After reading the previous blogs about Russell, which all moved me in different ways, it was only right that I jumped on the band wagon and gave it a shot myself. Not only is this officially the first ever blog entry I have written, it is the one of the hardest things I have had to put together without looking like an incompetent, illiterate Muppet, after all, I make drinks for a living as Luke would say.
I decided that there was one side of Russell that had only been touched on in previous entries, so I wanted to dive straight into the infectious, mischievous, and more often than not, derogatory side of Russell. I would like to ask all friends, family, ex-partners, ex-one night standers, randomers and drinking buddies of Russell to take this with a pinch of salt…….and a Red Stripe. Shweet As.
I had many memorable moments with Russell, as did we all, some were not to be spoken of again, some need repeating time and time again. One memory that stands out in my mind was a certain trip to Spain. A trip that promised to be one to remember. At least we had Joel who wouldn’t be led astray, and would provide a mature, level headed approach to situations that were not the most sensible……….’I am genuinely worried about this holiday’ Joel Simon 2009.
It was 5 years ago, almost to this day that myself, Jaymo, Joel, Alex, Juda and Russell set foot on a week-long adventure to relieve ourselves from the hustle and bustle of these crazy village folk and the spar shop in GK, to Alex’s Villa in Spain. We all got to Luton in one piece, which to me was a decent result, and started immediately on the beers. No matter how much we tried to not make it a ‘boys on tour’ moment, Russell just wouldn’t allow it, and it all began in a shoddy Weatherspoons in Luton. We quickly gained the realisation that no matter what we had imagined, it would be hard to restrain Russell while planting him into an environment that he genuinely strives in. The horror on Joel’s face was priceless as Russ spanked £50 on G and T’s before the plane had taken off! I of course helped him in quality control.
We arrived after a flight filled with laughter in high spirits. From what I can remember we had planned to stay in the first night and rip Spain the following day, but Russell insisted that scoping out the best ‘Guffa Spots’ was imperative to a successful campaign in the Med! So we ventured to the commercial centre, full of locals that despised the English holiday makers, and English holiday makers that couldn’t quite work out why there was so many Spanish w*****s!?!?.
I believe it was roughly 11pm that Russell decided to introduce those eyes we all know so well, a mere 5hrs into being abroad, and after a small dispute with the bouncer of Temple Bar for not letting him back in, Russell decided, not so elegantly, to fall through an A-Board promoting 2 for 1 Tequilas, just to the left of our table. After reminding him he had feet and getting him up, he reminded us that he had no money and we all had to pay for the damages before we lost our hands. Russell owed this money to us all throughout the holiday, and still does. I think we will let it slide this time. Of course the bouncer planted the A-board there according to Russ, we all agreed until he was asleep at the villa, and then proceeded to blame him for everything, which he knows full well. This was also the same night that Juda attempted for the first time to calm the little fire cracker down, we all know deep down he respected him for who he was, just like he did everyone else.
Russell was at his best when he was in unchartered environments, and had to uphold his status. I loved how he would bring reassurance to a group, even though he wasn’t sure himself. He was a true winger, we all know he got away with a lot of stuff, but he was also the only one we had in our lives that we would have trusted without thinking; he would get you through. At the very least, he would bring light to a situation, sometimes with just one word, and be the first person to make you laugh uncontrollably. Russell had his own problems, he had his own issues and worries, but if you had any, he would make sure you didn’t by the time he was finished, regardless of the depth of his.
One game ruled all games in Spain, and this was ‘Cock or Ball’…………It was to Russell like ‘to me, to you’ was to the Chuckle Brothers (next to be arrested, you heard it here first) and this game was at its peak, at least it was until we decided to incorporate some public personnel from a bar and they got the wrong end of the stick, ‘Its Cock OR Ball not Cock AND Ball you ****’. Russell put things so politely don’t you think?
One thing was for certain, 6 lads, away, was going to be trouble, and Russ was in his element.
After a couple of nights of hitting the town, in typical lad fashion, we threw villa parties and what not- whistle, woof, meow,- and teamed up to show Alex that a Gordon’s Gin bottle could ‘fill a gap’ while resting an electric toothbrush where it shouldn’t be upon him passing out naked. Trips to the beach were interesting, I have never been to the beach in 29 degree heat, with an albino before, but Russell fulfilled that experience for me in impeccable style, Pallmall in hand.
This holiday memory was one of the most epic of my times with Russell, why? Because he had no one to impress, nothing to prove and most importantly, no one to tell him what to do. We all know that he would only listen to you if he knew you were absolutely correct, otherwise he would take you into battle until you gave up.
Even though he pretty much headed up any antics in Spain, he still had an understanding for personal limits, now don’t get me wrong, he bloody pushed them, but had a great quality to adapt to each person in a different way to strengthen his friendships. I am blessed to have the friends I do, but Russ did fill a bespoke area of understanding entertainment; an entertainment that fixed subconscious issues.
Russell decided to befriend a creepy Spanish guy one day in the communal swimming pool. He was rather large, and bobbed on the surface with crocodile eyes, sporting 2 very distinctive flabby flaps on either shoulder blade on the back. From that day forward Russ decided he would be known not only as the guy that had ‘a thing for Joel’ but, ‘Dos Back-Tattos Por Favor’. I can hear him saying it now. He did incorporate the name of the mineral water he very, very, very rarely drank into that a day later, while burning on the beach. That’s for another time.
There are too many stories from this trip to fit into this blog, from him brandishing a blunt bread knife (in a very drunk, non-aggressive nature) because he had nicked the last bit of Juda’s food and shoved it down his pants knowing full well Juda would not venture there to fetch it, to turning up to the villa at 5am after being missing for 6hrs, with a telephone number scrawled up his arm in lipstick, full story of this classified, to ……
My fondest, complete memory of Russell in nutshell. As seen in ‘The List’ on Ben’s blog, I was lucky enough to have a front row seat, when Russell performed, in my eyes, the greatest rendition of ‘Champagne Supernova’ in a bar in Spain. He was completely pissed, and struggled to hold a conversation before I entered him into the karaoke. Once on that stage singing that song, every word was very much, so understood.
Can’t thank you enough for being part of all of our lives Russ, you will never be forgotten, always be a part of what we all do, and continue to do what you always wanted to do best, LIVE FOREVER.