The day I had a cold (aka The Gaslight Anthem playing ‘The ’59 Sound’ tenth anniversary tour @ Barrowlands Ballroom, Glasgow)

I embarked upon the 12.11 ScotRail service to Glasgow and located my table seat close to the toilet, where I unloaded all of my travel essentials from my backpack onto the sickly green surface of the table:  an A5 lined notebook, a black pen, two bacon rolls, three sachets of Nottingham’s finest export, four cans of Budweiser, a small flask with a finger of Jack Daniels, a pocket packet of tissues and a silver film of Paracetamol.

Despite recently adding an intake of effervescent multivitamins to my morning routine and having also eaten a third of a punnet of blueberries, a banana and two easy peeler oranges which take no fewer than five attempts to peel, I had been hit with my first cold since December 2017 and it happened on the day The Gaslight Anthem were performing the tenth anniversary tour of the ‘59 Sound album at the Barrowlands.

I folded myself into my seat and watched Oban slide slowly into the distance when another sneeze erupted from my nostrils, which by now had taken on the distinct shade of a wind-battered carnation.  I cursed my immune system and wondered if this was the sort of thing Alanis Morissette was alluding to. A heavy sigh and a cough left my mouth at roughly the same time and I reached for the Paracetamol and drowned two of the tablets in a mouthful of whisky, unsure if I was trying to numb the nuisance of the cold symptoms or of everyday life.

By the time the train had wheezed into the village of Dalmally I had downed most of the first can of Budweiser and my nose was streaming more quickly than an addictive Netflix series.  The alcohol had soaked into my system and I was feeling extremely drowsy and miserable. Steal My Sunshine by Len played from my Spotify playlist, and even though the elderly woman sitting opposite me had been complaining of a cataract in each eye and could barely read her copy of the Daily Express even with a magnifying glass which was larger than my hand, she could probably see that I could barely muster the energy to drum along on my thigh.

I managed to stay awake all the way to Glasgow Queen Street, and when I checked into my room on the fifth floor of the Travelodge and took another dosage of Paracetamol using the small, flimsy plastic cup they provide guests with, presumably for such emergencies, I was forced to confront the dilemma which seems to vex me more than most other issues:  whether or not I should wear my denim jacket out to go to the gig. I balanced the fact that it wasn’t especially balmy outdoors with my failing immune system against the memory of many hot and sweaty nights seeing The Gaslight Anthem and I decided that I would be better off leaving the jacket behind.

I pushed all of the most valuable possessions in my life into each of the four pockets of my black jeans:  a mobile phone with its ability to play music, a pair of earphones, a wallet thick with silver coins and as many tissues as a person can reasonably carry.  The weight pushed my jeans – which were sitting quite loosely anyway – down past the waistband of my boxer shorts, and I considered that it might look to others as though I was making some vain attempt at a youthful statement of fashion, but I simply don’t have the buttocks for such a thing.

At The Raven, where I would enjoy a pint of Caesar Augustus, I was beaten to the bar by a short red-haired girl who proceeded to tell the barmaid that I should be served first.  The barmaid floated across the floor to my side of the bar and I insisted that the short red-haired girl had arrived before me and should be served instead. The barmaid returned to where she had once been standing and thanked both of us for our honesty as she poured a schooner of ale for the diminutive redhead.  I made some stupid remark which drew laughter from both of the ladies, but my internal narrator was telling me that despite making a chivalrous gesture and doing the socially correct thing of ensuring that the person who was first in line was served their drink before me, I was actually a dick because the short red-haired girl had made the move first.

After drinking my ill-gotten pint of hybrid lager and IPA I strolled down the Gallowgate to Saint Luke’s, which is a relatively new bar that has been restored from an old church, although people still go there seeking salvation and hiding from the problems of real-life with the assistance of a spirit.

I met with the girl with candyfloss pink hair and her friend who had the most bold and brilliant pink hair which looked almost like an explosion of raspberries.  I felt a little out of place with my boring and balding salt and pepper hair which is slicked over to the side, but we engaged in a round system anyway and I ordered a Tennents and a Jameson in an effort to give my cold a good kicking before the Gaslight Anthem show.

