Archive for the ‘Booze’ Tag

The Man At The End Of The Bar (love hurts)

He’s of indeterminate age.  He resides in every pub and bar in the land.  An everyman with a pint glass.  He doesn’t appear to have any friends… unless they’ve all used the excuse of going to the toilet.  He’s a self-regarding oasis in an ocean of anomie.  This man is an island… He’s most definitely not a peninsula.  If he were the butterfly wings of chaos Sinking a pinttheory then heaven help what’s happening on the other side of the world.  If there really is six degrees of separation to Kevin Bacon – then he’s number seven.  If all famous rock bands have an unlucky early member who leaves prior to them making it big – then it wasn’t him.  If he had a makeover no-one would notice – because no-one would remember what he originally looked like.  His sole purpose in life is to make comment on conversations he isn’t involved in; to people he doesn’t know; while delivering his wisdom to an audience of none.  He offers his opinions regardless.  Without thought.  Or fear.  Or favour.  Or reason.  His only obvious social skill is setting a tumbleweed of indifference adrift among a desert of silent disbelieving looks.  Who said that?!

The Man at the end of the bar

EmptyPintGlass

“You’re quiet tonight…”

“………”

“I said you’re quiet tonight…”

“………”

“Let me guess… women?”

“How’d you know?!”

“It’s about the only thing that keeps you quiet.”

“She says I’ve really upset her Dave…”

“How come?”

“She says I’ve alienated her…”

“Yeh?”

“I told her that’s just bloody ridiculous – the new X-Files is only six episodes long and I didn’t watch ’em all at once!”

“Right…”

“Looks like she’s gonna leave me; just like all the rest…”

“Hmmm…”

“I’m just devastated Dave…”

“Yeh…”

“Do you think she still cares?”

“Remember… they do say; you always hurt the one you love…”

“Yeh… you could be right…”

“Either that; or you always love the ones who hurt you…”

“I spose so…”

“Or was it… you always love the ones who love to hurt you?”

“So ya think she still loves me then Dave?”

“Mind you; it could have been you always love the hurt from love and that’s why you love the ones who love to hurt you?”

“Er…. just put another one in there will you Dave?”

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The Man At The End Of The Bar (ukip)

He’s of indeterminate age.  He resides in every pub and bar in the land.  An everyman with a pint glass.  He doesn’t appear to have any friends… unless they’ve all used the excuse of going to the toilet.  He’s a self-regarding oasis in an ocean of anomie.  This man is an island… He’s most definitely not a peninsula.  If he were the butterfly wings of chaos Sinking a pinttheory then heaven help what’s happening on the other side of the world.  If there really is six degrees of separation to Kevin Bacon – then he’s number seven.  If all famous rock bands have an unlucky early member who leaves prior to them making it big – then it wasn’t him.  If he had a makeover no-one would notice – because no-one would remember what he originally looked like.  His sole purpose in life is to make comment on conversations he isn’t involved in; to people he doesn’t know; while delivering his wisdom to an audience of none.  He offers his opinions regardless.  Without thought.  Or fear.  Or favour.  Or reason.  His only obvious social skill is setting a tumbleweed of indifference adrift among a desert of silent disbelieving looks.  Who said that?!

The Man at the end of the bar

EmptyPintGlass

“UKIP?  Always sounds like a cure for insomnia to me… Get new UKIP from JML!  Available at all good retailers – and Robert Dyas… believe me you don’t want to know.

 

“Why should I like Nigel Farage?!  Just because I enjoy a pint?!  I’m not a racist: I’m a people person me – years ago I’d have been described as the salt of the earth.  What do you mean you’ve never heard of that expression?  Anyway, Nigel was always the uppity kid on the school bus; I remember he was always travel sick… wouldn’t sit next to the girls, fat John with the perspiration problem – or the kids with turbans.  Hmmmph… they were the only ones who’d sit next to me…

 

“I don’t care if they do well in the European elections… Why?!  I’ll tell you why… Because old Nigel has poked a stick under a stone deep into the dark underbelly of the English persona and stirred up a hornet’s nest – that’s why.  There’s nuthin’ worse than someone rummagin’ around in your psyche… we don’t like it: we don’t want to be poked or put on the spot; we want a peaceful life; we want to get on with our neighbours – quid pro quo and all that… we like to leave our backdoors open so to speak: we prefer to leave politics to those who enjoy all that backstabbin’ stuff.  They smile in yer face but all the time they want to take yer place… Who?!  The backstabbers!

