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      30.04.2001 20:23
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      Ah... Nelson Mandela. The very name brings to mind crazy shirts, charity pop songs & long walks to freedom. Monday 30th April 2001. Write that date down in your diary - coz it's The Day I Met Nelson Mandela... The place? Leeds City Centre. Millennium square to be exact, and I like to be. There were lots of people. And some more people. Some even carried smaller people in their arms. Lots of police, stopping people from getting too close to the action. One big stage. Two big TV screens. An atmosphere you could cut with a melon. It was all happening, and I was there to witness the whole thing. We waited. Jon Snow came on (he reads the news). Lucas Radebae from Leeds United came on (He grew up with Nelson Mandela when they were both small children). And then, just when it looked like it was all going to be one big cruel HOAX of a joke... from out of the shadows he came!!! And there he was - larger than life (Well, actually he's nowhere near as big in real life as he seems. I'd say he was about 2 or 3 inches, from where I was standing). He waved his arms. He danced a little jig. He smiled and sang. He said some words. People cheered, took photos, wept and danced for joy. I had to fight back my emotions with a large stick. I pushed my way to the front and stuck out my hand. Our eyes met, and he saw my struggle. He immediately reached out and pulled me up out of the crowd and onto the stage. Everyone went mental and I think it was around that time I passed out. I woke up backstage with the St.John's ambulance crew fussing over me. But it was all over... Nelson had left the building :-( Still, I've got my memories. Ah, Nelson Mandela. What a man. What a day...

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        10.08.2000 17:13
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        That time of year is comeing round again (I wrote this in August). The time when loads of German lager is brought to the waste ground opposite Hyde Park for one of the biggest drunken parties in Leeds. Thats right, its Oktoberfest again. Having only just recovered from the one back in 1998 Im looking forward to this again. The venue is a large marquee. The price, well back in '98 it cost 15 quid a ticket. For that you get entry to the venue. The beer is served in litre 'stein' glasses and is very reasonably priced, which isnt what you expect when they have a captive audience who have payed 15 notes to get in. The layout consists of long wooden tables with benches down either side. You dont even have to get up to get your beer, the women serving (all dressed in traditional outfits, very nice!). If just getting very drunk amongst friends isnt fun enough there is a live stage show. This can be anything from what the organisers planned to your very drunk mate trying to do Ali G impressions. At the last one I was at there was a Spice Girls tribute band. But dont let that put you off, it really is a great evening out. Patch.

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