Zulu Fly...and the kiss of Imelda

The Duke wasn’t quite full when I landed on it’s wall, now its crammed to it’s creaking door, but they didn’t arrive all together and I had plenty of time to explore.

I’m Fly, or Zulu Fly if you want my full title, you may have met me before, but I’m not to be confused with the common or garden fly. Zulu Fly’s are different; we’re storytellers, the fly on the wall that you always want to hear from, and today I’ve landed in this Friday pub.
Want to have a listen?

My apologies for dragging you out drinking and I feel I should explain that my return home from field’s afar does not normally involve a simple visit to the pub. Zulu Flies are a tad more, shall we say, healthy and that Friday began no differently.
Indeed my only plan was to dart and hover amongst the flesh of my tribe, Dublin’s pedestrian and buzzing hive, the faux copper cobble of Grafton Street with its busking musicians and deary old flower sellers, office clad shoppers not going home, with heels a clacking through the self opinionated boutiques where wages were hemorrhaged and changing rooms doubled up as make up booths.
And of course, the laughter and beat of the ‘pub in Ireland’, very different animals to the ‘Irish Bar’; in fact calling them a different species would not be an exaggeration.

My welcome home darts are few and far between, unfortunately the life of a Zulu fly is a disparate one, not that I’m complaining, but when I am lucky enough to be home my dart usually begins with a quietly buzzed rendition of “The Boys are back in Town” as I land on the bronze and cooling head of my dead idol, the afro genius of Phil Lynott, lead poet of Thin Lizzy past and author of the Zulu Fly anthem.
His likeness now stands a the top of Grafton Street, belligerently proud outside Bruxelles Bar where the black clad students drink slowly and congregate outside with smoke and attitude where they jeer the snappers that hug our Phil and in the multitude of languages that make our world, invariably utter the same thing to their fellow travellers, ‘take another one’. Phil’s approval I feel certain would not have been forthcoming, he was not the student type and I’m pretty sure that a hug in death would be as equally uncomfortable for him as were his hugs in life.
But on that Friday night I’m as confident as a Fly can be that he would have made an exception for the Leopardskin with the cello case that suddenly appeared on the top of street and sparked an interest that would result in my visit to The Duke, a Friday night pub in Ireland.

At first I presumed she was as the others, those that carried their music and saluted him as they passed, en route to the music college or café where guitar cases took seats of their own and fingerless gloves played with sugar.
But this one was different.
She teetered precariously as she walked and then stopped with purpose. She propped her cello case against Philo’s leg and took a tissue from her sleeve, the black of a tight leather jacket pulled into a cleavage atop voluptuous hips and beneath hoops in her ears large enough to await a jump-through from circus dogs.
She wiped the statue’s lips and standing on the toes of her murderous heels kissed him full on the mouth and whispered ‘Kiss me for luck’.
My Leopardskin girl then flipped a pre-emptive finger to the students of Bruxelles and scuttled off into the night, beyond the Japanese tourists photographing the laughs of the abusive scholars, and over the cardboard beds of the chalking street artists, and into the tide of the Grafton Street hustle.
But she was easy to find.

The top of her cello case bobbed and weaved as she ran on toes and bouncing breasts, and as I flew in from behind I watched the eyes of those that watched her, and they were smiling.
Suddenly she turned left rather quickly, as if on a whim, and I almost crashed into her pony-tailed hair, but a nod from the Neanderthal gatekeeper continued her run and we were then in through the gold painted door. Leopardskin headed straight for the bar, knocking quite a few legs with her case and muttering a sorry to all and sundry. She sat, ordered, checked and scanned and within less than a minute had her first encounter.

As I’ve told you before it’s not etiquette for Zulu Fly to interfere in stories but, as Leopardskin is otherwise engaged I feel the need to explain my surprise on entering The Duke.
It had been quite some time since my last visit to a public drinking establishment in Ireland and things had changed. Not the establishment itself, no, the stain glass windows allowed the usual reflections, the barstools exposed the typical fray of corners and brass, the large mirrors behind the bar counter bounced the faces from the snug’s and the alcoves and the nicks in the wood were still as old as the art.
The pints looked the same, standing at half-mast as the patrons waited the second pull of the tap, a task seemingly unknown to the rest of the world, the settling of stout and blood pressure alike. But the anticipation was still as evident in their stare and the Euro money they rubbed within their fingertips was as cultureless as before. The competition for the sweating barman’s attention remained as common, as did the barman’s grandiose opinion of himself as he gave the male customers smartass lip that in the outside world would have caused him an injury and the female of the species to vomit their dinner.
The difference was atmosphere, of the chemical kind, the cigarettes, the cigars, the smoldering pipes and all other categories of burning plant life. They were gone, and in its place were the smells they had masked and disguised. But perhaps my olfactory’s are more sensitive than humans, because nobody else seemed to mind. Personally speaking I was shocked but believe it or not I’ve learned when to shut my hole and say no more so I think we’ should leave it there for the moment and I’ll bring you back to my girl.

