The Gaffer Tapes: Live. Some came from the Isle of Man, some came from Cardiff, some came from Nottingham... one came from Spain. Here is her account, in her own words, of that glorious night.
Intro: How I met the Gaffers
As you all know, this Tuesday, October 24, 2017 (date marked with red letters in my agenda), has taken place the expected, announced, desired and often mentioned, live show of The Gaffer Tapes fantasy football podcast, at the Phoenix Artist club, in the heart of London.
And of course, I could not miss the event of the year, the talk of the town, the podcast in capital letters, carried out by three of the most acclaimed experts in football and comedy (sometimes comedy only) in the world, so, immediately that my boys announced that they were going to record a live pod to celebrate their 100 (ejem... 101) episodes, I did not think twice and prepared my trip from Spain. Yes, from Spain. As they would say: mental. And on this occasion (without precedent) they would be right.
Many have asked me why I follow this gang of football fans, and why I am a follower of the English league and not the Spanish:
My usual answer is that in Spain you do not play fantasy football in this way and there is no such thing as a podcast like this (which is perhaps a blessing for La Liga fans).
However, my correct (and noticeably longer) answer should be something more like this:
I started to follow The Gaffer Tapes in late summer of 2016, about to start the league, thanks to the recommendation of Dominic Monaghan, renowned Manchester United fan and active player of Fantasy Football.
See me revealed as the first Spanish (and if you ask me, the only) active follower of this pod, for those adorable cowards, took me out of simple stalker anonymity and opened for the doors of the highest gaffer’s elite.
And, if you still do not know, I'm passionate about social networking, something like a freak, and I like a retweet more than a egg and bacon McDonalds muffin (trademark), sometimes even more than sex.
And that's what the Gaffers give me, lots of retweets, not sex. I never miss my date with the hopeful #balls on Fridays and with the #GafferGifs on Sundays, after every painful gameweek, and they keep corresponding my dedication to their cause doing their thing: retweetting my bullshit.
Sometimes, however, it is impossible to know who handles the threads behind their official account.
But I almost got them the trick: in all likelihood, it's almost never Ash, whom I call affectionately a “twitter ghost”, and if the tweet has to do with moderate pornography or masturbation, it's Craig (and he knows this makes me horny), so the rest of the time, for sure, is my dear Tom, whom I adore and respect.
But the biggest and most beautiful thing is to know I’m part of this family, community of fans, whatever: To be part of the #gafferazzi, proud race of fans of football and bullshit (and beer, of course...)
For these reasons I write for you, companions, exclusively, totally disinterested and for free, (I have not been paid to write this…) my Live Pod report.
I hope you enjoy it...
Pre party hype: Soho and chips.
After my arrival, having done what every Spanish do in first place at London, go to the Primark, and after wandering all morning by the Soho, I found myself, without pretending it, in front of the Phoenix Artist Club, just in the moment that one of my fellow Gafferazzi, Raphael, was tweeting a photo tagged #GaffersLiveHypePhoto.
And of course ... chances have to be taken.
There you have me, in the middle of the street, trying to make a decent selfie, with the sign of the building behind me, and the wind rusting my hair without mercy. "Look, one who has escaped from the asylum," the poor passers-by who saw me gesturing in front of the theater must have thought.
But there it was ... and there was no one in the queue yet.
So, my plans to camp at the door as if it were a concert by Ed Sheeran (yes, Ed Sheeran, Yirma) were replaced by the urgency of finding a quaint pub where to eat fish and chips before the hour H of the day D.
Fish and chips for dinner at 16:00... English cuisine at its best. What every Spaniard in search of topics wants, at a time when I was still thinking about breakfast with eggs, bacon and beans (beans!) That I had just zamped in the hostel.
I have always been surprised that in the UK you will have lunch at 12:00, dinner at 17:00 and then, only beer until 23:00, time in Spain we are at the door to party, not to enter...)
If for me it had been, I would have dined at 22.00 Spanish time, but that was right in the middle of the podcast, so it was not viable. So I went into the first pirate movie bar pub I saw, and I ate fish and chips until there were no leftovers left, accompanied by a draft beer, from the wide assortment.
Because this is the best: here you can not ask for a beer and you're done... you have to know what brand you want, whether you want it lager or black and what kind of glass it has to be. In Spain, you order “una caña” and the waiter puts you what he wants (Estrella, San Miguel, Alhambra ... and stop counting). In London, you have to know what you want.
You have come to drink, so you have to do it in style.
The good thing is that I came prepared. I decided that if they asked me, I would order "a pint of Carlsberg", but then in the pub I did not see the Carlsberg shooter, so I had to improvise.
