Monday, February 19, 2007

Ghostliness

You’ve never lived until you’ve been a ghost

I had this feeling the first time once, a while – well, ok, an age ago, when I visited the coffee lounge in my old faculty at Birmingham University. Where we had used to sit and blather about lectures and lecturers and assessed essays and exams there were now other students…they looked like us but they weren’t us … and I wandered in and around and got myself a coffee and felt that no one was noticing me; they – this new generation of students - were all busy with what were now their university joys and concerns; I was invisible, not a member any more, a ghost haunting one of my old haunts …

And that’s how I felt this evening going up to the Sefton - the pub where my dad used to drag me to, just after my late breakfasts on Sunday, for a midday pint … washing down the taste of bacon and sausage with the incongruous taste of a couple of pints of Higsons best bitter; when a pint of Higgies used to cost 17p … no, stop, stop! Don’t go down that road…

Anyway now it’s full of young, new millennium punters, drinking their drinks and smoking their smokes, who weren’t even born then, way back in the drunken haze of my past.

And being a ghost it means you can’t strike up a conversation with the barmaid. The only bitter they now have in the Sefton is John Smith’s … which is ok … but the only tap I could see was for “Super Chilled John Smith’s Bitter”. Now, if there is one thing you shouldn’t do to a bitter it is to “SuperChill” it – a bitter needs a certain amount of luke-warminess about it – it shouldn’t be REFRESHING and DYNAMIC … it should be cosy and soporific … sup-orific…

So, I asked the barmaid, “Do you have any bitter which is a bit less chilled than super chilled?”

She half smiled … but realising I was a ghost, her smile quivered like a dying fish and froze, and she just said, “dhat’s dhe only one we ’ave, luv”.

After I had quaffed my first couple of sups, and my teeth had recovered from the Arctic shock, it became quite a pleasant pint … but the lingering chill reminded me that I was not of that world … frankly, a ghost … like a ghost in a bad Hollywood film … a frankly ghost to Hollywood …

6 comments:

Anji said...

I used to drink beer up in the North-east of England in my youth. I can't remember what it was now, but it was room temperature and really good...

The last paragraph reminds me of Gordon Lightfoot.

Have you tracked down Spooky yet?

jayne said...

whereabouts in the north-east anji? as a north-eastern lass myself (but you would NEVER guess it from the accent... why aye man!), I MIGHT just know the beer you are on about...

Anji said...

Stockton-on-Tees, Stockton Arms, is it still there?

´jayne said...

was out drinking in stockton last christmas-time... cannot remember anything called the stockton arms though. might have something to do with the HUGE quantities of ale I quaffed though... went to some backstreet pub where it was as if time had stood still.. along with the prices. couldn't believe you could get a pint for that paltry amount of money! la rochelle is altogether a much more savoury place... was out drinking huge quantities there last summer, as I recall...

Anji said...

We can even get draught Guiness here now; But it costs. Do they still have 'men only' bars in Stockton?

jayne said...

don't know about stockton particularly but where I come from (Ferryhill) they still have a working men's club with a "men-only" bar... and in the shakespeare in durham during my youth they used to have a "men only" bar too. so i boycotted that pub. haven't been in there for years so i don't know whether they have adapted to the 21st century yet.
i am a confirmed wine drinker when in france.