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I was a Junior Gunner from the age of eight right up to 19. I have no idea why I was able to claim my child membership at 19 but at £15 a ticket I wasn't going to complain. To get into a fan pub on match day you need to show your ticket or membership card. Mine had a giant cartoon of Gunnersaurus on the front which either got a laugh or a request for ID.

My formal education in the pubs of N4 & 5 was based on a tradition built out of necessity. Win - get pissed, lose - get really pissed. One of my first serious exposures to this was on a school night. As in - I literally had school in the morning. We lost in the Champions League semi finals and I remember needing to lose my school dinner with an uninhibited yawn on the train home. Murmurs of "Jake don't look good" followed by cries of "Hold it Zammo!" And to my credit, hold it I did. Right until the train stopped and I projectiled through the gap of the opening train doors. Miraculously over & between the shoulders of the two lucky bastards waiting on Harow's platform 2. Cries of "ergh.. not in the doorway" followed by murmurs of "At least he held it!"

I told my form tutor first thing in the morning that I was sick but he sighed and said with his hand on forehead "I knew what I was getting into when I joined this school but I refuse to send a hungover child to the office." I wasn't sure how he knew until in my last class of the day. Tom P. was sat next to me in English and asked if I had an open Carlsberg in my blazer pocket. I looked back with a raised eyebrow. "I can smell it" he whispered.

We were asked to write how we were feeling on the white board. One by one we would walk to the front of the class, add our word next to the speech bubble which read "I am feeling..." and then describe this feeling to the class. I did ask but apparently "hungover isn't a feeling" and thought of something else. As soon as I wrote mine half the class burst into laughter, our teacher especially. "I am feeling... confused." Their laughter only compounded the issue. "I was never confused" is a defence against homosexuality made famous by Al Murray. I think it never caught on in our house as my homosexual brother was never confused about his own sexuality. I'm fairly sure his first words were "Darling, please." We were given the unique homework assignment of watching Al Murray's Happy Hour on Saturday night. They asked what I had been watching instead "Dale Winton's Hole in the Wall" I said innocently. Which did nothing to progress the conversation.

I never asked why because I was a child but a few years earlier, for about a month, we started drinking with Gus the Binman. Y'know, from Eastenders. For some reason he kept insisting we call him Mo. Our new friend wanted to see where The Herd drank, which was certainly not a pub for children. "You'll be alright" he said "You're with me." After showing my Gunnersaurus card the bouncer said I was too young (I was absolutely too young and shouts of "he's only had a couple" didn't help). Mo stepped up to save the day. "C'mon bruv, he's with me.. Do you know who I am?" The Bouncer had heard it all before, usually from some former hooligan and stares blankly back. Various versions of "Do you know who I am?" I sold Paul Merson his chang. Or I dog-sit David Dein's poodle. Or I'm Emmanuel Frimpong. At least "I'm in Eastenders" was original and to the bouncers great credit he instantly replied "Pat Butcher?" "Err, nah. I play Gus." In an unfortunate bit of timing some lads from over the road clocked him and started chanting "Binman, Binman, binman!" at Mo and he had to look back up to the bouncer and say "Gus the binman." From the bouncers perspective this now seemed completely made up. "Nah, honestly mate, they're shouting binman because I play a binman on tv" but it was too late.

To see us through Wenger's final decade in charge we developed a mantra / "positive" affirmation to keep us in attendance 'Win or Lose - Fuse'. Fuse being a day rave held most Sundays on brick lane. But what if our game was on Saturday? Great, two day bender. After a couple years the same venue, 93 Feet East, would start holding a Saturday party but this soon became an over 21s to avoid shufflin' - a 2010's epidemic. Shuffling began on the high street bars of Essex but thanks to the burgeoning presence of social media, it had begun an unwelcome invasion into the underground club scene starting with East London. I looked young for my age and I was quite often the youngest in these clubs by five years. As the Essex & Shoreditch clobber had grown indistinguishable, there were really only two ways to spot a shuffler. Age and skin colour... orange. There's a long and ugly history of not letting people into clubs because of the colour of their skin, so unfortunately for me they adopted ageism instead.

I am not exaggerating about this No Shuffling business. There were 'No Shuffling' signs up in every club. Bouncers would take one look at me, pull me to one side and say "Oi mate, no shufflin' yeah...?" or they'd ask "Are those shufflin' trainers geezer? they look like shufflin' trainers" and give me a deep stare like he just discovered the pills hidden in my back pocket (not a euphemism). I shit you not a Russian(ish) bouncer once checked my ID and asked his cockney colleague if Watford was in Essex to which he responded "Basically." I once witnessed Teresa (the infamous clipboard hag of Brick Lane) asking people to dance for her before she would let them in. Footnote: I haven't described exactly what shuffling is for the same reason Jacinda Ardern refused to reveal the identity of the shooter of the Christchurch massacre - notoriety.

When 93 Feet East announced that it would be no longer letting in under 21s I had fucking had it. In what was probably the first time I had written anything outside of education since my letter to Gunnersaurus, I sent an email to the club.

Dear lovely people,

I received your notification that U21s will no longer be allowed into your club as there has been a noticeable increase in shuffling, phone use and general wideboy behaviour. The general consensus seems to be that these people don't care about the music and are fast turning the underground scene into TOWIE propaganda. I do not disagree.

However, I take great offence at your ban as it implies that I'm one of these cunts. As a regular I feel connected to this club, the music & the scene. But if your ban includes punters like myself then frankly I think you're doing something very wrong. House should be inclusive, not exclusive. I understand that something needed to be done but this is not the way.

Please reconsider.

Much love, Jake Salvietto, 19 & 1/2.

They responded:

Dear Kind Jake

Go fuck yourself. U21s will be the death of civilisation. Nobody is entitled to a rave that has just been raided for illegal drug use you woke spastic - only joking! Here's what they really sent: Hey Jake!

Thank you for reaching out. I can't wait to share this with the rest of the team. The fact that you took the time to write to us has made my day. People like yourself will always be welcome. You will of course be allowed in next time you show up. I've put you down on my personal guest list moving forward.

See you on the floor.

Cheers, Jamie

I was more excited at being on the free guest list to an already free party than I was when I first met Gunnersaurus Rex. I know you're dying to know what I wrote to him all those years earlier. Well, actually it was only a year earlier as I suffer from being inversely precocious. There was a Junior Gunners competition to name Gunnersaurus's boots. I'm fairly sure I didn't win the comp because it was aimed at actual children but to this day it saddens me that his boots aren't donned Gunnerscorers. It would remain the greatest injustice of the club (valued at 1.5 billion) until they made the man behind the mascot - Jerry Quy - redundant after 27 years of service. The first 14 years of which on a volunteer basis.

A message to The Arsenal,

Please right this wrong you soulless bastards. You have a responsibility to the fans and the community you serve. You are not a business or a company. Jerry was not your sacrifice to make. When he hangs up his medallion, it should be on his own terms and with a formal offer of Charity Ambassador or Board Member. The blind ignorance of this decision is baffling. And your unwillingness to not acknowledge this as a mistake shows a lack of class and is far from evocative of clubs values. We want our Jerry back.

Suck my dick,

Jake, 30 & 1/2


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