Most of the tables in the bar had been reserved by smart people who had planned ahead for the occasion, leaving the only seating available at tables which were so high that a compass was needed to reach the summit.  The Irish whiskey worked in drying out my nose and all of a sudden the pocketful of tissues that I was carrying had become redundant. We ordered a round of Jägerbombs, having decided at six o’clock that eating any kind of food would be futile, and the shot glasses were placed carefully inside a glass with an exceptionally wide rim which made it almost impossible to down both the Jägermeister and the Red Bull without a good quantity of the drink spilling onto my shirt.

In Bar 67, a pub I had never visited despite being a frequent attendee at Celtic Park over the past two years, the Jägerbombs were served in regular glasses which made it easier to drink the entire quantity of alcohol as well as energy drink, and my drowsiness was disappearing and I was once again beginning to feel human, if not dancer.  An older gentleman arrived and tried to convince us that it would be a good idea to buy a magazine he was selling which raises money for the homeless and is a contemporary adult competitor of The Big Issue. He insisted that he had received complaints that some of the content of the magazine was misogynistic and anti-Semitic but that he didn’t know what either of those terms meant, and I couldn’t decide whether this was some kind of a scheme or if he was being genuine.

As we were entering the Barrowlands Ballroom, which is directly across the road from Bar 67 and was the venue of the first gig I ever attended in November of 2003, I could feel myself becoming anxious as it became clear that I was going to be subjected to a pat down and I felt concerned that I would be forced to explain the excessive quantity of tissues in the front left pocket of my jeans and why a thirty-four-year-old man was wearing jeans below the waistband of his boxer shorts anyway.  The girl with the candyfloss pink hair handed me my ticket and I watched as the man in front of me was patted down without any issue and I knew that I would be next. I strode forward towards the man in the high visibility jacket with a drunk confidence which I hoped would mask the fear I had over the pocket which was bulging with tissue paper.  The man’s hands danced over my body and I could only hope that he was finding the entire experience as awkward as I was. He didn’t pass comment on the tissues and we were all free to enjoy the night ahead.

We ordered a round of doubles between the end of Dave Hause’s set and the beginning of The Gaslight Anthem’s in the hope that they would last, but my Jack Daniels was finished by the time the lights went down at around 9.15pm.  There are few feelings more euphoric than those few moments after the room goes dark and you know that your favourite band are about to come on stage. The Gaslight Anthem began with a blistering version of Handwritten and it wasn’t very long into the opening song of the set when my glasses were sent flying from my face somewhere into the blurry distance in front of me.

I could hardly see a thing and I was utterly panic-stricken.  I had no idea how I was going to find my glasses amongst the mass of people who were standing around six or seven rows deep in front of us.  How would I enjoy the rest of the gig when I can’t even see my own nose, let alone the band I have waited years to see again? How would I find my way back to my hotel or even be able to get a new pair of glasses in the morning?  It was the worst thing that could have happened to me.

I nudged the person who was standing next to me to alert them to the fact that I had lost my glasses, but I didn’t know what I was expecting her to do about it.  Could she get the band to stop playing rock and roll songs and have the house lights turned up so that everyone could look around their feet for my stray spectacles?  Obviously not, and so I squatted onto the sticky floor of the Barrowlands and desperately fished my hand through rivers of beer and amongst a dark forest of legs and crushed plastic cups.  Somehow, miraculously, I was able to put my fingers on the extended leg of my glasses and I retrieved them, unscathed, from the floor. It might have been the best feeling I have ever felt.

The ‘59 Sound is a joyous portrait of youthful exuberance, of heartache, of wild summer adventure and of hope and glory and love and everything else, and this gig was too.  I found myself frequently locking arms with bouncing sweaty strangers, my own blue and black flannel shirt clinging to my hot body and my black jeans melted to my flesh. My hair was drenched – utterly soaked – with sweat, as though I had just walked out of the shower and decided not to use a towel because the wet look is in vogue.  It was a cathartic release and I sang myself hoarse.

Nice n’ Sleazy’s seemed like a very long way from the Barrowlands when the gig finished at sometime around eleven o’clock, but it is one of my favourite bars in the city and they had been promising the best offering of music after the Gaslight Anthem performance.  I weaved my way through the maze of the city centre with all of the demolition work going on around Sauchiehall Street meaning that much of it is closed off and alternative routes need to be taken. I had my music for company and after some time I managed to find what I was looking for.  I stepped casually towards the doorway where I was confronted by two large bouncers who had the appearance of men who had never known amusement.

“Are you alright?”  The least amused of the two men asked, and I was baffled by this sudden interest in my wellbeing from a total stranger.  I assured him that I was well, having forgotten all about the rogue cold which had befallen me earlier in the day.

