Tales from a Barfly
As ever, another fascinating week at Mobi’s – from the cacophonous night of last Saturday, when the nearby live music almost burst our eardrums for six long hours – to last night, when our own ‘dulcet tones’ of disco music had the foots a-tapping and the beer a-flowing.
Last Sunday saw the second day of the new EPL league and also the showing of the Formula One Grand Prix from Belgium. I was worried about how to juggle the two sports so that F1 fans could watch one screen and Football fans the other.
In the event, I failed in this endeavour as it became apparent that I couldn’t move customers who were already entrenched on their bar stools and would have objected had I tried to move them.
In fact one did, so I gave up.
Fortunately, the brief scattering of football fans didn’t seem to mind watching the Grand Prix, and once it was over, I was able to switch over to the EPL in time to show the second half of the Spurs/ QPR game.
If nothing else, this has taught me a lesson. Next time there is a clash, (like next weekend), I will put a label on each screen to advise customers which sport will be showing on that screen , and I will not start by F1 on both screens while waiting for the football to start. That is a recipe for trouble.
After Saturday’s virtual ‘nil showing’ of sports fans, it was gratifying to see a few out on the Sunday, and I am hoping to build on this. Maybe as the EPL season progresses, the ‘table clashes’ will become more interesting and may attract more people to Mobi’s to watch the live action.
Time will tell.
Monday brought a return of ‘Mr Ting Tong’, our resident German Drunk, who amazingly refused all offers of a drink and insisting on sipping a bottle of water.
Unfortunately sobriety didn’t seem to improve Mr Ting Tong’s ability to communicate in English, and I was still totally mystified by much of what he tried to tell me. The words were clearly English – but what they meant, only the Almighty might have an inkling.
The only thing I understood was his instance on shaking my hand every few minutes and saying:
‘You Mobi – very good man…’
All very flattering, but quite why he had come to that conclusion I will probably never know.
He left as sober as he arrived and we have not seen him since. I hope he is OK.
Tuesday was one of those nights when it seemed to be petering out into a below par performance, when suddenly, quite late in the evening the place was buzzing with returning customers and a few new ones.
It was one of those days when the drinkers were clearly into the music being played so I took personal control and tried my best to play tracks that I thought might appeal to their ‘age group’.
I knew I had got it right when one of two English gentlemen who had been swallowing copious quantities of beers all evening told me he loved every single track, and how did I know exactly what to play?
‘It was just guess work’, said I, but it wasn’t that hard, as I could see they were children of the 80’s. As soon as I concentrated on that era of music, I could see the glow of approval on their faces.
11.30 arrived and the two 80’s music-lovers were the only customers remaining. They were on the point of leaving when the heavens suddenly opened and it became obvious that they weren’t going anywhere for a while on their trusty motorbikes.
So they proceeded to down many more beers, as they listened to Mobi’s music and started to sing along to many of the tracks. They even rung the bell to buy Mobi’s girls a round of drinks and their bar tab went higher and higher….
They then spotted bar next door’s ‘resident drunk’, an English guy who drives around on a motorcycle combination, who was leaning across the partition between the two bars, and was also singing along to our music. He was invited in and they bought him a large whisky. Before long all three of them were standing and waving their arms in unison to one particularly rousing song.
They swayed from left to right on their feet and then back again, when all of a sudden; the new drunken arrival did a ‘Del boy’. He swayed right, and fell completely over onto the ground. We all laughed our heads off, and fortunately he didn’t appear to be at all hurt – presumably because he was so drunk.
By 2 am, the rain had finally abated sufficiently, to enable our generous customers to make their short journey back home and yet again we ended up with a decent night’s takings.
Wednesday followed a familiar pattern. There was a steady trickle of customers throughout the afternoon and evening, but by 11 a.m. the final one had departed.
An hour later we were in the process of dimming the lights and preparing to close, when two ‘stalwarts of Mabprachan’s community’ showed up for a couple of late-late night-caps.
I don’t know why, but we always seem to mess up the drinks orders and /or the bills for these two venerable gentlemen. This always provokes embarrassment and profuse apologies from ‘yours truly’, and unconcealed mirth from the gents concerned.
‘We only come to see you Mobi, to find out how you’re going to mess up our bills this time around…’ said one, with a smile.
‘Yes’, added the other laughing his head off, ‘We want to see how you’re gonna eff everything up tonight.’
Honest to God, it rarely happens to anyone else, but it always happens to these two ….either they – or Mobi’s – must be jinxed.
We had a good chat and they had just paid their bills around 1.15 and we thought that we could finally close up for the night when two more punters showed up and begged a beer….
Never being one to turn away custom, we welcomed the two newcomers to our bar and I was surprised to find that one of the two was one a member of that very rare breed – a genuine member of the USA community, from the wilds of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Initially, I thought they were both Americans as they both had American accents, but one of them soon put me right and told me he was from Finland but had been brought up in America.
During the course of our chat they both told me how unpopular it was to be an American abroad these days. The Finnish guy told me that he often let people assume he was an American and listen to all the criticism and abuse being directed at that country before he would tell his ‘accusers’ that he was actually Finnish.
The man from Louisiana also confessed that he often tries to hide the fact that he’s an American and would tell people that hailed from Canada. But this subterfuge was often discovered whenever he was required to produce his passport – then his secret was out.
It seems most unlikely that a man with a Louisianan accent could possibly convince anyone that he was a Canadian, but I kept these thoughts to myself.
My, oh my…how times have changed….
I have worked and even lived with countless Americans throughout my life and have found most of them to be no different to any other nationality. Some are intelligent, friendly, generous and kind, others are loud-mouthed, ignorant, insular and so on. There’s good and bad in every country – not least of which my own – and I have learnt not to be too judgemental.
In particular, individual citizens cannot be held responsible for their government’s actions.
However, it is generally true that I would always know when people from the USA are nearby because so many of them used to be so full of themselves and so proud of their wonderful country – ‘the best in the world’….they used to say… ‘the richest, the most powerful, leaders of the free world, the land of opportunity, the world’s greatest democracy’, and so on and so forth.
We still hear it all on Fox News, ad nauseum….
But as Dylan sung so eloquently:
‘The times, they are a-changing.’
I think they have already changed.
So these two unlikely ‘refugees’ from the land that gave blue jeans, rock’n’roll and fast food to the world*, sat and supped and listened to the music of Neil Diamond, Neil Young and the like, and and we finally called it a night just before 2 am.
All in all, not bad day’s take.
*Many 20th Century historians maintain that it was the desire for these items of American culture that was instrumental in bringing about the demise of the Soviet Union….