A trendy bar re­quires a Brexit strat­egy

South Wales Echo - - Gary Bainbridge - GARY BAIN­BRIDGE Fol­low Gary on Twit­ter @Gary_Bain­bridge or email him at gary.bain­[email protected]­i­tymir­ror.com

OC­CA­SION­ALLY, when the plan­ets align and my shift pat­tern al­lows it, I go out for a mid­week drink with three col­leagues. I do not want you to think that these are evenings of de­bauch­ery, far from it, al­though once we got pizza and one of us (me) burped over his Pepsi and didn’t even say “ex­cuse me”.

In fact I have come to ap­pre­ci­ate their se­date na­ture, nights of sit­ting down and be­com­ing gen­tly soz­zled while work­ing out where the worlds of pol­i­tics and the me­dia have gone so very wrong. They are about as far away from the sort of night out a nor­mal 21-year-old would en­joy that you could imag­ine.

“Where should we go for our night out?” I asked in our on­line chat group. We have a group solely con­cerned with mak­ing ar­range­ments for our bi-monthly night out, even though we sit so close to each other in the of­fice that we could hit each other with a pa­per aero­plane built with lit­tle skill.

These ar­range­ments make the Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions look like a piece of cake, though not one we can eat and still have, be­cause four adults with re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and mort­gages and shoes can­not just de­cide to do some­thing.

This is how I knew that, when the Brexit head-the-balls, with their men-of-the-peo­ple-I-might-be-atoff-but-I-know-what-you-salt-ofthe-earth-gor­blimey-trousers-sortswant shtick and their hedge funds, were waltz­ing around two years ago say­ing, “Oh, it’ll be the eas­i­est deal ever, we don’t even have to do the read­ing, we can just turn up in our pants”, they were talk­ing ab­so­lute non­sense.

Be­cause if four peo­ple take the best part of a week to come up with a mu­tu­ally sat­is­fac­tory date, time, and lo­ca­tion for a night out, then Brexit was al­ways doomed to fail­ure. You might as well tell the tide to get on with it.

Any­way, the an­swer to “Where should we go for our night out?” turned out to be “I thought we might go to that cool quar­ter where they have the sort of night out that nor­mal 21-year-olds en­joy”.

I was scep­ti­cal. But no­body else raised any ob­jec­tions, and I thought, “Well, life is about tak­ing risks, other­wise you might as well be dead, so I suppose I should do this”, which gives you a sense of what it’s like to go on a night out with me.

We met in a quiet pub on the tepid out­skirts of the cool quar­ter. We were the only cus­tomers. I tossed a gag grenade at the bar­man about it be­ing Bed­lam in there that night, but he wasn’t hav­ing it. We drank up and en­tered the cool quar­ter.

That was also quiet, with hints of off-sea­son sea­side re­sort and drip­ping tar­pau­lin. A wet wind lashed us. “Why is it so de­serted?” I asked. It looked like a sci­ence-fic­tion film in which the pop­u­la­tion had mys­te­ri­ously van­ished.

“They’ll be in­side,” one col­league said, “on ac­count of the wet and windy con­di­tions.”

They weren’t. We en­tered a bar about the size of half a foot­ball pitch with a dozen cus­tomers and sat down with our drinks un­til a man with a gui­tar and a mi­cro­phone made it in­tol­er­a­ble to stay.

We went into an­other bar, and en­tered an­other sort of mid­dle-aged night out. There was a group of women danc­ing to Danc­ing Queen be­tween the en­trance and the bar.

There are only two ways to get through a group of women danc­ing to Danc­ing Queen. One is a sort of awk­ward shuf­fle around them, the choice of my col­leagues, the other is to in­dulge in some fancy foot­work.

I am no dancer. Sober me has come to terms with this fact. Mildly soz­zled me will never ac­cept this.

So I strut­ted through them, be­cause I’d had two drinks, and straight into the gents’ toi­lets, be­cause I’d had two drinks.

“Got away with that,” I thought, as I washed my hands.

I went to re­join my friends, this time on the right side of the danc­ing women. But they had van­ished, de­cid­ing amongst them­selves that this was not the place for them. They had aban­doned me, the weak­est an­te­lope among li­onesses.

“You’re danc­ing with us now,” the al­pha fe­male said.

And so I was forced to dance with the women, in the man­ner a nor­mal 21-year-old would en­joy, un­til I was able to ma­noeu­vre my­self into a po­si­tion to Moon­walk out of the bar and to safety. It was thor­oughly hu­mil­i­at­ing.

Like Brexit.

I am no dancer. Sober me has come to terms with this fact. Mildly soz­zled me will never ac­cept this...

Could I just squeeze by... please

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.