STREAKS & PUBLICITY
Rugby World Cup Final, Cardiff (1999)
I'd never 'done' a World Cup Final before and so decided to go where else but the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales to do one!
A good friend of mine (who I will call Bottle Top, for security reasons) was working at the Millennium Stadium at the time and arranged to meet me outside a few hours before kick-off to help me get in, as I didn't have a ticket.
"Right! That's enough! We're taking you to meet BIG AL !!!!"
When I arrived, I rang him from a call- box outside the gates. He told me that he could see me and was waving at me from inside the stadium. I couldn't see him but waved anyway, so he waved back, and I waved back, then he waved again, so I waved again and then a plane crashed!
Bottle Top then came out and handed me a jumper and baseball cap to put on, so I could pretend that I worked behind one of the bars inside. I put them on and proceeded to walk past the heavy police and security presence in front of the stadium. The work clothes 'worked' and after walking through the staff entrance, I was in.
As we walked around the stadium, Bottle Top pointed out places that would be good to jump on from, such as the floodlights or off the top of Tony Blair's head, who was to attend the game with the Queen and the President of France. We then went to one of the bars, where I was led through to the Barrel room at the back. This was to be my hiding place during the first half, as anyone walking around the stadium during play were to be asked to produce their ticket and I didn't want to risk walking around in my work clothes in case one of the bosses questioned me about where I worked.
After a brief chat, Bottle Top had to go back to work and arranged to meet me later to write the slogan I was to have across my back. This time it was to be ''100% BRITISH BEEF'' as there was a dispute going on at the time between the French and the Brits over exported beef due to mad cow disease (I thought only women caught that?) ,and the French were in the final against Australia.
After sitting around for a while, I got bored and decided to go for a walk to soak up a bit of the atmosphere, wearing my coat over my work jumper so as not to bring any unwanted attention to myself. Whenever I wanted to go into another area that required a certain pass, I took my coat off and walked through as a member of staff, then put my coat back on again, it was great!
When the time came to meet up with Bottle Top again, just before kick-off, I headed back to the bar and found £20 on the way, which I spent on half a pineapple and leather uppers for my flip-flops. Once in the Barrel room, my mate started to write the slogan across my back. As he did, two security guards walked in and, without asking us what we were up to, just stared at each other in bewilderment, then walked out! After having such a close call, Bottle Top went back to work, leaving me to keep out of sight in the back.
When the first half came to an end, I left my hiding place and headed to the vantage point I had chosen earlier, which was by the commentary area at the half-way line. I had planned, as usual, to jump on just before kick-off in the second half and my objective was to score a try.
The reason I usually choose this part of the game is, as you may have read from my other streaking stories, because you don't interrupt play and have a better chance of achieving your 'goal'.
When I got there, I was stunned to see two stewards stood at the top of the steps, checking peoples tickets as they passed. For a second I thought that I wouldn't be able to get down to the pitch, but then I had a brain storm. I bought three boiling hot cups of tea and left the lids off. I then picked the three cups up, making it look as though I was having more trouble carrying them than I actually was, and walked to the steps.
When one of the stewards asked me for my ticket I told him that it was in my pocket, and motioned for him to to get it, struggling with the tea all the time.
On seeing the difficulty I was having, the steward let me through without having to produce anything. Phase one complete now, all I had to do now was to get through the stewards at the bottom. I got to the second row and went to walk along it, when I was asked to show my ticket again. Again I did the "I'm having trouble with my tea routine" and was let through. Phase two complete, now the rest should just be a formality!
It was five minutes before kick-off and I sat in an empty seat in the middle of the row, feeling a sense of achievement getting this far. As I was waiting to go on, the guy who's seat I was in came back. I asked him if it was alright to stay there until I saw the teams come out, in a botched French accent, as they were my heroes, then I would return to my seat. He accepted this, so I gave him a cup of tea.
As the teams came out and the ball was placed on the centre spot, I took my trainers and socks off. On seeing this, the guy next to me asked me what I was doing, as it was freezing! I replied "Do you think so? Watch this then!" and took my t-shirt off. I then jumped over the seat in front, over the advertising boarding and onto the pitch. As I landed, I ripped off my trousers and set off on my quest to score a try in a World Cup Final.
