This afternoon for your virtual drinking pleasure, we have recreated a pub in Armpit1 known within the family as The Death Lounge. Decorated in autumnal shades for your autumn years, this well-proportioned room is dimly lit to hide the unsightly, unidentified staining around the legs of some of the chairs. The chairs are high-backed, with wipe-clean upholstery, and are placed around the edges of the room so that you can stare across at the old biffers playing dominoes.
Sprightly shuffler Sevitz is first to the bar as usual. Have you noticed that? He has this spreadsheet, you see, and it reminds him to pre-schedule his drink order before I’ve even written the post. He’s the only visitor today acknowledging the Man Utd theme, with his red wine. Some of us were sprightly once, but our sporting days are of course over (in my case, pretty much before they’ve even begun), but it’s nice to put our feet up, eh Tom? Can I offer you some tiramisu with that whisky mac?
It takes very little imagination to place Mike and K in a snug corner by the roaring bars of the fragrant electric fire. There they sit every evening, toasting their toes; Mike still clinging to the remnants of his sophistication, sipping that eternal Old Fashioned; K sliding into the oblivion of ever more vile combinations of alcohol and drugs. Not, any longer, that sort of drugs. Lisa confirms that sanatogen is indeed alcoholic, and she is a retired scientist so she should know. She has demanded to share with K, and threatened him with her knitting needles, so best hand it over.
The little row of knitting ladies also includes Clair, already looking forward to the bingo later; Pixeldiva, drinker of port and lemonade by the bucketload, and her compatriot Kirsty, nodding off over her medicinal brandy and milk, with occasional mumbled remarks about bunnies. None of it makes any sense. But frankly more sense than you’re likely to hear further down the row, where Lyle is knocking back satan’s balls like you wouldn’t believe. Presumably this is some sort of arrangement he’s made in order to gain immortality.
Dementia is of course a recurring theme within these frosted velvet walls. You’ll have noticed asta, in denial, telling everyone else how old they’ve got, and pretending she doesn’t like the sherry she’s swigging. I even saw her upend the bottle into her soup at lunchtime. Mark will be lucky if there’s any left for him. And then there’s Graybo. One day he says he used to be the benevolent dictator; next day he’s the King of England. Yes, dear.
Talking of repeating oneself (did I say that already?), Pete is retiring from blogging. He’ll have forgotten about it tomorrow. And did you see that guy in the long tweed overcoat and bits of sausage in his beard? He used to be the finest mind of our generation, now he’s a howling loony, covering every paper napkin with grotesque biro drawings of, well, Graybo in his underpants. This is all getting a bit weird. Did anyone see where he went with that strange fizzing drink?
There are a few empty seats around the walls this afternoon; it’s hard to say whether they’re the places of those who have gone before, or simply they who have not yet arrived at The Death Lounge. Someone has to stay unretired, paying taxes so we can party into the long, dark night.
- unpleasant northern seaside town where I spent my teenage years [↩]