Saturday Night Live… ish
Out on the eight, back on the ten-fifteen which came at ten-twelve and almost made me run to catch it. In the end I just performed a sort of quick shuffle down the street and made it with seconds to spare, who says this gym thing doesn’t work?
Tonight’s mission was to explore the sights and sounds of Parliament Street in Nottingham. There are lots of dens of iniquity to choose from, so I stepped off the bus and launched myself into the first of many pubs blasting out old seventies’ hits to their aging clientele. No pub or aging clientele names will be mentioned in this piece, partly to protect the innocent, but mostly to protect me the next time I go in any of them. I wrote a Saturday Night Live about my home town, Ilkeston once and it didn’t go down well in the Neanderthal Arms I can tell you.
The disco was in full swing as I walked into the pub. The queue at the bar was so long I had to queue to get into the queue. I thought I’d got the wrong bus and ended up in London at one point.
Finally, armed with a pint of John Smiths Extra Smooth bitter I fought my way through the melee and grabbed a foot of prime real estate next to the door where I could see the dancers giving their all, in front of a thirty-five-foot flat screen TV on which the old nineteen-seventies videos were being shown to accompany the music. They need a screen that size so the people who haven’t had their cataract operations yet, and came out without their hearing aids (AGAIN!) can join in with the fun.
I nearly shat myself when Phil Collins’ massive balding pate suddenly hit the screen. I was thirty feet away but it felt like he was right on top of me. Now, me and Phil don’t get on, so I tore my eyes away from the screen as Phil did his Voldemort impression whilst singing, ‘You can’t hurry love.’
You can hurry love, actually, Phil, I’ve managed to do it for years.
Sadly, Phil couldn’t hurry the song either, so I concentrated on the elderly dancers as they cavorted across the dance floor, waving arms, swinging hips and other body parts. One poor old sod was knocked clean off his feet by a pair of low-slung boobs that hit him right in the kisser as the owner of the said breasts, swung around to scream, ‘love don’t come easy,’ to the wrinkly old gal who was swinging her own bits, a few feet away.
I never did get Phil, but by the looks of it most of the geriatric gyrating ensemble did. The dance floor was heaving, a plethora of nineteen sixties style mini dresses, stocking tops, caked on makeup, slipping wigs and zimmers on wheels, and that was just the men.
I hung around, alternating between sips of my pint and mouthing the words to the Drifters, Saturday Night at the Movies. Mouthing to songs is a tradition in that pub. Everyone does it, even the people, like me, who actually know the words. The ones that don’t just open and shut their mouths like goldfish, as I said, it’s a tradition in there, no one wants to be seen flouting the rules.
From there I wandered across the road to the pub near the Theatre Royal. A DJ was installed at the end of the bar and I was treated to the rousing chorus from the Killers hit, Mr Brightside as I entered. This bar is populated by the late forties, early fifties set, you know the sort I mean. Men with shaved heads and women wearing push up bras so load bearing that their boobs are almost under their chins. There was so much bare flesh is on show, that they look like they’ve got a couple of the bald heads stuffed down their dresses.
The weird thing about this group of piss heads is their love for the Ibiza club anthems. It’s a scary sight when the first, boom boom, bass notes thud out, people don’t head for the dance floor, they just start thrashing around where they stand. Beer, gin and bald head tits are suddenly flung into the air as the middle-aged revellers relive their 1980s Spanish holidays.
I didn’t last long in there I can tell you. I’d already washed my hair before I went out, I didn’t need a beer shampoo.
The streets very packed as I stepped out of the bar and made my way down the slight incline towards the famous Motown pub. On the way I passed a few ‘homeless,’ people who were propped up in blankets calling out for loose change, gripping their cans of special brew as though it was their prized possession. I always give at least one of them a few coins as I pass by. I don’t judge. I’m about to get pissed so why shouldn’t they?
I haven’t been to Nottingham for about a year now, but I still recognise some of the ‘pro beggars’ that only ever show up on a Saturday. Their blankets are always spotless so it’s easy to pick them out.
The Motown pub was rammed, as usual. I spent a while in another long queue and looked around for David Beckham. Sadly, he wasn’t in this part of the queue so I smiled at the woman next to me and said,’ busy, isn’t it?’
She curled up her lip and looked at me like I’d just asked her for a shag. Turning to her flat faced mate, she flicked her head towards me and rolled her eyes. Her mate was not only flat faced, she had an incredible turned up nose. Now, I don’t mean one of those cute little noses you see in those period dramas, this one was turned up so much, she could look directly into her flared nostrils with just a slight movement of her eyes. I’d hate to be her if she got a bad cold. She’d be blinded with snot every time she sneezed. I got my revenge for the sullen looks by pushing in front of them at the bar. I won’t repeat the insult that flat face used when I turned away smirking into my pint, but it rhymes with punt.
