Sunday, January 25, 2009


As I peer out of the taxi at the Christmas lights at Newington Green,* I hiccup. Studying the menu at Stoke Newington’s Bagel House half an hour later, I am still hiccupping. I haven’t hiccupped since I was a child, and it’s a rather alien and uncomfortable sensation. I keep worrying I’m going to be sick.

Sat in my friend’s living room, polishing off my herring bagel and moving onto my cheese and onion pasty, the shriek-like hiccups bring back a vivid memory of the last time I had them. I’d been to the local shop with my mum, and was eating a square of Terry’s Chocolate Cream sat in the back seat of the car. I was opening a packet of stickers for my Panini Football '87 album, and out slipped a QPR crest shiny. I remember being quite captivated by it; quite possibly it was one of those childhood moments where, on a whim, you decide who you are going to support for the rest of your life. Perhaps my chain of thought was interrupted by an errant hiccup though, as it didn’t turn out that way. This of course may be completely inaccurate – memory’s like that – but it springs to mind intensely. Years later, I would burn my mouth on the molten contents of a curry pasty during my first time at Loftus Road, sitting through a 0-0 draw with a hangover. A long way from the seeming glamour of that sticker.

I try to recount all of this to my friend, but fair’s fair; I’m drunk and, mixed in with the hiccupped interruptions, come across as very garbled.

*Obviously, all my adventures are recounted retrospectively, otherwise, well… it just wouldn’t work the other way.

1 comment:

Shane said...

In the mid 1980s, I opened a pack of Panini stickers to find the West Bromwich Albion player, Carl Valentine - nowhere near as cool as a shiny club badge, you might think. But wait: Carl Valentine had blonde highlights and he was called Carl Valentine*. At the age of about 10, this was the coolest hair and name combo that I'd ever witnessed.

* He'd be about 50 years old now. And bald and fat. Less cool.