Doing battle with daily dragons

Monday, August 01, 2005

Into the Land of the Dead

I got The Rock Star to myself for most of this weekend for a change. The Cheerful Idiot was kind enough to book only one gig on Friday night, although whether it had more to do with kindness or the rest of the band threatening to throw him into the canal, I don’t know. They’re a pretty tired bunch of guys.

At any rate, we ended up in a small town called Whitney on the other side of Oxford. The whole place was made of Cotswold stone; very picturesque. Not what you’d expect the Village of the Damned to look like, on the whole.

It was the kind of evening that leaves you covered in what feels like an oily sheen. To begin with, I wasn’t feeling fantastic. Viruses tend to do laps around my body starting with the head and making stops in just about every major organ before finishing the Tour de Potamus. My kidneys seemed to be playing host on Friday night and I wanted very badly to be tucked up watched bad telly rather than sitting in a smoky bar.

Then the Cheerful Idiot and the Nudist, (who’s now a permanent member of the Mis-spelled Band) both of whom must have been aware of my miserable state, came over to the table where The Barmaid and I were sitting to have a revolting conversation. This is not an unusual occurrence in The Mis-spelled Band; I have received quite the education over the year and a half or so that The Rock Star has been hooked up with these miscreants. I’m not sure when it evolved into a game of who could cross the line with me, but The Idiot and the Nudist seemed determined to have a go.

The Idiot: Have you ever given a girl a (description of an unbelievably vile act that involves a rather notorious male bodily fluid)?

The Nudist: Yeah! But have you ever (description of IMPOSSIBLY vile act also involving a rather notorious male bodily fluid)?

The Idiot: I did it to the Barmaid last night!


They went away eventually, leaving me with images that I’d gladly scrub my brain with Clorox to rid myself of.

The pub itself was filled with an unusual mix of people. It was a small venue, although obviously set up for music. The punters seemed to fit into 4 categories:

-Lads night out

Usually in groups of 3 or four. The group that found themselves in the pub at Whitney looked like they might have been in the wrong place. They were outnumbered by Rockers 10 to 1 and their collared, checked shirts stood out in the crowd.


Either older couples who actually attended Cream gigs back in the 70’s or youngish, 30-somethings dressed in black who shout “Freebird” at every available opportunity. (May I just take this moment to state for the record that Freebird, does in fact suck. Lynyrd Skynyrd were right on the money with Sweet Home Alabama, but they cursed a generation of musicians when they wrote that tedious piece of crap.) Real Rockers are far hairier and would NEVER shout "Freebird". They would probably be more likely to throw beer bottles.


You never know with these guys. The most common specimen tends to hang out in the corner. Sometimes they try to dance. There are two distinct types of Loner Dance: the inhibited and rhythm-impaired and the drunk-freestyle. Both are equally painful to watch. One of these particular individuals squeezed himself into the booth that The Barmaid and I were occupying and continued to shuffle closer to us until both of us felt the extreme urge to use the restroom and beat a hasty retreat. “I can look after your bags for you if you need to use the toilet!” he called hopefully, at our rapidly disappearing backs.


It’s often difficult to classify lesbians. I lived with a pair of married lesbians when I was in college and they didn’t particularly fit into any stereotype. (Except that one was a midwife. And the other could speak and write in Elvish. And they were vegans and had cats and really liked the Indigo Girls, but other than that, not at all stereotypical. In a strange turn around of fate, both of them ended up marrying men and having babies, so it just goes to show…to show…erm, that people can always surprise you.) AT any rate, there seemed to be more easily identifiable lesbians in this particular rock club than in some of the others that we’ve visited.

It wasn’t until the band began packing down that the true nature of the town began to reveal itself. It was chocked full of completely rubber people, lurching around the streets, out of alleyways, into kebab shops. Astonishingly, none of them seemed very interested in getting into a fight but rather just staggering from place to place, happily munching on half-cooked chicken with grease dribbling down their blank faces. There must be something in the water.

One gentleman in particular proved incredibly elastic in nature and fell flat on his face in the street, striking his head on the Mis-spelled Band’s van on the way down. (“He couldn’t have fallen any harder if he’d jumped out of an airplane with badgers that had swallowed lead weights in his pockets” said The Rock Star.) An ambulance crew duly turned up to treat the egg that developed on his forehead, the likes of which I had only witnessed previously in Wile E. Coyote cartoons.

Just another Friday night in the Land of the Dead. And another Monday morning to sit here blogging about it.