Pulling More Than a Pint.
There are two types of good barman.
The first is the type who can pour a drink correctly and in a timely fashion. Not the greatest of feats, one would think, but even the briefest research in any city centre drinking emporium will quickly establish what a rarity this is.
The second is the one who can do the above. But can also remember your name, what you do for a living, what you like to drink and when, will remember a snippet of a conversation you were having three nights ago, knows all of his customers, is liked by them, will introduce you to new people with common interests, will give you a few drinks 'on the house' if you nip round and collect some glasses for them and is generally knowledgeable, helpful, and will make you feel happy that you walked into the emporium in the first place. They are Very Rare Indeed.
And as such are Made Guys.
When they go out of an evening, they know everyone. They rarely pay for drinks. They get in all the clubs for free and 'lock-ins' are the norm.
I have been working behind this particular bar for a few nights now. I also live there. It is ten years before now. I know now that these were to be the last of my genuinely carefree days. (This is just an observation. There is a lot to be said for having things to care for and about.)
And I am getting NOWHERE with the regulars. It was an unusual city centre pub in that the bulk of the clientele were regulars. All of whom new each other. But did not know me. And they are not letting me in.
I will never be Made at this rate.
One witticism, one wry observation and I'll have cracked it.
Upon request, I begin pouring someone a pint. Noticing that there is more air than beer reaching the glass, I begin to feel uneasy.
I am on duty alone, and have not been shown how to change a barrel.
I am alone due to rather complicated relationship the landlord and landlady 'enjoy'.
He is Australian.
She is Enormous.
'You know,' she confided in me one afternoon in the kitchen, 'we originally got married just so he could stay in the country.'
Her hand flew up to her mouth and her eyes went wide.
'Goodness. It sounds awful when I say it like that doesn't it?'
I assure her that on the contrary, it sounds like a fairy tale and she seems content.
A person will believe anything if they need to badly enough.
Anyway. They had one of their periodic rows and she'd gone to visit her parents in Devon, and he had gone into a sulk.
I apologize to my customer, secure in the knowledge that he will now not be putting my name forward and dash to the flat upstairs whilst still pondering my strategy for conversational gold.
The living-room door is shut. This is odd. Landlord and Landlady always keep it open. I try the handle. It is locked. Very strange.
I bang on the door.
After a moment Landlord opens it, looking flustered. Well. He was probably a bit surprised.
Actually, I think to myself in the space of a few milliseconds, he looks a bit red in the face as well. And a bit sweaty.
I cannot see the television, but can hear it.
Of course. He has been working out to one of those exercise videos, I think.
Whilst fully clothed.
It must be a particularly energetic routine, because the unseen woman I would suppose to be presenting it is panting and wailing fit to burst.
This, I also think, will explain why he is clutching a rather damp-looking towel. At waist height.
I am then rather surprised to hear a deep, male, guttural German voice emanating from the unseen television:
'Aah YEEZZZ. Thass iz GUUUUDDDD!'
Rather puzzled by the whole thing, I explain the non-beer situation and return to my duties.
Beer duly arrives, and Landlord returns to his abode.
I am still puzzling over how to win the acknowledgement of my clientele. I mean. One Funny Story would do it.
I am quite slow about this sort of thing.
It all hit home after about five minutes.
I never bought a drink again.
But did have to suffer numerous drinking sessions with Landlord (he always paid) who would inform me in some depth quite how much he 'loved his wife'.
Who? Free Willy? You'd fucking have to, I thought. But did not say it. He had just given me his Sega Megadrive after all.