RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #24 - Paris '81
Posted by Maggie May on December 2, 2014, 11:47:02 AM
Ah. Gay Paree. Happy memories and one mystery - which perhaps may at last be solved.
Speke Airport. The place was jumping. But my best memory of then is one young lad sitting quietly and lovingly stroking the tassels on his bar scarf - which had definitely seen better days. Perhaps I should explain at this point that it was considered unlucky to wash your scarf on account of it washed the luck out of it. And as we were rather good at winning things in those days our colours tended to be red and grey.
The flight was called and as one everyone bursting into the song "Gay Paree" sung to the tune of "Ere we go" and all trying to get through this silly small door at the same time. I don't claim to have any song writing ability at all, but whoever came up with this was touched by genius. All you needed to do was just sing "Gay Paree" as many times as you liked, so there was no worry about remembering the words and looking daft and/or a wool. Also absolutely perfect when pissed, because if you were too far gone to remember the tune, by then it didn't matter as everybody was in the same state as you.
So off we fly. Some lads did try to engage in harmless banter with a po faced stewardess without much success. It was clear she would have preferred to eat her own eyeballs than be on a plane with us. Matters were not improved when the pilot cheerfully informed us that we were now leaving Speke turning left and heading south and then we would sort of turn right and keep going until we reached France. Which prompted the lads to ask of po face "Oi Missus can I have what the pilots drinking please"? Otherwise a smooth flight and a coach to the centre of Paris. More harmless and lively banter on the way and friendly greetings and waving to passers by. They did wave back but in a strange manner with just the one finger, which I suppose is the continental way.
Hit the bars and cafés. Reds everywhere singing all the old songs - magic. And calling over snooty looking waiters with "Oi Garston" and admiring their pinny. And singing "Tell me Ma, me Ma, that I won't be home for tea, I've here in Gay Paree, Tell me Ma me Ma."
Getting ready to go in. There has been a bit of bother so we were welcomed by metal crush barriers and the police in full riot gear. Definitely not yer Bold Gendarmes. So this fella who made Arnie look like Mickey Mouse makes to frisk me. So I draw myself up to my full height (thereby reaching half way up his belly) and announce "I am an English Lady and you shall not lay hands upon me. So bugger off". I did hear Mr May mutter "Jesus Christ no" behind me. Well I extended my hand and the nice man escorted me through. I did wait a very long time after they had finished frisking Mr May though.
Inside the ground at last. Electric atmosphere. Getting goose bumps still thinking about it after all these years. You see. We knew with absolute certainty we would win. I mean. Fucks sakes. Look at our team. Immortals. I've no intention of listing the names. If you don't know them you've no business reading this thread. And fuck off Real Madrid. So what you've won it six times. We are Liverpool. And we ain't come all this way to go home empty handed.
But the buggers made us wait until the 81st minute. Jesus Christ me fucking nerves were in tatters. A throw in from Ray and Barney was off up the left hand side of the pitch like a fucking rocket. And we were with him every step of the way. And he banged it in.
It was one of those incredible moments when your heart stops beating and all the air is sucked out of the room. When the world stands still. And then delirium. Leaping about locked with people who you don't know. Smashing your legs against the seats and getting battered to buggery, not feeling a thing or caring when you did later. Voice gone but somehow still roaring. Head spinning heart beating out of your chest. Delirious with joy.
And that, me dears, was the night when we won our third European Cup. The first British Club to do so. And Bob Paisley became the first and only British manager ever to win Big Ears three times.
But the night was by no means over yet. We walked in the opposite direction to everyone else as we wanted to cool off. And crossed the river. But more detail about that later.
For some reason we ended up in this highly posh restaurant. How we got past the door I have no idea since we resembled "One of the ruins that Cromwell knocked about a bit" and were wearing colours. Personally I'd have set the dogs on us - but there you are.
Anyway. Things did tend to come a bit of a standstill when we went in. So to break the ice sort of thing I announced "Nous est Scoucers. Nous have just won the European Cup. Vive La France". And they all went mental. The band, which had been chamber music type stuff imediately broke into the Marseillaise. And we were welcomed into a large table with other people. And I ate a soup so delicious it made me want to faint. And after that we ate pigs trotters.
And then. Somewhat flown. I decided to give a demonstration of the cancan. In France. Well I was rather good at it at the time and very agile. But to do it in France was the ultimate. But you cannot do the cancan without a frock and I was wearing pants. So I took them off (thank Christ I hadn't decided to go commando) and whipped a tablecloth off wrapped it round my waist told the band to strike up, wrapped my left ankle behind my ear hopped about a bit on one leg and invited the rest of the ladies to join in. Which they did with a will. Pour l'honneur de la France perhaps. Thing is about the cancan is you need to kick your height, bend over and wiggle your bum and the flying splits is compulsory. Well. You can't do that in a tight evening frock. So they all started taking their clothes off and dancing round in their drawers. Never seen the like before or since apparently. One gentleman said to Mr May he'd been to the best whorehouse in Paris and they'd never put on such a show (I think it was the multiple flying splits that did it), and was he interested in going into business. And another gentleman offered to buy me for ten camels which Mr May thought was an excellent deal but alas he couldn't sell the camels on. Bloody London Zoo. Up to their neck in camels apparently.
I have absolutely no idea of how I got on the plane. All I remember was landing in Speke and some cheeky young fucker asking to borrow my mirror and comb as he was first off the plane with the banner and wanted to look his best for the press and photographers. I kid you not.
But. To return to the mystery.
When we walked back over the bridge after the match there were all these Real Madrid coaches parked by the side of the road. And one lone figure crouched by the side. But on walking closer he was not crouched at at all. But on one knee, head back, arms stretched, in the manner of Al Jolson singing "Mammy". When we got close we could hear him singing. And the coaches were full of Real Madrid supporters staring fixedly ahead. There was the lad. All alone. Serenading the coaches and not another soul about. Closer still. And you could hear the words, sung to the tune of "Bridges of Paris"
How would you like to be
A Scouser in Gay Paree
Strolling along by the banks of the Seine
Winning the European Cup once again
We'll go the Eiffel Tower
And stay just for half an hour
Cos we wont be late
When we celebrate
Scousers in Gay Paree
We'll go to the Follies Folies Bergère
They all love Scousers there
The women are gorgeous with skins like a peach
But no one can move it like Kenny Dalglish
Then back to the Eiffel Tower
And only stay half an hour
So we wont be late
When we celebrate
Scousers in Gay Paree.
So was it you, your Dad, your Grandad? Solve the mystery after all these years.
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