THE Prince of Darkness was laid up in his coffin on Monday, suffering from a bad case of stomach cramps and sickness.
It followed a rather hectic Sunday night in which we met up at the Irish bar Dempseys to watch Spain and Germany in the European Championship final.
Good Brits as we are, most of us were supporting Spain. Not the Wonderful Withers, though. He had on his Red, Yellow and Black wristband to show affinity to his Fuhrer, Michael Ballack.
Others making an appearance were the Prince, Paps and Smashy.
Well, Spain took the honours with the only goal of the game from Fernando Torres. It left everyone bar me biting their nails for the next 60 minutes, mainly because they feared losing the quid they had invested in the mini sweep. I'd managed to lose mine the moment Spain scored their goal, having taken the pessimistic option of backing the Krauts to win 1-0.
The Prince let out a howl moments after the only goal of the game - he had been outside puffing on a tab and missed it.
After the game we sauntered off to his favourite haunt for stalking young Virgins - 6ft Under - and he was greeted like a long-lost friend by the bouncers on the door, who hadn't seen him since, oh, Friday night?
At that stage the alcohol was having a warming, wowie wowie affect on the Dark Lord, a signal that it was immediately time for him to switch to vodka. Meanwhile, Paps decided it would be a good idea to invest £5 in two huge bowls of mixed olives, and we preceded to devour them while enjoying conversations about our favourite albums, songs, dance moves, drum solos, you name it... I think Withers was being a bit disingenuous when he said his favourite band were The Struts and his favourite song "Waiting in the Dole Queue", which he delivered with a typically bad impression of yours truly.
Later, while outside smoking a tab with the Prince, a group of celebrating Spanish supporters arrived, complete with shirts and capes. Fantastic. My memory of the Spanish at France 98 is still vivid, especially the time they took me out on the razz until five in the morning. I would not go as far as to say it was a heavenly night, but one of the guys was called Jesus.
Anyway, as these partying fans turned up to liven up the proceedings the fun was immediately killed stone dead. The bouncers refused to admit the Spanish on the basis that it was "company policy" not to allow anyone in wearing footie shirts.
What a crying shame! Surely these guys should have been allowed to celebrate in a city that claims to be the capital of Wales and on a par with London, but which spends more time than any other place I know acting like killjoys and failing to show any sort of sense or initiative. Apparently the party line is that people in football shirts are bound to cause trouble. Come off it! I've seen the best dressed people in town having a bundle at 2pm on a Saturday night. And this was a quiet Sunday in Cardiff in June, completely devoid of any rival gangs of football nutters.
The other thing that heartily annoys me, now I'm on a Rippers rant, is the fact that if this was at the height of the Six Nations Championship you can guarantee legless, rugby shirt wearing fans would be piling through the doors with the blessing of the management, who could see pound signs flashing before their eyes. The bouncer disputed this, claiming that rugby fans would be treated in exactly the same way. We'll see if they turn them away come next February.
Anyway, the only Spanish thing left to connect us with a party night were the olives, so we tucked in with gusto.
The Prince, obviously, paid the penalty. Should have stuck to blood.
I had a frightening dream the other night - one of those dreams that you panic when you wake up and come down slowly once the realisation that it is just a nightmare slowly dawns on you.
I can't recall all the dream, just the fact that I ended up sharing a flat with the Prince! Can you imagine? All those empty wine bottles lying around, it would be like living with Albert Steptoe (for those who remember him). Other things that happened in this rather scattered dream: I was lying in bed and opened a packet of crisps, only for loads of hundreds and thousands to pour out. Then there was a ring of the doorbell at 2 in the morning. A loved-up couple turned up saying they were mates of Glyn Gully (our circulation manager, how the hell he got involved in my dream I'll never know) and that the Prince had said it was ok for them to stay.
Yes, readers, in the words of Malcolm McDowell in Clockwork Orange, it was "pure horrorshow".
If there are any dream interpreters who can explain it, please let me know.
Monday involved a bit of a hangover and a long walk. I had to go to Cardiff Registry Office to give Notice of Marriage. You get some oddballs in there I've got to tell you. And being kept waiting 20 minutes to see the head honcho wasn't much fun.
I was a bit nervous and did a lot of revising. "Shit, what's Wren's name? Can't call her just Wren. And what's her date of birth? My God, what do I know of this woman?"
I must have looked a bit shifty, squirming on my chair at the easiest of questions, getting worried I would be "caught out". What for?
Anyway it's done now. The notice is posted. Exciting!
Withers may still get banned from being best man, though, if he keeps threatening to deliver his speech in his "Rippers" voice which, as I have said many times before, is just a poor imitation of Zippy from Rainbow.