So what d'you think of meeee?
Put mouse over the cartoons for Mr Burns Match report
So much for the match report.
Meanwhile, Back at the WunderBar in Schloshedplatz and I have no idea
yet how the second leg will pan out, but I doubt Stuttgart are shaking
in their size-10s.
Me, I've only just stopped shaking after the longest recorded period of goin' on the lash in my life. We never got totally locked - it was simply a case of consecutive drinking with no end in sight.
After it was obvious from the first night what little chance I had of
pulling one of the several-thousand good-looking young women in
(the only growling you heard was Mark Bathgate's stomach) I discarded my 'Breakfast Included' t-shirt in favour of one with 'Noch Eine Weizen-Hefe Bitte' written across it. It was far easier to point to it than try and get my mouth to make words come out of it.
By now you will have enjoyed the sights of Stuttgart, courtesy of the photo gallery. Usually a picture is worth a thousand words, but we've got a thousand pictures and only one word is necessary - "Totally Superb".
I know that's two words, but Davy's got another thousand pictures on the way, so I hope your computers have got enough memory. Me, by Sunday the only memory I had left was of sitting in The Wunderbar with good-looking women and not-so-good-looking Hearts fans (I think the Jambos were enjoying it more, to tell the truth) and the only megabytes were the vast amounts of dead pig put on plates in front of us.
"Is that all the food there is?"asked Mark.
" Don't worry,"said our waiter friend Vlady,
"The wurst is yet to come."And how right
Away trips are always full of drama, tension, nerves - would we get to the airport on time? It shouldn't have been a problem - no petrol for sale, so the roads nice and clear to take the bus there - the 726 that goes from Dartford to Heathrow and takes in all the fag-end gaffes throughout the south-western edge of London.
Anyone remember New Malden featured on Monty Python all those years ago? Did you know that Chris Sutton was named after Sutton because it's such a shitey town? (Or is it the other way round?) Is there anything to Feltham apart from that Young Offenders' Institute? It takes but two hours from my front gate to Gate 36.
Easy, you'd say. Unfortunately, we had rounded a corner near Hampton Court, next to a roundabout, when we were confronted by the worst sight in the world. A petrol station with petrol. The world and his wife (and his ex-wife) all were there, approaching the little forecourt from all angles. And we were four hundred yards on the wrong side of it.
Beyond it lay Heathrow, Stuttgart, beer. It all looked so unlikely. Only by eventually 'persuading' some cars to get out of the bucking way and driving down the wrong side of the road (hey, when in Germany) some thirty minutes later did we squeeze through.
Arriving at the airport in time to have no beers at all (while some had been enjoying themselves grand-style in the bar for two hours, eh Scott'n'Dave?) I was determined to make up for it. And dear reader, I'm now making up for making up for it.
The UEFA Cup's pretty useful inasmuch as games are played on the Thursday and a Saturday night stopover is required for most cheap air tickets. So having got the football out of the way, it's "Oh well, what do we do now?"
To be fair, mind, the Thursday evening was great - once the second-half started. This was the only game where I've been obliged to show my ticket to get back up the stairs for the restart, and I was very tempted not to. For whatever reasons you care to argue, Hearts hardly threatened in the second half - they certainly didn't threaten to lose a hatful of goals as they had in the first. So by the end we were all celebrating ("One-Nil! Only One Bloody Nil!!")and the night was on.
We'd noticed their police cars were green-and-white
- presumably to avoid a nasty colour clash when they have to arrest troublemaking visiting fans (though that'll be a few more years down the line, I think it's safe to say) and the only nasty moment came when a policewoman refused to kiss one of the Hearts fans. Since he was in fact fairly ugly, the flashpoint was averted.
And there were plenty of opportunities to enjoy the company of the opposite sex later - we saw two Young Jams in kilts walking past the Tahiti Bar, stopping, conferring, and tentatively poking their noses through the tropical beading that seems to guard the entrance of every sex shop you'll ever see.
Hardly security-conscious, you'd think, though I suppose they welcome
intruders. By the time he'd got his camera to work, all Davy has is a
picture of them disappearing into the gloom andthe rumour doing the
rounds later was that the gloom really set in when they calculated how
much it all had cost them.
Before the match, our over-eager-to-please German hosts organised all kinds of things that some of us simply couldn't be arsed leaving the pub for - I for one was not keen to take up their offer of "Free Swabian Sausage" but I understand there was a supporters' football game that resembled the European Super Cup Final of 1914 with several hundred bescarved fans from both sides using some guy from Liechtenstein as a ball.
Or something like that. Or probably nothing like that at all.
Everyone was being far too friendly - especially to the eight or nine
jerks singing something about the Royal Yacht Britannia. And I think
they said they were born under the Union Canal - did I hear right?
Honestly, English people with Scottish accents! They must have been
English - after all, who else sings Rangers songs? Best walked
carefully around, I always say, although it's the kind of shite you
might be forgiven for wanting to put your foot into. A few of them
were desperate to start a fight inside the ground but they didn't get
their wish. Sorry about that boys.
Shang A Lang!
My camera never lies, says Bucks Fizz. So I believe Davy's photies, even though millions wouldn't. My Angel, there, with one arm around me and a sloe gin fizz in her other hand. Me, looking suitably disbelieving. To say nothing of the looks on everyone else's faces.
That, however, was as nothing to compare with the disbelief that Davy and I felt on this decent-looking woman telling us she had been Les McKeown's girlfriend.
