February 03, 2007

Nicholas Stoodley - Living in the Twilight Zone Chapter 6

Tune in every Saturday as Nicholas recalls the Disco Decade in Manila when Martial Law, Cuban heels, Donna Summer, Coco Banana and a lot of hair combined in a frenzy of uncertain excitement.

Chapter 6 - Basketball Fever Part One

In 1980 it was decided that what the brand "Nicholas Stoodley" needed a bit of spectacular publicity and hence there emerged from Los Angeles the Nicholas Stoodley Basketball team which, according to the meeting in question, would arrive in Manila, play in the PBA 2nd conference at the Araneta Coliseum and, hopefully, slaughter the opposition and make the brand into a countrywide phenomena!

The players were assembled from NBA hopefuls who were hanging around hoping to be picked for a team later in the year or they'd end up serving burgers in McDo. The chance to play in Manila (wherever in the world that may have been) sounded like fun – a free trip, pocket money and hey... isn't Manila famous for R & R? A place the American troops went wild in whenever they escaped from the Vietnam War!

The first practice session they had upon arriving in the country was actually the first time they had actually played together as a team – they didn't even remember each other's names... and it wasn't as though they were going to play second string teams in Manila either; apart from the Addidas team from France, local teams like Toyota ruled and under the 2nd conference rules they were allowed to field imported players! I was doomed. We would be routed and I'd be a laughing stock allover Manila; my name emblazoned across every players chest on National TV. That first practice was enough to convince me that my initial instincts were correct: Yes winning the championship would be great publicity but LOSING with a ham-fisted team of uncoordinated players who seemed more interested in local girls than playing…well there goes my marketing genius!

The first game loomed. It was humid. And HOT. They had jetlag and LBM. They still couldn't remember each other's names. And then there was me. I WAS Nicholas Stoodley and I knew nothing about basketball at all... never played the game. What an idiotic idea. I sat just behind the players and could feel the tension vibrating inside me as we crashed to a humiliating defeat which the newspapers described in relish the following morning lest you missed it on TV live! The second game came and went in the same manner. We were slaughtered. A meeting was held and it was decided that me sitting behind the players on the court was bad luck so to improve our chances I was sent up to the cheap seats and placed among a group of rabid Toyota supporters.

Totally dejected I decided that what was needed was a party at my house before the third game and consequently, under a full moon a team of almost naked black basketball players cavorted drunk in my swimming pool to disco music and a little too much fun! The following morning the maid found a scene of carnage before her horrified eyes: a body behind the sofa, possibly dead, two more on the patio. Vomit here and there. The other maid was discovered in a condition that is best not described in detail and the phone was ringing off the hook! Where were the players? Didn't I realize there was an important practice? Do I know what will happen if we lose the next game. Was I INSANE?

Previously: Chapter 5 - An Alien Culture

Start from the beginning! Read: Chapter 1 - An English Virgin

Nicholas Stoodley was born near London and has lived at one time or another in the South of France, Rome, Sydney, Tagaytay, England, Paris and Manila with plans to move to Ibiza shortly. A former assistant to Valentino in Rome, he arrived in Manila in 1976 and pioneered Ready to Wear in the Philippines with the NICHOLAS STOODLEY brand of casual clothing. During his stay in the Philippines Nicholas also won the PBA Invitational Basketball Conference in 1980 with his team from Los Angeles, designed and manufactured a Stainless Steel Sports Utility Jeep that was featured in the Frankfurt Motor Show and opened "Skatetown", a Roller Disco with Jorge Araneta in Cubao. And that was just the first course!

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Anonymous said...

oh my god! parang sine ito! ang galing ng istorya. i can just imagine the look on the maid's face. LOL! i love nostalgia manila talaga.

dayuhangkayumanggi said...

Being a Londoner, he would've doen a big favor if he brought in a honest-to-goodness EPL football team.

A iyan, napadala si Stoodley sa pagiging basketball-crazy ng mga Pinoy.

But then again, thanks for Skatetown and its wonderful memories...sayang, I was witness to how Skatetown became
"Breaktown" dahil dumami mga tambay roon mga b-boys noon, kumpleto pa sa boombox.

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