Today’s blog post contains swearing.
You can download the audio podcast version of this blog post here.
After our Christmas gig in Otley , we went to the pub with a few friends, including the organiser of the gig. There was a bit of an incident the last time we went to the pub with this particular person, who from now on will be referred to as Rob for brevity’s sake, and also because Rob happens to be Rob’s name, so that seems to make sense. If you’re confused at this point, then perhaps this blog isn’t really for you.
Last time we went to the pub with Rob was April this year, just after our first gig on the spring tour. Rob enthusiastically declared that this particular pub was really good,and that the landlord was “a bit of a character.”
As soon as we crossed the threshold, we were effusively greeted by said “character”: a big, burly, brash bloke with a bellowing broad Scottish voice.
“Rob!” he roared, leaping to his feet, as quickly as a heavily inebriated, heavily built landlord could ever be expected to leap. Let’s just say that I think this particular landlord cared so much about the quality of his beer that he insisted on sampling each one in turn just to be sure, and pint-sized samples, just to be especially certain, before repeating the cycle several times throughout the day, because in this game it pays to be constantly vigilant. The landlord grabbed Rob, enveloping him in his considerable mass.
“How are you, ‘me old fucker?” he shouted. Perhaps this was his little play on words, a slight Scottish modification of the more well-known cockney “’me old mucker”, unless the landlord had just let slip some personal information about his and Rob’s relationship. It seemed too obtrusive a question to pose at that moment, plus Rob had enough to deal with right now, as the landlord was thumping him hard on the back. Rob maintains that this was his way of showing affection, and perhaps this was yet another telling indication of the type of relationship he and Rob were enjoying. We’d just come to the pub after a gig for a social drink with some friends, and now we were witnessing a potential homoerotic sadomasochist display. But Rob maintains that the “’me old fucker” line and the pummelling was merely what goes for a friendly welcome in this landlord’s world. Fair enough, I suppose, who am I to argue? Well, I’d be an idiot to start an argument with this man, given that he appears to show affection to his friends by thumping; goodness knows what he’d do to you if he didn’t like you.
“Where’ve you been the last few months, you little cunt?” the landlord barked. “Anyway, you’re very welcome, you’re all very welcome.” Ah, so we’re all welcome, I thought. I felt that this had been a little unclear up until that point, what with the thumping and the verbal insults. At first I wasn’t sure whether Rob was coming under a hostile attack, but it turns out that the landlord seemed to follow the same philosophy of certain dog owners, whereby their dog jumps up at you, claws you in the eyes and barks menacingly at you while the owners gleefully inform you that “he’s just being friendly, he’s very affectionate.”
Despite my relief, I was also a little concerned that if we were all “very welcome,” then we too might soon fall victim to his “affections”. I decided that now was a good time to escape to the toilet, and left the others to the mercy of our intriguing host.
But no sooner had I turned to walk off, I was accosted by a lady, about my age, who enthusiastically intoned how much she’d enjoyed the gig and congratulated me on the Folk Award win. How easily distracted. I’d completely forgotten my intention to escape from the potentially dangerous landlord. My instinctive urge to flee the possible danger had instantly been replaced by my instinctive response towards a bit of flattery from a female. Damn, she was probably working for him. She’d spotted my attempts to make a break and had sought to thwart my efforts, and she had succeeded. Granted, she’d known about the gig, and the Folk Award, so this was an unlikely theory, but when you’re on the run from a potentially psycopathic landlord you can’t afford to be negligent.
It was too late to correct my course, for the landlord had heard the girl’s comments and promptly turned to address me.
“You’ve won a Folk award?” he bellowed. In his voice it sounded like a threat, as if the very thought of having the winner of some poncey award in his pub was highly egregious to him. He drew his mass towards me, and before I could do anything to stop it he was upon me.
“Fuck me, you fucking clever cunt,” he boomed, and pulled me into a bear hug. Then the thumping began.
