It seems like yesterday yet it already seems so long ago if that makes any sense ? the weekend was really all about NEW things Imo. new line ups, new songs, new haircuts and new friends but as always one thing never changes which is how special those few days always are. it all started well enough considering I was being a glutton for punishment as I again offered to chaperone a visitor from the other side of the pond to Wales via British rail. Luckily for me Jonna had more awareness of how to get on the train in her velvet cap than old dougieieiei has in his whole body so me and Mrs. Simmo met up with a tired and weary Jonna and friend Ron at euston nice and early Friday morning. They had a real travelerís tale to tell with every delay possible yet they still were there on time (are you taking notes dougieieieie ?) Vainly looking around for Caroline and Rip who I had tentatively scheduled to meet but to no avail so we set off with me acting as tour guide pointing out among other places Wembley stadium (good job I go to watch England as west ham never get there !!) finally and still without a beer we arrived at crewe where we were to hook up with Steve and Amanda Varty. as I got off the train with my seemingly growing rucksack (why do wives insist on taking so much just for a weekend ?) it suddenly occurred to me that I never actually arranged exactly where to meet them. no problem I thought, he's bound to be in the bar. so at this point I excused myself and ran into the toilet on the station only to find the aforementioned Mr. varty hanging around the urinals !! suitably abusing him for this he turned, sheepishly grinned at me and offered me his hand to shake !! you can guess what I told him to do with that :-) so after retrieving the lovely Amanda (drinking coffee no less !!) from the bar and Steve sculling his pint we all ran off to jump on the Wales train to immediately find the bouncy rip and the quiet but nice G also both heading west on this train bound for glory !! upon arrival us and the varty's shared a cab to the chatsworth hotel while all the foreign visitors shared theirs to the George hotel. after dumping our bags us brits headed off to pick up a few bits n pieces. I realised en route I had no socks to play footie in so I promptly purchased a pair of Welsh green/red ones as I thought they may bring us luck - not much doing there !! and Steve and Amanda bought a tub of Vaseline !! apparently Amanda needs it for her delicate hands although Steve seemed to take ownership of it so the mind boggles :-)) anyway after our shopping spree we decided a beer was in order so we randomly picked a pub off the main drag, crosskeys? and walked in only to find the legendary mark "Elvis" slater and Jo already settled on a corner table. the day was young hence mark had all his clothes on and in fact still all his hair which along with Timís from NY would disappear before the end of the gathering !! after a swift bevvy we headed back to the George to see if we could track down the infamous dougieieie, both the fultons, Indy, Scurvmeister and Tim. Lo and behold they were all in the bar supping their pints together with Leah and a few others. Numerous hugs, kisses and handshakes later (and that was just seeing Doug again !!) we all settled down for an excited chat about the forthcoming proceedings. Bruce Foxton as the special guest was the worst kept secret since terry flynn mentioned he "may get to g6" and I for one was hoping to catch the great bass man once again. only this time I was prepared with a SLF and a Jam promo cd ready for him to sign. alas these would stay in my bag as the poor geezer had a real dose of the flu. so one quick shirt change later we were in the hydro bar that was after tasting the delights of the chatsworths too, where finally George of the dawes and co arrived. all too quickly in many respects we were heading off to the venue prompted to move on after "mad nigel" decided to fall off chairs, tables and even the carpet !!
the performance that night has been documented elsewhere (see links) . needless to say a great time was had by all in what has become the MP "karioke" acoustic session quickly followed by the innagraul ColourSound gig. that wasnít the only surprise that night when, scurvy, Doug and me were suddenly confronted with our own ugly mugs on the large video screen on stage. Iím sure all the women in the room went weak at the knees confronted with an even larger than life dougieie as a few faint screams and sighs could defo be heard when he appeared :-)
after the gig plenty of beers and rum and cokes in someone's case (who shall remain nameless but lets just say she doesnít have a nose ring !!) and much merriment ensued before we finally gave in and went to bed around 3am.
Next morning we woke up in the sauna or was it really our room in the chatsworth at 09:58am and realising breakfast had precisely 2 mins left to run we leapt like salmon from our pit !! if only I had moved as fast on Sunday morning on the 5 a side pitch and maybe my old mucker Mr. varty would have been celebrating a double that weekend pulling on last nights clothes and suddenly realising Iíd left my specs at home me and Mrs. simmo ran down the stairs to get to the table before George of the dawes and his Ďfamilyí ate the hotel out of house and home. luckily the staff were good and dutifully served me up the full on, heart attack city good old British brekkie. one of the advantages I can testify that being married brings is that rarely does the little lady (especially with her being from stateside) eat a truckers type nosebag first thing so basically I got 2 of everything to soothe my fat belly churning away the beer from last night a result ! before digging in I now felt that my eyes were sufficiently awake for me to attempt to restore my sight with the joy of contact lenses as up until that point Steve v even looked attractive so with tears streaming down my cheeks from popping them back in I dug into the brekky heaven.
