a cold beer. Yes everything was good, well it is was good if you discounted the bloke that eschewed quiet contemplation for bellowing down my ear. It wasn’t so much the act of bellowing down my ear that was the problem, it was the fact the fucker liked to state the bleeding obvious; I was almost deafened again, this time by the evidence of my own eyes.

The crowd was how I feared last week, they had been whipped into such a frothy red-shirted state by the media that they were just a mass of drones screaming mindless incantations. Oh how they bellowed  and “OOOOOOHH”-ed, my how they shouted and “AAAAAAAHH”-ed, oh how they screamed “Fucking Kick it butt!!!”. They did it all as one as well.  Coming to the Millenium Stadium didn’t seem like a good idea any more, kudos or no kudos.

Towards the end of the first half I zoned out of the white noise to gaze at my surroundings. If the pitch had been there I would have been roughly halfway between the halfway line and the goaline. I visualised that I was in the same position from which James Hook would be able to miss his kicks. The stadium appeared to be a lot smaller from pitch level than the view from the stand suggests. When I looked in the stands I could actually make out what people were wearing. With a well-timed shout the players would be able to hear you, even in a full crowd.

Half time arrived with Wales narrowly behind. Parts of the half-time “show” highlighted everything that’s wrong with being forced to be “WELSH” (File this under ; Hype; The Creation of).

The atmosphere of forced “jollity” and pressure to conform was a little bit too much.  Why the organising bastards had to make everything so very loud was beyond me.  For example some annoying fucker encouraged us to….”MAKE SOME NOISE!!!”  It would have been bad  at any time but we were talking about a quarter to ten in the morning.

She then embarked on what Half Man Half Biscuit might have described as “several minutes of mantra-filled oompah – I didn’t see the point “our boys” weren’t going to hear us, they were in New Fucking Zealand!!!! but she just plunged in to encouraging us to have a good time; “”LET’S MAKE SOME NOISE FOR THE BOYS!!!”………… “COME ON WALES!!!”………….. “IF YOU WANT WALES TO WIN SCREAM!”………….. “SHOW THE BOYS YOUR SUPPORT!!!” she screeched. It was the cliched behaviour of someone that thinks they’re meant to act in this way. Stick to trying for a meeja career love.

Then there was the Coup-de-grace, the thing that really made my teeth grind., Ladies and Gentlemen I give you the pantomime choir “Only Men Aloud!!”

It’s not that I don’t like choirs as an art form. They have their place in the musical realm and they often sound good. It’s this horrorshow of a re-imagining I can’t stand. Firstly they perform like a bunch of self-satisfied cunts; it’s those fucking grins. Then there’s those fucking choreographed moves and synchronised arm-pumping. So on top of the hype, the sensory overload and the getting up at 4:00 am I had to watch these pantomime fuckers strut their contemptible stuff in public.

The grins lit the blue touch paper in my head but when they started performing  “Don’t Stop Believing!!!” the detonastor went off.  What a fucking song choice. Firstly it’s a fucking 80s cheesefest re-popularised by people like the cunts that present T4. Secondly, did the organisers really think we needed  reminding that Wales can still win a game at half time when they’re trailing by 3 points. Do they think the world is populated by braindead ITV viewers or something? I can only assume that they must have practiced this song  for the performance beforehand. They would have looked pretty stupid if Wales had been winning, unfortunately Wales were losing.

Due to the festival vibe (we were outside and live music was being performed) I decided to pee in an empty bottle. Then I remembered that I was in a stadium. The genius moment!!!!; I saw the possibilities of a sport/festival crossover moment. I carefully placed the bottle of piss on the ground. I looked at to make sure it was steady and lined up the kick. I took three long strides backwards and then one to the side. I then assumed the Johnny Wilkinson stance. I strode forward and “gave the bottle an almighty belt” as Bill McLaren might have once said. The bottle drifted wide of  the singing cunts by a matter of inches. As it turned out this was an apt metaphor for the second half of the match.

The second half had more white noise but there more tension than the first half. You could almost cut the tension with a knife. That’s the trouble with hype creation, tension is a by-product. Every passing opportunity led to a gasp, every missed opportunity led to a very loud groan, every mistake led to “FOR FUCK’S SAKE MAN, YOU’RE SHIT (insert correct name) MAN!!!!

Then Mike Phillips scored a try and there was so much joy in the area that people became so lost in the moment that they forgot Wales needed to score the conversion to actually go ahead in the match. Wales missed because Jones hit the post but you wouldn’t have known from the lingering hope in the air and the general gobshite behaviour.I really love spending time with people that don’t know the rules properly!!!

This is where things took a disturbing turn, I began to coast on the waves caused by the red-shirt wearing masses. I began to wince, I began to contort my face, I began slap my thigh in frustration. That’s the trouble with hype if you’re not careful, it makes you act in funny ways, even if you’re merely part of the collatoral damage.

The closer the match got to the final whistle the more fraught the voices  became, I told myself to calm down. At the final whistle I dealt with the disappointment like the imposter it is.

After the match I joined the traditional 40 minute queue at Cardiff Central. On the train to Swansea  a drunken moron in a red shirt (who’d have thought it!!!) tried to wrestle my bag of crisps out of my hands, one of his mates threateningly wondered if I was wearing a French shirt.

When I returned to Cardiff later that evening I was surrounded by drunk people in red shirts, kids in red shirts, dogs in red shirts, lampposts in red shirts, irritating young women in red shirts that screeched at each other in red-shirted Subway as I queued for a sandwich in a red shirt.

I depsised myself for getting dragged in to it all.

Anyway, here’s the biggest lounge in the world.

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21 05 2013
I’ve watched a rugby match | Llandudno Jet Set

[…] Why are rugby fans trusted to behave like adults whereas football fans aren’t? It’s a ridiculous double standard if you consider what can happen on a rugby club night out.  As for the “inherent decency” of rugby fans, well the potential for trouble can be as high with rugby fans as it is with football fans; I noticed a definite air of menace in the Millennium Stadium when I went to watch the World Cup Semi-Final in 2011 . […]

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