Ok, I'm definitely taking this personally. And I'm thinking of leaving the words 'of guitars' off the top of this page.
East and myself decided to go out for drink. We've done it before; actually we've done it loads of times and, in my not-so-humble opinion, got really good at over the years (it's only practice after all). There's lots to talk about and even more to rant about- Uxbridge on a Monday night should be nice and quiet shouldn't it?
So- what better place to start than The Queen's Head in Windsor Street or, as myself and East now call it, The Mozzer (See 'A partial success' for a possible reason why). Last time we were there they were cleaning up and heading for bed well before 10.30 which, we rather naively decided, must have been a fluke. And I think it was- on the grounds that this time they started taking the beer trays off the bar just after 9.45, no doubt because the only people in there apart from us were a couple rowing drunkenly in the corner. Very strange. Never mind though, there's lots of other pubs in Uxbridge aren't there?
Off then to the rather bizarrely named Fig Tree a few doors away. East thinks it's called that because it used to be called The Old Bill (you've guessed it, it was previously a police station!) and they had to have a name that had the same number of letters. Could that really be true? Anyway we get a beer each and resume our ranting. All seems ok- the music's a bit weedy but you can't have everything can you? We're about to get another drink when over he comes. He's not talking to me, he's talking at me, something about guessing how old I am- East told me afterwards he assumed I knew him or that he was a customer in the shop; judging by the fact that he was literally foaming at the mouth I think there my well have been more than just alcohol on his evening menu. I should know better than to get too involved but he's not leaving, in fact he's getting far too close... East breaks first, says 'WHAT DO YOU WANT?' in a manner that could politely be described as angry- Mr Mad is shocked, tries to be friendly but we've had enough. He tries shaking hands but East's not interested and by now neither am I. He asks 'An I annoying you?' We answer 'YES' in unison. We've finished our drinks by now- no point in getting another. We're off. As we leave he's with the barstaff and they don't look too happy. Good. But something like that happening ruins the place you're in somehow doesn't it? I just talked to East on the phone and he just said he won't be going back in there. I know what he means.
We should have written the night off and gone home at this point- but we didn't. The Good Yarn on the High Street's open 'till 12 and we need a drink. There's not many people in and it all seems ok 'though I'm not sure about that young bloke at the bar... undetered we order up and stand over near a fruit machine, rambling away about Mr. Mad, both half wishing we'd hit him. Not a good feeling to have but we feel a bit better after a moan. It's East's round and he goes to the bar- as he does the young bloke approaches me saying something about dropping some money earlier... suddenly he's down on his knees in front of the fruit machine, presumably looking for money but he's getting too near to East's coat for me. For a split second I see myself kicking him in the face- and then the thought goes. He's saying something but we've had enough, we're leaving. As we walk past the barman who was going to serve East I hear myself say something like 'sorry mate, we've already had one nutter tonight'.
Suddenly we're outside and it's freezing cold. We're a bit bewildered, angry even but we're laughing at the absurdity of it all. All we wanted to do was have a couple of drinks and have a chat. But that would have been too simple. No wonder Uxbridge was empty. All the sane people knew didn't they?