A Suhkumvit Style Blocker in Blighty
After my last submission struck a slightly melancholy note I thought it wise to assure you there is no need to hide all sharp objects around me and that I am ok. I also take the opportunity to thank all my pals for the kind notes of support.
I received some criticism for my candour in imparting details of the latest indignity my ex Thai wife inflicted on me and for my openness in divulging an embarrassing secret. But I must admit writing the tale was cathartic and helped me to rationalise things and put it in to perspective.
I was also censured that I give the impression I invite misfortune and enjoy being a victim. Although on reflection they may have a point I do assure my readers I am not quite the sad old tosser I sometimes portray. I occasionally overdo the self deprecating persona for dramatic or literary effect and I recognise I will have to keep a check on this compulsion in future.
I have also been informed by a couple of pals that if they ever hear I have made any contact with my erstwhile Thai wife again they will drive up to the Black Country and insert large blunt objects up my anal orifice or take me to the local canal and administer a keelhauling on an old coal barge.
The thought struck me how inane the very idea of finding a wife in a different culture like Thailand actually was. It is like a bloke going to Disneyland to marry Minnie Mouse… You can imagine his disappointment when he is told it is just a woman in a suit and a paper Mache head.
You can understand I am not particularly enamoured with Thai womanhood at present so I beg your indulgence that there is even less Thai content than usual in this missive. But I felt I must give you a short update on my life in the Socialist republic of Wednesbury if only to assure my reader I remain unaffected by my latest mishap and am still whistling a happy tune.
It is all change again at my local the “Welded Wallet”. The gaffer Mick I discussed in my last missive has been replaced. Just as he had got the place buzzing the unspeakable oaf who is director of the management company that holds the lease on the pub decided to dismiss him. The rumour is it was because Mick had approached the brewery trying to procure the lease from the leaden hand of this company. This is the 7th manager this oaf has dismissed in less than two years. I am incensed that I and other regulars will once again have to suffer a hiatus of several weeks whilst another new incumbent tells us how they are going to change the pub for the better. In the meantime customers drift away. There is no more depressing sight than a pub empty of customers whilst the new incumbents settle in. It is all so unnecessary.
I put my head in at the “Benefit claimers arms” the other Saturday as the Elvis impersonator known as “YamYam Elvis” was performing again. By way of explanation “Yam Yam” is the derogatory term used by the denizens of Birmingham to describe the inhabitants of the Black Country. It was not intended as a term of endearment so it annoys our Brummie neighbours that we adopted the sobriquet just to irritate them.
“Yam Yam Elvis” is actually a machinist from Walsall named Andrew. He is an ugly little bugger, looks nothing like Elvis, sounds nothing like Elvis and delivers his performance in a strong Black Country accent. At the end of every number he exclaims “Tar” (thank you) to which the audience reply “Mower” (more). He is however a consummate entertainer who never fails to please. He even has a fan club of about 8 middle aged women who follow him around. They are all identified by tight perms and horn rimmed glasses and are invariably named Deirdre or Beryl. It is reputed they all arrive on a special bus from a secure facility somewhere. I don’t believe it myself.
I went to my local on Saturday night for the karaoke and found there was also a 21st birthday party for a niece of the latest landlord. There was a lot of young fat Tottie in but the first girl I noticed was a delicious young black goddess. She was tall with exquisite long legs and a beautiful face, She was with an older black lady who was clearly her mother who although a little heavier was equally striking. Now you all know I have a thing about black women I realised I would be punching above my weight with the young goddess but thought I would chance my arm with the mother.
As I am making for my usual seat near the stage I accidently bumped into the older lady. I apologised saying I was trying to avoid colliding with her sister and ran into her instead. She replied “she is my daughter not my sister” but it had the desired effect, I had got her interest and received a huge smile.
I usually open proceedings at the karaoke so told the DJ the two numbers I would start with. In deference to my Nubian Queen and princess I sung the reggae classic “Everything I own” by Ken Booth. After the song my ebony beauties came up to me and applauded me “We did not expect an old white bloke to sing like that” the youngest said.