 

“Me… apathetic?!  No way!  I just can’t be bothered – that’s all… I still have my role to play.  I’m the man on the Clapham omnibus; I’m the litmus test; I’m the man in the street… well obviously that’s metaphorical you knob!  I’m the political barometer: I’ve been known to swing both ways accordin’ to Peter Snow…

 

“Let’s cut to the chase… If he pronounced his name as his mother intended – Nigel Far-idge – and not Nigel bloody Far-aaahge then believe you me we wouldn’t be havin’ this conversation… Put another one in there will you Dave?”

 

 

The Man At The End Of The Bar (christmas)

He’s of indeterminate age.  He resides in every pub and bar in the land.  An everyman with a pint glass.  He doesn’t appear to have any friends… unless they’ve all used the excuse of going to the toilet.  He’s a self-regarding oasis in an ocean of anomie.  This man is an island… He’s most definitely not a peninsula.  If he were the butterfly wings of chaos Sinking a pinttheory then heaven help what’s happening on the other side of the world.  If there really is six degrees of separation to Kevin Bacon – then he’s number seven.  If all famous rock bands have an unlucky early member who leaves prior to them making it big – then it wasn’t him.  If he had a makeover no-one would notice – because no-one would remember what he originally looked like.  His sole purpose in life is to make comment on conversations he isn’t involved in; to people he doesn’t know; while delivering his wisdom to an audience of none.  He offers his opinions regardless.  Without thought.  Or fear.  Or favour.  Or reason.  His only obvious social skill is setting a tumbleweed of indifference adrift among a desert of silent disbelieving looks.  Who said that?!

The Man at the end of the bar

EmptyPintGlass

“Eh?!  What do you mean – what have I done?!  What you on about?  I came in here for a quiet drink… not to be disturbed by a bunch of teenagers pokin’ their noses into my business… Huh!

 

“Can’t you do somethin’ about this Dave?  I am a regular… What?!  Christmas – what?!  If they stopped makin’ so much bloody noise I might be able to hear you… Oh… Right… They’re just singin’ John Lennon’s Christmas song.  I knew that… of course I did.   He was a hero of mine.  Yeh, that’s right kids – people used to say I was a lot like him… Plastic Ono Band?  Oh yeh I’ve got the coloured vinyl at home from when it first came out.  What colour?!  You stupid or summat son?  Christmas puddin’ colour of course…

 

“♫And so this is Christmas…

Da-da-da – er… fun…

Da-da-da-da-da-da – and er… y…y…oungggg.

 

Da-da-da-da-da-da…

Da-da-da-da-da…

Er…da-da-da-da-da…

Da-da-da-da… f..e..a..r…

 

War… huh…what is it good for?  Course I know that’s the wrong song!

War… is…. o…ver…

If you er… w..a..n…t it…

Do I want it?  Yeh!  Do you?  Yeh!

 

“Okay… Merry Christmas!  Yeh, you all have a good one!  See ya!  That’s right – solidarity brothers!  And sisters… that’s it keep doin’ it for yourselves…  Bye… bye!  Rock on!  Bye!  That’s it lads keep fightin’ the powers that be… Alright darlin’ there’s no need to get uppity I only wanted a kiss under the mistletoe – alright?!  So much for peace and love!  No I couldn’t be her Grandad!  How old do you think I am?!  Dad?  Well…maybe?  Bye… Merry Christmas!  Bye!

 

Phew… they’ve gone… bunch of student wasters if you ask me.  Never liked that peace shit of Lennon’s anyway… he let a woman take over didn’t he?  Remember what happened at the Duke of Wellington when the landlord’s missus got started doin’ the orderin?  Plastic Ono Band?  Oh No indeed!  I much preferred him when he was a walrus.  Poet of the people.  Better still before he had them glasses and the long sideburns.  Put another one in there will you Dave?”

The Man At The End Of The Bar (god)

He’s of indeterminate age.  He resides in every pub and bar in the land.  An everyman with a pint glass.  He doesn’t appear to have any friends… unless they’ve all used the excuse of going to the toilet.  He’s a self-regarding oasis in an ocean of anomie.  This man is an island… He’s most definitely not a peninsula.  If he were the butterfly wings of chaos Sinking a pinttheory then heaven help what’s happening on the other side of the world.  If there really is six degrees of separation to Kevin Bacon – then he’s number seven.  If all famous rock bands have an unlucky early member who leaves prior to them making it big – then it wasn’t him.  If he had a makeover no-one would notice – because no-one would remember what he originally looked like.  His sole purpose in life is to make comment on conversations he isn’t involved in; to people he doesn’t know; while delivering his wisdom to an audience of none.  He offers his opinions regardless.  Without thought.  Or fear.  Or favour.  Or reason.  His only obvious social skill is setting a tumbleweed of indifference adrift among a desert of silent disbelieving looks.  Who said that?!

