Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Week of the Wanderer

I’ve been reading Andrew Marr’s short history of British Journalism called ‘My Trade’. I once considered an alternative career as a journalist, but not very hard and if Marr’s descriptions of the trade are anything to go by I don’t drink enough by half and I don’t seem to have the nose for hard news. I would probably write the ‘Strangely Enough’ stories because those are the ones that interest me: the Japanese man on a motorcycle who hit the central reservation and drove on for a while missing the lower half of his leg without realising, or the other motorcyclist who popped in to see his girlfriend for five minutes and came out two hours later to discover that his prosthetic hand that he had left attached to the bike had been stolen.

Or maybe I would write a diary column, but not about the rich and famous, but the everyday and mundane such as the guy whose sense of dress was so poor that he fully distracted me from reading anymore of ‘My Trade’. There I was clutching onto the bar to stop myself staggering all over the train when over the top of it I espied a melange of colours that surely should never be seen together: dark blue with orange pinstripes. It was so shocking that I soon realised that it was responsible for the fact that I kept losing my place on the page. I kept the book there so I could hide the fact that my jaw was falling lower and lower, but he must have seen my eyes grow to saucers when I spotted the vertically striped shirt in varying shades of pink and grey. The silver tie that lay on top of it was yet another colour to add to the bizarre palette. I wondered if I should say something, but thankfully tact intervened and told me that a mere foreigner should never give a French man fashion tips, even if his wardrobe is visually disturbing, his ego may never recover.

And the Scottish fans arrived. Although I somehow missed them and in fact had no idea that there was a French/Scotland Euro 2008 qualifying match, I have carefully reconstructed this story from eyewitness accounts. My contact on Tuesday’s Eurostar confirms that the fans were as pissed as farts even as they travelled over to Paris and the bar of said Eurostar was impossible to enter unless you were wearing a kilt. By Wednesday, the bekilted ones had all congregated on the Champ de Mars (behind the Eiffel Tower) along with bagpipes, kegs of Heineken, boxes of wine and various other liquids. While thousands imbibed drink there, many choose to drive Wang (he of the local after work bar) mad by drinking vast quantities there. Then at 6 o’clock, as one, the fans began to move. The parade was made up of bagpipers leading the way – which woke up the Scot who had fallen asleep in Wang’s, one hand clasping his pint, his other thumb still on his mobile phone in the middle of typing a text message. Behind the pipers came the general rowdy loud mouths who provided rousing renditions of popular Scottish songs. Behind them came the pissheads who generally pissed, puked or passed out along the way to the Parc de Princes. Locals remarked that they had never seen so much pee in Paris and this is the city where men frequently do their business in very public places. Next in the Parade were the first clean up squad, those friendly CRS officers decked out in riot gear picked up the fallen and piled them into a huge meat wagon. And lastly came the Paris street cleaners, so that by the time the fans were all safely in the stadium the chicest quartier of Paris began to think that the Tartan Army had been merely a dream; until they all piled out triumphant having beaten France 1-0 two hours later and partied till it was time to go home.

Lastly was the England v South Africa Match. Obviously having no interest in Rugby myself I chose to go for happy hour drinks on DiscoBlue. It’s very blue and I leave before the disco starts. I’ll digress a little hear to talk about my very lovely ‘come hither’ shoes. I own three pairs of shoes with a heel, and I very rarely wear them and for some reason the rather gorgeous peeped toe pair caught my attention last night and I thought to myself: Why do I never wear these? The answer being the rather lovely different shades of ties that attach them to my feet always come undone and they are bloody uncomfortable. So on form we all trouped off to go to a Lebanese restaurant before the disco started; we being a friend, her husband that I met for the first time and her in-laws that I was also meeting for the FIRST time. The restaurant was not close, in fact it seemed to be halfway across Paris, a long enough walk for those beautiful ties to all slip undone and tangle themselves up around my feet as I rabbited on unaware until I did something resembling a remarkable flying rugby tackle along a Paris pavement. Had I been on the field at Stade de France I may have done better than the England squad who got trounced 36-0. And maybe I wouldn’t have been so bloody mortified as I was escorted to a taxi at the end of the evening with the beautiful shoes in my handbag.

12 comments:

Jon M said...

I never wear heels (well only on a saturday) and Rugby is a game played by men with odd shaped balls. I say this from the safety and comfort of my own home, so they'll never getme...must go and try those heels now.

kyklops said...

People drink before sporting events? And in public? I'm appalled...
;-)

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Why do I get the distinct impression you've been a lot more spectating than participating - the stunning "untackle" aside. Methinks, with all that watching, you should have got yourself off to that rugby game and shouted loudly. Then perhaps we would have not trounced England quite so magnificently!
Do you detect a certain amount of smugness. I'm not, honest, I'm not...

Verilion said...

Jon I may never wear heels again too! And after sliding along a paris pavement on my hands and knees I have no wish to participate in a sport where people throw themselves about willingly!
Apparently so Kyklops, who'd have thought it hey? Apparently what made this even so special is that there were 20,000 of them!
And me upset about the Rugby score? You be as smug as you want Vanilla, it's not football so you can't even ruffle a feather (not that I have any, but I do have blisters and a bruised knee!)

Sam said...

Beautiful shoes are cursed with being uncomfortable. I loved the Scot's parade story - can just picture it, lol. And it was sad how badley the English got trounced. Another excuse to get pissed though! Hurrah, er, well, better luck next time.

apprentice said...

Ouch I hope you are alrright.
My lovely countrymen getting pissed as farts, shurely shome mishtake as the lovely Sean would say!

The kilt makes peeing rather too easy I fear, but they'd probably wet their pants otherwise.

It was a great gosl though, better than Archie's in Argentina 1978. See how little we have to clutch at ;)

Verilion said...

Hi Apprentice, my ego is far more bruised than my knee! And as for your fellow countrymen, there really could have been a mistake, yet the stories all seemed so similar!

Marie said...

It's strange but as I get older I hate wearing high heels. I only wear them on special occasions.

I used to want to be a journalist when I was younger. I would have loved to have written for pop music mags like Smash Hits (it was great back in the early 80s).

Minx said...

I think your shoes are possessed (it happens sometimes) - get rid of them and buy four new pairs immediately (or borrow some of Jon's).

Verilion said...

Hi Marie, I kind of like feeling tall once in a blue moon, but these shoes are dangerous, or possessed as Minx says. I think we are going to have a ritual burning one of these days Minx. The thing is they just are so gorgeous, but the bruise has finally come up and it's big and it's very purple!

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Wow... I can't even think what to say!

Other than, I always enjoy your writing. To that end, I've tagged you with a writing project on my page.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Verilion said...

Oooh thanks for the nice easy tag Scarlett! ;) Actually it's quite a good one, because it's certainly going to get my old grey cells working.

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