It was probably about two or three years ago now, and it was one of the most terrifying nights of my relatively short life.
I think I had been to drama, and I went to meet my friends, Paul and Danny, for a drink afterwards. Now Newcastle has an amazing nightlife, there are plenty of bars, clubs, bar slash clubs, clubs slash bar slash diners to keep you going for a week. Now one particular bar takes the biscuit. If by taking the biscuit you mean 'it's a shithole'. Basement. an underground cavern with a sticky floor and stickier women. Imagine the cantina scene from star wars with weirder looking people. And more chance of being stabbed. Normally it is a hive of human activity (using the term human VERY loosely), but tonight it was very much empty. Apart from two men at the bar, who we will come to in a second. I met Paul and Danny in there, they already had a drink.
Oh the drink. I need to explain. I forgot to mention that Basement is a trebles bar, and if something can have at least a treble measure of some for of spirit, it will have a treble measure of spirit in it. The signature drink of Basement is called Skittles. Available in either red or green (like bags of skittles, hey, they don't miss a trick), I can't even tell you what's in it. All I know is that the green one's made with orange juice and the red one's made with cranberry juice. For a fiver you get two pints of the stuff. Two PINTS of cocktail for a fiver. Now you understand why it's normally always full of people. And stabbings.
So I meet Paul and Danny and they've got their two pints, and I head up to the bar to get mine. At the bar are these two blokes, and they're steaming, absolutely, for want of a better word, fucked. I stupidly stood next to them to get served, and I'll never ever forgive myself. One was tall, shaggy hair, seemed more like he was on drugs. The other was shorter, well built [read fat], bald, and looked like a mean mother fucker. I ordered my drinks, and the mean looking son of a bitch says 'whats that you're having?'. I explain about skittles, and he says 'well I'll get them for you'. I said no thanks, and thats when it started. He got right in my face and said, in no uncertain terms, 'NEVER look a FUCKING gift horse in the mouth'. Now I didn't want to die young, so I let him pay, and walked off to my friends in need of a new pair of trousers. As I got closer to them I saw their faces wide with confusion and terror. I though 'It's just two pints of skittles, nothing unusual'. I turned around and they were there. The guys from the bar. Dennis, as we discovered the mean fucker's name, had followed me to my table. 'Alright lads, you don't mind us joining you do you?'. A collective 'no, of course not'. He looked Danny up and down. He's not the biggest guy, and he was wearing a checked shirt. 'What are you supposed to be, a lumberjack or summit?'. Danny didn't know what to say. He looked at Paul. Paul's got big shoulders, and normally a beard or some form of facial hair. 'You look like you should be wearing that, you look more like a lumberjack'. As Dennis interrogated my friends, the other bloke, we'll call him lanky from now on, spoke up. His words were slurred, and almost incomprehensible. 'I'm sorry mate, we'll go if you want'. Ah don't worry about it mate. Why the FUCK did I say that? He repeated it about 5 times! I should have just said 'yes mate! GO! FUCK THE FUCK OFF!'. But I was scared and really wanted to live, so they stayed. Dennis looked at me and Danny. 'I like you, and I like you', then he turned slowly to Paul. 'But I don't like you'. This was when we got worried. He stayed chatting to us, but kept glaring at Paul. We all kept looking at each other, and then the door. We knew what we had to do. 'Aye I was in the army like, but these days I like nothing more than just having a fight. I love it'. We did NOT want a fight with this bloke. He was like a fat Ross Kemp but actually hard. He stared at Paul. A stare that looked like it went straight to his core and intimidated his soul. 'You. I want you to punch me in the face. I want you to break my nose'. Fuck. What the fuck happened to a few drinks with my mates? Now we were going to break a man's nose? 'Ha ha, no, no I'm not going to break your nose' said Paul. 'Break. My. Nose.' I looked at Paul and Danny, shaking in their bar stools. 'I'm just going to go outside, someone's ringing me' I said. I power walked out the door, looking back to frantically signal to my friends to follow. 'Are you gonna break my nose then? What about you, gay lumberjack?'. Danny got up slowly and inched away, unnoticeable at first, until he was clear and out the door. Just Paul to get out. I felt like a green beret willing his brother in arms to get out from behind enemy lines. 'Fucking break my nose! Are you a puff or something?' 'Ah hang one mate, my phone's ringing'. Paul jogged to the door and we ran. We ran up the stairs. We ran out of the front door. We ran for a good five minutes away from the bar. We didn't know where we were going, all we knew was we had to run and get far away from Basement. As far as we could. We stopped short of Sports Cafe. Out of breath, heaving, still struck with terror. We looked at each other and laughed. Relief, fear, sheer disbelief. We didn't know why we were laughing, but we were, for the rest of the night.
I am presenting to you, here today, what I feel is a cultural artifact which should be noted. Actually, that you be who I feel is a cultural artifact. I am, of course, talking about the hottest band in the world, KISS.
