Trip Report 10e Verjaardag Part 1

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Trip Report 10e Verjaardag Part 1

Postby Banks » Mon Jul 18, 7:51 pm

Trip Report: 10e Verjaardag Channels

Prologue

Back in mid 2004, there was a mention, and then a whisper, and then finally “potentially a plan” for a party to be held commemorating the tenth anniversary of a little piece of cyberspace I had become a member of two years previous… “Channels.nl” But you know, there’s a lot of things that can “potentially” happen, right? Hell, everybody looks good at the starting line, you know… Anyway, I had been lucky to have stumbled upon Channels a few odd years ago while doing some research for my third trip to Amsterdam, back when Channels had the old format, and had found a place where I could connect to these people around the planet like myself who felt something more for a city many have come to call “Mokum.” These kindred souls had spent many a sunny and rainy day in all of the seasons; of 17th century canal houses with breezeless summer swelter; catching crisp falling leaves in hues of orange and red reflections; the long nights and small days of frozen canals; and the awakening waves of the tulips in spring gardens. They spent their days and nights walking the canals and bridges, discovering art for perhaps the first time in the magnificent museums, eating strange foods from distant cultures, and enjoying the liberal freedoms of the Dutch coffeeshops, until it had become their town too. Through Channels I found my intimate knowledge of Amsterdam would grow and I found good friends from all over the world…

So as mentioned, about a year ago the first announcements of an anniversary party appeared, and that spark of excitement started to smolder. Plans started to be made far and wide, with the Channelites beginning to make reservations in their favored Amsterdam retreats. An awards program was suggested, but with the party “potentially” going to happen a year away, nothing was accomplished other than some initial enthusiastic responses. Fast forward a few months, and the “official” announcement comes from Channels fearless leader “Bas” that yes, indeed there was going to be a Tenth Anniversary Party, to be held in Amsterdam, Netherlands on the 23rd of April, 2005, details to follow (looking back, I believe those details were delivered by the slowest mule in Europe by way of the Marrakech spice trails…) It was now time to think about actually doing those awards… as one Dannymac kindly reminded me of how I was the one who had suggested them in the first place!

During this time, some excellent plans were hatched to make a trip to Prague, CZ for a few days of bohemian debauchery before the Amsterdam anniversary period with BOhannon and Porkchop [I don’t know what BO had planned, as he was the only one of us to have been to Prague before… (he said he only had a few memories of it from when he came through there in the Battle of the Bulge in 1944…:) The pictures of the apartment looked very nice, and close to town and the river…] and upon arrival back in Amsterdam we were to stay in an authentic canal huis through Citymundo that BO had stayed in on a previous trip, along with the mysterious California duo “Bev and Moe.” I had seen a few pictures of the place from the Citymundo website, and it did indeed look to have “potential”… big rooms, high ceilings, and picture windows overlooking the canal out front.

But Murphy’s Law somehow can find its way around to each of our own little corners of the world… and sure enough it must have been my turn at bat. Just after New Years, I get some dubious and negative business news, along with Dad starting to complain some about his health, notably his heart. After a lot of deliberation and scenario playing for about a month, I decided that I had to make the early call to BO about pulling out of the Prague trip immediately. Unfortunately this call proves to be a precursor further on up the road, for I then have to call BO again and cancel the Amsterdam sequence of the trip. As bad as I felt, the right decision was to put Dad first. I needed to call early enough to give them the chance to get another person into the canal huis. One by one, each of the members of the Lauriergracht canal huis sent well wishes and regrets… BO, Porkchop, Bev and Moe, truly a most gracious gathering if ever there was! (Thankfully as we come to find out, after an initial missed start, it all worked out with “Catobsession” scratching his way into my coveted spot on the second floor. Later along in the process, “Rhocco” makes a breakaway, gonzo two day trip, also diving into the canal huis on Lauriergracht! The gods must have been pleased, eh Sir Dogbreath?)

