The joint hung from the corner of my mouth, as the sweet smelling smoke danced towards the clouds. A bead of sweat found its natural path down over my temple, as the cool night air of the Californian breeze teased the long tresses of my sweat laden hair. I looked out into the darkness, the atmosphere was charged. I couldn’t see them, but I knew that they were there. Thousands of them, maybe more. I could sense them, I could almost smell them. Apart from the slight breeze, the only sound was a low hum emanating from behind me. I slowly slid my fingers down the strings, and the amplifier sighed. A slight ripple now among the throng that waited with baited breath. Hushed voices whispered to each other, the excitement had definitely taken an upward turn. My left hand shaped an E chord, and my right hovered over the strings like a buzzard circling its prey. It crashed down onto the strings, and the amplifier behind me spat forth music, sex, love and peace all in one burst, which caressed every single member of the baying audience. As the lights went up, I could see the crowd memorised, as my fingers danced over the strings, and the amplifier translated my message to a waiting crowd.
“Do you want fries with that?”
Tracy’s monotone voice slapped me hard across the ears, as she asked me the question, through a mouth full of gum.
I had been standing in line for so long at my local fast food! Emporium, that I had drifted back to 1967. I was playing my guitar in the Californian desert during the summer of love, and was surely on for some rock chick loving after the gig, when bloody Tracy had to go and spoil it all!
“Yes why not, presuming it won’t take another half an hour”. I think my sarcasm had bypassed Tracy. . . . . . Never mind.
I have to admit that I was comfort eating after Miss Marple had given me the news that morning, that she had obtained two tickets for her works annual summer ball. I say comfort eating; comfort is just about the last thing one experiences at their local branch of McWhopperChickenDoughnut, or whatever. I hate virtually everything about these places, and annoy the arse of myself, that I still frequent them. But, you know what it’s like. (Heavy sigh)!
Yes it was that time again folks, can it really be a year ago that I brushed off the ever tightening tuxedo, and made my way to a large tent full of people I didn’t know. I do so hate being a miserable bastard sometimes, and wish for Miss Marple’s sake, that I was normal. But alas I’m an oddball! I have never really understood the concept of parties. For me, I like things that are familiar, and comfortable. The idea of going somewhere where I hardly know a soul, and have to dress in something that feels like it is strangling me, just seems positively daft. I am not a great one for small talk, and find it very difficult to talk to Justin form ‘Human resources’ about his ‘staffing levels’. No offence Justin…….BUT I DON’T REALLY GIVE A SHIT! I really wish I had the courage to just make stuff up, when someone asks me “and what you do, I’d just say something like…..”I am a pirate” when they look quizzically at me, I would say “Yes, I am the modern day equivalent of Black Beard. I mainly work in the English Channel, but sometimes venture up as far as the North Sea. You know Justin, we too have staffing problems, oh yes, cabin boys are extremely hard to come by these days”. But alas I don’t. I dutifully go along with it, smile, nod and surreptitiously look at my watch.
The absolute worst thing about ‘A night out’ is the dancing. I have a huge problem with dancing of any kind. Now I wouldn’t consider myself to be someone who is easily embarrassed, and certainly have no objection to making an arse of myself, but dancing is the one exception. The basic premise of dancing is great. Let yourself go, feel free, express yourself, lose yourself in the music etc, but in reality this just can’t happen. When on the odd occasion you come across someone who really does cut footloose, everybody looks at the poor sod, like he has just escaped from the ‘special house’. So I, along with everyone else, do that awkward shuffling from side to side thing. Your face is smiling, but the eyes are certainly letting you down! They are not lying; people can see the fear in them. Then of course one of those records comes on, that there is apparently a specific dance to. There are only four moves for the duration of the whole song, but can I get in sync?.........can I bugger. I’m up when everybody else is down, and I’m thrusting when everybody is spinning, and then to really plunge the dagger of embarrassment through my heart, the bastards form a circle around me, as if to really highlight my ineptitude. My loathing of dance doesn't stop at my lowly level of awkward shuffling about. I despise it right to the very top. Ballet, what a complete load of poncy nonsense. It was best summed up by 'Inspector Grim' from the 'Thin blue line', when he said, "Ballet, just a load of posh birds flashing their gussets, at a bunch of horny old men". I couldn't agree more. The next time there is a dance troop on TV, turn the sound down and have a look at just how bloody ridiculous they look. But the worst, the very worst kind of dancing has to be any form of ballroom dancing, specifically anything of a Latin nature. Now I wouldn’t consider myself to be in any way shape or form homophobic, I really am not bothered how many ‘strolls up the bournville boulevard’ a man of such persuasions wishes to take, but unfeasibly thin men in very tight trousers, mincing around a dance floor, wearing a frilly shirt, and a perma tan, is just frankly, bloody gay! It’s hilarious, and frightening all at the same time.
Of course it isn't only the up tempo songs, that need to be danced to. Oh no, it's time for the slow dance. Poor Carol from marketing, has to put up with dirty old Derek from accounts groping her arse, for the entire duration of 'Careless whisper'. I spend the whole song treading on Miss Marple's toes. The reason for my clumsiness, is not entirely due to my hatred of dancing, but the words of the songs very often put me off. Why the hell can't song writers use language, that ordinary people use ordinarily, in everyday ordinary life? When has any bloke, who knows better, ever called his wife or girlfriend 'Girl'? So often you will hear "Hey girl" or such the like. Have you ever walked into a pub, and said to the bar staff......"Hi, I’ll have a lager, and.......hey GIRL, what do you want to drink?". I fear it would be a very short date. There is a line in a famous smootcher, who's title escapes me at the moment, which goes...."Girl, I've been watching you, from so far across the floor now baby". Just try that one in reality. I can just see it. Wayne from Sheffield stomps across the dance floor, to where a gaggle of young females are standing. He singles one out, and says to her, "GIRL, I've been watching thee, right from ‘cross floor”. Instead of getting the slow dance of his life, he would probably end up on his arse on the pavement, while the girls all discard their drinks, for fear of a Rohipnal incident!
So anyway, off to push this burger down my throat. I wonder if I ate enough of them, I would be too large for my tuxedo?, and thus escape the summer ball. Worth a try……….Tracy, five more McWhopperdogs over here please, and yes, super size me!…………
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