Leopardskins first encounter received short shift and was slinking to the little boys room when I landed beside her. She jiggled her heel on the barstool frame and held a cigarette in her fingers,
“Two B52’s”
Barman rolled his eyes and pointed at her cigarette.
“Do ye see it lighting, no, so just get me a drink before I wet me knickers”.
She heard a snigger from the guy on the corner of right angled counter, sideburns and check shirt; legs crossed elevating a stained cowboy boot away from the bar. He had a pint in his left and balanced a book in his right and her butterflies were making her intolerant.
“What kind of fuckin eejit comes to a pub on Friday night to read a book, what is it, Ernest Hemingway, Farewell to Arms? Never even heard of it. Ye look like a prick”
Sideburns smiled and used a beer mat as a bookmark. Leopardskin had turned away, heel rattling against the barstool. The B52’s arrived and she downed one before she paid.
“I couldn’t agree with you more”, Sideburn said. “But you see that group over there in the corner?”
Leopardskin looked, despite herself, at the group of rain jackets and baseball caps of an age that confirmed they were mostly retired Americans. She almost felt sorry for the younger girls amongst them who drank half pints of Guinness thus confirming their status.
“Tourists” she confirmed.
“Yes indeed, God Bless them. You see they gather here of a Friday to kick off what’s called the Literary Pub Crawl of Dublin. See that guy with the slicked back hair and waistcoat?”
Leopardskin spotted him immediately. “The knob?”
“Couldn’t have said it better myself. He charges them for the pleasure of been dragged from pub to pub so he can show them where Beckett and Shaw plied their trade. Where Brendan Behan and Patrick Kavanagh drank their fill and penned their best. And where Joyce began his stream and Wilde enthralled his crowd, the galacticos of Irish literature, in a five drink beer fest. So I read Hemmingway in front of his customers just to piss him off”
Sideburn shrugged his shoulders. “Because the world is a small place and he’s up his own arse and they need to know that Hemmingway was better. You remind me of somebody that stood me up you know that?”
Leopardskin rolled her eyes and downed the second B52
“Do I make you nervous” he asked as he put his cowboy boot beneath her heel and briefly interrupted her jiggling.
“In your dreams pal”
“So its your gig then”, Sideburn nodded to the leaning cello case.“What’s in the case?”

And this is where I think he got her attention, this very moment and that simple question. Because everybody else just presumed it was a cello.
Leopardskin swiveled and for longer than normal or polite she looked at Sideburn and measured his face.
“I’m Imelda, it’s my first night with the band and if it goes ok I might want to celebrate afterwards”
Sideburns took a lighter from his pocket and flicked it alight on the worn velvet of the barstool seat.
“Where you playin?”
“Two doors down”
He slid “Farewell to Arms” across the counter. “For luck, and if I’m there, who decides if it was ok or not, me?”
He light her cigarette and walked out through the crowd.
The barman shouted at her “No Smoking in here, get outside with the rest of the fucking reprobates, I’m mot taking another fine”.
Imelda smiled and watched Sideburns go. “In you dreams pal” she shouted after him.

I couldn’t follow Sideburn and I don’t know of if he was in the crowd of two doors down, but I think Imelda did ok. But what do I know I’m only a Fly albeit a Zulu. Have a look yourself, click on the link and tell me what you think Imelda May

But remember, I am Zulu Fly, and I see you too.

© Cathal 2010

Zulu Fly...and the kiss of Imelda

Cathal .

Dublin, Ireland

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Artist's Description

It’s now midnight on a saturday and I’ve been snowed in all day. So I cracked a few beers and listened to some sounds, and Zulu Fly paid me another visit as I listened.
If you get a chance click on the link at the end, she’s a local girl from Dublin, her name is Imelda and I think she’s the bee’s.

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