Shortly before the holidays of 2004, we formed a committee of sorts… the “Officially Unofficial Awards Committee” with Dannymac, LastHamlet, Bohannon, and I undertaking the task of putting this little awards program together (no small task with us being situated from coast to coast here in the USA), pending changes and approvals from Bas. Without the long and smoky details (mostly BO and LastHamlet sending out Apache smoke signals…), each member brought strengths to the table that was essential to this thing working out. Our first decision was to put a posting onto Channels asking for suggestions for award categories. In a poll, the Channelites themselves served up a wide assortment of possible award categories, which made it very hard to finally have to decide on categories given the constraints that we were under. In all honesty, if we had been given sufficient time, we could have done 30 award categories as the suggestions were that good! But we just couldn’t do something of that size any justice given our means and the time we were to be allotted during the party… so again, after long smoky deliberations and more than a few versions, Dannymac became the voice that made the most reason (sorta funny considering his Karl Wallenda-esque antics on crawls gone by…:), and we decided upon six “serious” awards, six “not so serious” awards, along with one “performance-based” award to be given out before the actual 10th Anniversary party on 23 April, 2005.

After those many days of deliberations deciding upon the categories, we then needed to agree on a medium as to what the actual awards would be made of. We looked into both online sites and in hand catalog, and decided that for the awards (and giving credit where credit is due, the award presented by Old Hippie Dave last year to Coffeeshop Amnesia looked damned good!) we would go in the direction of engraved standing acrylics… and I was able to find a place to do them in my home town. A critical part of this was being able to get a working composite of the Channels logo. I struck out with Bas… his original copy had been “eaten by the dog!” Thanks to Dmac’s technological wizardry, he cobbled together the Channels logo that eventually both engravers were able to use… big kudos here to Dannymac!

When we had a working logo, it was now time to go and design the trophies in the shop. You can imagine the curiosities of the staff there… at one point I had the whole staff (including the now completely enthralled engraver “Ann” who I’m proud to say will be making her first trip out of the country this summer with her husband of 22 years on a 2nd honeymoon to AMSTERDAM!) at the desk as I was explaining what to engrave on them to the manager as he furiously wrote on order forms. They all just looked at me after writing down the first one, “Best Joint Roller at the Party” in Amsterdam with that look in their eyes that said, “Did he just say ‘Best Joint Roller?’ So of course I had to begin my explanation as to what Amsterdam’s coffeeshops were REALLY all about. This took a little while… at least a few minutes for the real short version… but no one left! In addition, everyone wanted to hear about a party being held in Amsterdam that gave awards to the “Best Coffeeshop” and “Best Trip Reports!” along with “Biggest Hasj Smoker” and “Biggest Weed Smoker!” As you can imagine, it was very funny to hear all the misconceptions most people have about Amsterdam… people shooting up all over the streets… prostitutes on every street corner… I’m sure each of you has needed to explain the REAL Amsterdam to someone and probably not that long ago either… so it was great fun in the end to dispel a few myths and excite a couple of people about visiting Amsterdam!

While hasjing out the categories, it was suggested by BOhannon I believe, that for two categories, “Biggest Weed Smoker” and “Biggest Hasj Smoker” that we would award the winners with engraved Zippo lighters… quite appropriate! I was able to find them in what looked like a perfect Dutch Orange… and hopefully when they showed up they would be. Not to worry… you couldn’t have gotten them in a more perfect shade of Nederland orange… “Queensday Orange!” I now had to find a different engraver for the lighters, as the one handling the trophies didn’t do curved surface metals. Again, I luckily found the perfect engraver… they would copy the Channels logo in the same way the first engraver did, but then he would need to use a laser to do the actual engraving of the logo. Guess what I had to do with the staff of this engraver? Yep… educate a whole new class about Amsterdam… same questions, same “I went to Ocean City…” responses. Anyway, we are now a little over 2 weeks from the anniversary party, and both the engravers have promised to be finished 10 days before the party…

