27 Jul 2015

Nightclubbing in the 70s. Part 2.

Tim would like nothing better in the whole world than for his life to go back to the way it was just one week ago. But instead, he’s stood beside us in a club he’s unfamiliar with, whilst some booze-for-brains lout is shouting in his face “Are you looking at me?”

Bringing him here was a dumb idea from the start. Three guys are never going to pull. We should have simply taken him to the pub, there to let him alternately drown his sorrows and pour his heart out over the fact his fiancé has said goodbye. Instead of which we brought him here, suited-up and stood like an out-of-place Top Shop dummy beside a noisy dance floor, his face vacant as someone whose thoughts are miles away in another city.

“Are you looking at me?!”

Tim wasn’t looking at anybody. But in late night Nottingham, “Looking At” is regarded as a serious offense. One punishable by Fists.

“Are you looking at me?!!”

Tim is now frozen on the spot, and now he really is looking. He can’t do anything else. In fact, he’s staring like a rabbit caught in the bulging red-faced glare of his drunken accuser. He wants to look away, he really does. But he can’t. He’s scared stiff fixated.

We take an arm each, almost lifting his rigid body away from the scene, offering abundant “Sorry mate” apologies as we go. We’ve both been in similar situations before and know the ropes. Tim hasn’t. I doubt he went to an all-boys school. I know for sure he can’t ever have lived in Liverpool where I myself developed a sixth sense knowledge of how and when to avert one’s eyes; how to walk home in the centre of the road because it offers an extra pavement width of sprinting distance away from the shadows in doorways.

Now the bouncers have turned up, but not to take sides. As far as they’re concerned, if there’s a fight then everybody goes down. So now we’re apologizing to them also, edging backwards towards the exit, Tim’s frozen body between us.

Tim wasn’t looking at anybody. He’s not even focusing. He didn’t even want to be here. Tim just wanted everything to be as it was one week ago. He wanted to be at home and able to watch a favourite movie, or order pizza, or listen to his records, without always thinking of her.

Copyright Ian G Craig.