The Man at the end of the bar

EmptyPintGlass

“Do I think there’s something bigger than us?  What sort of question is that?!  Of course there is… You’re obviously not from round here… Oi! I say Dave – they’re obviously not from round here.  Haven’t you seen Big Al?  Once seen never forgotten.  Why?!  Because he’s big stupid!  He lives down by the bypass – in that row of old back-to-backs the council want to pull down to build the new Tesco.  He was made redundant a few years ago – then his wife left him for the foreman of a travelling insulation company.  Apparently she really fell for his renewable energy.  Big Al came home from work to find him filling more than just the household cavities.

 

“He’s a bouncer now at that club in town: Bar None.  It’s got more flashing lights than a sales convention for the emergency services.  Mind you – the drink prices are so steep you’d probably need to call 999 for oxygen.  He used to be at Shotz on the high road but he said that was all rivers of vomit, hen nights and shameless young women showin’ their Cheryl Coles.  Not that there’s anything wrong with shameless young women… just that at Bar None he gets a better class of punter to hit.  Big Al’s old school: proper muscles – like granite.  Not tattoos on a blancmange.   I’ve seen him lift a kerbstone in each hand when he was workin’ on the roads.  Me and him are carved from the same stone so to speak.  Moulded in life’s furnace.

 

Yeh… he’s like me.  How?  Well; quiet obviously and doesn’t see the need to flaunt his physique.   As for the rest of these young lads with their protein-puff muscles – you can keep ‘em.  Nuthin’ but trouble… I call ‘em the W(a)hey boys… one stiff breeze would blow them over – the milk sops.  There’s a lot to be said for hard natural muscle…

 

What?!  You mean?  Oh right – you were talkin’ about the Big Man upstairs.  Huh; why didn’t you say?  God eh?  Him.  The omnippertent one.  Me?  How do I see him?  Oh… I guess I see him as a sort of universal landlord – The Big Spirit – only bottle-matured for thousands of years.  He’s not on draft either – you’ve got to sort of seek him out like a good pub.  And when your time comes and he calls last orders either you’ve been a good mixer or otherwise you might get barred.

 

“Am I a believer?  Close to God?  Nah… no…. maybe…. sometimes… once… When?  Well… it’s hard to say really: no I don’t mean that I’m so pissed I can’t say it!  It’s a difficult memory to recall that’s all.  I put it in another place.  Like I always drink beer here but I’ve been known to go for a whisky now and then at The Highwayman on Bridge Road.  Now that I think about it… Sorry – something in my eye… No; that’s alright – I’m okay but you know how it is… Look if you shut up I’ll tell ya…

 

“Ten years ago now it was… But I can still remember the day… the day Mum passed – like it was yesterday.  It was 2003: it had been a good summer for a change.  I’d got sunburnt in the pub garden.  Mum hadn’t been right for a while.  When she coughed it shook her body like a rabbit in a dog’s mouth.  There was blood in her… in her… in her – you know.  The doctors were optimistic at first.  Mum had her faith.  And me.  As the nights crept in during the autumn so did the disease.  The doctors changed their minds.  The days were dark and wet and short – and so was the time they gave her.

 

“She was in the back bedroom that day when He came to call – all wrapped up against the chill by the quilt she had made.  You could see all the colours even though it was semi-dark and stormy out.  Bright they were: so bright – like proper psychedelic; though Mum would have hated the drug reference.  It was the fag end of a really dismal day.  The weather girl on TV had promised a sunnier outlook – but then so had the doctor.  He was there checking her over, talking – in that matter-of-fact way that comes to those who’ve seen it all – to a Macmillan nurse who gave me a sort of resigned but supportive smile.

 

“She hadn’t eaten properly since the weekend.  Just picked at her food.  I remember the rain… it plink-plonked on the windowsill from the broken gutter that I hadn’t got round too.  I always did the odd jobs at Mum’s – she called me her rock.  She was so small it was as if she wasn’t in the bed at all… it was like the quilt had just been tossed aside unmade that morning.

