Private Dick

19-04-2016 – Erk and Eh and Oooh

Ahoy there shipmates!

Well, on Friday we played what should by rights have been a very good gig at the Blue Lagoon – nice and local, great venue, a few pals in, really good crowd – so what was the problem?

Well, I’ll tell you – but I’ll warn you now, it does get a little bit sweary towards the end…

If you’re of a sensitive disposition, you may want to scroll down to where the font changes, which is where the funny bit starts.

[Editor’s note: I had to think for a while on whether to put this out or not. Maybe it’s not the sort of thing that we should have floating around and out of control on the internet as it is a bit offensive but the truth is, in all the years we have been together I don’t think we have had anyone go at it so much for so long at a gig therefore due to it being such an exceptional incident Alan can let rip. This chap didn’t annoy me quite as much as I have a drum kit as a barrier but I spent most of the night with half an eye on this person. I don’t think he was drunk but I think he had taken something, maybe an upper like cocaine or amphetamines, I’m not sure but he sure kept going and his mates were egging him on knowing that he was in a state and very irritating even if he wasn’t aware of it.]

The problem was one particular and very-pissed pillock, who started leaping about right in front of, and often actually on the stage, the moment we began playing; and kept on sticking his face right in each of ours in turn, trying to get Ben, Rosa, Stuart and I each to high-five him whilst we were playing, making over-exaggerated pointing gestures and pulling faces every time any of us did anything, and generally being a complete tit.

Now, we do like a bit of interaction and liveliness, but everyone in the room was soon finding this over-the-top enthusiasm a tad annoying. After the first set, the idiot came over and sat with us, and kept on butting in on our conversations by trying to get one or another of us to high-five him; and when that didn’t get a response, made a big deal of pretending to try and steal our drinks off the stage.

Still, we are all quite patient and polite folks, and generally tried to ignore him as best we could.

In the second set, however, he redoubled his efforts; finally one of the security guys had to come and stand right next to me for the express purpose off nudging this twat back off the stage every couple of minutes, and removing his drink from him every time he started spilling it on the monitors.

Towards the end of the second set, having had this arsehole right in my face for nearly three hours, effectively cutting me off from the rest of the audience, my patience was worn paper-thin. It occurred to me that thanks to the low stage height I was in a perfect position to give him a well-deserved full-belt kick in the knackers that would probably send his cobblers right up into his throat – and yet, I managed to refrain, and settled for just imagining (in great detail) doing it instead.

We finished the set, played an encore, and by now I am so pissed off that I don’t want to play any more.

I unstrap my guitar, replace it on the stand, and when I turn back, the pillock is still right there in front of me.

“Oh, wow, awesome set, man, that was awesome” he drivels and tries to high-five me for the umpteenth time.

“Look, mate”, I tell him, “I’ve finished playing now, so I don’t have to try and act professional about this any longer”, and I point at the door. “F**k off.”

“But, man, that was great..”

“Thank you. Now f**k off.”

“But, man…”

“I said F**K OFF. F**k off away from me, go away, f**k off, and don’t come back…”

He’s still standing there, and tries to high five me again.

“I said, F**K OFF!”

He steps up onto the stage

“What’s wrong with you?” I bellow into his face, “F**K OFF!”

“Aww, man, I just want to talk to your singer, tell her how great she was..”

“Well, you f**king can’t. Get the f**k away from me, get the f**k away from my f**king bandmates, get the f**k off my f**king stage, and f**king well F**K OFF!”

The security guy next to me, trying unsuccessfully to keep a straight face, helps escort the moron away to the other end of the bar, where he will be safer.

Rosa comes over and gives me a big hug.

“I’ve never ever seen you get cross before”, she says, “…It was a bit scary, actually…”.

I have to spend the next few minutes thinking happy thoughts before I can start packing up.

In writing this tale down, I realise that perhaps I was being a little unreasonable at the time – in the heat of the moment, after having had a long hard week, actually I may have been a little harsh in my judgement of the chap, and perhaps I shouldn’t really have been so rude to him. After all, perhaps he was just trying to show his deeply-felt musical appreciation.

It further occurs to me that he may actually read this blog at some point – and so, just in case he happens to be reading it now, I would like to take this opportunity to let him know – and I really truly do mean this – that, despite how it may have seemed on the night, I really would like him to f**k off…

…On a happier note, earlier this week I found myself with more spare time than common sense, so to amuse myself I decided to advertise/write up the announcement of next week’s gigs in what I like to think of as a film noir style [Editor’s note: More like pulp if you ask me!].

So; sit yourself down nice and comfortable somewhere; for the full effect, please read the following in black and white, with a sultry sax jazz soundtrack playing in the background, and a glass of cheap bourbon by your side…

The Malteser Falcon

My name is B’stard…W. A. B’stard. I’m what they used to call back in Chicago a private dick.

Round these parts, I’m more often described as a public one.

I run a shoestring detective agency out of a rundown office in downtown Fishponds; just me and my small team of chancers. We’ll fix any problem you got if the price is right. Sometimes we have to operate outside the law, sometimes we operate just outside the chip shop; if you’ve got a gig to fill, and the money, we don’t ask too many questions. There’s not much point – we don’t usually understand the answers.