Over the following weekend, it is brought up by the committee that it would be nice to have all the wording on the trophies and lighters IN DUTCH! FUCKING GREAT IDEA… why hadn’t we thought of this one before??? Before I had made the orders??? I had already gone through all the spellings and signed off on the order on Friday, as they promised that I would have my trophies and lighters by the following Wednesday. I wanted to be able to ship them to Amsterdam no later than Friday to make sure they would be there in plenty of time for the party, whether I was making it or not… at this point I was still waiting to hear from one of my father’s 324 doctors about his being admitted to the hospital for surgery. Anyway, I hoped the engravers hadn’t started on the job yet! I left an email and a voice mail with them both apprising them of the situation… Now we have to find someone who can translate English into Dutch… and BOhannon comes through with “Amsterlocal” who is gracious to accommodate our request, and has it all back to us within an hour or so! AMSTERLOCAL, YOU DA MAN!!! THANK YOU!!! So now I have translations, and all I gotta do is get this to the engravers before they start…

First thing Monday morning, April 11, I was at the acrylic engravers at 8:00AM, opening time. They had planned to start the engraving first thing in the morning, so I was a lucky boy in getting there early… I was able to make the changes in the wordings to Dutch and be on my way to engraver #2 within twenty minutes. Same process, and out the door I went ten minutes past. As promised, the trophies and lighters were ready on Wednesday, April 13, and we were in business!


With my father facing some medical situations, and my business having some interesting moments, my trip had become very tenuous at best. However, needing to be prepared just in case the situation became workable, I had made my hotel reservations at the Hotel KAP, and secured US Airways reservation with the small hope that I would somehow be able to make it… but the trip really wasn’t looking good. Pops was having some heart problems, and with having undergone a triple by-pass a few years back, it was looking like he might be going under the knife again. As the only relative here, I needed to make sure he was okay as my first priority… hence my dilemma of being in charge of the trophies and such, and hoping to be able to be in Amsterdam and get to meet and put a face to all those people I only knew in words. My first plan was to ship them to myself in care of the Hotel KAP, which I had already cleared through their manager Harry. However, if I didn’t make it, and this was looking more likely by the day, I decided that my first avenue of shipping would be to LastHamlet’s place, the Hotel Prinsenhof, as he was able to bump up his trip and add a few extra early days, and is good friends with the manager… and I also think the hot Dutch chamber maid spends “extra” time in his “chamber”, if you know what I mean? (He’ll deny it, but later on after I had arrived, when I asked if he was in by name, a visible blush crossed her cheeks…)

That was Plan B… Plan C was to ship everything to Dannymac’s place. He would be staying somewhere in the Jordaan neighborhood with his wife and youngest daughter on a houseboat through the Acacia Hotel. Plan D was to send it to BOhannon at the canal huis, but he wouldn’t be getting into the huis until the late morning of the day of the party. Shipping would take 4 business days if everything went well. But of course everything never goes exactly right… while I am at FedEx figuring out the best way to send everything, I mention to the lady that I will be sending lighters over in the box. WHOA!!! HALT PRODUCTION!!! She proceeds to tell me that they will NOT ship lighters anywhere… filled or unfilled! Her supervisor verifies this, and adds that if they did, they would definitely be x-rayed because they were going out of the country, the metal lighters would then be found and confiscated, and not only would I as the sender get fined, but so would FedEx, and because of that they just wouldn’t do it. No way, no hay Jose… big bummer dude… I now had to figure something else out, and with the TSA regulations at the time banning ALL lighters, in checked baggage or carry-on, filled or not filled, I was up the proverbial canal without a paddle. Here I have two of the sweetest lighters I’ve ever seen, for two very deserving Channels Award winners sitting in my hands, and I can’t find a way to send them! I really thought hard of bundling them up and putting them in with the rest of the trophies regardless, but in the end I really didn’t want to take the chance that they would be confiscated. I decided the best action was to keep them at home and send them out to Blueberry and Viking after we had returned. I then printed out photos of the lighters for the awards ceremonies. Better safe than sorry…

With this all accomplished, I find out that Dad’s appointment has been bumped back a day until Friday, and that it was going to be exploratory in nature, and that he wasn’t due for any immediate surgery, pending the outcome of Friday’s tests of course. A glimmer of hope springs forth… one more day, and if he’s in the clear, I’m going to Amsterdam!