 

“There was a picture of my Gran on the dresser.  It was taken on cousin Jim’s prize Pentax just before she died of cancer aged 94.  My Uncle Peter’s third marriage it was.  Mum said it was a triumph of hope over judgement but she had a good time dancing at the reception to one of her favourites – Dusty Springfield… ‘You don’t have to say you love me just be close at hand’ – kind of sums me and Mum up.  I danced too… only because I was pissed.  It wasn’t just the half light on the picture frame… Gran and Mum looked like twin sisters then.  Mum was only 62.  I knew it was the end.  The doctor shook my hand but couldn’t look me in the face.  His grip was really strong – like big Al – but he had soft hands like a girl.  He went downstairs with the nurse – I knew he had reached the bottom as the last step always creaked from a loose board: that reminded me – it was another job I’d promised to do for Mum.  I heard him leave – the nurse flushed something down the loo then I heard the kettle in the kitchen.

 

“In between fits of coughing and being on the edge of sleep – Mum twisted and mumbled names that were indistinct and talked of memories that I had long forgotten.  Once she fixed me in the way she did when I was young and had a chore to do but hadn’t done it quick enough for her: she showed her displeasure and disappointment at the same time.  She knew… I made her lips wet from the glass on the bedside table – it had been standing too long and had those little air bubbles that cluster like bad news.  Her mouth left a greasy print on the rim.  She struggled for breath but asked me to put on her favourite record.  There hadn’t been music in the house for months… all she had was an old Dansette record player from her youth; disc stacker, record arm; stylus and all.  She was just as thin in her heyday but it was a different thin – healthy… not pallid and sweaty; she was like a wax dummy in a heatwave…

 

“If only I’d known I could have brought my CD player and put on The Matt Monro Collection that I got in the pound shop that I had given her at Chritmas… but I found the Dansette easily in my old room.  I dusted it quickly on the landing and I plugged it in behind the door once I had moved her dressing gown.  Just then – when I put the gown back on the hook behind the door – Evening in Paris filled the air the way it had when I was a kid.  I smiled and… but Mum nearly choked and I was yanked back into that stale air that reeked of decay and departure.  The record was also in my old room – the sleeve was worn nearly beyond recognition.  There was a crackle and a strange electronic squawk as I struggled to put it on the player.

 

“Then all of a sudden the atmosphere changed completely… Mum’s absolute favourite  that I knew word for word – A Portrait Of My Love – infiltrated all the dark recesses accompanied by the gentle percussion of the rain and her old alarm clock which lurched on marking time toward the end.  It was one of those travel pieces that fold up when it wants to but won’t open when you need it.  It’s vinyl cover was as green as Mum was grey and blue.  I hated Matt Monro but in that charmed; blessed; pre… sorry… sorry… pre… precious, wonderful moment as she smiled as fat a smile as she was gaunt and thin I could see her and Dad slow dancing in front of the fireplace in the living room of our old house.

 

“Dad was a bastard: he disappeared when I was ten… He took something from Mum the day he left that she never put back.  He was a waster with everything but his love.  Then it happened… The rain stopped – a thin shaft of light entered through the window.  Hurray for the weather girl!  She was my favourite; always had a very nice line in pencil skirts that helped even the worst forecast.  She used to put on bright red lipstick and talk the Queen’s English with a buttoned-up manner – I often imagined her as a sort of wanton-woman after hours – like Lois Lane… Ahem

 

“The very last point of autumn sun – before it sunk late-afternoon over the back of the park’s conifer trees – illuminated Mum’s poor face and stripped back the years… the rain plink-plonking and the driven clock were silenced and at that moment it was as if a choir of angels droning one celestial note had joined Matt Monro’s final tribute.  I swear it seemed as if a celestial choir was singing Mum home… Her cold bony hand was in mine as I sat leaning across the bed.  She told me she loved me as I stood up and kissed her for a final time.  She told me that I was to take care… then… then a horrible groan come cough, come sigh gurgled from deep in her chest: her eyes were frightened momentarily but then shone brightly with relief and forgiveness and hope and happiness and love and it was like a child on Christmas morning with the biggest present under the tree.

 

“I struggled with what I saw – the light warmer now and brighter than any autumn sun had a right to be pointed like a ribbon to the ceiling; to the stars; infinity, oblivion… and beyond.  She looked so happy – so young – so bright as if everything had lifted from her… Fucking hell I cried!  Shaking and desperate as she had seen me many times when I was young over something unimportant – but her grip was now strong and reassuring as somehow out of that horrible gurgle she spoke for the final time: it sounded like ‘Is it really you?  Please wait for me’ to someone; something above her head.  Her eyes were fixed joyously to just beyond the tassels on the fraying shade that was hanging from the rose of the room’s main light.