The brains in the back office of our outfit is our sticksman Stooie, sometimes known as “Mr Stiffy”; a name he acquired back in the old days whilst doing time in Joliet – we never dared asked how he came by it.

In case we need to do a little friendly persuasion, we got Big Ben, our enforcer – a six-foot-four wall of solid muscle, weighing in at two hundred pounds on the scales – and pretty much the same off of them.

Our “public relations” are handled by Rosa – a sassy broad with a figure that’d make a dead guy sit up and pay attention. She stops traffic when she walks down the street; but when she’s not working as a lollipop lady, she moonlights with us. She’s sweet as candy, with a handbag full of empty wrappers to prove it; a voice like warm honey, and a right hook that can fell a buffalo.

Any way you look at it, that dame is bad for your teeth.

And then there’s me. I’ve been in this game longer than can remember, and that’s at least twenty minutes. I got a pretty mean arsenal of sonic weaponry, and enough knuckleduster riffs to see me through most bar-room brawls if things turn ugly.

Anyway, enough with the introductions – this story of this case starts one cold rainy April night in the office; I was watching a couple of rats scurrying about in a corner, trying to figure out how to pay the rent.

That’s how tough things are – we even make the rats pay rent – when the phone jangled harshly.

“Got a job for ya”, barked a disembodied voice. “Friday night, 22nd April, at the Rum Bar over in Chepstow.”

“How much, and what’s the catch?” I barked back. “And why are we talking in dog language?”

“Can’t be too careful – don’t know who might be listening in” came the reply, this time in a marked Bristolian accent. Personally, I marked it at about seven out of ten.

“Look”, said the voice, “D’ya want the gig or not? It’s three hundred bucks, and all the CurlyWurlies you can eat.”

A slender arm shot out from behind me with the speed of a striking cobra, and the receiver was wrenched from my hand.

“We’ll take it” said Rosa.

I was impressed – when I’d started writing that line, she was still half a mile away down the street.

Rosa slammed the phone down triumphantly. “That should keep the wolf from the door for a while” she remarked sardonically.

Sure enough, the tall shadow of the lupine figure that had been lurking menacingly in the hallway shuffled off morosely down the corridor.

Rosa strode over to the door, yanked it open, and bellowed after the receding creature, “Hey! You can tell Grandma I’ll be round tomorrow at three. And will you stop shedding hair all over the carpets, dammit!”.

“So”, observed Big Ben, “Three hundred bucks…”

“Yeah”, I countered, “That’s just about one for every step we have to carry all the gear up.”

At this, Big Ben paled. Exercise was one of the few things he wasn’t big on.

“Hold on”, said Stooie, “I’d been planning to wash my hair on Friday night…”

There was a long thoughtful pause.

“You’re gonna have to wait until Saturday to do that, then”, I told him.

“Can’t do it Saturday… I meant to tell you… I already got us another gig for Saturday night. Over at Widcombe Social Club in Bath”.

Rosa began to dance a little jig on the spot. “Two gigs this weekend, we can afford to pay the back rent AND stop by the cake shop on the way home”, she crooned happily.

“Well, not exactly…” replied Stooie hesitantly, “I – er – I said we’d – you see, it’s a charity event, and – well, they were trying to raise funds, and it’s for a good cause, and it’s a really good new venue, just opening up, and – and – and I said we’d do it for nothing…”

Silence descended on the room like an icy blanket of snow on an unsalted sidewalk. Soon someone was going slip up and get badly hurt.

Tension mounted; you could have cut the air with a baseball bat.

Ben emitted a low involuntary growl.

“So – no cake shop…?” asked Rosa in a quiet voice, with low undertones of menace lurking beneath the surface, like a shark biding its time waiting for an overweight swimmer with a side order of fries.

“Look, I’ll make it up to you – I’ll – er – I’ll..”, and with this, Sttooie leaped up from his chair and lunged towards the door to escape.

His chair went flying backwards, and the heap of paperwork perched on the desk behind him slid off and scattered across the floor. Ben started forwards to intervene, but knocked over the table lamp, spilling Stooie’s cup of cold coffee all over the stack of unpaid bills and invoices that littered the table, and sending the telephone crashing down onto the stained linoleum floor.

As Stooie disappeared out the door, with Ben clattering after in hot pursuit, upending the table and splintering the remaining good chair, I surveyed the wrecked office.

“So now what..?” I asked Rosa.

“Leave it to me”, she replied, and began to sing a gentle melody in a soft, sweet, contralto voice.

At this, two small blue birds flew in through the open window, and began fluttering around the office, picking up the scattered paperwork in their beaks and stacking them tidily onto the desk. Meanwhile, a small troupe of mice, clad in tiny waistcoats and jaunty little coloured hats, emerged from the cracked skirting board in the corner and started to rearrange the upturned furniture, mopping up the spilt coffee and replacing everything neatly on the table, whilst a squirrel inexplicably scampered in from the tree branch hanging just outside the window, and began dusting the shelves with its tail.

After a few minutes, the office was restored to a neat and tidy condition, and the mysterious woodland creatures disappeared as suddenly as they had come.

“Rosa…”, I asked quietly,

“…How long have you been having these Disney spells…?”

Square on

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