James Horwill : Deep Thought

The management of The Welsh & Welsh Lions were today given a rare insight into the ‘mind’ of James Horwill, the squeaky-clean Wallaby Captain. Horwill, not previously known for putting a foot wrong [check this for me someone, please—MB] , inadvertently left some papers, including his personal tactics & calls notebook, on the seat of a Sydney taxi cab as he was travelling from a court hearing to attend a court hearing.


The driver, passed on the documents to one of a group of Scotsmen who were hanging around the Lions training ground, with nothing to do. The document reveals the inner most thoughts of this, most complex of all international sports stars. Speaking later from inside his restraining cage, Mr Horwill would only say “I like chips with Brown gravy”, before he was muzzled by his keeper and led away to attend a court hearing.

A member of the press asked why The Lions didn’t possess anyone with the wit, charm and grace of Horwill. It was then pointed out that there was one, but as Jim Hamilton is Scottish he was not considered for the team.

Lions officials hope that Horwill’s notebook will give their scratch side, made up of 15 men from the 1 Nations, the edge in Saturday’s match.


Six Nations Final Score



Wales 23 vrs 30 Ireland.
Dogshit Park.
(No boots in the bar, please)

Wales’ Jonathan Davies‘ (no relation) turn to put the urn on (he’s done sod all else today). Wales to go on to play Basingstoke Ex A in the Plate competition, where they will field their new signing, the unexpectedly available, Peter Odemwingie, formerly of  QPR WBA.


Ladies Night

A bit of a kerfuffle down at The Shovel the other night when four women walked in – all at once. The Incumbent and I watched from our little dark corner. The regulars were in shock.Pints of Mild and Mackeson were placed heavily on the bar. There were so many raised eyebrows it looked like an explosion at a Carlo Ancelotti factory. There hadn’t been five women in this bar at the same time since VJ night. The landlady sensed a business opportunity and polished up the Martini Rosso bottle on the optic rack.

Some of the younger regulars (those in their fifties) appeared never to have seen a female before. One bloke ricked his neck trying to get a better view of a plump woman’s cleavage. Well, I say cleavage – heavy breasts swinging around a lady’s knees inside a frumpy cardigan (think Carol Kirkwood drinking a pint)- but it was getting these guys excited.

I’d needed to get out of the house in case I watched any cricket (there’s no tv in the pub). After seeing the might of Ireland trounce Ashes-wining England I was feeling pretty low. How many hours have I wasted watching England football and cricket teams march into world competitions with an ill-judged air of confidence only to be humiliated by 11 part-timers or “minnows” ? Jesus. I might as well support Scotland. I can’t write any more. It’s 7.30 in the morning and we’ve just collapsed to 171 all out against South Africa (who, in all fairness, have actually played the game before). All the joy in my heart that was present after the English outplayed the French at Rugby last weekend (queue French bleats of dodgy refereeing and “Anglo-Saxon conspiracies”) have vanished like an old oak table. With Charlton Athletic Oozluming (again) and the cricket boys due to get the first Easyjet flight home from India, I wonder if my subs to Sky Sports and the time I spend watching it might be better spent elsewhere.

There’s a crib match down the pub later. Great spectator sport.


Laughing in the face of Danger(mouse).


It was my own fault. I’d ignored all the omens, poo-pooed all the warnings and cocked a deaf’un to to reason. Thus, gasping for a pint after a long, exhausting Thursday, I headed down to my local for a pint-or-eight. My local pub is one of a famous chain or Oirish Pubs, it was Thursday 24th September, they were ‘celebrating’ 250 years of the birth of Arthur Guinness, yet forgetting all that I held true to my heart, I entered the establishment for refreshment.

I have previously explained my position on Guinness and Paddy’s Day and it is a measure of a) how thirsty I was and b) the lack of any other decent bars in town that I broke all my own rules. “Happy Birthday Arthur” was yet another in a long line of promotions intended to get you into a pub and drinking gallons of vitamin G. Nothing wrong in that, you might say, but then you would be wrong. Most of us don’t need encouragement to drink a lot and you just know the types who enjoy this sort of thing, who would turn up at a party celebrating the power of dysentery if there was a chance of a free pint, and dress up accordingly. My worst fears were soon realised.

My first pint was served to me by a 6ft 3″ black Leprechaun. He came complete with a green, foam, top hat, green nylon all-in-one suit and elasticated ginger beard. I know this bloke. Nice enough fella, just finishing his studies at college and wants to join the Old Bill (I’m working on him). He was the only Leprechaun behind the jump, but I noticed some of the girls serving were dressed in emerald green crushed-velvet River Dance outfits. The early signs weren’t good. But fair enough, if the boss tells you to dress up like an idiot, you dress up like an idiot, right? WRONG. There was clearly dissent in the ranks. The natives were revolting, as I witnessed when I spotted two of the older barmaids, with faces liked slapped arses, wearing their regular black shirts and trousers. They’d told the boss to stick his idea. There was tension in the air.

Or at least there probably was but I couldn’t sense or hear a bleedin thing over the noise of the pissed youth of Blackheath and the PA system spewing-out Diddly Diddly ditties at a decibel level of somewhere near an eleven. The bar was busy, very busy, and very lively for 8 o’clock on a Thursday. Most of the punters had either started early or quickly, or both. I asked The Incumbent who was chugging away on her half of Guinness, whether we’d missed a public holiday cos this lot looked as if they’d been at it all day. She mouthed some words which I couldn’t here over the din and proceeded to attack a scratch card to see if she’d won another half pint (free scratchcard with every Guinness. As we’d ordered a pint-and-a-half I suggested we got a card-and-a-half but the Leprechaun was having none of it).