“Where have you been tonight?”  He continued, his tone taking on an increasingly interrogatory nature.

“Just the Gaslight Anthem gig at the Barras,” I said excitedly, wondering if he was going to engage me in conversation about the finer points of punk rock.  Instead he viewed me with suspicion, his demeanour becoming no more amused.

“Go easy in there tonight, pal,” he eventually relented as he opened the door and invited me to step inside the bar.

I ordered a Jack Daniels and coke and stood at the dim end of a quieter than expected bar and it suddenly struck me that with all the Paracetamol I had taken earlier in the day and all of the beer and whisky and Jägermeister I had drunk over the course of the night and with my sweat soaked head and disgusting shirt that maybe the bouncer had seen me as a figure of distress.  As I pondered this a young woman arrived next to me and she was holding a smartphone which was open on the Google Maps app. She leaned across a pile of free magazines which were sitting on the bar between us and asked me if I knew how to find Mango. I had never heard of the bar but could see from the icons on her map that it is close to Nice n’ Sleazy’s. I explained to her that with the various works going on around Sauchiehall Street it might be more difficult than normal to find Mango, at which point it occurred to me that I could make a really great pun about the difficulty of finding a good mango, but as soon as the words left my mouth she left and rejoined her friend at their table.

I had one more Jack Daniels and coke before retiring to my bedroom on the fifth floor of the Travelodge hotel.  I undressed and sunk into the cotton sheets but was still so exceptionally warm that I soon kicked them away. I woke up in the morning, dazed and hung over, and sneezed.  Not once or twice, but three or four times. I reached over to the bedside table for my glasses and affixed them to my face and nothing else really seemed to matter.

The night I ate a foot long Sub

My two new houseplants had been flowering into life for more than a week and I was beginning to convince myself that maybe I am not the incompetent plant killing sociopath that I once felt certain I was when I finished watering them on Wednesday morning.  It was bin collection day, and in keeping with my role within our block of flats I stepped outside to retrieve the emptied blue vessels.  I pinned the door of the close back against the wall with a brick which, for some reason, is shrouded inside an old towel and I wheeled the first of the three bins inside.  As I was doing this my neighbour on the ground floor was returning from the garden with a laundry basket in her hand, and with the radiant glow of early morning sunlight streaming through the open door behind me it struck me that she is quite becoming.

We exchanged greeting pleasantries – her voice carried a foreign flair, possibly German or Danish – and it occurred to me how contrasting our outfits were.  My neighbour was dressed in black lycra cycling shorts, indicating a degree of athleticism, whilst I was sporting a black and white tie and matching socks, which I suspected probably indicated to her that I had taken my sartorial inspiration from the Liquorice Allsorts mascot, Bertie Bassett.

Through the day I was conjuring scenarios in my mind where I could manufacture a meeting with the ground floor girl who cycles (when I am the ground floor guy who recycles.)  I considered that on an evening I could knock on her door and ask if she had any spare sugar I could borrow, though I dismissed this idea as being clichéd and only adding to her belief that I am beholden to my sweet tooth.  In a more nefarious notion I thought about the possibility of sabotaging her tyres in the hope that she would come to me as some damsel in distress, urging me to help change them.  I concluded that she likely has an equally athletic boyfriend who would fit new wheels for her and who would easily squash me when my deeds become evident, and even if she doesn’t I realised that I have never changed a tyre in my thirty-four years and I would only look foolish if she approached me in her moment of need and I fumbled with a foot pump.

Since I introduced multivitamins into my daily weekday morning routine at the beginning of June I have begun using them as a handy measurement of time.  If one tube of twenty effervescent tablets is equal to four weeks then it has been a tube and a quarter, or five weeks, since I last saw a person who I felt may have been my best friend.  Until I started taking these tablets each morning I didn’t know that people could fade out so fast, like a soluble vitamin in a glass of water.

It has been a twentieth of a tube since I had my last severe anxiety attack, although the incessant headache which rings in my head like the bell at last orders in the bar lasted long into Friday.  I haven’t been taking multivitamins long enough to accurately measure the time since my last romantic dalliance.

It was a night like any other Friday night when I embarked upon my usual post work, pre-pub routine.  I lit two small candles and placed them inside a pair of blackened tealight holders to burn a mound of my favourite ‘Full Moon’ incense purchased from Treadwell’s bookstore in London; drank a couple more than half a dozen bottles of Budweiser; listened to some of the more sad Ryan Adams songs on my playlist and watered my houseplants, because I had forgotten to do so in the morning.

