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Sunday, May 22, 2011

22nd May - Rockin All Over The World.

Wow! What a game! A game without a refereeing contraversy. In fact was there a referee? Mr Poite, Sir, I hope that if France aren't in the World Cup Final in October, you are.Two teams who wanted to play rugby, and over the course of the competition, the best tow sides by far. Leinster showed character, steel and oodles of skill, but Northampton will develop more of the character and steel, in time, they have the skill. Just read the match reports on the game.

If there was a conspiracy, it is whether someone swopped the shirts around at half time, such was the dominance of Northampton first half, and Leinster second half. In most of the other 9 finals I've seen, twenty two points would have been enough to win, and sixteen points behind, enough to lose.

One of my favourite authors and comedians, is Spike Milligan. An original and unique style, often quoted as an influence. A big Irish rugby fan. Whenever I see Leo Cullen, the Leinster lock and captain, I am reminded of a Milligan cartoon character, I think from the world War 2 series. A long nose, sticky out ears and gangling arms, Cullen is the human face to the Pte. Milligan character. Look at the cartoons and you will see what I mean.

I sat by an old man, who at the end of the game I discovered was Scottish. He'd been taken to the game by his son on a bonding weekend. To him, the game, the atmosphere, and the company of his son meant that, whatever Cullen was feeling as he received the cup, the man was enjoying it just as much.

The Millennium did a brilliant job. Watching from pitch level at the halfway line, the after-match celebrations with fireworks, dancing fountains and coloured flame throwers, and lametta, sounds very show-biz, but such was the spectacle, that we'd just watched, we'd have been wow-ed by the opening ceremony of the Olympic games. In fact the song that I chose today, Rockin' all over the World, by Status Quo, I wouldn't give house room to normally, the the three chord wonders sound fantastic in a stadium full with celebrations.

At the end of the game, we walked past the journalists' box, where they were typing furiously to try and capture the immenseness of what they'd seen. Guess what DT and ST, Eddie Butler can write his own report, and was never going to allow you to comment on it, or talk to you - he's got 1,500 words to write by 9pm. (And boy was he typing furiously.)

We always get into Cardiff a couple of hours before kick off, to soak up the atmosphere. Fans were already gathering, many different shirts, rugby tours, flags, fancy dress, and stag weekends all mingling together. There was a French tour with pink umbrellas, used to stop young and old ladies to give them a kiss before they'd let them pass, rainbow Morph suits, a zoo, drag queens all vying for attention. Internationals never come close, however 'big' the occasion is. Cardiff as a city revolves around the activity of the stadium, but really bars and chip shops, you get the benefit of the extra income, so don't moan if the Millennium doesn't ask you to pay their share of the mess, they don't ask you for part of their profit.

After the game, we decided to eat that great Welsh delicacy, Chicken Curry off the bone with chips, from Dorothy's in Caroline Street, (Chip Alley). The ballast this provides assists with absorption of the copious amounts of alcohol consumed. Of course being tea-total, this also means that the entertainment is watching the evening unfold in front of you.

There was a group of blokes in the City Arms. one of them was dressed as the referee. Looking closer at the pink rugby shirt, one of them was wearing, it was the referee's shirt from the game the night before. Apparently, They had been in Amlin's corporate sponsorship, and stripped the promotional mannekin on their way out. With these Financial Advisors, no wonder there was a banking crisis - just a big bunch of kids playing.

With the kick off being late (5pm), the evening passed by quite quickly, and by 10.30pm, I was ready to go, leaving my mates in town partying. I was asleep in my sleeping bag by 11.30, but an hour later I was back in my car, after a phone call from ST asking me to pick them up. The spots of rain that had started to fall at 10.30 had turned into a deluge. IT's funny you know, on match day in Cardiff, it can be hot and dry all day, but come throwing out time from the pubs and clubs in the city, down comes the rain, leaving revellers to fight for the few non-booked taxis. As I drove back in, people were leaping out into the streets, in the hope that some random car driver would take pity on their cold wet bodies and magic them home into bed. I arranged to pick DT and ST up by Cardiff Castle, a massive medieval building in the middle of the city. Perhaps it was too big a landmark as they couldn't find me. A Corsa is easily hidden by all the Black and White taxis and torrents of rain and Castle. Eventually I agreed to meet them by the Angel Hotel, which also had a porch to shelter in. Even then they struggled to find me. (Apparently in a road as big as a dual carraigeway, I was allegedly hiding in a side street. I couldn't look for them as I'd come out in my pyjamas. As they walked down to the car, I opened the door, to be confronted by a ginger guy who said,' Ugh mumble mumble blurgh ugh'. I would have guessed that he was Welsh or Irish by the colour of his hair, but he could easily have been Spanish as I didn't understand a single word he said. I made a lucky guess, and said, 'No, I'm picking up friends.' He repeated 'Ugh mumble mumble blurgh ugh', and staggered off.

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