Sex is one of the great joys of human existence (a shame some people never realize this and that organized religion does it's best to demonize it) and there is nothing more enjoyable than a post-coital slumber next to a beautiful and naked woman... and that's where i was when the police like pounding on the door startled me awake. It was Gulfboot and the Bean Man informing me that i needed to get my shit together as it was time for the pre-match fry up before heading to the pub for the pre-match pints. I groggily shook off the cobwebs, slipped out of bed, and cracked the door, told them to give me a minute and then turned to Veronica who was laying in bed with a smile of contentment. I asked her if she wanted to go to the match and though she did she was exhausted, i told her not to worry, that she could stay and sleep, take a bath, have a bite to eat and that we'd be back later before heading out for the evening. She pulled me to her and explained that she really wanted to go and didn't want to disappoint me and i smiled and told her there was no way she could do that at this point, to go back to sleep and that i'd see her later. I explained how to start the hot water for her bath and that there was a bit of food, got dressed, gave her one last kiss and then was out the door.
One may ask how i could have left a gorgeous and nude woman to go to a football match and for most normal humans that might be a valid question... but not for the footie fanatic on his maiden visit to Selhurst Park. Of course by this time the hangover from the night before was starting to really take hold and i buoyed myself with a few hits off a joint sitting in the ash tray. We sat down to the fry up at the local joint and i did my best to eat what i could. Mainly beans, eggs, toast and multiple cups of strong tea with milk and sugar. I was still a bit under it when we finished and headed to the pub. We met up with the Counselor and the Director, two top blokes. It was in the pub that i was introduced to the Rule of Three by the crew. The theory was that when hungover i should attempt to drink three pints, slowly mind you, and if by the third one i still felt shit i was to quit drinking but on the other hand if i felt alright then i was in the clear to carry on. Sound advice i thought and got on with it however slowly.
It was on this day that i discovered something interesting about the differences between Merica and merr ole En-guh-lan. The difference being the bogs in En-guh-lan were much more well kept and clean(er) than those in my home country, even in the not so posh places. Granted the dives i hung out in back in the States were pure and true dives, the kind of place you only took a shit in when the coke was cut with so much baby laxative that you had no choice, basically meaning you couldn't make it anywhere else. And so between the fry-up, the previous night's boozing, lack of sleep, wonderful round of sex, and current boozing i hit the loo more than a few times to expel the remnants of a life well lived. Or something like that. Needless to say i was quite pleased that this place had doors on the stalls as in Merica most of the places i hung had the doors removed or they'd been ripped off... And then i finished pint number three... and the world was my fucking oyster and i was a fucking uber-mensch.
After a few more pints we left the pub and made our way through the sunny streets of Croydon towards Selhurst Park. The Director had gotten us the tickets and we took our place in the loving confines of Holmesdale Road stand, we went in and had one more pint before heading to the stand. Back then the Palace were in the Football League First Division, long before Coca-Cola would swoop in and rename it the Championship in the name of marketing soft drinks. It was the heady days of Clinton Morrison, Tommy Black, Dougie Freedman, Mikael Forssell and of course our own Finnish wonder Aki Riihilahti. How could that squad not inspire fear? Fucking Sheffield United didn't stand a chance now did they? Except of course they did and Palace lost 1-nil. On the bright side it was a sunny afternoon in South London, i got to sing and cheer and see the lovely sight of a father and young son singing that famous Palace anthem sung to the Battle Hymn of the Republic
about the famous Alan Mullery complete with flying Vs and a hearty "Fuck Off!!". It truly did warm the soul.
Match finished we went back to the pub for the post-match pint and craic and where we met up with the Lord Taff, dubbed so because he was from Cardiff, who was also in charge of procuring the sweeties that would fuel us through the night. Lord Taff having faithfully executed his task and bringing his own lovely and fetching lady Astrid. Lord Taff and i hit if off straight away and he was keen to learn of my exploits back in the States and of my caper i'd pulled off here on the island, i of course mentioned that maybe i should have a sweetie now and did some half-hearted lobbying for one but was roundly rebuffed by all who told me there would be time enough for that. I then made my way to a phone and called the flat to check on Veronica, she was just waking up and getting ready for a bath, i told her we'd be back in about an hour or so and that we'd clean ourselves up and get ready for a night out. She sounded refreshed and excited and i told her to eat something and that of course we had scored the Ecstasy aka her favorite thing. She was over the moon and talked about how she couldn't believe it, how she was here with me, how she couldn't wait for me to get back and to go out tonight. I was smiling as i hung up the phone and went back to the pub where we finished our drinks and started heading towards the train for the trip home... to be cont.