What other band had the balls to just come out in full glam make up, 7 inch high leather boots with a stage show to rival even the best Broadway musicals? Four guys from New York, with guts and guitars, ready to show the world what they had to offer. KISS instigated the use of theatrical sets and stunts at musical gigs. Paul Stanley flying over the crowd to his middle of the audience stage before pulling the trigger of his 'Love Gun'. Gene Simmons' grisly transformation into the 'God Of Thunder', blood spilling from his mouth as he slaps his bass. Ace Frehley's guitar smoking as rockets shoot out from the top of it's neck towards 'Detroit Rock City'. They paved the way for this stuff. Take That's Circus tour? Lady Gaga's Monster Ball? Girls Aloud's out of control tour? I put forward the idea that these wouldn't have come about without KISS. Still going strong after 37 years, they may have been through several line up changes, ditched the make up, and expanded into different genres of music, but they still deliver that rock and roll which is sorely missed in music today. I myself have tickets to see them this year, and I am VERY excited, I shouldn't physically be able to see a band 37 years after they formed.
KISS aside, I do have something else I feel is worthy of being noted as a cultural artifact. In 1979, a film came out which offered escapism, as well as a potentially terrifying look into the danger of gang violence in New York. I am, of course, talking about Walter Hill's masterpiece 'The Warriors'. An outright gritty film, from the dirty electronic music accompanying the opening credits, to the ultra realistic violence between the gangs throughout the film. Although differing from Sol Yurick's novel, the film gained a cult following of it's own. Even people who haven't seen the film will be familiar with the brightly painted faces of the baseball furies. The gangs could be imagined in real life New York, occupying their territory like feral dogs, yet Walter Hill offers an almost comic book version of them, so as not to paint too real a picture of New York's underworld. It showed the solidarity of the brothers in arms, the disorder in the ranks, and the fear which was shot into young gang members hearts. I hear a remake is being penned, set in LA. It will apparently focus on the all too real threat of gang war between the crips and the bloods. In my opinion, I can't see either of those gangs tussling with a Baseball Fury or Gramercy Riff. I'm not holding my breath.
February the14th. Bloody valentines day. It's an awful day for singletons everywhere. Even worse when you're only single one in your house. I almost didn't get out of bed today, I just wanted to wallow in my pity until the day passed. Alas, the bare cupboards called my name and I went to asda to resolve the issue. I resolved it with £44.18p. This was indeed, a big shop. I hope it lasts me a while because money is dwindling. Fast. I suppose that's one reason to smile, the fact I haven't spent X amount of money on a gift and a 'fancy meal' which I probably wouldn't enjoy anyway. The pub seems the logical option for drowning sorrows. Get a few tetleys down me and I'll be right as rain. I hope.
Tetleys as in the alcohlic bitter. Although a brew would be a treat.
It's been a while. How are you? Good? Then we'll begin.
It's coming to that time of the year again. The time when most of the world celebrates love with their partner. The time when I sit on my own and listen to the noises coming through the paper thin walls of my house, wishing I was somewhere else. Valentines. I may be a hypocrite, as I myself have celebrated extravagantly, but when you're alone you can be as miserable as you want. And anyway, heartbreak is comedy gold. Well, any sort of pain or disappointment is comedy gold. I'd say stand up is the best form of therapy if you've got anything on your mind, you can speak the truth and not only do you get everything off of your chest, but people laugh at it and you feel better from that. Plus if you're any good you'll get paid.
Another place for comedy nuggets is the bus. Sometimes you don't even need to look for it, it'll just find you. For example, last Friday I was on the bus back from Cricket training (I was only knocking my bat in because my leg is still being dodgy), and my bat was sticking out of my bag. It's clearly new, the only knocks on it from a mallet I used to knock it in. Without invitation, a man of West Indian descent plopped down next to me and said 'Do you want to buy a brand new, top of the range bat?', to which I said 'no, I clearly have one'. He then went on to tell me about a charity cricket match he played in, mentioning a lot of celebrities, after each one saying 'I bet you don't believe me'. I didn't. Not one bit, but, as the bus was from Perry Barr, I said 'I'm sure it's true!' because I have an aversion to stab wounds.
Newspapers are good too. Here's a quick one. On a page of a free newspaper, primarily distributed on buses, was a large news story with the headline 'Justice for honor killing victim'. I thought wow, this is newsworthy, this is a real victory for that family. Sharing the page was the headline 'Porridge may have been eaten 100 years earlier than previously thought'.
Hope you've enjoyed this one, and keep watching for that short story!
So I can break out with scolfield et al. Prison break is officially brilliant, but only half the first series has been viewed! Thankfully the second half is winging it's way to the house in the post, courtesy of Liam Frost, my big brother. Who, by the way, is performing at kings manor tomorrow night if you're Reading this from the Newcastle area. Go see him. He's like me but not as good.
Nah I'm just kiddin, he's good, and if it wasn't for him I probably wouldn't have got into comedy when I did. So check him out.
So this is my blog. A collection of my musings on the world, where I'll talk utter utter crap about everything and nothing. Films, music, books, gigs, and the titular misadventures I come across in my day to day business, this is where you'll find them.