Thursday, 25 October 2012


SO I went to my home town for a visit there, just to see the family for a day or so as they deserve me.

I have a rantparrot in my pocket you know
I decided to have a pint in my old local simply because I thought it would be fun. It used to be a place where my friends and enemies would meet to discuss how much of an arse I had been that week.
It was a place of solace where whatever you were and were capable of didn't matter, you were still accepted. A place where even a punch was meant with just the right amount of venom in a kind of "he may be a dick, but he's our dick" kind of way.

The music was good, the landlord was an affected bully and the customers knew what they wanted - just enough booze to keep them this side of reasonable until they could go to a nightclub to get their free repercussions and a black eye.

But no, not now. The place was full off white-faced, black-haired, over-dressed miseries. It was awash, a phrase some of these ghostly gobshites hadn't heard before, with Halloween decorations. Ahh I thought, it's Halloween.

I asked the eye-liner of a barman: "You never know what you're going to get with these fancy dress nights do you?"

"What? It's not a fancy dress night."

"That's a shame. I thought I stood a good chance in my brown moleskin jacket, check shirt and blue jeans - Jeremy Clarkson you see."

"It's not fancy dress," he insisted.

"Well what is it then?"

"Goths mate," someone beside me in a garish tracksuit and gold falling off every finger explained as he decided I was his new best friend. "Or Emus," he added.

There they were, all white faced and angst-ridden standing at my bar, self harming with cider and blackcurrant while some kind of David Lynch movie soundtrack played in the background.

Well I thought, here's a pretty game. My old local, a rock haven, annexed by people who don't even know who they are angry with or indeed what they want to do about it.

I wanted to watch the early kick off for the England/Poland game but the karaoke had now begun and there was nothing the bar thing could do apparently, as "war" would break out.

The thought of a flurry of white foundation, black mascara and androgynous fury heading my way filled me with dread so I let it go.

How do self harmers fight anyway?

I stood miserable for a while watching the football while listening to a chorus of "My Way" sung by what looked like a group of out of focus Charlie Chaplins, when my new best friend next to me said the lager was going right through him and he was "pissing for England".

Off he waddled, gold flickering off the white make up of the Emus as he passed.

I thought it was a strange way to support your country. I left before he came back, just in case he was Jimmy Savile.

Anyway, that's not what I wanted to talk about.

The curly-haired jacket is still on the loose - do not approach.
Later that evening, as I enjoyed some southern fried chicken, two cops approached me, slowly but with a menacing purpose.

In a panic I hid one of the chicken thighs in my jacket, leaving just the drumsticks in the bag. I don't know why. I had been drinking and thought "this will fox the peelers".

I rationalised that the cops would never look in my jacket pocket for something that isn't illegal. Victory was mine. I also thought for some reason that if they caught me with a chicken thigh then I would be in lots of trouble. I had also just thought it might be fun to run through the town screaming that I was Donald Trump and my hair was trying to kill me - so wasn't taking myself too seriously.

They demanded my name, not together in stereo, but there was definite "we are a couple" attitude about them. Bad cop, bad cop type of thing.

I asked why and they said: "Wouldn't you like to know."

"Well yes," I said. "That's why I asked."

"We have a smart one here," said Bad Cop1.

Bad Cop2 said: "We are looking for a man who fits your description."

"And whose description of me are you working from, there are many?"

"We are looking for a man with a brown jacket with curly hair," Bad Cop2 begrudgingly told me.

"Well as you can see my jacket is bald. Good luck though, there can't be that many curly haired brown jackets out there."

I knew as I said it that it was a mistake, but it was out there, sarcasm is a bloody vicious crime against Yorkshire cops.

Well I was firmly told to stand up from my comfortable bench and Bad Cop1 went to check on his little radio to see if I was whom I said I was and not this villain with the hairy jacket.

Bad Cop2 started searching me. Go ahead I thought until he said do you have anything sharp in your pockets.

"No," I said. It was the truth. But I realised the chicken was in there and I didn't want to go to jail, not me a pretty boy like me. It would be hell. I would be the parcel in a grim pass the parcel game. So I decided to explain the chicken to him.

Too late.

"Urghhhh, what is that?"

"Chicken," I said relying on the truth.

"Well what the f**k is it doing there?"

I looked at him as though he had asked me why I wasn't called Steven* and said: "Nothing, it's dead. It has been plucked, covered in spiced flour and breadcrumbs and then deep fried."

"Well why the hell is it in your pocket?"

"Well, that's complicated, but essentially I panicked when I saw you coming to me. I live in Scotland and chicken is rare. That may not be true," I admitted as he chucked the greasy golden thigh on the ground.

"I like chicken, it's nice," I said as Bad Cop2 tried to clean his hands while leaning forward to avoid the worst of the grease.

Bad Cop1 returned with the reassuring news that I was whom I said I was. The state I was in I was unsure.

He then said I could go before shouting at his pal: "What the f**k are you doing?"

He replied, slightly downbeat now and I could see who was who in this relationship, that I had put chicken in my pocket and he had picked it out.

"Bloody chicken in his jacket pocket for f**ks sake. I put my hand in it. It's over the place, greasy crap."

"It puts hair on your jacket," I should have said.

Instead, I sat down smiling to finish what was left of the chicken as they walked away.

I watched them approach the Emus that had now left the pub. Hairy jackets by the tonne.

They are in a lot of trouble, I thought.

*Note - I was once asked by a wild eyed woman in a cafe what my name was, when I told her she said: "How come you're not called Steven?" I had no answer.

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