Thursday, November 30, 2006

It’s Your Funeral

My local pub is The Last Chance. That is not it’s real name but it is more accurate.

Men in acrylic and polyester. The pool table is the first thing you see when you walk in. An awful lot of children under the age of ten to be found in the front bar after ten o’clock at night.

You get the idea.

It has two redeeming qualities. It is less than two minutes walk away from my front door. And. Well. Being a perverse sort of person I strangely love it.

The other night. I pop in. This I do maybe twice a week. I have frequented more, but that need has gone. Now it is whenever there is nothing of interest occurring at home (ie: there are thick-set actors on the tele-vision informing each other that they are having a ‘giraffe’ and I feel a need to smoke a cigarette whilst sitting down with a drink in my hand. I can do these things at home, but not all at the same time).


I enter The Last Chance. And suddenly realise something is amiss. The bulk of the clientele are wearing suits.

This is VERY unusual. They cannot all have had court appearances on the same day.

I feel quite uneasy. The sight of a (now empty) buffet table does not reassure.

Black suits. Black ties.

At the bar, I ask the question.

Me: Erm. Look. Is this a private function or something? Should I be here?

Barmaid: Aw. Some gadgy died. We put on a spread. But they’ve eaten it now. What can I get you?

Thinking ‘Well I’m here now’ I order a drink. Sit down. And look around.

Everyone is in black. Not only black suit and tie, but black shirts as well.

That strikes me as trying too much.

He can’t be that dead.


I haven’t been to a Wake in some years, but I’m sure that the mixture of random members of the public and a jukebox is not the ideal.

‘Scooby Snacks’ by the Fun Lovin Criminals starts blaring. The mourners LOVE IT.
I frown and sip my drink. I feel a bit uncomfortable. Not only am I the only person in the room not to be mourning the loss of an acquaintance, I am also not dressed in wannabe gangster garb and pretending I am in The Sopranos.

And am not thinking that songs celebrating a life of crime constitute the perfect send-off.

I peer at the buffet table. I have never known The Last Chance to offer this sort of facility. And where is the pool table?

The buffet table has very thick legs.

Oh fuck. It is the pool table. They have pushed it against the wall and put a table cloth over it. In memory of a person that is dead. So they can put food on it. So that people can then eat it and put inappropriate things on the ‘jukey’.

I take another sip of my drink. I think about my house and how nice and warm and not full of twats it is. I take a gulp.

A middle-aged man and woman are at the bar drinking their drinks. They are in black. He is very ostentatiously rubbing her arse. Really comprehensively. It is a surprisingly large arse, but he is doing his best. Cheeky slip of the fingers behind the waistline of her skirt. Tongue in her ear.

Another mourner goes to the ‘jukey’. After a few moments the less-than-mournful strains of Franz Ferdinand come vomiting out of the speakers. ‘Take Me Out’.

I do not know if it was a joke.

Taking-in this theatre of Massive Inappropriateness, I begin to wonder about myself.

Maybe all these people have the right idea about life. It’s shit, and at some point you die. We’ll eat some food off of a pool table in a shit pub and forget about you. Whilst pretending to be gangsters because we got nicked once.

But then the coup-de-grace.

Finishing my drink very quickly, I hear the sound-system of the public house crackle into life. The landlord comes on the microphone.

‘Ladies and gentleman. As you all know…’

Thank Christ I think. He’ll mention the ‘jukey’ and general issues of ‘deadness’.

‘……at The Last Chance, Monday night is quiz night. The forms are going round, only a pound. Winner gets a round of drinks.’

The mourners all take a form.

Well. Wouldn’t do for the day to be a total loss. A ROUND OF DRINKS! It’s what he would have wanted.

I finish my drink and leave.


Blogger amphimacer said...

So what do you want? As for me, I told my wife and daughter that they can do whatever the hell they like -- sell my body parts, throw me in the lake, it doesn't really matter -- as long as they don't have a motorcade and stop traffic; I assured them that I would not be in more of a hurry than the other motorists on the road.

1:04 am  
Blogger Tired Dad said...

Personally, I wouldn't be that bothered. What with being so busy being dead.

1:35 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

At first I read this and thought, no, it can't be. What's wrong with these assholes. But then, isn't it just honest? While it does seem a little brazen, perhaps it's just that the ones that I've been to are more full of shit. We really do die and everyone really does go on to continue living as they have despite how eloquently (or not) they grieve - they wake, eat, shit, listen to stupid music, read their horoscopes, and play the lottery as they always have.

Sad really, but funny. Funny-sad - the best kind.

3:00 pm  
Blogger Tired Dad said...

Hello again.

I agree.

4:57 pm  
Blogger Clarissa said...

Funny sad, very well put. I loved it, but felt uncomfortable as well. A little bit like when I watch The Office.

2:03 pm  
Blogger Emchi said...

Hmmm funny, I saw the Fun Lovin' Criminals play live on Thursday night and the crowd also went wild when they played Scooby Snacks, althought the place was almost empty at that point.

3:35 pm  
Blogger Tired Dad said...

Clarissa: Praise indeed. Many thanks.

Emchi: Christ. Where did you go to see them? The Past?

9:23 pm  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

I don't see what all the fuss is about the Fun Loving Criminals personally. I can't imagine any time that their music would be approptiate. Except after I'm dead perhaps. Maybe that's it. Everyone in your local loved "Scooby Snacks" except the dead guy, who had threatened pain of death on anyone who so much as dreamed of playing that particular brand of shit music. Upon the death of aforementioned "gadgy", what else was there to do but celebrate the liberty to choose whatever the fuck music they wanted.

12:24 pm  
Blogger Lee said...

This is EXACTLY the memorial I want. Some sort of costume party at a local pub (maybe Pimp-n-Ho instead of Gangsta), Marvin Gaye crooning Let's Get It On in the background while some sloppy couple makes out at the bar. EXACTLY.

Is there something wrong with that?

3:41 pm  
Blogger mad muthas said...

i believe that's the traditional way to comfort the widow - rub her arse and put your tongue down her ear. classy!

9:41 pm  
Blogger Tired Dad said...

*: For about ten minutes in 1995 anyone who had just seen Reservoir Dogs bought into their fake Noo York underworld mythology.

It's a bit hard for them to sustain it now they are so often found playing Butlins (true).

Lee: I don't know. My mother wants 'All Right Now' by Free playing at her funeral. Not the Wake. The funeral. And has charged ME with the task of making sure that this happens. This makes me unhappy.

MM: I may stop drinking there.

10:53 pm  
Blogger Emchi said...

No, not the past... try a film premiere, it would appear all the good acts were booked for the night. Still it was quite cool to see them

7:50 pm  
Blogger Tired Dad said...

Get you with your film premieres.

Personally, I rather liked them.

7:59 pm  
Blogger RD said...

I love shit pubs.

Shit pubs that are full of strange tramp type creatures not 'theme' pubs.

They are 'shite pubs'.

no Shit pubs frequented by mentalists.

Loads round here.

11:35 am  
Blogger Tired Dad said...

I'm with you on the 'shite' pubs.

11:10 pm  
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5:28 am  

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