Birthdays, at my age, are not for celebration. I’m well past the inimatably weird ’21’ , and this one is no round number ; or a halfway points, another meaningless milestone/ millstone that slips by uselessly. Then a friend points out the following…37 is:
- not just a prime number, but the first irregular prime: this is dead important if you’re into maths.
- Its the body temperature of a healthy human (in Celsius, you’re pretty much dead if Fahrenheit)
- The number of plays Shakespeare wrote: and as a fellow writer from the Midlands, this only lends to my kinship.
- In 1937 Trotsky went on trial in the USSR for attempting to overthrow Stalin. My more right-wing readers are chuckling right now.
Such is the importance of 37.
My birthday was spent in the North West, and was brilliantly fun, but there was a notable occasion when I had a little soiree down the Crown as I attempted to milk the date for as much booze as I could squeze from my friends metaphorical beer-udders.
I arrive at The Crown with a couple of others, order a Cad Ale, and take a seat. A group of very-refreshed blokes are sloshing lager and bickering loudly with intent near us, but generally its a warm environment, reinforcing the Crown’s reputation as a wonderful gift to all us Beestonians to swig our booze in*.
Then my good friend R turns up. R is, I’m afraid to say, notfromroundhere. Hes from Wollaton, and hey, if you’ve got a problem with that, I’m from Stapleford, k? Doesn’t make me any less Beestonian.
He buys a beer and walks to join my burgeoning coterie, and as he does, one of the lager-swilling gents that stand between myself and the bar asks
” Yuzzzvapatucks man?’
I’m intrigued, cos R is also struggling to work out how the guy knows him, and Im actually impressed that hes being recognized for his sports-journalistic talent, or his mastery of the bass guitar, but no, its something I’m sure you’ll all find utterly HILARIOUS.
The bloke, who for descriptive reasons will now be known as Spudhead, repeats himself and it’s actually ‘Oi, look, its the manager of Pataks’. R is of Indian descent.
I feel something cold swell in me. Pataks , as I will surely patronisingly point out, is an Indian food manufacturer who sell widely in the UK, and thus anyone who looks vaguely sub-continental is evidently a manufacturer of said products, and if they are not, then fuck it, they are still foreigns, aint they, and if they can’t take a fucking joke, then its politicalcorrectnessgone mad, innit??????
R widens his eyes as his request to re-hear the question regarding his stewardship of a comestible company is answered with no embarrassment, no shame, no realisation of the utter stupidity and nastiness of Spudhead’s ignorance…the and twat laughs his assumption again, and he barks with his own brilliant observation, as he turns to his friends and forces his spittle splutter into their faces, and I feel something wither.
“You run Pataks, don’t yer?’
Ah, this was normal once. I went to school in St.Apleford and Sandiacre, both massively white areas, and we thought nothing of the odd paki joke, the occasional reference to coloureds…invalids were Joeys!. Anyone vaguely moving from their gender norm was evidently ‘queer’; ….. I still drop my jaw when I recall. Yet to mitigate, this was no hate, this was ignorance. Once I knew how cruel and nasty this was, I stopped.
So the guy who says that, I should forgive him, cos hes ignorant? Nah, hes had enough years. If you choose to perpetuate his hate, why should he even breath? I’m bunching fists and swelling with rage, yet I get told, by my own internal dialogue: “maybe you’re only angry at your own previous prejudices”. I sit back and sigh, and just hope one day….
And then I write that, and feel so swelled with self-righteousness….
R sends me this, by text:
HAS ANYONE TOLD YOU LOOK LIKE A (more) GAY NIGEL SLATER
I was livid. I mean, as if:
Again thank you for the people who stuck money behind the bar at the Crown…it was a shock, I’m sure I assume when I write stuff on here its akin to farting into a hurricane: im chuffed to know its not. Lets have a pint soon. Particularly Simon, who told the barstaff he was buying me a drink as he found me ‘funny’. I will be busking jokes in Beeston before long, if that works.
SoubryWatch: Latest News; Apparently the CWU have sent a complaint to the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, regarding what they see as Soubry’s misrepresentation to the House. I don’t know the way such a complaint progresses: i’m guessing its a long and fruitless process, but I wish them luck; there is far too much cynicism towards politicians for going against what their voters truly want: I believe this is called ‘Clegging’.
Being out of work and a member of the library has increased my ability to absorb useless facts with a rapacity unmatched. Normally these are useless tit-bits: Bernard Manning was one of the guards who guarded over Rudolph Hess in Spandau Prison after the Second World War; Hull City is the only league football club that has letters which can’t be coloured in, and so on. Today though, while gazing over the Trent towards the NG11 lands, one jumped into my head and it’s just too good not to note down.
It’s often been a source of amusement that the little village of Gotham shares a name with the imaginary home of Batman, though this is no mere coincidence. Gotham was popularised in medieval folklore for its cunning ruse to keep King John from setting up a local hunting lodge (for its presence would have drained their resources), by pretending to be fools. It worked, King John took his hunting elsewhere, and the term ‘Fools of Gotham’ came into modern parlance.
As such, when the American writer Washington Irvine was looking for a mocking nickname for New York City, he recalled the story and thus christened this ‘city of idiots’ after the tiny Beeston neighbour: Gotham City. Which was then used by the Bob Kane as Batman’s home. All very weird.
But it gets weirder.
Not only is there this link, but Batman’s companion is not called Robin due to his resemblance to the seasonal bird that isn’t turkey, but due to the costume he wears was based on….Robin Hood. Who, I think you might have heard once or twice, was from round here*. Thus we have further proof that EVERYTHING in the world can be linked directly to round here. Beestonia is the hub, all else is wheel.
And then, and I SWEAR this is true, just as I was pondering these facts earlier as I stared over the cormorant swarming river, a bloody Robin only flies down and pecks up some grain from the wall I’m leaning on. Surely a divine sign?**
*sod off, Doncaster.
**That I have far too much time on my hands.