Day 13 cntd (19th September 2009)
The Pig and Whistle (Latimer Road) ½ Strongbow, 2 x ½ John Smith’s Smooth, ½ Carlsberg £4.60
On we moved, ever closer to the end of the day via the Tube Station at Latimer Road. This is in North Kensington, which is just a nice way of saying that it’s the scruffy bit of town that the locals don’t want to admit is Notting Hill. From previous visits to the area, I knew that there was a pub virtually under the railway bridge, appropriately called The Station. I knew that it had large brightly lit windows, a welcoming feel, and a completely awesome beer garden. It was also about 20 yards further from the station than the Pig and Whistle, which was a dodgy looking estate type pub with plain brickwork, few visible windows and no outside lighting whatsoever. Yet again, close but no cigar.
In we trooped, resigned to our fate, and found ourselves in a room which was not a million miles away from a cross between a working men’s club and a staff canteen. I don’t think they’d ever seen this many lady customers in one go before.
There were a couple of bare walls, and a couple with strange art that could best be described as cartoon sports murals (it may have even been “sponsored” art, since one of them had a strange picture of a tree with a Fosters beer tap on it). There was a raised area to one side with a pool table on it, and another smaller bit of stage near the front door where a couple of grumpy old boys were setting up a karaoke machine.
It was clear that, given my history in this area, plus the fact that we were with a large number of semi-inebriated ladies, there was very little chance that we were going to get out of there without doing some singing. As usual, it was the mischievous pairing of my wife and Mrs Lewis who put my name forward to do a turn, deciding that I should, for the second time in T.O.M.B history, share my version of Daydream Believer with the world. Unfortunately, old bloke number one then informed me that they were having trouble with the telly, and would I mind singing it without the words? Fine, except for the fact that I only knew the first verse.
Cue the spectacle of me trying to sing to my adoring masses (well, some of them were watching, anyway), whilst simultaneously trying to lean over and let old bloke whisper the next line to me. Still, the second half of the song is basically just the chorus repeated about a hundred times, so I could stop listening to my aged prompt and concentrate on a bit of audience participation. Everyone seemed happy to sing along apart from Liz, who was in cahoots with the landlord’s son (aged about 6 or 7, we thought) – encouraging him as he theatrically, and repeatedly, threw himself down onto the sofa clutching his ears as if in pain. There’s always a critic somewhere.
INTERLUDE: Essential Pub Conversations Number 16 – What Wonderful Things Do Girls Talk About When They Are Out On The Town?
Sex. Was it really ever in any doubt?
Given the brief about the various highbrow discussions that myself, Keith and our various guests had indulged in during our time on the Marathon, the ladies knew that they had the opportunity to insightfully dissect any number of issues that affect the modern world we live in.
Instead, what we got was a stream of lustful outpourings about every possible variety of the male form. Age, sexual orientation, rebelliousness or otherworldliness – all were metaphorically measured and undressed in the course of these enthusiastic discussions. Even our fair wives were taking part (clearly dragged unwillingly into the fray by the naughtier members of the team), and it seemed that virtually no man, bar perhaps their husbands, was safe from impure thoughts.
Therefore, whilst trying desperately not to blush too much, we bring you the sordid tale of our Ladies Day “objects of desire”, all arranged in their simple but striking categories (all of which are displayed exactly as the ladies had written them, by the way). Be afraid men, be very afraid….
Top Ten “Silver Foxes” (or “Old men”, as Keith said)
Bryan Brown (off of Cocktail?)
Hugh Jackman (a bit harsh calling him a Silver Fox, I think)
John Nettles (Bergerac himself!)
Samuel L Jackson
It should be pointed out that someone had actually tried to cross these last two out, so we can only assume that not everyone was a fan of Pulp Fiction and Midsomer Murders. There was also a gracious nod to Gallic flair, as someone had written “Gerard Depardieu ½ point”.
The ladies soon moved on to the subject of bad boys that they were irresistibly drawn to, which turned out to be an interesting bunch to say the least:
Top Ten “Wrong Uns”
Johnny Vegas (seriously?)
Eddie Izzard “if he’s wearing a dress”
Bill Beaumont (eh?)
Frankie Boyle (a suggestion from Irene Stock, who had popped in for ten minutes to say hi to the girls)
Martin Sheen (Have they forgotten that he is possibly the finest US President who never actually existed)
It got even stranger from here:
Top Eleven “Dead But Would Do” (I’m not kidding – that’s what was written)
Young Elvis (clearly a personal choice, as it had been scribbled in very different handwriting at the bottom of the page)
To be fair to the ladies, this particular list was born from a moving tribute to Mr Swayze who had only recently Dirty Danced off this mortal coil. I’m not sure what you can say about the next one:
Top Five “Gay, But Yes”
John Barrowman (girls, could you really handle the fact that his pillow talk would consist of singing show tunes?)
Rock Hudson (could also fit into “Dead but Would Do” of course)
Jeremy Irons (isn’t he married to Sinead Cusack?)
Kevin Spacey (not proven!)
Surely this one was a little bit lazy ladies? You’ve got a list of five men, one of whom is dead and two of whom probably aren’t actually gay. There was even a further shock when I saw Gordon Ramsay’s name at the bottom of the page, until we realised that he was actually supposed to be in the Wrong Uns section. Thankfully, the girls managed to redeem themselves in the eyes of men all over the country with their next list:
Top Five “Ladies I Would”
Angelina Jolie (although not Kerry, because “her lips are permanently chapped”)
Well done girls, well done.
Just in case you thought that everything they talked about came from the gutter, our female companions finished their discussions by talking about music and films. I suspect they were playing to stereotypes with these ones a bit, but nevertheless they came up some deeply emotional stuff:
Top Ten “Songs to Cry to When Dumped”
Against All Odds – Phil Collins
All by Myself – The Sealion Dion
I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
Hopelessly Devoted to You – Olivia Newton John
Without You – Nilsson
I Ain’t Missing You – John Waite
Everyday Hurts – Sad Cafe
Three Times a Lady – Commodores
It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls
Ah, there you go – some good old weepy, sit-in-your-pyjamas-at-home-looking-at-photos-whist-eating-ice-cream music. And The Weather Girls of course which is a totally inspired choice – it certainly makes me feel like crying every time I hear it.
Top Six “Chick Flicks”
Meet Joe Black
Bridget Jones’ Diary
A good solid list, but it was clear that they were running out of time, as there were only six films captured. The biggest shame was that they subsequently didn’t finish the final list which appeared to be “Top Songs to Shag To”. Judging from the start this could have been a classic, seeing as they had already moved on from the traditional likes of “Sexual Healing” and on to the more frisky “Shake Your Tail Feather”, and then to the brilliant choice of “Ride of the Valkyries” (I love the smell of Napalm in the bedroom?) Ladies, you are rude, crude and occasionally completely bloody mad, but above all, very, very funny.