The guy is Zoot suited and Chelsea booted. He is drinking a South
African red of a bad year that had travelled via Oslo on waves as tall
as the barman's tales. He stands on a floor that is bubblegum sticky in
a cloud of Marlboro blue smoke and inhales deeply.
He attempts to tap his feet to the cut-price turgid tinned
jazz performed by Bulgarians who are so obviously on the make or on the
break from a polka nightmare from a long gone iron curtain.
He checks himself in the muddy warped mirrors behind the bar
at random; his jet-black, heart attack hair leaves light inclement
weather from his fingerprints on his fast emptying glass.
This man has been here many years before, in the days of
Kenneth Williams and Daily Express scandals of marijuana dipped
He had loved that world he so rightly inhabited and ruled.
He so desperately wants to love it always.
His tanned weather-beaten Maltese face is at odds with his
energy, for he is a Tommy Stealer and a Marty Wilder even now.
His drinks his fourth glass, checks his ever failing watch
that he bought in Berwick Street market on the day that England won the
World Cup and resigns himself to the cold fact that she is not coming
and she never was.
He accepts chance with the nonchalance of a young Brando.
He eyes two secretaries discussing the merits of Robbie
Williams in the broken halogen non-lit corner.
He is a contender.