 

“Then she was gone… lifeless; blank eyes… her back arched on her final breath and she stayed there supported by my arms until I let her slide back.  Careful precious cargo.  I got up and cried again like I had never cried before.  The sobbing of the eternal.  I brushed her eyelids shut; kissed her again and wrapped her in the quilt she had made as the stylus arm jerked – trying to escape from the never-ending final groove of the record on the turntable……………………………….

 

“Me?!  Pray?!  No… Angel choirs?  Next door’s bloody cat more like – arguing with a stray ginger tom under the bedroom window!  Heavenly light?!  Do me a favour – it was the sun reflecting on the old gal’s picture.  God calling her home?  Perrlease – Matt Monro stuck on repeat… what a nightmare – bloody old Dansette…  Oh… and the ceiling needed a coat of paint.  And she’d nagged me for two years to get off my arse and do it.  What is wrong with you people?!  You’ll ‘ave me silent meditatin’ while stroking her hair and musin’ on the nature of my beliefs next!

 

“What did I do?!  Went down the pub and got pissed real quick – that’s what.  PhewGod help us… Put another one in there will you Dave?”

The Man At The End Of The Bar (the 5:2 diet)

He’s of indeterminate age.  He resides in every pub and bar in the land.  An everyman with a pint glass.  He doesn’t appear to have any friends… unless they’ve all used the excuse of going to the toilet.  He’s a self-regarding oasis in an ocean of anomie.  This man is an island… He’s most definitely not a peninsula.  If he were the butterfly wings of chaos Sinking a pinttheory then heaven help what’s happening on the other side of the world.  If there really is six degrees of separation to Kevin Bacon – then he’s number seven.  If all famous rock bands have an unlucky early member who leaves prior to them making it big – then it wasn’t him.  If he had a makeover no-one would notice – because no-one would remember what he originally looked like.  His sole purpose in life is to make comment on conversations he isn’t involved in; to people he doesn’t know; while delivering his wisdom to an audience of none.  He offers his opinions regardless.  Without thought.  Or fear.  Or favour.  Or reason.  His only obvious social skill is setting a tumbleweed of indifference adrift among a desert of silent disbelieving looks.  Who said that?!

The Man at the end of the bar

EmptyPintGlass

“5-2?!  Bloody Hell… I knew United were shit these days but I can’t remember when they last shipped five goals?  Oh… it’s the diet you’re on about.  Of course I’ve heard of it!  Five days normal; two days you eat really fast – yehAlright clever dick: five days your normal diet – two days fasting – I misheard that’s all… takes a big man to admit to being wrong.  Not that I was wrong – more just mistaken really.   Anyway what’s so special about this diet?  Oh right; celebrities – again… somebody from TOWIE and who else?  That Bendicks Humbercatch… Philip Schofield…  And the fit one from the bra adverts?  You call that an endorsement?!

 

In any case… I’ve done it for years: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday as many pints as I like – Thursday, in preparation for the weekend, I just drink until I’ve had enough… Sunday’s the day of rest so I only drink halves.  Works for me!  Anyway, I don’t need to diet – I’m naturally svelte.  I love that word – svelte.  It sounds sort of SvedishS-v-e-l-t-e.  I am Sven and I am Svedish and svelte.  What’s up?!  What you all starin’ at?!  Can’t a man get in touch with his imagination without everybody laughin’ at him?!  Bunch of bloody heathens… Put another one in there will you Dave?”

The Man At The End Of The Bar (animal magnetism)

He’s of indeterminate age.  He resides in every pub and bar in the land.  An everyman with a pint glass.  He doesn’t appear to have any friends… unless they’ve all used the excuse of going to the toilet.  He’s a self-regarding oasis in an ocean of anomie.  This man is an island… He’s most definitely not a peninsula.  If he were the butterfly wings of chaos Sinking a pinttheory then heaven help what’s happening on the other side of the world.  If there really is six degrees of separation to Kevin Bacon – then he’s number seven.  If all famous rock bands have an unlucky early member who leaves prior to them making it big – then it wasn’t him.  If he had a makeover no-one would notice – because no-one would remember what he originally looked like.  His sole purpose in life is to make comment on conversations he isn’t involved in; to people he doesn’t know; while delivering his wisdom to an audience of none.  He offers his opinions regardless.  Without thought.  Or fear.  Or favour.  Or reason.  His only obvious social skill is setting a tumbleweed of indifference adrift among a desert of silent disbelieving looks.  Who said that?!