There was also a potential little bonus playing out for my trip… the chance to welcome a newbie into the Amsterdam experience… a certain “Felix” who was a newcomer to the board! MileHighDenver had referred him to me, as we both live in the greatest sports city in America. We exchanged a bit of chatter, and met for a few quaffs of Stella Artois at a beer joint on the Southside of our town. A mere laddie at 29, Felix was getting primed for his first trip abroad, and had decided upon Amsterdam for all of the right reasons… reasons I wish I had known about when I was 29! It was with great relish that I told him of walking 17th century canals, seeing incredible art for the first time in Europe… you all know the routine.

Well, Friday and the exams go well… well enough for me to go ahead and make the trip to Amsterdam for the 10th Anniversary Party!!! I found this out at approximately 3PM EST, and I was out of the house on my way to FedEx, needing to be there by 4PM,with the awards securely bundled and boxed!!! I also sent a shipment of a case of “Mallo Cups” so I could get a little market research done and thus write off the expenses of the trip. Both packages were guaranteed to arrive at the Hotel KAP in Amsterdam on Thursday, 21 April, 2005!

The rest of the week goes by in a blur… and not a bud blur, either. High and dry ain’t the word… just crazy busy. Most of which is just time consuming, but unfortunately necessary. It’s now Thursday, and I’m leaving on the 6PM to Philadelphia, leaving Philly at 8:20PM connecting to Schiphol, arriving Schiphol on Friday morning at 10AM Holland time. My desk is cleared, and after checking in with Dad, I’m on my way to the airport, in this case a park and shuttle service where they’ll happily (that’s what the ad said…) wash my car for me upon my return… all for $10.50 a day.

I wanted to get to the airport early enough to make sure the flight to Philadelphia was on time. I had carry on only for this trip would only be until Monday morning… three nights in Amsterdam is a trip I’ll do anytime!!! Tomorrow, I get to meet Channelites in person, starting I believe with the legendary LastHamlet!

The flight goes by in record time…

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Postby Dave J » Mon Jul 18, 8:19 pm

Excelent, cant wait untill things get started in your report.

Dave J

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Dam Banks...

Postby LastHamlet » Tue Jul 19, 1:50 pm

WOW!!!, and I do mean WOW!!!
What an intro Banks, and has far exceeded anything I could ever do.
Oh Crap, I had no idea of the timing, cause I believe that I was the idiot that suggested they be written in Dutch. Man, I might should have kept my mouth shut on that one, cause I feel I caused you an undue burden, at a 'no doubt' bad time. However, I do believe I know that Amsterlocal, he is a good fellow for sure. AND, You Banks,,,, what a hard working Channelite you are, Many, Many, Many Thanks for all that you had to pull off :-)... As well Many, Many, Many Thanks to D'Mac and BO also, you fellows are top notch!!!

Banks, this one made me laugh, cry, sing, and even blush... Best intro I ever had the fortune of reading... You Is Da Man.
I hope all is well with your Dad, and many best wishes to the entire family.

Many Best Regards,
LastHamlet
Last edited by LastHamlet on Tue Jul 19, 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Purperen » Tue Jul 19, 1:51 pm

A thoroughly engrossing read. I really liked that you got the staff at the engravers interested in Amsterdam, i have the same trouble when i try to explain about the city to other people. Most people have just got the image of a gigantic stag party in their head, i always try to give them a different view of Amsterdam.
I can't wait for your next installment.

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Postby d3kings » Wed Jul 20, 12:26 am

Excelent beginning to your report Banks.

d3kings

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Postby dannymac » Wed Jul 20, 8:36 am

Nice in depth intro Banks.
It's all the more amazing that we got the awards together, besides your Dad's health (glad to hear he's doing better, btw), two other members of the committee had deaths in the family during those days also.
Not to mention some difficulties with a certain someone across the pond (and it's just as well you didn't mention them, no need to "bite the hand that feeds us"). LOL
Can hardly wait for the real 'meat and potatoes' to follow!

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Postby seouleast » Thu Jul 21, 6:45 am

Good read Banks.....

Hope dad is ok and all is well in your corner of the world.

