By Ian Marshall
“Do you remember Puckers? You must do. The big red neon lips above the entrance and the lurid mauve sign – Puckers! The Toast of the town! No? It was a nightclub on the wrong side of town. Well, I lived in the north and Puckers was in the south so from my point of view it was on the wrong side of town. Even more so when you consider the terrible bus service and most of the taxis packed up around midnight. Not only that, back then you couldn’t risk driving to the place because you could guarantee that as soon as you inched out of their car park you were going to get pulled over for a breath test. And who wants to go to a club and not drink? Not me for one!
“Mind you I have been there a few times. I remember seeing that Scottish guy in there. You know the one on the telly, he does the football analysis. Oh what’s his name? You know him; he’s got a square jaw, peroxide blond spiky hair and a really thick Scottish accent. Anyway, when I saw him he was surrounded by girls and was buying them all drinks. He was knocking back Stella Artois and the more he drank the more indecipherable he became. Eventually he started to sound like one of those deeply religious people talking in tongues, only they’d seemed more coherent than him.
“I went to Dave Jackson’s stag do there too. What a disaster that nearly was. He got off with a girl he knew from his work and completely ignored the rest of us. Actually he was ignoring everyone and everything so he never saw his fiancée Helen turn up with her hen party. And blow me down if she didn’t get off with that fireman, Geoff. I still have no idea how Dave and Helen never saw each other. It didn’t bode well for the marriage did it? I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did. Pity they didn’t reach their first anniversary. Hey ho.
“Then there was the time when the whole of the southern part of town suffered a power cut and we were stuck inside with just the emergency lighting for illumination. I think those bulbs were so poor they made it look darker. After about 20 minutes someone must have twigged that they’d got an emergency generator so that helped no end. Everyone was in such good spirits. There was a real camaraderie going on. Then the cops come in and said we had to file out as quickly as possible because there had been a bomb threat. Bomb threat my arse! I bet it was some stupid plonker having a laugh. It finished our fun that’s for sure; we had to wait hours in the freezing cold for a taxi.
“Anyway what was I talking about? Oh yes, Puckers. Yeah Puckers – the toast of the town. It closed down on Friday.”
Ian Marshall is a gentleman of a certain age with a bad memory.
Our Reader said:
I liked the way this monologue tells the story of somewhere we’ve all known, and works in the theme of toast, perhaps unexpectedly.