The Day I Nearly Met Andrey Arshavin…

Way back in 2004, when I was living on the edge of St. Petersburg, the humdrum of the Sunday trip to the local supermarket was broken by a tannoy announcement that local boy and Zenit forward Andrey Arshavin would be visiting the store later that afternoon to sign autographs. He was quite a big name in the city by then, and, being a fan myself (his name was the password for my work email account), I quickly took my shopping home and hurried back to the supermarket.

When I returned an hour later, I was greeted at the door by a scrum of around 100 thirteen-year-old boys, none of whom seemed to have much idea about queuing nicely to meet their hero. Despite being a good deal bigger than most of them, fifteen minutes later I found that I was no nearer to Arshavin – I might have even been further away. My spirits were further dampened by, in the distance, the permanent look of gloom on Andrey’s face – as a fashion design graduate, perhaps the supermarket’s utilitarian surroundings offered little inspiration – and I finally gave up when a man with a megaphone warned us all to simply take out autographs and leave once we got to the front, and not to try and attempt to speak to the great man.

Now that he has moved to Arsenal, I am regretting giving up so easily; judging by current eBay prices, I could have fetched myself a tidy £4.99 for his autograph. To add insult to injury, I tried to shoehorn the incident into “Russia, The Man and Jonathan David”, only for it to be removed at first draft stage by an editor for ‘going way off point’. Nobody has known about the day I nearly met Arshavin until now…

Luckily, it hasn’t affected the sales of the book too much. And spookily, the main character of the book, Jonathan David, was also at the supermarket that day. Read his blog to see how he got on…the link’s on the right at the top of the page.

Top track to download off the Internet for this week…Infiltrate 202 by Altern8…a happy, positive rave tune from the early nineties. Close your eyes for five minutes, relax and listen; when you open them again, you’ll feel like you’re in a happier place than when you started…

(An edited version of this blog also appeared in WSC ‘Howl’)


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