Nobody's Right If Everybody's Wrong
Trip Start Jun 01, 2006
123Trip End Ongoing
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"There's something happening here, and what it is ain't exactly clear, there's a man with a gun over there, telling me I'd better beware. There's battle lines being drawn, nobody's right if everybody's wrong". That Song... You know the one I mean.
"What Nationality are you going to pretend to be?" I asked Vinny.
"French", he replied, quick like a cat. "You?"
"Australian", said I
"Well, I can say 'Ahh Yeaah?' in an Ozzie accent so I figure that'll do in an altercation".
This was last night. We were standing in the No Man's Land betwen three police lines, the English marking their territory on one side and the Germans celebrating a deserved victory against Poland on the other. The police did yet another cracking job, forming seperate lines in front of each group of fans, and then a line of the black clad military police in the middle just in case anybody fancied straying out too far.
Vinny and I did, obviously. We had just been taking a couple of snaps of the English being their usual afable, racist selves, then when things started to get a little nasty and the police moved in, we used our lack of England shirts and general scrufy apperance to slip around the side of the police line and that's how we ended up in the middle.
The Germans were actually quite surprised to find the road blocked by the police
It was a pretty low point to be fair. I would have hoped that the Germans would be able to celebrate their victory in their own city - it's not like we were even playing. And you never get tired of being embarrassed to hear the ten German bombers song. And the IRA one...
But it is worth mentioning that down in the city's main square there were masses of German and England fans all happily co-existing and having a good time. And, of course, Germany winning makes things great for us, as now we're set to meet Ecuador in the fourth round and we won't see Germany at all....
Anyway, this was all then night before our big match. It's nine AM, and we've no had the greatest night's sleep in the world. We started out by going to bed around 1AM in a park we found. We had locked every single item of value up a the train station, and all we had to our names was about twenty Euros and our Heterosexual Dignity... And as my twenty Euro note was hidden in my underwear, chances were if I was going to lose one it would be a byproduct of losing the other.
So it was all well and good, until 4AM when we both woke up freezing cold. Ridiculous. It was 30 degrees at nine pm, but by the wee small hours the lack of clouds had caused the temperature to plummet to near zero - and we're talking Kelvin, not Centigrade..
So we went back to the train station, where quite a few (but less than we had expected) people were sleeping in corners, on benches, in doorways.... and we joined in the fun. It's pretty tricky to get comfortable when you're on a concrete floor and you're using a pair of shoes for a pillow - it's best not to breathe for starters - but we managed it, and had an lovely deep sleep for fifty minutes, when we were shouted awake by the police.... Apparantly they don't go for vagrancy at all.
Since then we've been wondering around in a bit of a daze, waiting for things to open. We had showers in the station toilets, and booked a train ticket for tonight. We've decided that although it's great fun being in Europe for the World Cup, it's not so much fun being around 100,000 English fans (as exactly 78.34% of these are twats), so we're going to go to Eastern Europe for a few days after the match tonight, then we'l watch the Cologne game somewhere other than Cologne. It's too much. Too much shouting and singing and racism and vomiting. I prefer everything in moderation, with the possible exception of racism which is rubbish. Unless you're having a pop at the Mexicans.
Anyway, hats off again to the German police who were efficient and hard as nails, while at the same time actually smiling and having a laugh and a joke with the English fans as they edged them further away from the front lines
Oh, and something I forgot to mention the other day. When we were in Frankfurt and I was brushing my teeth in the station toilets, Vinny took a seat outside. As we had just slept in our shoes he tought he'd take his off and air his feet a little. Then someone came over and handed him some loose change....
My suggestion that he makes "Beggar" a part time job have thus far fallen on deaf ears.