Being asked to name your favourite piece of clothing is what I imagine asking a parent which one of their kids is their favourite (if I had kids it would be whoever is the best footballer, boy or girl, it is 2013 after all). But if I had to it would probably be my Aquascutum Harrington jacket.
Arsenal played Chelsea in the Cup and had drawn 2-2 in a game that had kicked off at 6pm because of the television wankers. I was drinking like it was a 3pm kick off and the combination of not eating and very little other “help” meant I was in a proper state. After repeatedly ringing my Chelsea supporting MD to tell him to “stick your job up your fucking arse you Chelsea supporting cunt” I ended up in Leicester Square where I can only imagine I was being a flat out string before stumbling towards the tube to get the last train home from Victoria.
I came round in a flat at about 2am, found a cab and told him where I lived and then it dawned on me I had fallen asleep on the tube and ended up in Seven Sisters which is about 30 miles north from where I live. I still had my phone, wallet and watch and didn’t feel “violated” in any way so tried to stay awake until we got to my house, and had the usual row with the cabbie over the fare.
Waking up with the flat out horrors I rang my boss to make sure I still had a job (I did, he said it was funny, but did terrorise me for the next week) and vowed to give up the booze for at least a month.
10 days later was the replay at Stamford Bridge and I got a ticket in the Chelsea end with said Chelsea supporting cunt of a boss and a few of his mates. The day before my old man, who has barely had a bet in his life told me he fancied 3-1 and would I put a bet on for him. And whenever you get a “tip” you’ve always got to back it yourself so he had a fiver and I had a tenner at 28’s. It was pretty much a forgone conclusion that we would win as we always did back then at Stamford Bridge so when we went 2 nil up early on I sat on my hands and didn’t think too much about it. Then late in the second half they scored and we scored quickly after and I rang down to the toilet, shut the cubicle door and danced a merry little jig on my own before walking out as cool as I could, sniffing to give the appearance of just having a livener.
After the game we went back to the SoBar on the Kings Road for a few and a couple of the blokes I was with wanted to fight someone in a red fleece and then try their luck with the old bill before coming back into the pub with their tails between their legs and a few baton marks on their back. I ended up with a girl my boss was sniffing round (nothing happened between them if his ex wife’s solicitor reads Proper), lost everyone in a drunken haze and went to work still pissed but elated that I’d won about a weeks wages in 90 minutes. After work I went straight to House of Fraser and bought an Aquascutum Harrington which I’ve still got and wear today.
If I’d known then what I know today I’d probably have swerved House of Fraser and gone straight to Oi Polloi (although in hindsight I didn’t have the Internet in 2003) and gone for the undisputed Harrington kings, Baracuta. It’s well documented that everyone from Steve McQueen to the England World Cup winning team has worn them and Stuarts of London have got 14 (14!!!) different colours in at the moment including a leather one if you’re feeling particularly flush.