True Lad

Can I get this blog entry in before I leave at 2.30pm?

Tonight I am off to Berlin. One of my friends is celebrating a landmark birthday and there are 8 of us tagging along on the trip. 8 men. Lads. Ugh. Lads. English Lad. Evokes images in my mind of skinheads with beer guts and George cross t-shirts. Oasis fans.

One of the worst nights was my life was going to see Oasis back in 2009 at Wembley. I didn’t want to go. I don’t even like Oasis, but a friend of mine had a spare ticket and I felt partially responsible for the GAD he suffered for the rest of his life after a night out in 1998 (but that’s another story).

So I agreed to go. My friend – let’s call him “Billy” – loves Oasis. He has an entire 500gb external hard drive backed up with concert footage and bootleg albums. I believe he also owns everything Beady Eye have ever released.

But he’s okay, really. Billy ain’t too bad.

I’m suffering from terrible depression due to recently being dumped on my birthday a by a girl I thought I was going to marry. She’s dead now*. Billy sets up a double date with two girls. Let’s call them Sadie and Anita. Sadie’s stick thin and has some sort of admirable wide-eyed gullibility about her. Anita is half Indian and has a coke problem. We meet at a pub in Marylebone at 2pm and Anita is already on the rack.

You know you’re in for a bad night when you almost get beaten up at the pub, miles from the venue because a fat man with B.O. and a bad hairdresser thinks you’re gay.

I explain, calmly, that I am not gay, but were I gay, why that should not be a problem – it’s 2009, after all. And besides, if I were that way inclined, I’d probably go for someone thinner.

We escape the pub, unscathed. For some reason both the girls are impressed that I stood up to this guy. At least I’m pretty sure Anita is, but she can’t stop seem to talking about herself.

Billy’s friend Mark then joins us. Mark. What’s the point in you?

Anyway, Wembley. The the venue is full of men exactly like the one I had an altercation with in the pub. Which is just great. Comments of ‘fuckin’ queer’ as I walk up the steps to our seats which are right at the back of the stadium. Did I mention my fear of heights? Does nothing for my masculinity.

Oasis come on and they’re fucking terrible. I’m getting on quite well with Sadie. Anita’s pissed off because she dropped her baggie down the toilet. Perhaps I’ll marry Sadie, I’m thinking as the limp body of Roll With It or whatever the fuck is being kicked to death onstage. Mark’s still there, just standing. Billy’s been warned by the bouncers not to dance on his seat. So many people have the haircut. ‘Long at the sides, please, sir.’

So I go any buy some beers. I know how to show a lady a good time. Maybe I’ll take her to the bingo later. Annoyingly, I have to get Billy, Anita and Mark in the round.

I get punched as I walk down the steps for obscuring someone’s view of Liam Gallagher. The queue at the bar is 10 deep, but at least I can’t hear the band so much.

£4 a pint is extortionate in 2009 and they’re out of Smirnoff Ice (Anita will not be happy). I slowly walk back up the steps, balancing 5 drinks. I’m ecstatic when I get to our seats with 5, reasonably full, plastic pint glasses. I’m less thrilled, however, that Mark is kissing Sadie.

And I was going to marry her as well.


Fuck this, I think, I’m out of here.

I make my way back down the steps and a plastic pint glass filled with piss hits my back. Wonderwall is playing. Lads everywhere.

It’s a long journey back from Wembley to Hackney.

But my friends…my friends are not ‘lads’. They’re nice guys. There just happens to be 8 of us. Brace yourself, Berlin. Shit is about to get polite.

*Not really, I think she lives in South London, which is basically like being dead.


  1. Pathetcic as it may sound, I saw Lou Reed play at Charlton Athletic Football Club in !974. And he wasn’t playing for Charlton. He must’ve scored though, as the whole band seemed strung out on smack. My mate Dave and I sold the entire contents of the junk stall we ran on Portobello Road for ten quid to buy the tickets (£2-80 at the gate) and a few beers. It was a riot. Literally, there was a mini-riot.


    1. Doesn’t sound pathetic, sounds incredible! Have you heard his 1978 live album ‘Take No Prisoners,’ which is basically 15 minute versions of a bunch of his songs (and may VU ones) with him swearing over the top of them?


      1. A lot of my 1970s were spent in such a haze of drink and drugs, it’s hard to remember … actually I’m listening to Sweet Jane on Take No Prisoners right now, while I’m writing, and just heard the great line: “if you write as good as you talk, nobody reads you …” There is something about the way New Yorkers talk. It’s a sort of parellel universe version of the best cockney. Anyway, listening to it, that’s one Reed album I missed.

        Liked by 1 person

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