Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Hittin' town.

We made our way out from the Hogshead, crossing over to the top end of Matthew Street, passing a long chain of black taxis that were disgorging dozens of drunken revellers, all in their suits and dresses. They must have made their way from the race-course as well, and would soon join the many more thousands of people who were circulating like an angry-migrant ant-colony around the city centre.

I somehow automatically,

- pulled Linda closer to me.

She reacted with a pleasingly relaxed, lazy physical looseness and a slow, inviting giggle.

Sometimes I wanna wrap my coat around you
Sometimes I wanna keep you warm
Sometimes I wanna wrap my coat around you
Sometimes I wanna burn a candle for you.

We reached the entrance to Matthew Street, which was crammed with a dizzying amount of faces and the audible hum of human anticipation that I hadn't witnessed first-hand for a long time...Well, perhaps the closest example was at the build up to the match, but that was totally different in a way....but you get the picture.

Hen parties in "naughty nurse" outfits, stag nights in super-hero costumes, toothless tramps begging for spare 20P's, street buskers being bullied into playing Oasis and Paul Weller songs by gangs of suited and booted young lads, angry-looking bouncers who looked twitchy, ready to swipe a vicious gold-decked fist out at anyone who gave them a snide-sideways glance - all vied to squeeze through this bottleneck.

It was madness.

But it was also in a weird way exciting, which surprised my jaded mind.

“Watching television is like taking black spray paint to your third eye.” You should learn to lighten up and smile more.....

I hadn't had a good night out for ages...I was smiling, both internally and on the outside, wearing the kind of grin you only get when you get a flash-back to a ridiculously funny moment amongst mates you witnessed in the past, you can't really verbalise or act it out to someone who wasn't there...Yet you still can't suppress when you're on the street and recall it, laughing uncontrollably......

Does that make me crazy?

No, it makes you ALIVE.

You only got 75 years on this ball of rock, maximum.


"This is shaping up to be a fantastic result, given the personal injuries and trauma the boy's been through. We always knew his form would improve, he just needed a lucky break. We have the utmost confidence in him, and never doubted his ability"......

I can almost hear the imaginary manager's words, I thought as I looked to my side and saw Linda smirking back at me, feeling her presence against my side. I squeezed her waist and she responded likewise.

Ev'rybody had a hard year.
Ev'rybody had a good time.
Ev'rybody had a wet dream.
Ev'rybody saw the sunshine.
Oh yeah, Oh yeah. Oh Yeah.

A bunch of Japanese and American tourists frantically snapped away with their cameras at the John Lennon statue outside the Cavern pub, seemingly immune to the crowds pushing and shoving them out of the way, so strong was their interest.

Kind of freaked you out to see foreign people display such obsessive observation and pious reverence towards something you walked blindly past most working or weekend days.
Still, I supposed I'd be the same if I visited somewhere on other shores that held my absolute attention.

I found myself with a huge, heavy-lensed professional-looking camera being unexpectedly thrust into my hand, a tanned middle-aged fellow with a wild Hawaiian beach shirt and baseball cap on patting me heartily on the shoulder.

"Say, buddy, how're ya? We're from Iowa, USA... Could ya be a sport and get a snap of me and mah wife by that there statue of Mister Len-non? The "GO" but-ton is right there on the top of that sucker..."

"Yeah...Ok, no problems mate" I mumbled, gesturing him over to his wife, who already stood back tightly embracing the statue, as if it were Christ himself on the cross.

I fumbled with the camera for a moment, positioning them both in the viewfinder and trying to avoid the scores of people marching past until it clicked in a satisfactorily old-fashioned manner.

"Sound. Here ye arr, mate.." I smiled as i handed his camera back. For the first noticeable time I audibly registered how drawn-out and strange my voice sounded to myself. Perhaps I should hit the brakes on the booze at the next ale-house.

"So...you are from America?" shouted Linda to camera-man.

"Yeah...We're here on vaca-shion...We gotsa say, a wonderful city you have, here....
Nicest people" he shouted back with a fatherly smile and thumbs-up, over the screams of police sirens, tormented buskers and the mashed-up mix of pleasingly familiar rock n' roll chords drifting all around us.

I was all ready to engage him and his wife in conversation when, almost predictably:


With a freakish sense of speed and reflex, Linda slinked away from my side, turning her head smoothly away from the Yank couple and nodded at Hayley without a blink.

"Okay, Hayl, we'll head there now".

I was about to apologise to the American couple, but the demon on my shoulder cracked me across the top of the head and twisted it to my right, where both Linda and Hayley were already moving towards the Rubber Soul bar.

The angel on my other shoulder whispered in my left ear.

"Was... Great meeting you...Hope you like our city... Take care...."

And with that I was off.....