Wednesday, September 22

Even Better Than the Real Thing

Naturally, football-loving hearts around the globe are bleeding as Real Madrid suffer the moral-sapping effects of caviar with every meal (I believe it's known across the big pond as the Elizabeth Taylor diet).

But I must insist that the dressing-room tantrums of Real's galacticoes (read overpaid duffers) and acts of boardroom insanity (current psychopath puffing cigarillos from the big chair: Snr Perez) are mere tadpoles in the dirty used-syringe-laden river of professional sport, in comparison to the late, great Jesus Gil, who ran Atletico Madrid (the Mets to Real's damn Yankees, though Real have the added political and social damnation of being General Franco's poodle outfit during his reign of terror - though despite that past they are Spain's best-supported team). Never heard of Jesus Gil? Then read this.

Besides his notorious shenanigans at the helm of Atletico, Gil also presided as mayor of Marbella - indeed it was his financial power base. Cue more corruption, and more dirty deeds. Would I say that Gil had killed a man? No. Do I think that he had men killed? Yes.

I could blather that 'we'll never see his like again'. However, football in particular has proved itself to be a magnet for such incorrigible little shits. We shall see his like again, don't worry.

Reminiscing a little, as a student I got to piss around in Madrid for one summer, smoking lots of dope with some smart, funny and langourous Americans while learning fuck-all Spanish. I distinctly remember how one American girl in our circle got it in the neck for her professed desire, on returning home to Texas, to "live on a farm and have, like, ten kids". "Ten? Ten! How can you be so fucking selfish?" was the line of attack - mostly from her fellow Americans, it must be said. I didn't feel strongly one way or the other about it then, and I don't see anything wrong with doing that now, if that's your fervent desire, and you can afford the time, effort and money necesary to do it successfully.

I stayed with a pretty big family (minus the ex-husband: in my head I'd decided that he must have been a shit and that after Franco died and things loosened up, ie you could get a divorce, he was given the boot - pronto) who lived in a pretty big apartment up a hill called Calle Balbina Valverde (I hope that's spelled correctly) - no further than a small running riot from the Bernabeu stadium, the home of Real. As it was summer it was football's close season so I didn't get to see either Real or Atletico in action; however I did - for my sins - get to see U2 ("U Dos! U Dos!") play the Bernabeu. For about €10. (Actually, the real sin was that I liked their bombast back then. Ah, I was so much older then . . .)

This was also the trip where I fell asleep (read passed out) in a club god knows where and awoke - it was now light outside, but the club was still going strong - to be told by the sole English-speaking companion with me - a girl - that but for her charm (read lies: she told them I was her boyfriend) I'd have "a very sore arse by now". (Once again, thank you Wendy - and I hope that name's right, too.)

And this was also the trip where three or four of us, in attempting to score dope, were led a merry dance through a mini twilight zone lit by pokey little bars jacked back-to-back on the level above the ground we were on, and then beaten and chased as we refused to part with our money. We kept our money, but lost the shirts off our backs, which were worth more. A lesson learned.

Hey, shit happens. Back then, I fell in love with Madrid. And I still love Madrid. And I think I always will.

ADDENDUM : to date (the first week of October) Real are still struggling - see this - though they came from behind midweek to prevent the absolute shock to the foundations of European football that would accompany their early exit from the Champions League. And their best player, the talismatic Zinedine Zidane, is fit to play after being injured for several weeks.


posted by DD @ 16:28 


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