This week my new employer – benevolent overlord and thoughtful provider of my “varied and challenging role” – saw fit to send me to North London for two days in order to fix/upgrade/break-in-a-different-manner (delete as applicable) a customer’s installation. Go on Thursday, work, stay in a hotel overnight, work friday, back home.
This is the first job I’ve had that requires occasional travelling, so it’s all still new and fun for me. I agreed to the trip …but not too eagerly. It is never a good idea to let on that you might enjoy yourself when you’re trying to guilt your manager into extra holiday time as compensation.
Their decision was made in rather a panic and very short notice, and so the booking of my hotel was equally ad-hoc and random. For this reason, no-one really cared that rooms around Wembley were particularly scarce that night, and booked whatever they could find for me – and so they paid nearly 300 quid for a single night, in a hotel right opposite Wembley Stadium.
My boss tried to put a gloss on the whole situation. “Just take it easy!” he said: “I’m sure it’ll be an easy job. Find a decent restaurant, have a quiet drink, enjoy the sights of Wembley.”
When I check-in on Thursday evening I find myself in a room containing two double beds and a fully-stocked complementary minibar. This would have been a dream come true for any of the hedonistic batchelor playboys I work with, but was completely wasted on me. I am married, drink almost no alcohol and am usually in bed before 10pm. My idea of a good Friday night is quality time with my “‘Allo ‘Allo” boxset.
After I checked-in I dumped my stuff and then went out to find something to eat. I soon discovered why rooms were so scarce around Wembley – Take That were performing at the Wembley Stadium that night.
Perhaps I should have been forewarned by the ride on the Tube on the way there. There seemed to be a lot of grown women trying to fit inside clothes that they last wore a decade ago. If you’re built like a Zeppelin, your wardrobe should not include Lycra.
By the time I went looking for something to eat the crowds around Wembley were … memorable. In much the same way that a Prostate examination by Edward Scissorhands would be memorable. Take a crowd-scene from a zombie flick and then cross it with an early-nineties “Smash Hits” annual and you’re in the right area. It was like “Night of the Living Dead” but with fatter thighs.
I did what any heterosexual man would do when confronted with crowds of ravening women driven insane by hormones and Bacardi Breezers, hungry for Gary Barlow … I ran back to the hotel and barricaded myself in my room.
Why would I go out in public and try and find a restaurant when there are thousands of sexually frustrated thirty-year old women on the rampage? I’m already married to one; I am not about to go looking for any more.
Now don’t misunderstand me: I know how attractive I’m not, and the only celebrity I’ve been confused with is Frank Sidebottom … but the scene from my hotel room at 11pm after the concert finished clearly showed that The Hordes had set their standards very low.
I never knew that women could make dropping their knickers and crouching over a hotel’s ornamental flowerbed into such a social activity.