There was an attractive girl stood just a couple of metres away. In one of the alternate universes – that apparently have to exist in order to support most of the currently accepted quantum physical theories about the nature of life – another version of me was being embraced by that enthusiastic girl, the jammy bastard. Perhaps that David Eagle has written a blog about the amazing night of passion that he had with the girl, then philosophised about the not so lucky version of him in an alternate universe who was being embraced, thumped and sworn at by a boozy landlord just metres away from him and the girl. Well, I want that David Eagle to know that if I ever find myself tumbling down a wormhole and meeting him, then I’ll come for him and wipe that self-satisfied smile off his stupid face.
Anyway, my blog post is much more interesting than his. Let’s be honest, would you rather read about me being pummelled by a garish landlord, or hear about me having sex? If you answered positively to the second option then this website is probably not really tailored to you, but I promise you that the next time I have sex (I may be being tragically optimistic) I will tell you all about it in great detail. Any volunteers? You get to be written about in a blog, which I’m sure must be a turn-on for lots of women.
Meanwhile, back in this universe, I am still being thumped by the landlord. Of course, I am just letting this happen, even though he is thumping me quite hard and it is hurting a bit. For some reason I hold the perplexing notion that it would seem impolite of me to say anything. I, like many of us, am far too self-conscious and socially awkward to challenge this kind of behaviour. A man is repeatedly hitting me, yet it is me who feels as if I’d be crossing some line by objecting to this. I will just continue to stand here and be thumped in the back until he either gets bored or I pass out, although, this assumes that me passing out would be enough of a prompt for him to stop. I might be lying in a crumpled heap on the floor, yet this man will still be resolutely thumping me, and as long as he does it with a smile on his face then my friends will be too polite and socially awkward to say anything.
I considered thumping him back. Perhaps this would cause him to realise that being repeatedly thumped in the back wasn’t particularly pleasant, but knowing my luck he’d enjoy it and see it as an indication of my endorsement of this activity, and, encouraged by my participation, start thumping me harder. So I just stood there and let the man thump me and call me a clever cunt, while all the evidence to support that statement was being refuted, given that I was seemingly willingly being assaulted.
I think the girl must have walked off at this point. It is very unlikely that anything would have happened, but there might have been some interest, but she would have no doubt been perturbed by the fact that I was broadly smiling, seemingly enjoying myself, as a man was beating me, shouting what might have appeared a request for me to engage in sexual exploits with him.
“Fuck me!” he shouted. And, to be honest, I am so terribly British and polite that, if that’s what he actually wanted, I’d probably oblige; just out of politeness, you understand. I may find it embarrassingly difficult to procure the requisite erection for the task, but my upper lip would be fixedly stiff. But that’s just so quintessentially British, isn’t it? Having sexual intercourse with a man out of mere politeness.
Then I had a master plan. I explained that I was only one of the members of the group, and that the other two award winners were standing right next to him. I’d just thrown the affectionate dog a bone, and he immediately went for it. Instantly, I was unhanded, as I slumped away to the toilet, I heard him grab one of the other two, then the thumping and the swearing routine was re-established. I felt a little guilty, but I’m sure they would have done the same if they were me. In fact I know they would, because as I entered the toilet, I could here Sean pointing out Michael.
Oh well, I might have failed to bag the girl, but at least I shook off the landlord, which admittedly does sound like quite a dodgy sentence, but you know what I mean.
After a couple of minutes I went to the toilet door and had a listen to hear whether it might be safe to re-enter. It turned out that it would probably be safe, given that the landlord had now turned his attention to someone else, and was loudly engaging in a passionate racist rant. We decided that this was an opportune time to leave. We left the pub, completely unnoticed, while the sounds of the landlord’s voluble bigoted drunken diatribe reverberated in our ears.
Well, I’ve done it again: I’ve written nearly 2000 words and I haven’t begun to tell you the story I originally intended to tell. Given that I’m attempting to do this blogging lark on a daily basis, I think it might be prudent to stop here, and tell that story tomorrow. Until then, thanks for reading.