It’s Your Funeral
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.
SOMEBODY ACTUALLY GOES TO THE JUKEBOX.
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.