Second night out
We met up at 7.30 at the King Billy (his suggestion), a biker bar about 10 min walk from my hotel. It was very empty - a few people playing pool, a group of bikers in red and white leathers at a table in a corner, an overweight redhead wearing a Mettalica T-shirt and reading a book, a group of anaemic goths and an old man in a cap with his head on the bar. The barmaid was a buxom wench with a mass of dyed black hair with blonde roots and lots of tattoos. ‘Semi-goth’ would be an appropriate description.
K had been at another bar since leaving the office at 5.30 so, if anything, he looked even more dissipated than before. His face glistened with sweat and his unshaven jowels seemed wobblier than earlier in the day. We started drinking.
I really like him but know that working with him is going to be frustrating as he’s constantly going off at a tangent. That can be interesting in a social context but is less so at work. But it wasn’t work so it was ok and I discovered a lot about him. He probably discovered a lot less about me as he tends to talk at you and will often interrupt you before you’re able to finish a story.
A hard core stayed all night, others came and went. But the place didn’t get much busier even though it got much louder as the evening progressed. The redhead started singing to a lot of the songs – he seemed to know most of the words but every third or fourth line would be a variation on ‘Bush is a stupid cunt’ sung with a broad smile. Everyone ignored him. At K’s prompting, I choose songs from the jukebox. No Kylie, Steps, club anthems or anything R&B were listed. But there was lots of Black Sabbath, Linkin Park, 9-inch Nails, Metallica, Punk compilations and heavy metal bands that I’ve not heard of before. Also quite a lot of The Smiths and Nirvana.
‘Ah, the queer from Manchester,’ K said with pride when he heard Morrissey’s voice. K comes from Manchester.
After the first Smiths song, my head wouldn’t rid itself of the following Morrissey lines:
Say, billy budd
So you think you should ?
Oh, everyone’s laughing
Say, billy budd
So you think that you should ?
Everyone’s laughing !
Since I took up with you
Billy Budd hadn’t played but my brain must have linked the Smiths with the King Billy via the song. The lines are still buzzing around my head today.
The old man lifted his head at some stage and engaged us in conversation. He wanted to know why I was ‘digging holes’ here and not in South Africa. I discovered that he’d ‘dug holes’ in Northamptonshire all his life. He lost interest in the conversation when K and I started discussing Dostoevsky. No, I don’t know why we were discussing Russian literature.
Just before we left, the barmaid asked K if he needed anything to take home – I got the impression that he’d done this before. He bought 4 bottles of Newcastle Brown. If I hadn’t suspected it before, I knew it then – he has a drinking problem!
Going out with him is going to have to be limited to once a week or less.