Peace-
seouleast

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Postby Mrs.Jinks420 » Thu Jul 21, 6:33 pm

What an excellent report, I could almost see it! Can hardly wait for the next part.
I know exactly how you felt having to explain about Amsterdam, I've been doing the same all week. I'm back off again on Sunday.

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Postby Banks » Tue Jan 10, 7:33 pm

Back to the Future...

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Postby felix » Tue Jan 10, 8:57 pm

As you know, I am so glad everything worked out that you were able to be my tour guide for that first LONNNNNG day of mine. It made my trip that much more enjoyable. Even though I obviously could NEVER keep up w/ you true "vets", I had a BLAST and thats why Im going to be back this year!

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Postby alpha » Sun Aug 03, 6:18 am

So Banks, is their a 20th anniversary party next year, or not? Btw, that is a great start on your trip report then=)

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Postby moe. » Sun Aug 03, 7:37 pm

That was a helluva trip. So many Channelites everywhere you went.

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Postby Banks » Tue Aug 05, 1:15 am

Yeah, that was indeed a lot of fun times... the trophy for Best Coffeeshop is still on a shelf behind the bar at Amnesia... hard to think it will be 10 years already...
I imagine Birdman still has the stuff for shirts... I can ring up the engraver of those terrific Dutch Orange Zippo lighters... Bas can get the white dinner jacket back in shape... well, you never know... it could happen... :)

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Postby chichi123 » Tue Aug 05, 2:12 am

Still wear my t-shirt. Key chain in desk drawer. Mugs times 2. Memories priceless.

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Postby boneymaroni » Tue Aug 05, 2:35 am

It was epic...

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Postby alpha » Tue Aug 05, 4:46 am

Banks wrote:Yeah, that was indeed a lot of fun times... the trophy for Best Coffeeshop is still on a shelf behind the bar at Amnesia... hard to think it will be 10 years already...
I imagine Birdman still has the stuff for shirts... I can ring up the engraver of those terrific Dutch Orange Zippo lighters... Bas can get the white dinner jacket back in shape... well, you never know... it could happen... :)


boneymaroni wrote:It was epic...


It sounded beyond epic in chapters one, two and three, of Banks' trip report, so it makes me wonder is this too early to plan another one next spring? Perhaps bas could awake from his slumber long enough to entertain this idea, iff'n it ever generates a little steam.

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Postby Dazzler » Tue Aug 05, 8:30 am

Cracking idea. It could be a combined anniversary and funeral. We could all watch entranced as Shezz put on his doley-racist regalia, downed 20 cans of cheap lager and humped Channels' twitching corpse.
Last edited by Dazzler on Tue Aug 05, 8:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby chigusa » Tue Aug 05, 8:48 am

i'll come. it needs to be more toward the summer though.
and it's a lot easier for us decent english gentlemen to just pop over as and when so if anything does get organised i'm happy to fit in with whatever is easiest for people coming a long way.

I would like to see this happen but can't imagine bas going to any trouble or even wanting to be involved.

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Postby Mokum Dream » Tue Aug 05, 10:24 am

Dazzler wrote:Cracking idea. It could be a combined anniversary and funeral. We could all watch entranced as Shezz put on his doley-racist regalia, downed 20 cans of cheap lager and humped Channels' twitching corpse.


Yeah, and then we can watch and laugh as you whitey out after 2 Amsterdammertjes and a puff on an Orange Bud spliff...

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Postby Dazzler » Tue Aug 05, 10:25 am

Mokum Dream wrote:
Dazzler wrote:Cracking idea. It could be a combined anniversary and funeral. We could all watch entranced as Shezz put on his doley-racist regalia, downed 20 cans of cheap lager and humped Channels' twitching corpse.


Yeah, and then we can watch and laugh as you whitey out after 2 Amsterdammertjes and a puff on an Orange Bud spliff...


I don't smoke weed, Shezz.

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Postby Banks » Tue Aug 05, 10:35 am

Dazzler wrote:Cracking idea. It could be a combined anniversary and funeral. We could all watch entranced as Shezz put on his doley-racist regalia, downed 20 cans of cheap lager and humped Channels' twitching corpse.

