Thursday 14 May 2009
This morning my sequence/routine is knocked out of whack as GMTV breaks down with a power cut. At first it is not apparent but there is something obviously up when there is Helen Mirren all dressed up onscreen talking about winning an Oscar while there is no clock in either corner of the TV. As a result despite having a watching on my left wrist I have no idea what the time is. From here I do not get my fill of bad news and weather reporting to wake me up and by the time the live feed returns it is just too late.
When I finally get up I check my phone and notice that last night I received the greatest text message from Iain last night:
“Geezer, i’m in croatia and playing cat power at 3 in the morning trying to impress a bird. Good times…”
Finally outside the morning smells of a subtle whiff of sulphur. It is unnerving.
As I walk to the station I pass two rabbits seemingly unafraid of my presence. Maybe I am appearing kinder and friendlier to the world these days. I love nature.
The train ride this morning is nondescript as I sit fevered fearful of it being swine flu. Perhaps it was the swine flu that took GMTV down this morning.
The train pulls into Liverpool Street at 8.05 this morning and the station feels deserted. Did swine flu wipe the commuters and tourists out?
On the tube I royally embarrass myself by picking up a discarded copy of the Daily Star. If picking up that rubbish wasn’t humiliation enough, after reading a couple of pages (well, looking at the pictures) I realise that is in fact yesterday’s copy. In disgust I slam it down only for the young lad sat opposite me to pick it up himself and begin reading. I feel like pointing out the date of it to him but then I get a kick out of watching the nation’s youth visibly wilt in intellect in front of my eyes. I begin to mentally time how long it is before he realises he is reading yesterdays news but unfortunately he fails to clock this. This is why today’s generation has to sit dumbed down GCSE exams.
I am first in this morning, which means I have to deal with the alarms. One day I fear I will let them ring just a little too long and find myself being ambushed by the local security people or the police.
A good start to the day occurs when I spill water right down the front of my top. For the first couple of hours I just look like a fucking idiot.
All in all it’s another stunted day. When I see the auditors are in again my heart sinks with the realisation that before long I will be having to deal with them.
After pottering around suddenly I find that the day has already reached lunchtime and it is time to sample the new menu. Uninspired but it and busy by the day I plump for my usual Penne pasta with chicken.
In the afternoon more queries cut into my productivity and work I do not do as an underlying tension to proceedings takes hold. I won’t have the auditor snap at me with that attitude too many more times.
Today is flat in general though. Disillusion is spreading despite my attempts to find something good. The world feels as if it is leaving me behind again. For some reason the concept of the “friend zone” is bothering me today, even to the point I am considering renaming Gestures that name. I feel I understand it more than ever now but not an understanding of how to avoid becoming a victim of it.
Fearful of another repeat of staying back late like last night I hotfoot it out the building like a scoundrel this evening.
There is a panic attached to tonight’s train journey home, a fear of a hold up that prevents me from watching Millwall tonight.
At Moorgate station on the tube home I see a man wearing a cape. He looks like a cross between Rolf Harris and Woody Allen and pure evil. Wasn’t there a Seinfeld episode about this (guy)?
On cue I get on the 6.20 and it proceeds to be teasingly slow ploughing its way back to Essex. During the journey Mark texts to tell me that he is back in Colchester for a few days after returning from Tokyo (and Yuko’s wedding etc). It sounds as if he is truly snowed with work as he tells me he has given up his ticket for the Breeders ATP. For a minute I wonder if I can snag an in as his replacement but soon reality grips me, All in all though it is fucking great to hear from Mark, especially the news that he is back in town.
Still bothered by the “friend zone” thing I find myself probably unwisely scanning Wikipedia for the answers behind it. Through a link from this I also come across the concept of “love shyness”. I thought “involuntary celibacy” was bad enough. I dunno, this is wimpy stuff.
From here I also begin to worry whether my usage of big words is making me look stupid.
Luckily the train pulls into Colchester at its usual time and I am able to steer away from such stupidity on my part. As I waddle up North Station Road I find myself confronted with the sight of a Chinaman standing in the doorway of his house wearing just his pyjamas. This is a proud man, prouder than I.
When I get to Balkerne Heights there is a true buzz attached to proceedings. This evening we all feel like Brian Clough having to deal with this Leeds scum.
Watching Millwall on Sky is a horrible thing, they never fucking win. Indeed watching them on television at anytime is a horrible exercise into rooting for an underdog that it would seem the entire world wants to fail. Now you might understand why it is a unique club with such a passionate following.
