Well, I did something yesterday that I hadn’t done for a while, and that’s go to the pub on a Sunday afternoon to watch a football match that I had any interest in.
Pretty often I’ll while away a Sunday in some boozer or other, usually to have lunch because it’s easier to go out and buy a roast dinner, which is what you want on most Sundays but not every Sunday, than it is to buy meat and vegetables and get them all prepared up and cooked and then there’s the whole Yorkshire pudding thing because by god they’re a bastard to get right but buying them in just isn’t on.
But pretty often, when there’s football showing in wherever we’re having that roast dinner – and sometimes there is and sometimes there’s not, generally depending on how gastropubbish the place thinks it is. For instance the Queens in Crouch End is very very GPish, to the extent it calls half of itself itself a Dining Room and insists you eat in this Dining Room and not in the bar, which means you have to get up and walk from one part to the other to get more drinks in, which kind of negates the whole thing if you ask me – it’s a game I’m not really investing anything in. It’s neutral. No biggie.
Of course yesterday was different, as the game was the North London Derby and I’d said I’d go to a certain pub to watch it with an old mate I’d run into a few days beforehand, so that’s where I went, to this pub that I wouldn’t usually go to because as far as I’m concerned you go to a pub to either meet people before moving on somewhere else, or to eat because see paragraph 2 (above), or – and this is rare these days as I hardly drink at all except the odd glass of red with a meal that calls for it – to enjoy a good glass of beer. Proper beer, to be drunk in proper surroundings, to wit an atmosphere generated by not too large a number of people, having a nice time with their friends. No drunks, no shouting, nobody under thirty (possible reduction to twentyfive in the case of less excitable womenfolk) and no music (possible exemption for quiet jazz/country, preferably something already part of my own collection which, when played in said pub, comes as a pleasant surprise (also applies to supermarkets)).
Proper beer was not on sale, not even in bottles; mass-produced fizzy lager and nitro-kegged bitter was the choice, so I had a pint of Carlsberg which, by seven o’clock, had given me a nasty head and a distinct feel of being chemically attacked.
The right team won, as is only proper, and the universe is finally adjusting itself to its correct alignment, having been out of bonk for about fifty years.
However, upon returning home and having woken from a Probably The Worst Lager In The World-induced doze I found that, despite having no distinct memory of having done so, I had shouted very loudly and sung very lustily during the game, as had my old friend, the people near us, and everybody else on the left side of the pub (the right side being that side traditionally occupied by the Opposition).
And that is why, since last night, I have been unable to produce anything more than a rough deep growl with paintstripper overtones.