I live opposite a pub – which would be great if, a) I was deaf, b) I could afford to drink, and c) it wasn’t full of morons. Unfortunately, none of these things are true, so instead of going there I usually content myself to lie in bed in the small hours of the morning, listening to the drunken patrons screaming at each other like taxi-seeking monkeys, entertaining me with loud stories of the time they flung their favourite poo at a fellow monkey before trying to get it into a threesome with a genetically not-dissimilar kebab.

But Miss-Matic and I had a guest to stay the other day, so we scoured the back of the sofa for enough loose-change to show him the sights and sounds of our small town, starting by going across the road for a drink.

Upon arriving in the pub, pre-lubricated with wine and beer and the smell of a suspicious vodka that I didn’t allow closer than arm’s length, we discovered that a band was playing to a bunch of locals and their mothers. A girl with reddy-pink or pinky-red hair was screaming into a microphone. I couldn’t really discern what she was singing, but she sounded rather angry.

We got drinks at the bar and watched the band for a while. The girl continued to rage, and I soon began to wonder if she was angry with the microphone itself.

No, not just angry – furious.

She clutched it like she was trying to throttle it, to squeeze its scrawny neck until the head popped off in a gout of blood and sparks.

When the song ended, the audience clapped enthusiastically. I guess they had all had unpleasant experiences with microphones too. I tried to join in the applause, but I was holding my pint.

Clapping with a drink is hard – I just ineffectually tapped the side of my glass. The microphone had no idea that I was on the side of the reddy-pink or pinky-red-haired girl. It couldn’t hear me at all.

I stamped my feet for a bit, but Miss-Matic told me to stop because I looked ‘weird and stompy’.

I started to call out, ‘clap clap clap clap clap‘, but she didn’t like that either.

The band embarked on their next song – a hard-rocking tale of how a microphone killed a young girl’s dog or something – and I used this time to plan how best to applaud when it concluded.

I figured I would use the power of plurality – the dexterity of the duo – the adaptability of aquaintanceship! – by clapping one-handed with my friend. That way we could both hold our beers and clap the band at the same time.

And so, when the song ended, that’s what we did.

Unfortunately, our timing was off, so we looked like one-armed four-year-olds playing pat-a-cake without any understanding of the rules – or maybe over-enthusiastic terra-phile aliens practising congratulatory high-fives.

The red-or-pink-haired girl announced their last song. The way she introduced it led me to believe it was going to be a cover, a song I should know, a famous hit by a famous band. Maybe it was, but I’m not aware of many songs about revenge on a microphone for running over a cat.

I nodded along, enjoying the tune, but all the while wondering how I could best show my appreciation for the band without having to relinquish my beer. It was easy for Miss-Matic – she had rings on her fingers, so she could still clap by chinking them against her glass. It was while pondering this that the solution came to me:

I could just chink my beer against my belt buckle!

Simple and effective.

So the band played on, and when the final chord died, I gave an enthusiastic ‘Woo!‘, and proceeded to show my appreciation of their playing – and antipathy towards microphones – by chinking my pint-glass against my belt buckle.

And that’s why it looked like I peed myself on Saturday night.


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14 Responses

  1. Addman says:

    I always slap my thigh with my free hand. It works rather well, but some people have remarked on the fact that it makes me look like a rootin’ tootin’ cowboy. Especially when I wear the spurs.

    Did that poor girl ever resolve her issues with the microphone? It seems that she’s been terrorised since she was a baby by sound equipment.

  2. I would just yell shit like, “yeah” and “whoo!” Although maybe that’s more of a girl thing, I dunno. The important thing is that there was alcohol. Alcohol makes everything the right choice.

  3. Kianwi says:

    You just got me in big trouble, cause I’m in a meeting, reading blogs on my ipod and yours made me snicker, and have to clap my hand over my mouth. The clapping partnership with your friend is just too much! Next time, though, I suggest slapping the top of your head with your free hand. Would look real cool, too, I’m sure.

    I’m really enjoying your book, by the way!

  4. jaybird says:

    Ha! At least you could walk home and change your pants, since you live right across the street, right? Or did you choose to walk around all night looking like you peed yourself? And to me, it sounds like clapping for someone so angry with her mic, might not have been necessary, after all.LOL

  5. Ken says:

    Somebody…..much smarter than me, should make an app with varying degrees of appreciation for whatever you choose to direct it toward. Like, from the “golf” clap to, “we just scored in overtime to take the championship” clap.

    That way, you never have to put your drink down?

    • Ash-Matic says:

      That is an awesome idea! I’ll get right on it.
      We can call it the clApp.

      And if you get it, you have to tell people that you’ve got the clApp.
      So they know how cool you are.

  6. Rachel says:

    Instead of clapping, I would just whistle instead. Except that I can’t whistle. I would probably have to buy a whistle. Oh wait. I wear rings a lot so I could just do the same as Miss Matic. Maybe you should get a whistle though?

    I’m glad I wasn’t drinking my water when I got to the very end. I would have choked and my laptop would have gotten an unneeded bath.

  7. This is EXACTLY how I became Woo-ish for awhile. If you’re standing band-listening and drinking, sometimes with TWO drinks b/c the damn waitresses return about as often as Hailey’s Comet, yelling “WOO” is about all you can do to show your appreciation.
    My next step? Getting there early to get a SEAT, so you can rest your beer between your knees and clap like a person.
    Step after that? Staying home and listening to music on the laptop. Just clicking is all the thanks they need.
    My apartment used to be about 20 feet from the BACK DOOR of a bar, only loud when they open the back door to empty full CANS FULL OF BEER BOTTLES into a dumpster FULL OF BOTTLES. At first it was kind of cool, yeah that got old FAST.

  8. Brett Minor says:

    I am perfectly comfortable not applauding, or yelling or even smiling. However, I am often told that I am a horrible person.

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