I have reached the age where everything I know is mostly uncorroborated fragments overheard in pubs and parties and occasionally picked up from voices on the radio. I talk with great authority until I realise I have no authority. Pub banter is often a game of bluff. If you pepper your conversation with words and phrases like ‘blindsided, VAT tariff, micro breweries, fixed penalty notice,’ you can remain unchallenged for years. There are things I will never understand. Now I know I will never look up the word hermeneutics again or ask a barman. Or visit the reference library.
Pubs are a place for outlandish views that seem quite reasonable after five pints of Dark Star. Do we really share 95 % of our DNA with spinach? Did the old baldie driving the Harley in a moment of menopausal madness really bed Madonna and her twin sister when she popped into the rock disco in Acton? Is there even a rock disco in Acton? Here is a list of those ideas that haunt the snug of The Old Fart’s Head in Hammersmith, my very own glossary of drunken ideas.
- The barmaid really fancies you. She’s clocked the Penguin Classic under your arm and lights up when you buy a round. She even comes over to your table to see if you want another whisky with your Boondoggle. You’ve got it going on. So what if she’s twenty years younger and you’re unhappily married– that’s what the great unrequited love stories are all about. She’s Australian with a pierced navel, her accent and hesitation is charming. You wonder when it’s her night off. Will that coincide with your wife working nights to help pay off your credit card debts. You might take her for a drink. One of those nice pubs on the river, not like this place — dying on its arse.
- Months later the pub is bust and the squatters have moved in. Robyn moved back to Sydney but not after a clinch under the sinister display of ice hockey masks, her cat glasses lit up by the imitation log fire video. Now when you pass you see hanging in the upstairs bedroom window a makeshift curtain- her lucky towel – depicting sunset on a tropical beach. She was the only woman who ever understood you. Something you remember hourly. But right now you need to buy diapers.
- In Bhutan if you climb into a teenage virgin’s bedroom on a Tuesday night you can have lawful and repeated sexual intercourse because of the odd laws concerning hospitality and roof-climbing. If, however, you were to repeat this action on a Wednesday you face judicial circumcision performed in a village square with secateurs. A young estate agent (traditionally the family idiot joined the church now it’s Marsh & Parsons) was shouting this out to his dumbfounded and grinning colleagues. No guesses to where they will be flying to for their winter break.
- At the dawn of human evolution there were six species of ape all about to seize the baton to decide who in future will be stuck behind bars and who will have the pleasure of filming them on their smart phones. Homo Sapiens was by no means the brightest. A far brighter and depressed cousin, Homo Prevaricens, handed over the baton guessing at the doomed future of his grinning and more brutal cousin, choosing a life of captivity to the one of destructive folly.
- It is illegal to make love to a woman immediately after she has been horse-riding because she is so aroused by the motion of the animal that she will not be able to make a rational decision. This belongs also to the group of male stories which state that women who prefer tampax get furiously aroused and love sex more than tampon wearers. I have heard this one in well over fifty pubs including one in Bangalore where afterwards everyone sang Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star until someone was banged on the head with a Limka bottle.
- Human consciousness was caused by a mutation very similar to the herpes virus. Variations on this story include the common cold, ie when a chimpanzee sneezed something altered his brain state and he started acquiring trees at an alarming rate. An early Perin Rachman prototype.
- Tomatoes are a well known super food but what isn’t so well known is that the longer they are cooked the more incredible their properties. A man swore that he had a couple on a slow simmer for nearly three months and the juice had boosted his IQ into double figures.
- Free Willy! was originally a porno but SeaWorld threatened to sue. They tried to recant when they realized the orca liberation flick was far more damaging to their reputation than the original proposal.
- Add your own! Or try spreading these down your local.