The Man at the end of the bar

EmptyPintGlass

“Animal magnetism?  Hmmm…  That’s a difficult one…  You’ve either got it or you haven’t.  Anyway; it’s not everything it’s cracked up to be – believe me.  It’s been a burden and a curse all my life.  All that attention when you just want a quiet drink!  What you laughin’ for?!!!  Define animal magnetism?  Well, it’s for those guys who don’t have to work too hard sonny.  Nothin’ obvious; er… obviously.  To start with you wouldn’t catch me in them skinny jeans you lot are wearin’ – I’m not pushin’ me balls into me armpits for anyone.  Listen smart arse – that’s muscle not middle-aged spread!  I’m like a ninja; a shape-shifting exemplar of man’s physical potential.  Mind you, I probably couldn’t get them over my thigh muscles… see; all that latent power.  If I wasn’t stood here I’d be on a plinth somewhere so people could come and gaze at me.  Whereas, you lot are lucky enough to be able to take a butcher’s in the flesh so to speak…

 

Anyway I can smell your desperation from here… or is it the Lynx you’ve been bathin’ in?  Huh!  I don’t need anything artificial like that.  Enhancement is a mask for the inadequate.  Who said that?  Er…  I think it was Dr Karel Woizech of the Human Response Laboratory at the University of Harvard School of Psychology.  Or then again it could have been Carol Vorderman on an Isme advert?  Given the chance I reckon she gets me.  You get my drift though…  Hormones that’s what it is – it’s me that you can smell – the real man – that’s what’s irresistible.  Isn’t it Debbie?  Oh; she’s gone… getting some more mixers you say Dave?  Right.  You see lads some women find the tension unbearable.  Yeh; she’s got a thing for me…  Wet patches?  Where?  Oh, under my arms… right brainiac – how else do you think I’m gonna get IT out there?!

 

One of them big scented blokes – Gucci or Versace or Katie Price – they should use me to create a new perfume.  Essence of ME with subtle hints of citrus and sandalwood – they always have that don’t they; but seriously who wants to smell of old sandals?  My fragrance would be like a musky beer aged in oak barrels.  Lovely…  Hmmm…  Then you lot could share my success with the ladies.  That’s okay lads, I’ve got more than I know what to do with in any case…  Be lucky!  Put another one in there will you Dave?”

The Man At The End Of The Bar (philosophy)

He’s of indeterminate age.  He resides in every pub and bar in the land.  An everyman with a pint glass.  He doesn’t appear to have any friends… unless they’ve all used the excuse of going to the toilet.  He’s a self-regarding oasis in an ocean of anomie.  This man is an island… He’s most definitely not a peninsula.  If he were the butterfly wings of chaos Sinking a pinttheory then heaven help what’s happening on the other side of the world.  If there really is six degrees of separation to Kevin Bacon – then he’s number seven.  If all famous rock bands have an unlucky early member who leaves prior to them making it big – then it wasn’t him.  If he had a makeover no-one would notice – because no-one would remember what he originally looked like.  His sole purpose in life is to make comment on conversations he isn’t involved in; to people he doesn’t know; while delivering his wisdom to an audience of none.  He offers his opinions regardless.  Without thought.  Or fear.  Or favour.  Or reason.  His only obvious social skill is setting a tumbleweed of indifference adrift among a desert of silent disbelieving looks.  Who said that?!

The Man at the end of the bar

EmptyPintGlass

“When I stand here I’m not just standin’ ‘ere… I’m reflecting; pontificating: musing – yeh that’s it – I’m musing.  I have a good think about life and other things.  I’m like a sort of social medium I suppose and the beer is my conduit.  In fact beer’s a bit like an out of body experience for me.  I’ve often thought that in another age I’d be one of them exerstentialists.  Or some sort of Shamen… mind you the ex-wife said I was always shamin’ her.  Am I a philosopher?  It’s not for me to say… A beer bard?  I dunno.  I’m a philosophical sort of man: I drink therefore I am… or is it I am therefore I drink?   Still; how am I expected to be able to solve the philosophical riddle of life that has perplexed man since the dawn of time… especially when I’m usually halfway to bein’ pissed anyway.  Put another one in there will you Dave?”