My anxiety was still lurking sharply behind my eyes like the way a shy Lothario stands at the dimmer side of the bar, and I decided that the best thing I could do would be to go to Subway for a sandwich, because nothing cures sadness like cured meat.  It had been nigh upon eighteen months since I last visited the six-inch specialists, which was a place that once upon a time featured frequently on my Friday nights out due to me usually being too drunk to make my own sandwich and because of the smile.

So long had it been since I had eaten a Subway sandwich that by the time I joined the queue I had forgotten the etiquette for ordering and I had to be guided through the entire process, relying on the Subway girl’s expertise to remind me of how I liked my breaded cuisine.  I ordered a steak sandwich, as normal, and had it as a foot-long due to them being 30p cheaper than a six-inch after four o’clock and I felt like I was making a saving.  I finally enjoyed the soft drink I had been asking for on every visit and never received, and I spent so much time in the store that it felt right that I should offer to mop the floor.  I was inarguably a man wearing a blue suit with a pink pocket square and mopping the floor of a Subway restaurant in a neat figure eight fashion, though my actions were less sweeping anyone off their feet and more kicking myself in the bucket.

I wasn’t perturbed by this defeat, however, and in the evening the barmaid with the dreadlocks and the green fingers presented me with a small potted plant, complete with instructions on how to keep it alive.  It was a very thoughtful gift and I immediately named the plant Succy the Succulent, because it is a succulent.  The instructions suggest that it would be very difficult for me to kill Succy.  I placed her on the kitchen window, away from the other two more needy plants, and with a tantalising view of grass and some bushes on the other side of the glass.  My family of plants is growing, and every day they are becoming more of a replacement for romance.

The night I forgot my earphones

I put the idea of getting a dog on pause and returned to my more natural instinct of  looking after houseplants – or at least convincing myself that I could probably keep a houseplant living for a while.  On a recent afternoon I was walking the aisles of a local gardening outlet as I searched for something colourful to replace the plants I had thrown out last month when I noticed that there was an offer where I could buy two plants for around £4.  Even though I felt uncertain as to whether I could sufficiently care for one plant, let alone two,  the frugal part of me saw this as an opportunity to save some money should I buy one plant and it meets an untimely demise, leaving me with an immediate need to buy another.  I convinced myself that if two hands are better than one then it is probably also true that two plants are better than one.

Shuffling around the dirty, soil strewn displays of various orange and yellow and violet and red flowers with only another lone, much older male in close proximity reminded me a lot of the days spent as a young adolescent loitering around the section in John Menzies where they kept the adult reading material.  The awkward glances over the shoulder to see if anybody was looking; the sense of fear and shame and exhilaration and not really understanding any of it; the way that just as you reach to take a closer look at the glossy Gladiolus someone walks past and you hastily retreat and pretend that you have made a terrible mistake and you’re really looking to browse power tools; finding that the coast is finally clear and you throw the first two plants you can reach into your basket and quickly leave the scene, hoping that nobody notices the orange sunflower poking out.

As I took stock of the variety of plants on offer I became aware that my internal narrator was producing a running commentary on the imagined conversations between the foliage before me.  I tried to block it out and focus my energy on finding the flowers I could most effortlessly care for, but of late my internal narrator has become incessant and I couldn’t help but hear what was being said.

“Look at this guy, attempting to substitute human intimacy with a potted plant…the poor sap!”

“It’s July and he’s wearing a shirt and tie in the afternoon; who does that?  His socks are probably only vaguely matching the tie, too.”

“Best not laugh guys, if he takes any of you home you’ll be dead within a week.”

“Pffft — I can’t imagine he ever takes anything home!”

Then the plants all high-fived each other, or at least they would have done if chrysanthemums had hands and could perform a high-five.

I resolved with myself that the best practice going forward would be to incorporate the care of my plants into my morning routine – as I am washed and watered then so are my plants, although separately as I am not ready for that level of intimacy yet.  In recent times my morning routine has been half a Hogan:  I take my vitamins, but I grew out of saying my prayers many years ago.

In the shower my process has been hindered by the increasingly hot temperature of the water, which is making it difficult to wash off all of the Nivea Deep Cleaning face wash.  I’ve heard of being left with egg on your face, but having Nivea Deep Cleaning face wash on your face is surely the 2018 metrosexual equivalent.

