Monday, 29 November 2010

Aaron Ramsey, the A49 and the Ashes

I went over to my mate Steve's pub on Tuesday night after I made Punky! for no other reason than we hadn't seen each other in a while. On the way over I had Radio 2 on and subjected myself to Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie. I share my ire with my father where they are concerned but we have different reasons. dad despairs at Maconie being a professional Northerner. I can't handle Radcliffe for his habit of prefacing every sentence (and mid-sentence) with "errrrrarrrrerrrrr" like some cross between Jimmy Saville and a vacuum cleaner. Anyway by the time I got to Steve's I was apoplectic.

"errrrrarrrrrerrrrr","ee bah gum do you remember spangles?"
No matter - he's got some new ales on - namely, a fabulous brew called "Pure Ubu" and the deadly "Old Rosie" cider. I took the former for a little while until the one or two other fellas left and only Steve, barmaid (and confidante) Lisa and I remained. Old Rosie began and so (obviously) did the arguing. There was the inevitable row about the future of the England football team and more particularly the strikers. From what I remember I nobly suggested that there was nothing wrong with W. Rooney and A. Tallboke. Steve went with some nonsense along the lines of Morecambe & Wise, Peters & Lee or Noddy & Big Ears. The revelation that he thought not only that Mark Radcliffe was OK but also that he sounded like John Peel took things to another level though as I danced around the pub like a Native American doing a raindance and chanting by way of how said Mancunian DJ sounded as opposed to the lugubrious Wirral tones of my audio hero. It could only be settled by the new argument-destroying phrase "Google It!". I found clips of them both sounding entirely different, played them to Lisa and she agreed... with Steve. Bloody Southerners.

England's new no. 9
He brought me up a cup of tea the next day so was instantly forgiven.

Friday saw me delight in driving to Maidenhead  in rush hour traffic and freezing conditions for over two hours. It's an hour's drive. No matter - the gig was sweet and the drive home so effortless that I found myself calling Steve again because I was early. He welcomed a return drinkathon having had little to do in the pub all night. This time when I got there he had regular stalwart Matt, Lisa (again) and her daughter Tasha, visiting the pub for a couple of nights to escape the horrors of her home town, Kettering. Matt left after an argument about Australia. I believed England would skittle them out in similar fashion to how they had ruthlessly dispatched us for around 260. He thought they would get at least a 150 lead. "Preposterous" I declared.

That left the four of us - a perfect number for "Spoof", a game which requires each player to bet on how many coins are in their collective clenched hands (with a maximum of three coins per person). Each time a player gets it right they are removed from the game. The last one drinks the shot of the previous loser's choice. Lose three games in a row and things can start to get hazy (normal drinking obviously continues during gameplay). Tasha had never played before. A couple of hours later, Tasha wished she hadn't. Australia took a 150 lead and we retired to bed, one after the other. Tasha mounted the wooden hill to Bedfordshire first. I was not far behind and passed her, bent over the toilet reacquainting the contents of her stomach with the outside world, bless her. I got a cat for company in the night which was nice because it was bloody freezing. We snuggled together for warmth. Cats are not stupid.

I woke up around 1pm with mischief on my mind, got dressed and left without anyone knowing. An hour or so later I got a text from Steve saying "Where are you? I made a cup of tea!". I answered simply (And giggling to myself as I did so) that I didn't like long goodbyes.

Saturday afternoon came and went and I was on my way to Wigan. This involved the M1, M6 and my newly-beloved A49 into the centre of town and its famous pier. I had received an email on Friday to say that the Mayor would be there and could I keep the "language" down. I had nothing to worry about - I was on last and by the time I took the stage the three previous acts had all been nothing short of disgusting, the audience were leathered and the Mayor of Wigan was clearly having a whale of a time. The gig was at The Orwell. It was my first ever trip to the town and I sincerely hope it won't be my last. It was really good fun and the assembled throng were delightful. The drive back was even better though. England began exacting revenge on the Aussies for their cheek in amassing a first innings total of 481 and by the time I got home were already rocking along nicely. When the Antipodean day's play eventually ended (about 7am) we had only lost one wicket and were coasting along beautifully and already about 80 ahead of them, our opening batsmen had both got centuries and we had only lost one wicket.

despite their first innings score of 481, Australia's captain Ricky Ponting was responsible for only nine of them. Ha.
Sunday saw lunch with the folks and a brief discussion with my Dad about Aaron Ramsey. The Arsenal and Wales starlet has come on "Emergency Loan" to my beloved Nottingham Forest. I had no idea how we had managed to procure him for a month and suspected naively that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger recognised our excellent footballing record and the fact we played the game the way it should be played. I was wrong - it turns out he's mates with our full back, Chris Gunter. All I need now is to discover that centre back Wes Morgan is bezzy buddies with Christiano Ronaldo.


  1. Quality blog and also I agree on the fact that Radcliffe doesn't sound anything like John Peel. Radcliffe is a cock, Peel is a legend who can't be replaced

  2. Matt if you could go round to Steve's pub it would be much appreciated. He-s the real criminal here, not Radcliffe...


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