I went outside to the tranquility of the street to take a phone call. Superman was having a fag with The Joker. Oh Christ! There was a fancy dress night on too. My heart sank deep into my right-handed underpants. Why can’t these fuckers just turn up to a pub like anyone else? I told my mate on the phone not to bother coming to the pub, describing it as ‘Amateur Night in Disneyland’. Returning to the house of fun, I noticed The Incumbent was clearly non-plussed. In the few moments I’d been outside, she’d had an altercation with a drunk fat woman and , in a rare display of aggression, had given her a dig in the kidneys as the awful woman had backed into her for the sixth time. We made a tactical retreat to a quiet(er) corner of the bar.

From our vantage point, and having placated the Mrs, I cast my eye over the scene before me. it was only about 8.30 but it looked more like 12.30. The bar was jumping. The Pogues had now replaced The Batchelors (I believe) on the jukebox and groups of lads, pints held aloft, eyes shut, and heads tilted back to the ceiling were shouting the wrong words to the ‘Fairytale of New York‘. “The band of the in my seedy choir were ringing Galway day…” etc. Dotted among them I spotted Batwoman ( I assumed) dancing with Dangermouse in a rhythm only a superhero could master. Both of them out of time with the music and with each other. It took me a while to realise who the second of this couple was, as at first glance it looked like a girl in a white catsuit with a large white breast on her head. Then I realised she’d pushed her foam head back off her face so the mouse’s face was pointing straight up. It therefore wasn’t a huge nipple I had spotted, but a nose. Quite disappointing really.danger

More pints (and scratchcards) arrived, and took their inevitable toll. I made my way though the all singing-and-dancing hoards to the back to the pub and towards the loo. The aforementioned fat pissed bird was on the on her arse on the dance floor (it’s not really a dance floor, just a space in the crowd, but such was her size and her flailing dance-technique she’d managed to clear a few square yards) and shouting obscenities to passers by. I circumnavigated her and made for the gents (or the fir, as they’re known in Oirish bars). An odd conversation was taking place.
“Why you look like Spiderman?” asked the toilet man (you know him, he charges you a quid to wash your hands)
“What?” came the annoyed response, from Superman.
“Why you dressed like Spiderman, innit?”
“I’m not fucking Spiderman, I’m SUPERman”, his eyes were narrowing, he was clearly annoyed. Then he added, oddly, “I have got Spidey-sense” he used his two fingers pointing from his eyes in mock-super-vision.”but I’m fucking SUPERman”.


“You’re the third person tonight who thought I was spiderman” he whimpered, looking down at his kit rather sadly.

Luckily, being right handed, I was able to go quickly about my business and keep out of the discussion. Re-entering the bar I realised the band had turned up. One of the regular Thursday night bookings, and they’re bloody good. Five black lads and a white bloke. They play reggae. I squeezed through the revellers as the band kicked off with “You can get it if you really want”. The Leprachaun was arm-in-arm with Captain America singing a Jimmy Cliff number.

“C’mon, we’re leaving” I announced to the other half. “This has all gotten too weird for me.”


Michael, They Have Taken You Away

I fancy a quiet drink tonight. No, seriously I do. Well to be precise: I fancy a series of quiet drinks. But will I achieve my goal? Will I feck! Cos it’s time to wish one and all a Happy Guinness Marketing Campaign Day— the day second only to New Year’s Eve for the influx of wankers in the bars of London. You can guarantee an otherwise civilized watering hole will be full of the Amateur Brigade who have suddenly decided they can drink 3 pints of stout, and know all the words to the Field’s of Athenry, then collapse in a heap of black, drainpipe jeans and green foam hats, before you have the chance to swing a massive Dick Barton their way.
What men want: A nice quiet pub and
obedient bar staff. Photo: Jude Davis

Oh God! I hate Paddy’s Night. Not that I have anything against the Irish, far from it— they are fine people and I’ve spent many, many happy days over there, in pubs, on rugby fields, then in pubs again, (I even had my Stag weekend in Cork). A great, great country so it is. So are the people. But it’s the affect their Patron Saint seems to have on us over here that almost makes me want to give up the black stuff (almost). He may have rid Ireland of snakes, but I wish he’d rid my pub of arseholes.

In past years I have reverted to lager so that I’m not associated with the baying mob (not that I’m agin lager either). I just refuse to take part in this night of shite, made possible only by the marketing men in Dublin. Arse!
I grant you, “If One Guinness is Good for You, Think what Toucan do” was a touch of genius, but passing out green top hats and t-shirts as a bribe to drink stout is a poor imitation of a smart marketing campaign which only students and ad-sales teams fall for.

I don’t celebrate St George’s Day. I don’t celebrate St Andrew’s Day. I stay indoors during that Welsh one. I raise the odd glass on Dec 25th for Happy Birthday Jesus Day, but that’s it. The rest is just steady, year-long quiet tippling IN MODERATION (that’s the key). So who are YOU to invade my privacy and MY boozer just cos you might get a free inflatable pint? Bugger off and use your Slug and Lettuces for such malarky. I shall raise a glass to the lads in green when they trample all over the Welsh on Saturday at Cardiff. Until then, like Josef Fritzl, I shall keep my head buried in a good book.