I got half way to the ball and heard the packed stadium cheer, but forgot the most important rule in streaking - always look behind you! As I ran, a human gorilla from the streaker squad rugby tackled me from behind and sat on me, telling me not to move. Was he kiddin' me? No matter how many Weetabix I ate that morning, it wasn't enough to move a ton of bricks off my back! As I had a chat with an earthworm which popped up to see what the commotion was, I noticed two more members of the 'tackle squad' running towards me, one carrying a blanket, and as I was pulled up I asked if he had a pillow to go with it as I was feeling a bit tired. Not enjoying my humour, they wrapped the blanket around me and marched me off to the waiting police. As I was being escorted up the steps, an Aussie guy shouted to me "What country are you from mate?" To which I replied "Pakistan!" As he pondered on my answer, I was led, naked, to a stairwell inside the ground, handed my clothes and told to get dressed. As I did, one of the policemen recognized me and struck up a friendly conversation. He told me that somebody else had tried to streak a couple of days previous, but had only got one leg over the boarding before he was pounced on by 'the squad'. He broke his shoulder in the process and was taken to hospital, where he was later arrested. At least I got on and was unscathed, apart from a couple of skid marks down my back.
Court let off is good nudes for Mark !
I was then taken to the charge room, where I had a laugh with the other
coppers. Two of them even had their photo taken with their arms around me. They
love it in Cardiff as well! From there we went to the police station where I was
to be formerly charged and interviewed. During the taped interviews, I usually
have a laugh with the interviewing officer, but this time I was confronted with
a policewoman who had either got out of the wrong side of bed that morning or
'wasn't getting any'. During the interview she asked me if I knew that Royalty
and heads of state were in the audience. When I told her that I did, she started
to make a big deal out of it as though it was a capital offence. I stated that
"no matter who they were, they still must have a sense of humour, unlike
you!". After the interview had finished, I was charged with three
offences......1-"Indecent Exposure", 2-"Outraging Public Decency"
and 3-"Public Nuisance". Someone's got a sense of humour anyway! I
told them that I was going to plead 'not guilty' to all charges, knowing that I
would have the last laugh.
When I first started streaking, I pleaded 'guilty' all the time, thinking that you had no choice. So I started looking into the wording of the charges and found that none of them related to streaking. "Indecent Exposure" relates to lewd conduct and therefore has nothing to do with streaking; this always gets thrown out. "Outraging Public Decency" and "Public Nuisance" speak for themselves and, again, have nothing to do with streaking.
As far as I'm concerned, no law has been written specifically with streakers
in mind. One will probably be written after this though! The only charge that
you can't beat is "Encroachment onto a playing area". This means that
if you run onto a pitch, and only a pitch, clothed or unclothed, you are
trespassing and therefore guilty.
After I returned home, I decided that rather than have my own solicitor go all the way to Cardiff for the hearings, it usually takes two or three for a trial, I would use the duty solicitor at the courts instead.
When I went back to make a plea, I told him that I was pleading 'not guilty' to all charges, which surprised him. I explained about the wording of the charges and he agreed.
The first charge was dropped as usual and I was bailed to appear for my
pre-trial hearing. The prosecutor asked that part of my bail condition was to
prohibit me from going near any public function that consisted of fifty people
or more. Now he's having a laugh! Did that mean that I couldn't go to the
cinema, or play bingo or even go to a garden party? My brief argued that this
was ridiculous and the magistrate agreed, restricting me from sporting stadiums
instead. I accepted this and went home.
When I went back for my pre-trial hearing, the prosecutor must have been reading up on the charges and decided to drop the two remaining in exchange for the charge of "Causing harassment and distress to members of the public". That was fine by me, because I'm pleading 'not guilty' to that one as well!
The last time I was charged with this was after doing the Grand National. I pleaded 'not guilty' then and the case was thrown out after I explained that I was out to do the opposite of what I was charged with.
As I waited for my trial to come up, a streaker ran across the course at the Epsom Derby, watched by a laughing Queen and Queen Mum. A picture of them was printed in the national press, proving my point that even Royalty have a sense of humour!
Not long after this, I received a letter from the CPS in Cardiff stating that all charges against me had been dropped and did not have to return to court.
I REST MY CASE !!!
You can also read about my streak from the South Wales
Echo Newspaper report.