"Give me a soft one, please." "in pint?", "yes, in pint". And then I went to sit at the table and wait for my food, with dignity severely shattered as if I had committed the greatest of atrocities.
The live post at Phoenix: The fixture.
Raphael came for me at the agreed time and together we went to the place. Upon arriving there, I was able to meet in person and misrepresent Craig, Tom and Ash and many of my fellow gafferazzi.
I do not know if the same happened to you, but for me, the shock was immense...
At last I did not have to imagine their faces in the darkness of the gaffer cave, recording the pods week after week. They were there, live, and in 3D!
God ... they say that it is not good to know your heroes (sic. Tom) but in this case, the risk was worth it. And I was there... in front of them. I was going to die of a herat attack. They were for real, omg! And they were the most normal thing in the world, preparing their micros, their cameras... their beers and their drinks of I do not know what strange thing of Ash...
The cultural shock of the two Spanish kisses and the English hugs made me even more miserable. However, I had come to play, and was prepared for what would happen for the kick off.
The first thing that surprised me was that they had not filled Wembley Stadium, but hey, there we were!
I did not have to fight with hundreds of fans to get me a privileged place in the front row, to sit among the elite, the Patreons who they mention again and again in their pods: Doncaster, Adam Race, Joe Bloom, Raphael, Johnny, Chuck and Stimmers (legends).
Only one meter separated me from the stars of the night (OMG!).
With my beer on the table (another brand that I could not identify, described simply as "soft"...) half-taking to dissemble, I prepared to enjoy the event.
Tom did the honors, and delighted us with a few minutes of stand-up comedy that, little sausages, for your misfortune does not come out in the podcast you could have listened to. (we ask TheGafferTapes, from here, to launch their Youtube channel as soon as possible and upload this delicious marvel)
When he presented the other Gaffers, eager to make us spend an hour and a half of fun, the room erupted in cheers and applause, as if we were 10,000 people, of which were all UK, less the widely mentioned crazy girl from Spain.
There are things that those who were not there do not know, and although they listen to the podcast, they can only imagine.
But here I am, to reveal what was cooked in there, just for gafferazzi eyes.
1.- The three Gaffers were in the same country and in the same place, sitting at the same table, all together (incredible, that there was no hole in the matrix or anything). There was no hologram from Craig, as I could see. And finally, at last, he had a new laptop! (to the shame of those damn ninjas thieves...)
2.- The best podcast award they brought to be able to boast before their fans, of fine methacrylate, has a smaller than average size, but, in return, it is very playful. (and I was lucky enough to touch it!)
3.- Tom was wearing his Gaffer’s merch T-shirt (proudly wearing the colors), but not so Craig and Ash, who preferred to dress as normal persons for the event. I'm still waiting for pictures, guys, and I'm not going to stop staring at you until I see you in those shirts.
4.- There were sausages on the table and they were not secret.
5.- Yes, there were also drawings of erections in the pick-tionary game (which was, little by little, becoming a dick-tionary).
6.- Ash almost drowned his laughter in a few occasions with the strange liquid in his cup, but as a worthy heir to Thor, he managed to overcome.
7.- Tom is much funnier if you can see his exaggerated facial expressions, and oh! He is absolutely adorable (and sexy ...) especially when pretending to get angry when he loses Craig’s quizzes (that is, almost all the time).
8.- Craig brings his dose of professionalism and is the ideal master of ceremonies, as long as he does not forget how much he paid for the famous wankbot (which I hope no one would have tried to see if it worked correctly before giving it to Raphael).
9.- Dan was the perfect secretary of the pod, and took good note of each and every one of the follies of the boys, taking a deserved ovation at the end.
10.- No animal was injured, except for the pig which they turned into sausages.
After the recording of the podcast, gaffers and gafferazzi went to the bar to have a drink, congratulating each other for being there. We changed impressions and speak of the divine and the human in an excellent atmosphere of friendship, which I will always remember.
Although in the end everything has been part of a happy madness, I am convinced that, if given the chance, I would do it again, and so I told Craig, before losing myself in the haze of the night to my hostel, as the horse of the good guy riding to the horizon.
The hard return to reality
My journey back was unleashing all the emotions I had lived, and accumulated fatigue made its appearance. The moments of tension had passed, and the memories had settled in my heart, filling it with nostalgia.
However, when I got home, I was still waiting for one last surprise:
My super special T-shirt had finally arrived!
The next day, on the way to my work routine, stuck in the morning jam, and sounding on the radio Ed Sheeran’s "Photograf", I could not help my eyesight cloud and release a tear of emotion.
I keep this love in a photograph ...
I was already missing them.
Carmen (Cameron for Ash)