I realize you are more than a bit obsessed with Shezzby, but you don't need to bring him into every thread you know...

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Postby Dazzler » Tue Aug 05, 11:24 am

Banks wrote:
Dazzler wrote:Cracking idea. It could be a combined anniversary and funeral. We could all watch entranced as Shezz put on his doley-racist regalia, downed 20 cans of cheap lager and humped Channels' twitching corpse.

I realize you are more than a bit obsessed with Shezzby, but you don't need to bring him into every thread you know...


He's most of the reason no-one comes here any more.

Mokum Dream

Postby Mokum Dream » Tue Aug 05, 11:47 am

Dazzler, when I was in exile I'd check channels occasionally. It would go days and weeks sometimes between posts. I was brought back by a long serving member to try to liven things up and counter all the lies and bullshit you were posting in the politics forum. The reason why channels is slow is because of yours, and a few other's, caustic attitude to anyone that doesn't conform to your ridiculous neo-liberal 'progressive' World view. You flame and drive people away. YOU are the main culprit alongside muckypup who drove all the women away.

Your sort have ruined this forum. I remember when you had a hiatus whilst cruising the dark holes of Asia. Channels was never better; no arguing, no flaming and no trolling, we were mostly friends and had a good laugh. Then you returned and it all went to shit.

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Postby Dazzler » Tue Aug 05, 11:51 am

Mokum Dream wrote:I was brought back by a long serving member to try to liven things up and counter all the lies and bullshit you were posting in the politics forum.


You were brought back, Shezz, because you're a fucking clown.

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Postby Red Pleb » Tue Aug 05, 11:54 am

If able , I'd be happy to pop over for a Channels bash . The likelihood of this happening does seem somewhat remote though , unless some positive soul is willing to do some spade work and get the idea up and running . Disappointingly , I don't think the Dutch are willing to let Shezzby back in ...for reasons I don't recall .

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Postby Mokum Dream » Tue Aug 05, 12:07 pm

Red Pleb wrote: I don't think the Dutch are willing to let Shezzby back in ...for reasons I don't recall .


It's not that they won't let me in, ik ben geen ongewenste vreemdeling, they want 2000 euro's from me or that I serve 40 days in prison for a crime I didn't commit. I could quite easily sneak in through a land border but you can guarantee at a channels meet-up some cunt would alert the Politie...

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Postby Dazzler » Tue Aug 05, 12:08 pm

Mokum Dream wrote:
Red Pleb wrote: I don't think the Dutch are willing to let Shezzby back in ...for reasons I don't recall .


It's not that they won't let me in, ik ben geen ongewenste vreemdeling, they want 2000 euro's from me or that I serve 40 days in prison for a crime I didn't commit. I could quite easily sneak in through a land border but you can guarantee at a channels meet-up some cunt would alert the Politie...


Or maybe you could hire...


...THE A TEAM.

Seriously, Shezz. Who the fuck is going to call the police? And why are they going to care, unless you're carrying a weapon, which I strongly suspect you will be.

Mokum Dream

Postby Mokum Dream » Tue Aug 05, 12:14 pm

Dazzler wrote:
Or maybe you could hire...


...THE A TEAM.


Yeah, you can be Murdoch...

Seriously, Shezz. Who the fuck is going to call the police? And why are they going to care, unless you're carrying a weapon, which I strongly suspect you will be.


I've never carried a weapon in my life Dazzler...

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Postby Banks » Tue Aug 05, 1:20 pm

Dazzler wrote:
Banks wrote:
Dazzler wrote:Cracking idea. It could be a combined anniversary and funeral. We could all watch entranced as Shezz put on his doley-racist regalia, downed 20 cans of cheap lager and humped Channels' twitching corpse.

I realize you are more than a bit obsessed with Shezzby, but you don't need to bring him into every thread you know...


He's most of the reason no-one comes here any more.

Which is a perfect reason not to bring him into anything.

Mokum Dream

Postby Mokum Dream » Tue Aug 05, 1:27 pm

Banks wrote:

Which is a perfect reason not to bring him into anything.


Says the dullest of the dull...


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