numerous plans were discussed over the table. George and co were off doing their thing, climbing or hiking or whatever while I had to play the hubby and traipse around the shops looking interested. Steve and Amanda however were coyly dismissing his chances in the quiz "is there a quiz then ?" Iím sure I heard him utter when I said to him that I would be sorely disappointed with both him and the clean shaven fulton bro in the same team if I did not find out they were champions. he quickly told me "that he did not really know much" - well I think thatís what he said but he is a bloody geordie !! :-)
so off to the stores I went (donít worry I had a shower first !!) and oh how I marveled at the wondrous local Welsh shops like "Marks & Spencer", "Next" and even "The Sweater Shop" well Iíve never seen these before I thought !! finally we settled in a nice, traditional Victorian style cafe and had a pleasant lunch. sensing my wife was tiring already and knowing her love of a nap I quickly suggested we return to the hotel where I quickly persuaded her to jump into bed ....... so that I could then run off to the venue to see how the quiz was going of course :-)
as I neared the conf center people suddenly came streaming out of the doors muttering things like "what was the 6th alarm single?" and "who did play bass on unsafe building?" oh shit I thought its all finished already, however little did I know at that point a good friend of mine was struggling to contain his joy and his good wife struggling to contain her pride. so there as I walked in oblivious, using every ounce of muscle he had to support the ENOURMOUS trophy was our own Italian, ponytailed, chubby little geordie grinning like he had just won the lottery. well I say to you Steve enjoy as its the nearest anyone from Newcastle will get to silverware this year !! well done indeed. next thing I knew I was outside with more camera's than a sun royal reporter taking pictures of Mike with all the overseas's visitors. Rip was getting plenty of kisses from the man and was loving every minute while Terry was desperately pulling in his tummy when lets face it Terry you should have been playing footie with the legendary FatBoyz the next day :-) after a million pics suddenly Jeff fulton was calling me over and we were heading up the stairs into the venue where Mike kindly did a photo session just with the digest crowd that were present (see picture below). this was a really nice gesture as he had a million things to do but he seemed so keen to meet us all and the pics came out great. who is that guy still grinning stood near me ? oh thatís bloody varty again Terry at this point gave up on the stomach and Doug then had to use the wide angle lens. I got Mike to sign my "shine on" acetate virgin promo which is cool so we all went home happy.
The digest photo below includes me, Doug, and Steve varty (left to right) in the top left hand corner.
The next picture is of me, Steve, Doug and terry Flynn in the front
dutifully checking on my lady who was well esconded in the land of nod Steve, Amanda, dougieiei and I settled down in the chatsworth bar for a good chinwag and a couple of pints. dougieieie regaled us with tales, happy and sad and our friendships were cemented yet further until the football final scores came through on the radio and Steve found out the geordies had lost (again) while my mighty hammers strolled to a 6-0 win over barnsley. bloody typical of them to play so well when Iím not at the game which with my living situation now means we will be champions by the time I get home
well Saturday night was many things. exhilarating, awesome, the dogs bollocks and very sweaty !! it was even annoying when I managed to loose my aftershow pass graciously given to me and the wife by Jules somewhere in the melee when "regeneration" was attacking our senses but hey I smiled sweetly and ive got dougieieie with me so I can get it anywhere right ? the apres show do was frankly disappointing after last years shindig but I think its getting harder for the MPO now as more people get involved. Mike still found the time to come round and be introduced to most of us again led by the lovely, stylishly attired Michelle. after a free holsten we headed back to the hotel and preceded to eat every sandwich I think they made. I was bloody starving as my latest visit to the KFC had long been overtaken by beer. finally at around 3am I think we called it a night and left the varty's and George in the bar. its a shame Mr. batty - who made an awesome effort to make Saturdayís show was so kanckered he went straight to bed. his company and silly grin was sorely missed !!
not long till I make a fool of myself on the footie pitch I thought as I rolled over in a drunken slumber..................