"What a coincidence,"
"I knew someone who claimed he was Tam Paton's boyfriend. It was even proved in court."
She carried on regardless - regardless of the fact that for Big D and m'sel', being the one-time "girlfriend" of the singer of the Bay City Rollers ( Girlfriend Number 431, at last count) wasn't exactly worthy of total respect - especially since this was in 1977 when perhaps Les was no longer the King of Rock and Roll. (We chose not to inform her that the drummer's just been done for downloading child porn from the Net)
As usual, Davy showed all the good-looking girls his repertoire - of
magic tricks, I hasten to add - while I tried to muscle in on the act
with my impression of the MC from 'Cabaret'.
We employed two young Hearts heroes to drape the flag over the small fountain, and belted out the repertoire, including the now-legendary London Hearts theme "Khruschev Came To Stuttgart".Having mercifully been refused entry to the Irish bar, we went into the next one upstairs, as empty as the Dundee United end, where the stained glass ceiling featured a Christ-and-Magdalene pictura enhanced by the fact that Our Lord was enjoying a large glass of Pilsener while his comely consort was enjoying a white wine spritzer.
We said a prayer and drank ourselves into the night.
Each day began at 11.30 am with the realisation that we'd arranged to meet Scott in town at 11. Fortunately the train station was right next to the hotel, so Davy'n'I were able to come to terms with reality on the journey in.
This wasn't helped by the woman sitting opposite us, dressed in green rubber overalls and cut-off green welly clogs.
Mind you, she was probably having similar difficulty as Davy sat there looking like the bastard child of Braveheart and Little John. This fashion stand-off was perfectly amicable, though, thanks to my very poor German and her very good English and we found out she was a horticulturalist. Such are the memories of trips like these - did it really happen?
I don't remember being on the back of a playground horse with Nelly, but pictures testify otherwise, and sadly a ride with Neil Mackay was to prove about as good as it got all weekend. Still, buggers can't be choosers, though sadly there was no big witches' hat to swing around on.
And as for that revolving toilet seat
which we gazed at with undisguised astonishment and either that, or the world was spinning and it was a stationary toilet seat, a sort-of Foucault's U-bend-ulum.
Oh, forget it. Meantime, Neil had made a similarly spooky discovery:
The Tunnel of Time, which you walked in at 2001 and came out in 1983:
for inside the Tunnel of Time were posters for upcoming pop concerts.
Meine Damen Und Herren, I Give You:
Deep Purrrrrple! The Scorpions, featuring Michael Schenker!!! And reel back, prepared to be staggered - Styx! Germany is famed for its 1970s-chic that never went away, and we surely saw a few guys undoubtedly called Toni whose hairstyles put Dirk Lehmann to shame - but Styx, for God's sake! Having had enough of pork to last a lifetime, we went to a Chinese restaurant, where we ordered pork in ginger sauce. And beer. But that's the trouble with German Chinese restaurants - we all ate heartily, but an hour later we were hungry for power. Drum roll and cymbal, I thank you!
We thought we'd just about 'done' Stuttgart - or the other way round - when Serendipity Struck. In a glorious, cool, autumn late afternoon, as we wandered up and down searching for Wunderbar 2 with the wonderful ceiling (if only we'd been more drunk, we'd've found it no problem) Davy said finding a loo was getting a mite closer to the top of the agenda. Any old bar'll do, he says, and we see a sign with a large glass of beer a hundred yards away. Sure enough, it was any old bar, but was shut. Thank God. For a glance across the road told us another was open, quite an impressive building with a forecourt, empty but for a few souls, and a fountain.
That's the setup.
Davy'd disappeared inside, I'd ordered the beers and, chilly as it was getting, put on my Hearts Ajax top.
"There's a Hearts fan,"I heard a voice. Four guys sitting next to the fountain, looking like they were enjoying themselves. (They were.)
"Did you see the game?"one called over.
"I didn't see any football, if that's what you mean,"I replied. They nodded, sagely. Davy came back out and sat down.
"Did you not break your leg in Majorca?"
Such is fame!! And for the next hour or so we enjoyed the company of the four funniest guys in Stuttgart (and probably Scotland) - from Penicuik. Not once did we have to resort to talking about football, because there were far more important matters on hand. They had managed to purloin a thong from the fifth floor of a hotel, involving no little personal risk to life and limb, and were examining it with the thoroughness of Arthur Negus on Going For A Song. The thong was carbon-dated, evaluated, appreciated - to say nothing of its owner . And - as you do - we all tried them on, though not where God intended them. I won't go on - just look at the pictures, if you must. It was at this point that Monty in his excitement put his pint down a little too enthusiastically and decanted its contents all over Steve's trousers.
With the sort of stoical resolution that has served Scotsmen abroad
throughout the ages, Steve decided there was only one thing for it: he
had to wade through the fountain and celebrate life from the inside.
With as much dignity as he could muster, he climbed aboard, pulled a
pair of knickers on his head and enjoyed his beer.
"So what d'you think of meeee?"he demanded. Life in a nutshell. Meantime, two aching-jawed London Hearts heroes, hysterical, disbelieving, breathless with laughter, right royally entertained - the best 90 minutes of the three days - who needs football? - went on their merry way. And most merry it was.
London Hearts Heroes:
Allan, Herbertson, Mackay, Goldie, Hennessy, Inglis, Bathgate, Manzie, and the Brodies,
with grateful thanks to Ross, Ross, Steve, Monty, Vlady, Chris, Rod, and the Angel.