Tonight was always going to be a tough game. When the league game from Elland Road was shown on Sky earlier this year Millwall did not look capable of victory in a million years and tonight comes with a similar sense of dread. All in all you get the feeling that tonight is going to be a real slog about, dare I suggest, closing up shop and preventing Leeds’ danger men from causing too much trouble.
The ground appears full tonight, totally rammed and with only 1000 Millwall supporters tucked away in the corner hopefully out of sight out of mind for Leeds. However this is never going to happen. Through the TV is all sounds deafening.
As expected it all begins scarily. The scrap begins early and Adam Bolder gets booked after one minute in an effort to stamp some kind of authority on proceedings. Obviously as the home team with the crowd behind them Leeds try to take advantage of some kind of constructed momentum, however Millwall suck this in and contain them comfortably. Against the elements it all slowly comes together and after a real grind 45 minutes feels like dog years but does eventually come with the score still 0-0 and with Millwall more than holding their own. The timing actually was almost unfortunate as ‘Wall begin to hit something of a stride.
The second half proves to be one of the hardest experiences ever. Remembering how Millwall appeared to do everything in their power to lose the FA Cup semi final against Sunderland in 2004 there is a genuine fear that this might be repeated tonight.
With Mark Halsey doing the game there is always a sense that at some point he could become the twelfth man for Leeds and when Andy Frampton unfortunately gives away a very soft penalty it appears that there is something of a new agenda on the cards for the second half.
The reality of the machinations of the world is that this looked always the way, always on the cards. The FA don’t like Millwall and the whole footballing world likes Leeds slightly better and secretly you just know that the powers that be want the club back on its feet, back at the top level generating pounds in a way that Millwall never will be able to.
As Jermaine Beckford places the ball and gets ready to take the kick you begin to wonder what kind of idiot and moron has a tattoo on his neck? Especially a tattoo of incoherent scribble that is probably either the name of his kids, his mum or the prostitute he popped his cherry to when he first took up football. Maybe.
The spot kick isn’t the best in history but the save from David Forde is pretty close to the greatest save. A sense of blinding euphoria hits me as the penalty gets stopped and Millwall remain in the game. We might as well have scored a penalty of our own for what that save was worth.
Relief is unfortunately short-lived when not long afterwards crappy defending allows the pressurising Leeds to score through Becchio. After the brief sense of relief, suddenly this feels like the beginning of the landslide.
Pessimisim is too much my thing and despite the knock, Millwall pull themselves together and work as a unit, which has been their strength this season, and slowly grab hold of the game.
With the game VERY slowly headed towards extra time Dave Martin makes a break across the top flank and as Lewis Grabban knocks the ball back into the box Jimmy Abdou unbelievably scores, bundling in Millwall’s first real attempt on goal. With this I explode in disbelief and joy, that is what you call the fruits of your labour. This is exactly the kind a goal a team will score when chipping away and grafting at a game. The goal goes in at the 74th minute and as I scream the dog goes bananas.
On screen Elland Road goes silent. It is the greatest thing I have ever seen televised football. It doesn’t just go silent, it goes SILENT. Except of course for the thousand loyal Millwall fans tucked away in the corner at the other end. Even the old man who appeared to have long lost interest just after half time.
The remain quarter of an hour of the game turns into over twenty minutes as Halsey decides to add six minutes of injury time despite the fact that it is now Leeds in desperation that are trying to rough things up. They can throw things at Forde all day but it won’t excuse the fact that their club is stuck in some grotty fucking hole in the North of the country.
Scenes most definitely remind of the semi final five years ago as Millwall lockdown the remains and manage to snuff Leeds out until Halsey finally blows the whistle in the 96th minute with the grown now half empty and the Millwall players running to the corner of the ground where more heroes of the hour are collected. This was not in the script.
The draw and overall victory is just so right. Millwall deserve it more than Leeds and will bring more to the final than those egomaniacs.
Just after the victory the text messages begin flooding in: Thom, Pauly, Iain, my boss. Then the phone begins ringing and it is Stevo and I really do not want to speak to him, he will only add some kind of weird slant to proceedings, perverting the course of victory into some kind of win for football hooliganism. Maybe I’m wrong but in high spirits I did not want to risk anything bringing those down. His efforts however are noticeable by a change from his landline number to his mobile number. Yikes.
Soon plans begin to be hatched for Wembley, where we will after this obviously.
Tonight I go home fucking happy.