The Man At The End Of The Bar (comic relief)

He’s of indeterminate age.  He resides in every pub and bar in the land.  An everyman with a pint glass.  He doesn’t appear to have any friends… unless they’ve all used the excuse of going to the toilet.  He’s a self-regarding oasis in an ocean of anomie.  This man is an island… He’s most definitely not a peninsula.  If he were the butterfly wings of chaos Sinking a pinttheory then heaven help what’s happening on the other side of the world.  If there really is six degrees of separation to Kevin Bacon – then he’s number seven.  If all famous rock bands have an unlucky early member who leaves prior to them making it big – then it wasn’t him.  If he had a makeover no-one would notice – because no-one would remember what he originally looked like.  His sole purpose in life is to make comment on conversations he isn’t involved in; to people he doesn’t know; while delivering his wisdom to an audience of none.  He offers his opinions regardless.  Without thought.  Or fear.  Or favour.  Or reason.  His only obvious social skill is setting a tumbleweed of indifference adrift among a desert of silent disbelieving looks.  Who said that?!

The Man at the end of the bar

EmptyPintGlass

“What’s that?  What you on about?  Do something funny for money?!  What kind of bloke do you think I am?!  You want anything like that then I suggest you go down the Lord Nelson pretty damn smartish!  He casts a blind eye to what goes on down behind the barrels out the back I can tell ya…  Oh; you’re collecting for charity!  Sorry ’bout that…  Yeh, I’m a giver.  No, I’m not one of those thinks charity begins at home – if I thought that I’d be asking you for a drink.   I’ve got a big heart – a grand compassion for my fellow man.  Ask Debbie behind the bar.  What she’s just blanked you?  Sorry; she finds it a bit tough at the moment – she’s got a thing for me and the only way she can deal with it is by ignoring me.  You know how it is…

 

I remember as a boy… I was always putting money in the collection boxes.  There was one in particular outside the Co-op: it was a life-size model of this poor little crippled boy.  He had a slot in his head… that wasn’t his disability!  No; that’s where you put the money in.  I thought of him as a friend… every week shoppin’ with me mum I used to go and see him.  I called him Nobby – after Nobby Styles: Nobby Styles – the footballer?  1966 and all that?!  How soon our heritage is forgotten… anyway I used to feel sorry for Nobby out in all weathers.  I asked mum to knit him a jumper but she cuffed me around the ear and told me to get a grip.  I never liked the RSPCA dogs… dogs always seemed to attack me when I was a kid and their models were too big for my liking.  I was frightened they’d bite my hand off if I put money in the slot!

 

Dave had a lifeboat on the bar once but that got filled with peanuts.  I used to think they ought to give all those poor little kids in Africa – and the ones in care here and on them sinkin’ estates – slots in their heads; then it would be easier to contribute on a daily – or more personal basis…   Anyway, what you collectin’ for?  Comic Relief?!  I’m not givin’ money to old bloody comedians!  Most of ’em can’t tell a joke these days in any case: it’s all that observational comedy.  Long-winded stories that go on forever… no laughs and no sense of… timing.  Oh what now?  Give money for Red Nose Day… you takin’ the piss?! Go on… get out of here!  You bloody chancers!  Hmmph… Put another one in there will you Dave?”

The Man At The End Of The Bar (nature)

He’s of indeterminate age.  He resides in every pub and bar in the land.  An everyman with a pint glass.  He doesn’t appear to have any friends… unless they’ve all used the excuse of going to the toilet.  He’s a self-regarding oasis in an ocean of anomie.  This man is an island… He’s most definitely not a peninsula.  If he were the butterfly wings of chaos Sinking a pinttheory then heaven help what’s happening on the other side of the world.  If there really is six degrees of separation to Kevin Bacon – then he’s number seven.  If all famous rock bands have an unlucky early member who leaves prior to them making it big – then it wasn’t him.  If he had a makeover no-one would notice – because no-one would remember what he originally looked like.  His sole purpose in life is to make comment on conversations he isn’t involved in; to people he doesn’t know; while delivering his wisdom to an audience of none.  He offers his opinions regardless.  Without thought.  Or fear.  Or favour.  Or reason.  His only obvious social skill is setting a tumbleweed of indifference adrift among a desert of silent disbelieving looks.  Who said that?!

The Man at the end of the bar

EmptyPintGlass

“Me; myself; I love the great outdoors… communing with nature… getting in touch with my spiritual side so to speak.  Yeh, there are some lovely walks in this area once you get out of the town.  Do I?  Oh yeh – all the time.  I often sit in the pub garden.  Obviously not when it’s cold, or raining, or dull, or windy – and the sun plays havoc with my complexion me bein’ pale and interesting.  What’s the male equivalent of an English rose?  Huh?  You know Ray Mears or Bear Grylls?  No; me neither.

