Provincial Letters

Far from the mad crowds of the city, Blaise Pascal passed comment on the strange behaviour of this urban contemporaries in his Provincial Letters. The connection between them and this blog is somewhat tenuous.

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Location: Grimsby, N E Lincolnshire, United Kingdom

My star sign in Superstition. And I didn't believe in reincarnation last time, either. The only thing I can't tolerate is intolerance. I am a fanatical ant-fanaticist. I am bigotted only where bigots are concerned. I am a fundamentalist atheist. I'm proud to be a product of evolution; I know it in my genes.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Posted @ 13:56Open Mic Night @ The Carnival Barton

My Saturday night began in Swigs at about 17:15, meeting Ian for a tea-time beer. As usual, we managed to set a great proportion of the world's wrongs right (it's the one about not listening to us that we have the most problem with). This was achieved despite Ian's lingering (lingering?) hang-over from last night, which was all Mark's fault, anyway (see: "Richard Papps @ The Tap"). Mark, naturally, has some lame excuse for not coming out to play tonight: he's working ("...I've worked 66 hours in the last 6 days..."). Anyway, I'm off to Barton - to the Carnival Inn, to be exact - for the Open Mic Night. Perhaps I'll just have another beer before I go and get ready...

The biggest mistake you can make when you're going out for an evening's drinking and making music is to start the drinking bit before it's really evening. This is caused by the extremely optimistic expectation - totally unsupported by your experience - that you won't be drunk by 21:00. I record this observation as a public service and as a reminder to myself that it is a bad idea. Don't expect it to change much, though.

Tim is due to pick me up from the Tap around 19:30 (I get a text to confirm this). Leave Swigs for home to collect guitar. Arrive at the Tap at 19:00 thinking that another pint won't hurt (this turns out to be untrue). Have a game of pool with Sean (he won). Drink my beer; realise that my earlier optimism was unfounded but, unfortunately, there's no going back now. Tim & Jen arrive at 19:40, uncharacteristically late (apologies are offered, but no worries, it's good of them to take me). Then off to pick up Big Steve (he's called that 'cos he's very tall and his name is Steve; this is to distinguish him from other people called Steve - of which I know a lot - who are not as tall as he is; we're quite literal with our nicknames in these parts).

Our hosts for the evening are known to us by reputation and previous encounters; thus fore-warned, we are fore-armed (four-armed? - no, that's just the beer talking). Essentials, such as money and petrol, are obtained on the way out of Grimsby. As we pull into the petrol station, white stuff falls out of the sky. "That'd be snow, then," I observe, glad to know that youngsters will now not disbelieve me when I talk about the good old days when winters featured snow on a regular basis. Steve makes a joke about Tim's dandruff which I am saving for "Give an old joke a good home" week. Jen is sent out in the cold, windy storm to pay (this is the sort of thing that causes feminism, chaps). The rest of the drive to Barton is uneventful, except for...

I'm sure Tim doesn't always take the wrong turnings on routes he's driven several times before. Well, I'm reasonably confident he doesn't do it when I'm not with him. However: (a) Tim, you nearly went to Elsham Hall last time and you did get the right exit from the roundabout for the A15 north from the A180/M180 junction for Barton and the Humber Bridge; (b) Last time, Tim, you said "Oh, not this one, the next one" for the exit to Barton - but that seemed to slip your memory last night (quite enjoyed the "scenic route" into Barton, though). We were glad Big Steve knew where we were going...

"By the time we got to Barton...", the snow had stopped. To be strictly accurate, it hadn't started yet; we had simply overtaken it on its rush up the Humber to cause havoc in Doncaster and all points west. It is not spoiling any surprises to let you know that the snow arrived in Barton some 30 minutes after we did.

I am not going to mention the appalling trick that Tim played on me during the journey when I mentioned that I would appreciate an early arrival in Barton as my bladder was rather full and wished to be emptied. Driving over cat's eyes in order to add extra vibration to my bladder strain is not big and it's not clever and, no matter what you might think, is not funny. Just to spare your blushes, I will mention that we arrived in Barton without Tim's car being in need of a good clean.

So, here we are in Barton. The PA's already set up and the guys kick off very soon after we arrive. I get the beers in (Everard's Tiger for me; Stella for Big Steve; half of Guinness for Jen - whiskey, later; and Tim's sole pint of Guinness for the evening - you're a hero, Tim). At first it looks like there's not to many people there (and, with the arrival of the snow, that no-one else will venture out). But, eventually, Laurie (guitar & harmonica) and Mark (guitar; the tall one in Missing Time) arrive and the evening goes great guns.

Steve (not the Big one; another, shorter, one) is landlord of the Carnival but he's leaving (tonight is his last night) for Spain to open a bar called The Mariners. He sings along with Laurie on a good old song from the good/bad old days of the fishing [this originally said "dishing" but I changed it] industry. Ben knocks out a wonderful medley on the piano which has us whooping in the aisles (or, at least, from our chairs). Mark is supreme, as always. Big Steve - after delaying his appearance until sufficient quantities of Stella have been consumed - plays a blinder and makes Jen cry with a truly beautiful song (the title of which I have forgotten because I had had too many beers by then). Helen, Ian and Denny (in various combinations) keep the evening rocking. Oh, and I sang a few songs...

It was great to do Beautiful Day (The Levellers) with Ian, Denny and Helen. There was a really good finish with just about all of us doing Knocking On Heaven's Door (Bob Dylan).

A truly wonderful night was had by all. And I drank too much beer... ...what a surprise!

We drive back to Grimsby, leaving around 23:45. It's stopped snowing. Tim drops me off at home at around 00:15 and I secure my guitar and pop out for pizza: a 10" vegetarian with added jalapinos (which is not a cue for a naughty joke). Take this home and eat it in bed (re-)reading Douglas Adam's Long Dark Tea-Time Of The Soul. Fall asleep quite happy but under the influence of a large quantity of beer. Not a bad night at all.


Blogger Seany said...

I don't remember winning at pool? But then, I'm not too clever at knowing when to start drinking either (about 5 hours previous I suspect!)

Sun Feb 20, 04:27:00 pm GMT 
Blogger Seany said...

... and another thing, it's good to hear that traditional songs from the days of the dishing industry are still doing the rounds!

Sun Feb 20, 04:29:00 pm GMT 
Blogger woja said...

You say "dishing", I say "fishing"...

(And I think you did win. Unless it was me.)

Sun Feb 20, 04:37:00 pm GMT 

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