One Enchanted evening in Whites: so, let us start honestly, without indulging in faux ideological one-upmanship, or casually pretending that back-in-the-day I sat in snug splendour upon a warm seat of influence as a committee member in the Comintern; or even gigged as junior editor of Lotta Continua. I did, but that’s a whole new scandal, a cast of thousands etc. Today I remain a gentleman, albeit one of diminished means, with precious few foolish accoutrements to declare bar my congenital masculine geniuses- these lamentably on occasion will entrance me into forgetting that discretion is indeed, more often than not, the better part of valour (as so happened recently).
Do you know those times? We’ve all likely had them- in your local enjoying a quiet drink most probably after having watched a Chelsea game; quietly & unobtrusively discussing sedulous thoughts with a few select spars, prior to sensing someone parked up at an adjacent table, prattling inanely to silly pals, spouting immature observations based solely on their own two-bob myopic, ignorant, blinkered opinions. As the night passes you’ve maybe had marginally more pints than you’d originally planned or accounted for- slowly yet ever so surely becoming increasingly pissed. Still, you can’t help hearing that obstreperous background persona non grata making reckless-imbecilic comments, repeatedly getting louder, noisier, darker- lazily, carelessly playing to a crass gallery of unkempt dummies. Forebodingly, you gradually become a soupçon over bothered. Yet, convincing yourself that you’re more mature than him, you let it pass: no dramas. Urbane anger management clicks in, but tellingly your mate actually revisits the bar- when you thought he’d disappeared for a well-earned leak- hence, unknown to you, he offers up yet another unexpected pint of Punk IPA (one of over the eight) & indebted, you honourably, albeit reluctantly, accept his generosity (loosely thinking‘I really must bemeandering home to attend to Mother’) whilst also imagining this prophetic pint could figuratively tip one over a rocky precipice. However, those stellar Whites ‘homies’ easily assure & flatter you otherwise, as they always seem to do, so obediently, one stays put- temporally muzzled.
Nevertheless, eating away at your customary happy chemically charged mood swing is a frigging stale banana, sat at an enormous adjoining walnut dining table, that you’re now certain is looking for trouble. So far, you’re a refined, cultured European, a fully-grown renaissance adult- in stark contrast to this giant wank*r & tableau vivant of associated gimps. You like to think that you’re well above gratuitous, childish friction, but no, you just can’t handle it any longer. Full of drunk-wired-bravado, you suddenly turn around snarling, hot sang noblearises, adrenalin pumping- a visceral grievance evident in both expression & body language. Each tense moment seems to flow in slow motion: friends cautionary voices faintly distant- inaudible, as if you’ve cotton wool stuffed into both cauliflower ears. Clenching fists, you alter states, as if some chap’s randomly flicked an emergency switch: you flip! Not only ready, but determined to have a right royal tear up, & your primary target’s that Berkshire sat in the VIP reservation. In milliseconds you abruptly stand, erect, spiritedly up-out from a deep leather Chesterfield, approaching the targeted ugly boor (multiple frit knob-jockeys dotted around him), who senses a legitimate anger, & unadvisedly jerks up in quasi self-defence: ultra-violence erupts, loud voices, screams, tears- but noticeably, no tiaras.
Diamond cut crystal glasses get smashed, antique teak tables knocked over. You deal with it, delivering a proper straightener- a real one-sided row. That annoying unprepared twat’s suddenly on the wrong end of numerous hard knuckled blows; aristocratic blood is spilled, staining your newly tailored clothes, it’s all across his newly decorated boat race too, & his pink, possibly Hollister, or similarly inappropriate branded t-shirt’s now claret-red. His fair-weather entourage, swiftly departed, melting away from one’s testosterone, clearly flustered, now meekly mincing, simultaneously with style, into Boodle’s. He alone remains, cowering upon a rich Axminstered floor- his effete spindly legs instructed by his brain to no longer support him, due to a barrage of vicious heavy punches rained down upon his battered canister. He winces, peeking up submissively to seek mercy. You glare back admiringly, down upon your handiwork, declaring yourself victor, as nothing’s coming back. And then, finally, post-carnage, you make a swift exit. Heading home, strolling down St. James’s, with senses heightened, still shaking slightly with rage cum fear, & feeling as if one’s head needs a fucking enema. Piece by piece, one truly considers what’s just happened, & whom one’s just totally mullered: only the bleeding Duke of Westminster. MOTHER!
Story and NOLU photo: Evan Findlay Hay
Art: Chris Page