 

The hills are great places to go.  The local doggers love it… I remember something that happened from a couple of years ago.  You’ll be interested in this…  Near Gruff Hill there’s an expanse of forest that creeps along the brow down to the side of a prehistoric lake.  The trees are thick – but only in patches – and there’s an air of foreboding that hangs over the place: something like the smell of wee in the gents by the beer garden.  The way the trees and shrubs hang from the gradient well, I suppose it’s a bit like looking at Dave’s head only in a couple of year’s time when he’s receded a bit more.  Alright Dave!

 

It was a spring morning I think, there was a slight crispness in the air – winter was clinging on like an old girlfriend who wouldn’t accept it was all over.  Always been a problem.  There was an indiscernible quality to the light on the bridge between night and day.  As the sun lifted to greet the dawn its rays were flickering like lover’s fingers through the mounds of heather before bouncing off the gentle eddies of the deep, dark water.  The blues, reds, oranges and purples mixed like a Turner painting… waxing and waning on the water’s surface, dancing with delight at a new day.  It was then that I saw it…

 

A hawk was sat on a tree only fifty to sixty yards away… He stretched his wings and the sun crested them like a fiery corona.  His early morning ritual of intent was echoed by the softly lapping sound of the lake on the soft green vegetation on the shore.  I felt a wonderful uplifting sense of peace.  The sort that usually takes six pints of Bladder Blaster.

 

It was as if all mankind and history was contained in that moment.  I was transported back in time to our ancestor’s struggle to live.  There was a Neolithic settlement by the lake according to the local museum.  The hawk stretched his wings as far from tip to tip as he could go and shrieked – master of all he could survey.  His talons pulled and teased at the lichen on the branch he was perched on and his beak curved majestically against the pale blue sky.  I stood trembling slightly from the cold and transfixed in awe at his beady eye which seemed to be staring right down into my soul.  It was like one of those pictures where the gaze follows you around the room…

 

We shared a connection that was primeval, timeless and unforgiving – yet profoundly respectful.  Man and bird on the same ethereal plane.  It was brief but telling as he stretched his back, lifted his wings into a terrible angel’s quiver of sinew and strength and soared towards me on the freshening breeze that swooped invigorated across the water’s surface in its daily race with the sun.  My heart was beating that little bit faster… I was with the ancients; modern life with its vicarious woes and burdens shunted to another place – beyond reach in my subconscious…

 

He was heading straight towards me!  His sharp talons arched, his aquiline beak was hooked and resplendent… his wings beat a powerful time and the rhythm in my heart raced while my imagination soared in a speechless aria… the sun flashed as a beacon between the horizon and his magnificent form… I was temporarily blinded – he swooped to go left; his cry was stark and brittle like the jewel encrusted light.  He turned up the dark side of Gruff Hill where the rabbit burrows form an embroidered moonscape years in the making – and then it happened… As I felt the thrilling breath of his wings and his beady fixed gaze once more – he swung back right up close and dangerous in his streamlined muscularity; I could make out the intricate interwoven pattern of his feathers – each a perfect work of art in its own right…

 

As he lifted to soar – his symmetry at graceful ease in this personal eternal kingdom; me just a privileged visitor in his domain… he shat right on the back of my head!  Didn’t that bloody stink too!  Then he disappeared quicker than a flavoured condom from the machine on a Saturday night… Put another one in there will you Dave?”

The Man At The End Of The Bar (gay)

He’s of indeterminate age.  He resides in every pub and bar in the land.  An everyman with a pint glass.  He doesn’t appear to have any friends… unless they’ve all used the excuse of going to the toilet.  He’s a self-regarding oasis in an ocean of anomie.  This man is an island… He’s most definitely not a peninsula.  If he were the butterfly wings of chaos Sinking a pinttheory then heaven help what’s happening on the other side of the world.  If there really is six degrees of separation to Kevin Bacon – then he’s number seven.  If all famous rock bands have an unlucky early member who leaves prior to them making it big – then it wasn’t him.  If he had a makeover no-one would notice – because no-one would remember what he originally looked like.  His sole purpose in life is to make comment on conversations he isn’t involved in; to people he doesn’t know; while delivering his wisdom to an audience of none.  He offers his opinions regardless.  Without thought.  Or fear.  Or favour.  Or reason.  His only obvious social skill is setting a tumbleweed of indifference adrift among a desert of silent disbelieving looks.  Who said that?!

The Man at the end of the bar

EmptyPintGlass

“So all you lads are gay – yeh?  Me?  No… I’m not gay.  If I was gay I’d be one of them highly desirable males on the scene… what d’ ya call ’em?  Beef?  A Face?  Somethin’ butch?  Prick?!  Oh; right I’d be a prick then… Put another one in there will you Dave?”

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