I next sang an old Drifters number “Kissing in the back row of the movies” which got my two black ladies and a couple of their friends up dancing in front of me. In fact my Nubian queen came on stage and put her arm around me whilst I was singing. This is looking promising I thought
Unfortunately I had also attracted the attention of an elderly and quite ugly white woman. At the end of the song she also mounted the stage informing me she thought I was a wonderful singer and elbowing my ebony angel away. This harridan was probably in her late 60s with a harsh Glaswegian accent, no discernible waist and ill fitting dentures. But what most put me off were the huge tasteless tattoos she sported on each arm. She left me in no doubt she had designs on me.
Now there is the eternal question all men ask themselves on first meeting a woman of any description and it determines all future interaction. That question is “Would you?”
I am afraid my answer in this case was an emphatic Oh God No.
Steady the buffs there I hear you say, you may think I am getting fussy in my old age and that a bloke in my position can not afford to be too discriminating but I still have some standards. I have not had carnal knowledge of a white woman for 10 years now. I must admit my experiences with the graceful and feminine women of Thailand have probably spoilt me forever. I refuse to accept that gruesome white women ten years older than me are now my fate.
I think it was the hideous tattoos that clinched it. There is something particularly unsavoury about elderly women with tattoos. It would have taken more than the products of Mr Pfizer to raise my attention for this assignment.
I politely made it clear I was not interested but she wouldn’t leave me alone. Every time I got up to sing she stood right in front of me and when I sat down she kept trying to get me to dance. I told her “guilty feet have got no rhythm” in an attempt to deflect her but she persisted. She told me she was the auntie of the landlord as if this should have influenced me. What was annoying was she was effectively blocking my attempts to chat to the ebony lady.
When I am in Bangkok I frequent bars in Suhkumvit where I have often witnessed the phenomenon of the “blocker”. This is when you go into a bar and a particular girl feels you are her property and prevents you from approaching any other girls. My pal Union Hill often refers to certain girls as being his “blocker” in that bar. It would appear I had acquired my own blocker in a Black Country pub.
She was not stupid so I can only surmise that this woman, influenced by the myth of the “Cougar” or brainwashed by our “Because you’re worth it” culture had decided “I am a modern woman so I am allowed to have anything I want. I fancy this bloke, he is younger than me but is merely a man so he has no say in the matter…I am entitled and that is that”. What was irksome was if the roles had been reversed and it was an old bloke pressing his unwanted attention on a younger woman she would have summoned a constable. I ended up getting slowly drunk and went home alone having never got to grips with my Nubian queen.
On the subject of music I haven’t mentioned my male voice choir for some time. I am still singing with them but it has been quiet of late. John the choir’s conductor was my father’s closest friend for 40 years and we generally go for a beer after choir practice. He is an incredible musician and has written the arrangements for most of the choir’s repertoire. Now in his 80s he is highly respected and through his teacher and teachers’ teachers there is a trail that allegedly goes back to Felix Mendelssohn.
His grandson Dan is also an accomplished pianist although still in his 20s has played support to many well known bands. He is currently musical director of the Drifters a group with its roots in the 1950s. They have had numerous changes of line up in the last 50 years. It is like “Triggers brush “in “Only fools and horses” when he claimed he had kept the same brush for 20 years. It had had 10 new heads and 8 new handles but it remained the same brush.
Anyway the Drifters latest iteration was due to play at the Alex theatre in Birmingham next month. Dan had asked his grandfather if the choir could accompany the band for a couple of numbers. This excited me I had visions of being at future karaoke’s and announcing “This is a number I sang on stage with the Drifters at the Alex theatre in Birmingham”. Talk about an opportunity for bullshit, I could have basked in that for months if not years.
Unfortunately John declined the engagement citing the advanced age of most of the choir members. I must admit the smell of incontinence is now stronger than their voices and the thought of our geriatric choir struggling on stage with walking sticks and Zimmer frames would not be a good image. It was a shame but I appreciate his reasoning. It did however prompt the thought that maybe the Drifters would have had to modify their repertoire to reflect a geriatric theme and the following numbers are proposed.
