It has been a fair while since I last woke up to find that I wasn’t alone in bed. My ‘little black book’ is best described as “dusty” whereas most other modern folk have updated to the e-book. But when my eyes struggled to prise themselves open at around 8am on this particular Saturday I could sense another presence in the bed next to me. My recollection of the events of the previous night were more murky than a ScotRail coffee, but there was an undeniable feeling of satisfaction in my bed.
Quite aware that I had a train to catch and was already pressed for time I knew that I couldn’t lay there for long and reflect on the glory of my achievement. So I forced myself into action and I rolled over to confront the half-eaten slice of pepperoni pizza resting on top of the duvet beside me. Seemingly Friday wasn’t quite the pleasurable experience I had imagined it was: why couldn’t I finish that slice of pizza?
These Saturday trips to the football are difficult enough without questions lingering from Friday night. I had a lot of questions though, and not all of them were “how did I end up in bed with a slice of pepperoni pizza when my Tinder profile clearly states that I don’t date cold meats anymore?”
I suppose that the primary questions on my mind related to the 70-year-old German gentleman I was talking to in Aulay’s Bar after five o’clock. That encounter returned to me often through the day, particularly during a cold second-half at Celtic Park in which the flicks and tricks of Scott Sinclair and Moussa Dembele couldn’t add to the two goals Celtic had scored in the first period of play.
I can’t remember why the German man started a conversation with me – how could I? – but I do recall him being rather agitated about the state pension and the fact he wasn’t receiving it despite having being sent letters informing him that he would. He perhaps thought that with my occupation I might be able to offer him some advice, but there were two reasons I couldn’t: 1) I was drinking beer; 2) Nobody understands pensions.
This guy seemed like he had lived quite the life as a master baker (as opposed to my life a consonant away) in countries like Canada, Israel and Australia, enjoying the music of Handel and Mozart and visiting the Isle of Wight festival from Germany several times during its heyday in the seventies. And it was this latter note which was most impressed upon my mind. For as interesting as it was hearing a first-hand account of Jimi Hendrix almost burning the stage down, Pink Floyd stepping in to replace him and the experience of seeing The Who and Bob Dylan, there was one phrase the German used regarding his time at the Isle of Wight Festival which reverberated around my mind like a Roger Daltrey riff.
“We smoked joints the size of trumpets.”
He repeated it often. Joints the size of trumpets. I’ve since been trying to picture this musical spliff and keep questioning why a trumpet? How about a joint the size of a clarinet or an oboe? Is a joint the size of a saxophone out of the question? I can’t help but turn to thinking of a trumpet the size of a joint. One suspects that wouldn’t be so easy to play.
And how much weed does it take to make a joint the size of a trumpet anyway?
With every break in play, stray pass along the threadbare green surface or squandered goalscoring opportunity my thoughts would return to this wild German and his group of friends roaming the Isle of Wight with their comically sized joints in a hedonistic haze of seventies exuberance. This was worse than a hangover. At least with a hangover a couple of pints will make you forget about it, but nothing could take my mind off Frank’s crazy assertions about the size of his joints.
Who knows if I will ever again meet Frank and have the questions which plagued me answered. I may never learn more about this brass orchestra of narcotics. Some questions are just destined to remain unanswered, however. Like how Ryan Bowman avoided a red card for his high challenge on Kieran Tierney, or why I ended up in bed with a slice of pepperoni pizza.
JJ 0-1 pepperoni pizza
Celtic 2-0 Motherwell