I found a six-inch square piece of territory at a table near the front windows and spent an enjoyable ten minutes watching the septuagenarians swing their hips to the proper version of, you can’t hurry love. There were some younger women in there, but they were all surrounded by groups of bald, Junior Soprano lookalikes, who looked like they were waiting to dive into the buffet at a wedding. Lips smacked, saliva drooled and hands were reaching out in expectation. The women didn’t seem to mind, they were obviously used to being slavered over like some tasty morsel presented on a plastic platter.
Just then I was poked in the ribs by a bony elbow. I looked to the side where a woman wearing glasses as thick as the shatter-proof front window was looking up at me.
‘Sorry,’ she lied.
I smiled and went back to watching the men of the musical, meat market, stick out their chests and attempt to muscle the competition out of the way.
Suddenly the bony elbow found its target again. I winced. It felt like I had been skewered. She looked me in the eyes again. ‘Sorry,’ she lied, again.
She was a painfully thin woman of about sixty-five, wearing a tight-fitting dress that showed of her skeletal frame to perfection. She had a mop of red-dyed hair that perfectly matched the daub of lipstick that was smeared across her face. She looked like The Joker from the Batman movie.
‘Are you gay?’ she asked as I turned away again. ‘Only I’ve been trying to get your attention for ages and all you do is look at those men.’
I was sorely tempted to tell her that I was indeed, gay, and hope the news would encourage her to piss off. Like a fool, I told her I wasn’t.
‘Really,’ she replied. ‘You look gay.’
By now her three mates had become interested. They surrounded me, looking me up and down, pulling faces as they tried to make up their minds whether I was or wasn’t.
I gulped down my pint as fast as I could and headed towards the door.
‘He is,’ I head the chorus of crackly voices call as I stepped away.
Back on the street I found a doddering, ancient, foul mouthed, excuse for a man, trying to negotiate the price of a blow job with a middle-aged, blanket covered, greasy-haired woman whose mouth was ringed with scabs and sores. Apparently, he felt that a quid was a fair price. She wanted a tenner. I hope he raised his offer. She deserves the money and he deserves whatever disease he’ll wake up with in the morning. I shuddered at the thought of them performing and headed up the hill towards the bus stop.
The bus was pretty full but I managed to get a seat opposite a couple of pretty young girls. I didn’t smile at them; I’m a modern man and I know I’d only be accused of being an old pervert if I did.
One of the girls was wearing jeans and a crop top thing that left the bottom quarter of her breasts, exposed. The other was wearing a strip of fabric, so flimsy, it looked more of a waist sash than a dress. I gave her a cursory glance for five minutes, then looked to my side where a fifty-something woman with a mouth so small she would struggle to even make the ‘ooh,’ sound, was giving the girls a withering look.
‘Disgusting,’ she said, suddenly staring at me.
I didn’t know if she meant me or the girls to begin with. Then all became clear.
‘When I was young, I wore more than that when I had sex.’
I looked from her back to the two girls. That was another vision I desperately tried to push out of my mind.
The girl in the sash noticed that I was looking at her and gave me the finger. I blew out my cheeks. I didn’t have a lot of choice really as she was sitting directly opposite and I had to look somewhere. It was either that or pretend to be asleep but even then I’d probably be accused of thinking filthy thoughts.
The old codger on my right didn’t seem to care what the young girls thought of him.
‘KINNEL,’ he gasped as the girl crossed her legs. ‘It’s been a long time since I saw anything like that.’
‘I’ve NEVER seen anything like that,’ muttered his wrinkly mate on the seat next to him. ‘And I lived in Coventry for years and they used to give it away for a drag from your fag there.’
The girl gave them both the finger, then looked back at me as if she thought I had instigated the whole thing.
‘Pervert,’ she spat.’
I shrugged. I’ve been called worse and she was probably right anyway. So, not giving a flying one any longer. I stared straight ahead and gave her my best smile.
I ended up back at my local in Ilkeston where I am among friends… Mostly. I had a few more pints and managed to grab the last slow dance with a nice blonde lady of about my own age who, thankfully, wasn’t wearing either a wig, two inches of makeup or a nineteen sixties Mary Quant mini dress.
As I mentioned earlier. I am a modern man. I didn’t even try to copy a crafty feel.