At the Robin Hood and Little John pub, Arnold, Nottinghamshire.
A tale from last Wednesday evening as I know there are many pub singing aficionados out there, like myself.
Of course Wednesday evening was a special one – Scotland had thumped the Norwegians and my England-supporting friends were crying into their beer after ignominious defeat at the hands of Northern Ireland. The ideal time to go out for a drink then…
Taking a walk through the dark streets of the neighbouring suburb I approached ‘The Robin’ and could hear something that sounded a little like music emanating from the whitewashed building – yes it was ‘Vocalist/Keyboard Entertainer’, Mickey, on his organ, leading a loud refrain of Y Viva Espana! Hooray!
As I entered the old pub I noticed a rather glum looking greying old flag of St. George, tied up on a balcony of some flats opposite, rather forlorn and looking all but fluttered out. Yes – this was going to be a good night I thought grinning to myself with the effects of schadenfreude still resonating strongly as I entered the pub.
Immediately through the door, I was met by no less than a seventy-five year old ‘matador’ dancing up to me, joining in enthusiastically with Mickey’s promptings. They’re fabulous things those electric organs aren’t they? Not only can they make birdsong sounds but Mickey can even imitate the clicking of castanets on there. Or perhaps it was El Matador’s knees clicking, I’m not sure. The young girl taking duties on the microphone was…er of the fuller figure; her heaving breasts appeared to follow one around the room like those scary white balloons from ‘The Prisoner’ series with Patrick McGoohan. She had a belting voice however.
The call rang out for, Arthur, Arthur, Arthur…and regular guest singer Arthur himself – an octogenarian with an Elvis quiff zoomed out from between someone’s legs and up to the mike in around 0.25 seconds. Now the mike and Arthur obviously love each other, but sadly Arthur is crap but has still not realised that fact yet. Finally, after three songs and weeks of my life, another singer prised the mike out of Arthur’s hand with a crowbar after a rendition of Ken Dodd’s epic ‘Tears’. Yes I was shedding them Arthur.
From my vantage point at the bar a rather large man with a Catweazle beard was brushing shoulders with me. From his associates I heard his name was ‘Big Malc’. Big Malc had only three teeth. Shortly, he received the nod and was at the mike doing an imperfect Elvis impersonation – complete with flat cap and donkey jacket.
“Tek a maaahhh haaaand”
“Tek a maaaahhh who-ell laaaaf teeeuuww”
“Cos‘ aahhh caaa—uuunnnttt heeeyyy-uuullppp”
It was stunning stuff; either that or I was very drunk. Deciding the latter was far more likely I headed off with the music still ringing in my ears, (and five pints of Guinness coursing through my veins).
I was just reaching for my Mp3 player for a little private sing-song on the way home, (Frankie Miller – Caledonia, no less, ya bass!) when I heard a large commotion coming from the flats where the grey England flag was strung up on the balcony, opposite the pub. Six officers of the law were carrying a young man by his nostril hair out of the flat where the flag was tied up. He was suitably handcuffed and thrown unceremoniously into the back of the meat wagon not before shouting,
“Leave me alone ya b***ards – I’ve done nothing wrong – she’s upstairs f***ing laughin’ at yer”
Seems like the England defeat had been all too much for that particular individual.
They tell me the age of variety is dead but you know I’m not so sure.
Oh what a night.