• Kissing in the back row of the doctors (Kissing in the back row of the movies)
• More than a number on my waiting list (A number in my little red book)
• Under the surgeon (Under the board walk)
• Up on the stair lift (Up on the roof)
• Save the last bedpan for me (Save the last dance)
• Saturday night at the Bingo (Saturday night at the movies)
• There goes my hip joint (There goes my first love)
Maybe I should get out more often or take medication for my overactive imagination?
My beloved West Bromwich Albion had their best season for over 30 years. I am sure many of you saw that incredible last game of the season when we drew 5 : 5 with Man United. It was Sir Alex Fergusson’s last game before his retirement and we somewhat peed on his parade.
The Baggies finished 8th in the league. We finished 10th last year and 11th the year before which suggests a sustained progress. We also did the double over Liverpool beating the Scousers both home and away. This success will probably mean the price of replica shirts (small youth size) going up. I will have to compromise on the number I purchase for my next visit to the Kingdom but as I get older I probably won’t need so many anyway.
My eldest son played the last game of his season in the Sunday league against a team of tattooed Neanderthals reputed to be on day release from Featherstone Prison. Half the team had no opposing digits and were clearly quite a long way down the evolutionary scale. They are managed by an ex boxer and well known local gangster’s enforcer. Some of them are reasonable footballers but they freely admit their principle tactic is to intimidate the opposition with their terrifying countenances and overt threats of violence. Our lads lost 12.2 and were just glad to be able to walk off the field without the aid of paramedics. Fortunately the win meant the Neanderthals were promoted so we will not have to face them next season.
It was my mother's 80th birthday last weekend and we celebrated with dinner at the local golf club. It was a nice relaxed affair with 20 of our extended family in attendance. My mother enjoyed it. I told her the same joke 5 times; she laughed each time and remarked “I don’t know how you remember them all”. She is a cantankerous bugger and is suffering severe memory problems but she is functioning extremely well and I keep a daily watch on her. She is quite a prosperous woman and has enough savings to keep her comfortable for another 30 years. I wish she would release just a few quid to me and my brother to ease our financial situation but that is another story.
I don’t actually need or want a lot of money, I certainly don’t need a fancy car or a big house but it would be nice to have the wherewithal to visit Thailand once or twice a year before I get too old to enjoy it.
A few weeks ago at a loose end, I considered writing a little fantasy about what life would be like if I did have a little money. Once I started the muse came upon me and I ended up with a novelette of 30,000 words. Now I am not conceited enough to consider it worth being published there are no references to car chases, financial conspiracies or mafia shoot outs with AK47’s which seem obligatory in modern novels. But it seems a shame for it to sit on my PC just gathering dust. Maybe sometime I will serialise it and submit it to stick perhaps a chapter at a time over several weeks.
I returned to Cumbria for week 5 of the project. Not much to report as the work was quite intensive covering the areas of the syllabus we had previously avoided such as Health and Safety and Quality Assurance.
I went out for a smoke at break time to see the Thai lady in the house opposite had bought a brand new red Mini to supplement the Discovery she already had. It would appear either the taxi business or the money laundering operation my overactive imagination had invented was doing well. Nurse…. it is time for my medication again.
On the Sunday night I arrived, I quickly unpacked and make my way across to one of the three pubs directly opposite the hotel as is my custom. The first pub was full of unusually well dressed people. When I asked I was informed they had all attended a wedding and a christening that afternoon (I didn’t ask further). Having taken the skin of my first beer I went outside for a fag to see there were two women in the smoking area. In their 40s, they were quite attractive if a little overblown and slightly the worse for drink.
