Friday, 28 June 2019Reading time 03 minutes 16 seconds
As a child I longed for a normal, conventional family. I dreamed of going to museums or the cinema. It’s only as I’ve grown older I’ve learned that normal and conventional are myths and our family outings to an evening at the dog track were very special. They were glorious nights and I could never work out of it was trust or neglect as us four kids were left to our own devices to run around while our parents drank, smoked and gambled.
As an adult I continued to go greyhound racing and have always felt nostalgic, almost romantic surrounded by the smell of beer, cigarettes and the sweat of desperation from the gamblers.
Then I met Damon Albarn from Blur and ruined it.
Walthamstow Dog Track was sadly closing. The place was legendary, it had a nightclub named Charlie Chans underneath it and Harry jungle winning Redknapp would be a regular at the track and the club on a Saturday night. It really was a mecca for all types of cockneys. Sadly Harry left London and his losses every weekend probably had a financial effect on the place hence its demise.
The final night was a beautiful warm summers evening, I was there with old friends drinking, smoking and gambling. The Trifecta of Happiness.
I pointed out Jude Law to my Mrs. but was corrected immediately that it was Damon Albarn from Blur. Later in a queue waiting to hand over my never to be seen again wages to a bookie I ended up standing next to him and he struck up a conversation.
He enquired if I was having a good night and I replied with “You’re Damon Albarn from Blur”.
He repeated his question and I told him that I liked the Gorillaz and his charity work, he then asked me again if I was having a good night.
I then forgot that he was Damon Albarn from Blur and we spoke like normal people.
I explained that I’d lost about a ton and he said he’d won a monkey. Damon Albarn from Blur was part Cockney.
I told him of my love and nostalgic feelings for the dog track, the noise, the atmosphere, how my stepmom and dad would bring us here when we were kids.
He laughed as he had bought his kids with him, they were running around somewhere. The trust or neglect in him was as great as my dad’s. He was a proper Cockney!
He then one upped me on the love of dog racing by saying the cover of the album Park Life was from Walthamstow Dog Track,
OK Albarn, you win this round.
We then just hung out having a beer together laughing and chatted about life. His kid ran over and he wasn’t any older than I was when my dad bought me here. Maybe one day this child would grow to be an adult and he could meet Damon Albarn from Blur at a dog track……or in his kitchen.
I was eyed cautiously by the little Albarn, and he threw his arms around his dads waist in shyness. I don’t really like children, but this one was my new mate Damon Albarn’s from Blur child so I thought I should make an effort. His dad introduced me, and young Mr Albarn then relaxed. Me and Damon Albarn from Blur continued to laugh and drink, I may have been a bit tipsy because I dropped my beer onto a ledge and it hit another which created a domino effect with all the bottles resting on the there. I watched as each fell and cascaded into the next, the final one toppled over and poured is contents onto the head of the little Albarn.
It contained fag butts and dredges of beer in that bottle or at least it did before it became shampoo which sadly ran down the angelic face of little Damon Albarn from Blur’s child. He and Damon Albarn from Blur were quite angry.
In fact, I’d fathom a guess that I may have ruined his last ever night at Walthamstow Dogs.
I was mortally embarrassed, and was angrily told to leave. By Damon Albarn from Blur that is, not his kid. He just stood there crying. Like a child.
I slinked off back to my pals who weren’t Damon Albarn from Blur, and we carried on drinking and laughing, with no Brit Pop legend in sight.
Later on a pal leaned over to me and drunkenly said “Were you getting drunk with Jude Law earlier?
Picture: Me on the Minty Fox Glacier, New Zealand.