By Walter Broeckx
What is it that drags you to London people ask me sometimes.
Well I must confess that you can call me an Anglophile in a way or should it be a “Londonphile” or “Arsenalphile”. From the first moment I set foot in London, I felt at home. It’s just a feeling I got. I instantly knew how the underground worked, just the cueing for a taxi or a bus was a bit strange at first. In our country when the bus comes we all just run to that bus and the one with the strongest elbows is first on the bus. When you see the discipline you lot have it is really disgusting behaviour in our country.
But one of the things that attracts me most in London, apart from the Arsenal, is the people. Is it just me that attracts it or is it just the people in London but I always seem to have an encounter with some persons that you can call interesting.
On our first school trip we met a nice friendly person, whom we spilt drink on his boots in the hotel bar, but he was a nice chap who gave us some nice tips to do some shopping and gave us his own address, he had a shop and we got some discount from him. On that school trip we went to speakers corner to see how freedom of speech looks like in London and I must say I really found it amazing.
On another trip we were having a snack in a McDonald and there was an older couple, some 75 years, who sat there like a young couple in love. It was such a nice thing to see that old couple romancing each other after all those years… it really touched me. I then always start imagine a story round those people with love, misery and a happy end.
About the food in London just this, we only know the quarter pounders from the Little Wonder over the Armoury and the McDonald food. A day to the Emirates is a junk food day.
Last time we had a very long chat with the person who is sitting at the entrance of the Arsenal museum. He also gave us tips on where to eat, what to do, how to do. We exchanged our thoughts on the team, the players and certainly over Vermaelen and how good he was after he heard we came from Belgium. You really get the feeling that you are welcome in London by most of the people.
But one of the most intriguing persons I have met was some 4 trips ago. We then decided to walk from Kings Cross to the Emirates. A nice walk and for most Gooners a thirsty walk. So we stopped at a petrol station to allow some of us to get a drink. And there he came from across the street. You couldn’t recognise him at first. He had lost a lot of weight. He was wearing glasses and a hat. And he was older to. He was wearing a long green raincoat.
So he came up to us and asked us if we were going to see the Arsenal. Well it was a rather silly question I thought because when you see some 20 people all in red and white shirts you can bet that they are not going to some Black hole Lane in London. “I used to go there to” he said. “But now no more. I do performances”, he said.” Do you want to hear it ?” Well we just stood on the pavement waiting for our friends to come out of the shop so yes why not.
So he steadied himself and started singing:
“Are you lonesome tonight, Do you miss me tonight, are you sorry we drifted apart, does your memory stay, to a bright summer day, when I kissed you and call you sweetheart.”
We all stood there with open mouth…..My God Elvis is alive and he lives in London. He did his best to stay incognito but he needed that last performance on that pavement in London and he gave it to us. So we gave him a round of applause but then really had to go.
We almost missed the beginning of the game that day, but that day we discovered that Elvis still is alive and kicking and living in London. It was one of the best things that ever happened on my trips to London and Arsenal. So if you see an old man with a green raincoat and a hat and glasses, be nice to him, after all it might be Elvis.
MAKING THE ARSENAL: The novel that describes the foundation of the modern Arsenal 100 years ago is available through www.emiratesstadium.info and via Amazon. However Amazon appear to have sold out of their copies already, and are showing “waiting for stock” again. You can get quick delivery from the above link – and have the book signed by the author if you want. We have sent Amazon more stock – and if you are on their site, please do review the book.
WOOLWICH ARSENAL: The day to day activities – and the fight for survival – of our club 100 years ago, recorded on the daily blog: www.blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk Today: How many games can you lose and still win the league.
(c) Hamilton House Mailings plc 2009. This article may not be reprinted in whole or part without written permission of the copyright owners and full acknowledgment of the author and UNTOLD ARSENAL. All enquiries to Tony@Hamilton-House.com or call (during UK office hours) 01536 399 013.
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