So The Boss is on his second night up the Arse. Last night, I was caught up in the stream of humanity attempting to find its way to the stadium, and what a Motley Crue they were. I was standing at the bar (and, oddly, the pub didn't do the plastic glasses they normally do for football matches, though it was probably no less likely that one of the customers might have stuck one in the face of another) studiously trying to avoid making eye contact with the guy next to me, who was ordering JD and coke, Amaretti, straight Beams and scotch on the rocks (his phrasing) I know him of old and was more than a little surprised to see him, but the bar was so chocka that I dared not lose my place. I was successful in my evasion tactics, or else he was as keen as I was to not make contact.
I was taken by the greyness and plumpness of the audience. Most commonly, they were married couples, well into middle age, and looking very well-heeled. Out the back, a couple of guys peeled the wrappers off their Cohibas and sipped Chenin Blanc in desert boots. One woman, who would have slotted nicely into a Surrey bridge club, sported a black t-shirt bearing the lyric:
TRAMPS LIKE US
BABY WE WERE BORN TO RUN
She couldn't have looked less like a tramp (in any sense of the word) whereas the chap I met this morning at Southwark Cathedral couldn't have looked MORE like one. He was wearing a red jumper with black smears around the neck band, what once may have been a Barbour jacket and his hands were blackened. He also stank. He told me that he had been sleeping under some bushes outside the entrance to the cathedral for four days without food, but that, as today was his 59th birthday, someone had very kindly bought him a bottle of Ice White cider. He offered me a glass, but as I was driving I politely declined. He also told me that he made models of witches, and showed me one. I didn't believe he had actually made it, but it was quite a nice witch. I told him that my kids would love it and he offered to give it to me. I again politely declined because I couldn't have got the thing home whilst riding my bike.
"I did offer, though, didn't I?" he said in his Neath accent, and indeed he did. After that, he began to reel off a number of one-liners, sticking his filthy thumb in his mouth after each punchline. Here's some samples:
"I said to the doctor: 'I slept under a bridge last night.'
'What came over you?' he said.
'Oh, cars, lorries, bikes...'
"A bloke said to me: 'My wife's an angel.'
'You're lucky' I said, 'Mine's still alive.'
"What do you call a judge with no balls? Justice Prick"
"Why do women rub their eyes when they wake up? They haven't got any balls."
I can hear the warm-up act for Bruce now, drifting in through the window.