Feeling some satisfaction that my houseplants were still alive after a couple of hours in my care I walked along to Aulay’s for the first of the World Cup semi-finals between Belgium and France.  The bar was busy and in the corner there was a table populated by somewhere between four and six young Belgian women, all dressed in the regal red kit and with their national flag draped over the stained glass.  They each shrieked with a primal excitement every time Belgium carried the ball into the opposition half and the sound pierced the eardrum with such sharpness that I found myself siding with the trio of Frenchmen who were sitting nearby.

As the game kicked off I ordered a pint of Tennents at the bar and contemplated the continental comeliness of the ladies.  As I brought the froth of the lager to my mouth my internal narrator began to comment on the situation, and upon glancing again at the ladies I immediately found myself regretting my decision to eat my homemade pasta sauce, which is heavy on garlic and onion.  I tried to focus on the game and forget about the circumstances of my hygiene, but my internal narrator continued to press on the point of my fragrant blunder.  It insisted that if I even dared to approach the Belgians they would only turn their noses up at me as I would surely smell to them as though I was wearing a ring of onions around my neck, and not even Joop! could mask that scent.

The screeches of the girls quietened to a dull bar chatter after France’s victory and I considered approaching them in a conciliatory manner, though the maths of the situation was troubling me.  How does a solo man approach a table of five Belgian girls without it being any more awkward than such encounters usually are when the numbers are more even?  I took a hearty mouthful of beer and looked with a longing gaze at the table of Belgians, who were deep in the throes of defeat, as I tried to figure out which would be the best angle to approach from and how I could possibly make my walk appear confident when inside my internal narrator was telling me that I was a fool for even contemplating such a move.  I began to recite potential opening lines in my head, but I was uncertain which of the girls I would even direct them to.  In the end it didn’t really even matter when it turned out that it was impossible to talk to them, although not for the usual reason of my social ineptitude, but because they didn’t speak very much English.

It was after another week of intense solitude that I started to appreciate how the desire for a woman is essentially the banana in the fruit bowl of life, because it seems to be what ages everything else around it.   All I really find myself craving is a mango:  something that is sweet and juicy, with an alluring rosy flesh and a heart of stone.  A good mango seems to be increasingly elusive, and following another fruitless evening in the bars on Saturday I embarked on the long walk home without my earphones after absent-mindedly leaving them at home.

The scene on my walk home on Saturday night suggested that I am not the only person in Oban who cannot look after flowers.

Everything was silent and still, besides the restless machine of monologue in my mind, and when I made it through my door I remembered that it would be a good idea to water the plants which hadn’t been nourished for at least forty hours.  They sat patiently atop the mantel place and I wondered if plants ever feel anything other than patience.  They only ever seem to be waiting.  I poured myself a whisky and fell asleep on the couch listening to Lou Reed, and the plants were going to have to wait a while longer.

The week I thought about getting a dog

After an hour and seven minutes of contemplation on the North Pier the previous Saturday I approached the week a lot like a barnacle on a boat:  low and lonesome.  Most people tend to go to the North Pier for seafood and luxury cruises but it seemed I was there for sorrow and emotional bruises.  Over the proceeding days I continued to experience the (what I presume to be) anxiety attacks I began having recently.  The symptoms were becoming more powerful and were lasting a lot longer – often hours at a time – like an especially unpleasant Duracell battery.  My mind was crackling in the way a bag of microwave popcorn does when it is approaching being ready, my hands and arms were tingling and at one stage it was becoming so difficult to breathe that I began to hyperventilate for probably the first time in my life, at least that I can remember.  It was then that I realised that memories are like the sort of hangover which doesn’t go away with a beer.

The continuation of the football World Cup presented further opportunities for visiting the bar on unusual days of the week and a chance to escape real-life responsibilities for a while.  It is on these midweek meanderings that I have become more acutely aware of an observation I have long held, and that is the way in which a group of girls will swoon over a dog when it is walked into a bar.  There are audible gasps of giddy excitement when a dog appears and it is possible to set the stopwatch app on a smartphone to measure the time it takes before the girls are enthusiastically petting the soft coat of the dog and talking softly and lovingly in a language the animal will never understand, and you can be sure it will be less than three minutes.  I have learned that it is impossible for a man with a pink pocket square to compete with a pooch.