One of the saddest aspects of the new paradigm is if a mature man attempts to speak to a female or even look at her (unless he looks like Colin Firth or Brad Pitt) she is likely to summon a constable for having the effrontery to draw near to her divine presence. There is however one locale in our dysfunctional society where it is still acceptable for a man of my vintage to engage in conversation with a younger woman without receiving a withering or scornful rebuke. It is the smoking area outside a pub. It is strange quirk that a habit perceived as anti social is the last bastion of civilised social discourse between the sexes.
I have often joked if it wasn’t for pickpockets and muggers some men would have no physical human contact at all. I offer it to the house that without smoking areas less conversation would occur. I constantly see people inside a pub never conversing and totally preoccupied with their smart phones but will cheerfully chat to complete strangers when in the leper colony known as the smoking area.
Anyway I remarked to the one lady “you look dressed up, are you with the wedding (christening) party or are you going on somewhere later?” She smiled and replied “We are going to the disco around the corner so we thought we would make the effort to look good!” “It has certainly worked” I replied, although I was unsure if their studded leather jackets worked with the long floral dresses they wore but I kept my counsel.
Wishing to progress the conversation I remarked it was a shame there was less opportunity for ladies to get really dressed up these days. I continued “I remember the old dinner dances when all men wore a suit and tie and their women were expected to wear a ball gown or cocktail dress. It was always lovely to see the effort the ladies had made to look their best”. Her reply was unexpected.
“I wear what I fxxxing well want to ….nobody tells me what to fxxxing wear”.
She had not taken offense at me and continued talking to me about how much she spent on clothes and cosmetics each week and how many boyfriends she had but it was clear she had completely missed the point of my story.
I often despair at the vocabulary being taught at the young ladies finishing schools these days. I am also saddened that modern western womanhood feel they have to go to extremes of behaviour to show they are fully empowered and liberated.
A couple of hours later I spot the same young lady. She is on her hands and knees and throwing up on the pavement outside the disco. I imagine it is one idea for a colourful end to an evening out.
It has been a year since I returned from Asia, a trip which entailed a six-week assignment in China and a two-week sojourn in Thailand.
On my return to blighty I threw my hat at the renaissance in technical education in my industry. I worked two months for nothing to help get the initiatives going which eventually began to pay off around September. I was engaged on a training project in Cumbria and to teach on the new Foundry Diploma course at a local college. It has kept me going for nearly 9 months for which I am grateful. The work I have done in Cumbria has given us the model for a certificate level course to market around the country and beyond.
Although I am freelance I have been working almost exclusively for the institute that is the professional body for the industry. At the end of July the local college closes for the summer and the job in Cumbria will be completed. August will be quiet but in September a new intake is anticipated for the diploma. If I can I teach 1st years on Wednesday the 2nd years on Thursday, with the additional day I am allowed for preparation I will have 3 days regular work per week. With a frugal lifestyle I could just about survive on this. One of our partner organisations (the successor to the old industry training board) want me to train as an NVQ assessor which would be an additional string to my bow and could yield some extra work.
In the next twelve months the director of the institute has plans for a similar course to the one in Cumbria to be delivered to a group of foundries in Kent. There is also the promise of a similar exercise in Scotland. She also has a series of short courses lined up to several companies that are large users of castings and want their engineers to get an appreciation of the casting process. These plans will involve me being a nomad again living out of a suitcase and being “Billy no mates” in a series of strange towns but needs must and I could make a reasonable living if they come off.
I can even imagine being able to fund a trip to Asia later in the year if they do come off. Despite my protestations and declaration of wishing to be cured of jasmine fever the thought of a few weeks relaxing in the Kingdom remains compelling. The chance to see a few old friends and peruse the pleasures of the pole in the bars of Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy is an attractive prospect. The opportunity to enjoy the illusion of the Thai girlfriend experience for a few days is equally persuasive. I even thought I may visit a few temples and tourist attractions but I promptly took that thought into a dark corner and soundly beat it with a stout stick.
I feel comfortable with my life at present but it would certainly be wonderful to not be treated as if I am Quasimodo by any female below the age of 60. I would like to gain a few more memories before the inevitable nursing home beckons.
Watch this space.