Queer as Folk

I step into the pub from the rotten wet day outside. It’s dead. There doesn’t appear to be anyone working behind the bar but there’s a distant chatter through a narrow corridor towards what’s probably a back kitchen. Looking around I see no customers so I step behind the bar and consider walking through the back. Having second thoughts I look around again at this dingy village pub. What little light there is coming in shows up all the dust clinging to the air.
It crosses my mind that I may have been set up. I never thought I’d get an interview with one of my all time musical heroes. A legend. A man who’d travelled the world, America, Canada, South America, Europe. Written songs recorded by Dylan and drank with poets like Thomas in rough pubs in New York City. Now why would a man like that want or need to talk to an amateur writer like me? Well he wouldn’t. Let’s face it. even if I was pretending to write for a free underground paper in Glasgow. Which I wasn’t.
But this is where they said to meet him. A drab empty pub in a dreach, grim village in a dead-end corner of Scotland. A place that nobody wanted or indeed actually seemed to be, except me.
It was clearly a joke. He was a great prankster Jimmy Anderson, so I was told.
He must’ve got his assistant, or whoever she was, to send me on a wild goose chase to this hellhole part of the country so disconnected you need to drive for three hours and get a ferry here, even though it’s not even an island.
Well that would give him and his folk music family a laugh. Sending the city boy to Ardnamurchan for an interview, while he was living it up at a shindig in his farmhouse in Maine or something.
I step back off the bar just before a fierce looking big lady comes storming towards me with an upside down broom in one hand a black bin liner in the other. She seems to take up the whole width and height of the yellow corridor and if I hadn’t moved I think she would’ve just kept on coming.
She scowls at me and then opens her mouth and roars “JIMMMMMAY!” right in my face. A grunt responds from way back up the corridor and some pans clatter. “CUSTOMER!” she shouts and then barges past me towards the front door. I notice she’s wearing wellies.
I don’t want to piss her off anymore but think what if this Jimmy is even scarier than his missus. The last thing I want to do is stay around here for a drink.
“Oh no sorry I’m not actually here for a ….” But the big wooden door is already slamming closed in my face. I turn back to the bar to find a tall skinny man, in his 50s and grey-looking, has appeared and is staring blankly at me. You couldn’t say he was hostile but his two spidery hands are placed wide and firm on the bar like a blockade.
“What can I get ye?” He says in monotone, like he didn’t want to drive me away but could not for the life of him be bothered serving. No wonder the place is empty.
“Nothing.” I say and hitch my backpack further up my shoulder. But I realise then what she’d called him. Jimmy. It couldn’t be him could it.
I look back and of course it isn‘t. I shake my head. THE Jimmy Anderson is in his 70s and from what I’ve seen on stage has a damn site more colour to him than this guy.
“You’re looking for my dad aren’t ye?” He says in the flat voice again. Certainly not the voice of a singer.
“Your dad?”
“Yes ma dad, the GREAT JIMMY ANDERSON” His voice illuminates only in sarcasm.
“Well he’s over there.” He nods towards an archway leading to another section of the pub tucked away with an unlit coal fire. His big hands never lift from their spread out position on the bar.
I look through but still can’t see anybody. I think maybe this is just an elaborate part of the joke. But then why go to the bother?
I take it all in again. Just perhaps this might be exactly the sort of private little place where my hero would come and hide.
“HERE!” Young Jimmy yells me back to the bar with a gruffer tone. “You’d better take this” He thrusts a large and dirty looking glass of single malt towards me.
“Oh oh thank you but I’m alright thanks.”
“It’s no for you son.” He says and turns away back down towards the kitchen.

Queer as Folk


Joined January 2008

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