As Argentina and Nigeria competed for a place in the knockout rounds of the World Cup I was competing with a couple of labrador retrievers for the attention of a table of Australian visitors.  It was an unfair match:  Argentina had Lionel Messi and the labrador retrievers had a fluffy golden coat which bested my greying stubble, particularly when Tuesday is a day where I don’t trim.

I watched as the girls flocked around these two labrador dogs and noticed how the male and female owners welcomed the attention.  In that moment I considered  how much more favourably I might be viewed by the opposite sex if I was to stroll into Aulay’s with a canine companion by my side.  I imagined scenarios where I would walk up to the bar and order a pint of lager and some implausibly beautiful woman on a barstool would ask me if I minded her patting my dog, and I would make some stupid remark like:  “you’d have to ask him that” and suddenly it would be quite funny because I had a dog and she could play with it.

It quickly occurred to me that procuring a puppy might be my best chance of finding a woman.  Man’s best friend could be my best wing man.  Nobody judges the sockwear of a dogs master when they are scratching it behind its ear, and the awkwardness of trying to initiate a conversation with a girl would surely be taken away by a wagging tail and a cold, wet nose.  With a dog sitting at my heel the only aspect of the flirtation process I would need to concern myself with would be the follow up chat.  While it is true that if attracting girls to talk to me in the first place is the most difficult thing then engaging a girl in a follow up chat is the second most difficult part of courting, but the dog would instantly give me the perfect proposition.  I imagined a softly spoken compliment on the cute appearance of my dog – and it would be merited due to the way his collar matched the colour of my tie.  I would thank the female stranger and proceed to tell her how he enjoys long romantic walks on the beach under moonlight, but how recently I have begun to notice a sadness in his eyes as he observes how I am never accompanied by another human on our walks.  I couldn’t imagine any woman resisting.

Despite the obvious potential advantages of having a dog around, the more I contemplated the idea the more flawed it became.  How would I suppose I could look after a dog when I can’t keep a simple houseplant alive for more than a few weeks?  And if my portion control of pasta is so terrible how would I provide an adequately nourishing meal for a pup?  I resigned myself to the acceptance that owning a dog wouldn’t be a very good idea for me, even if it would help end my romantic woes, and instead spent a day considering operating some kind of dog sitting service.  I could offer to look after local canines between the hours of 8pm and midnight on a Friday, during which time I would take them to Aulay’s and perhaps some other dog-friendly bars for some social interaction.  It didn’t seem like an awful idea, although I couldn’t conjure a solution for the problem of what I would do with the dog in the wildly optimistic scenario where I successfully talk to a girl and convince her that she would enjoy coming back to my place.  I couldn’t take the mutt to mine and as such I could already sense the disappointment of my imagined lover when she awakes in the morning to find that I don’t actually own a dog.  It would only heighten the disappointment any woman who has ever been intimate with me naturally feels.

I put a pin in the idea of running a dog sitting service as a means of attracting romantic interest and instead returned to the mundane daily tasks I use as a substitute for female company.  I faithfully polished the wooden interior of my living room with a regularity which almost became ritual like now that the windows can be opened and the dust is coughed in from the road.  I swept my floor often, because if I’m not sweeping ladies off their feet I like to sweep unidentifiable pieces of fluff off oak surfaces.

On Thursday I experimented with rocket in a spaghetti recipe and I allowed myself to daydream the possibility that Elton John wrote his hit single ‘Rocket Man’ as a stinging rebuke in response to a family argument over salad leaves.  The dispute would have become quite heated as various members of the Dwight household fiercely debated the merits of watercress, spinach and cos, which were the only leaves they ever bought.  The young Elton probably stormed out, furious that his love of the peppery rocket was never acknowledged by his peers and he penned the lyrics which would form a beloved song.

“I’m not the man they think I am at home
Oh no, no, no, I’m a rocket man.”

In a heady haze of Jack Daniels and sunshine, and possibly emboldened by a Friday evening spent listening to the Tears for Fears album ‘Songs from the Big Chair’ before I ventured to the bars, it suddenly seemed a good idea to communicate by text message my long held interest in a girl.  However, in the 24°C light of sobriety I was once again left questioning my judgment when drunk and I wanted to set fire to my phone and bury the smouldering remains at sea.  I opened a beer as I sought to cure the hang over and again my thoughts turned to how much more simple all of this might be if I could walk into a bar with a dog.