Well all too soon Sunday morning was upon us, the beer had all been consumed, the hangovers dealt with and it was rapidly getting to the time to say goodbye to new and old faces alike as everyone started to drift off in their various directions "home" but before that there was one last duty to perform. the unveiling and exposing of the legendary (well in our minds anyway !) digest 5 a side team they called THE FAT BOYZ !! tactics were discussed over our pre-match meal of the obligatory eggs n bacon with sayings like "George youíre in goal cos your soooo fat you can just lay down and fill the net" or "just whack anyone with a moan u top on" and even "I think Iím going to have a heart attack !" and of course the obligatory "donít pass it to Jeff cos he's American and crap". OK I made the last one up !! in fact it must be said that out of the motley crew that was me, George of the dawes, Phil (brother of aforementioned 'baby'), the mastermind champ, hair bear Andy g and Jeff (I grew this beard in the hope women might think Iím dougieieieie and Iíll get lucky !) in no way disgraced themselves or their countries football abilities. in fact we all played very well indeed although not well enough as we crashed out of the tournament after getting the roughest draw playing the opening and still reigning champions "The Message" in the first game. our hopes of Ďdoing a Camerooní in usa90 and kicking the reigning champs out soon evaporated when it became clear they were very fit and very used to 5 a side. however we did well I think all things considered and 3-0 was not an embarrassment. I made a big mistake offering to start as sub as when I came on that meant there was no breather at all. within 3 minutes I was all too often examining my knees with my head between my legs blowing like and old steam train !! even the Welsh socks and my g4 red shirt made no difference as I had one good goal chance which I blew big time, although I did force the goalie to make a save. being cheered on by many of the guys and girlies on the balcony we gave it our best and I think its safe to say we all enjoyed it. in the closing seconds of the game (or the impending half time as I actually thought - thatís how quick it went !!) Steve v was getting desperate for some more adulation as being The Statto extrordinaire counted for little out there in the midst of battle so seeing one of their team stick out a leg he gave it his best ĎDavid ginolaí attempt to dive for a penalty from just inside their half and came crashing down with a resounding splat !! the ref was having none of it and in an increasing attempt for any kind of attention Steve even rolled around (probably to see if anyone had dropped any money on the pitch) with the occasional "oooch" for effect. it was at this point I realised our lovable geordie was flesh and bones like the rest of us and had really hurt himself so calling the ref over to see he then promptly blew the final whistle robbing us of our last attack !! Steve had somehow managed to whip out the false bruise he must have had in his pocket and stuck on his leg as he wanted some more pics of himself as the main subject - well that or I think he just wanted to be made a fuss of by the St. johns ambulance old lady gagging to do her first aid on him:-) well once they had stuck his leg back on the ponytailed one hopped up stairs to let Amanda make a fuss of him too, stating that he "was rock hard" and was ok. more team photos were taken, some with the now needed wheelchair (I kid you not!!) and also one with mike too and although he begged to join the team next year we had to tell him to take eating lessons with terry before we would even consider it all too soon it really was time for me and the better half to exit. Sad good-byes were said, hugs were given and promises were made. we then trooped up to mcdonalds for the post match meal (well you get hungry with all that running !!) and then a cab was called to get us back to LL Junction. Waiting there for the train I finally got to have a quick chat with the boy from new york city, Mr. & Mrs. A who was modeling the Italian shirt earlier and then we settled down on the train for some good kip. finally we arrived home at 9pm almost exactly 60 hours since we had departed. our little boy was safely tucked up in bed and his grandparents looked worse than we did as he had ran them ragged for 3 days ....... but what a 3 days !!!! +++ I have tried to change names where possible to protect the innocent (apart from dougieieieieie who's as guilty as sin !! but to all of you whom I had the great pleasure of laughing, chatting, eating, drinking, sleeping (just the wife), gigging and just hanging out with I thank you in the strongest manner. the word 'family' gets used a lot by people here and I like to think that it sums it up nicely. if I can get back from Asia in time Iím up for it all over again :-)
one last little tale I forgot yesterday which had me roaring on Saturday night. at the aftershow party I finally got to catch up with Paul martin who apart from being a Chelsea geezer is a top boy he then in turn introduced me to Karl Parsons. If Paul is a typical Chelsea boy (which believe me he is !!) then Karl is 100% scouse. Anyway now Iíve upset them both as we were talking Paul runs off somewhere making the stupidest mistake in the world and asking Karl to hold his beer. Upon returning after Karl had basically offered anyone in a ten foot radius a free swig Paul collects his beer. Much giggling went by then about 5 mins later it suddenly dawns on Mr. Martin where all his beer has gone !! well maybe you had to be there but the look on his face as he uttered the classic line "you bloody scouse bastard" was priceless !!
"Official Email Geeks Team Pic 1998" Back row from the left is Dougieieie, Me, Scurvy, Steve Varty, Indy, Jeff Fulton, Steve Fulton, Terry Flyn, Josh, Gary O, sorry?, Big Dog, Michelle G, Barney & Jonna. Front row from the left Rippy, Caroline, Leah, Zant, MP, JJ, Lyn, Becky and Sylvie
Four drunken fools ! Me, Steve "mastermind" Varty, Dougieieie and Terry