Thursday, May 12, 2011

Hazell and the Three-Card Trick by P.B Yuill (Penguin Books 1975)

The pub Minty chose was rough even by Hammersmith standards. Of course there's good parts and bad parts of Hammersmith. This pub was as bad as any going.

Minty was already at the slopping bar when I pushed through the dingy saloon door.

It wasn't rough meaning violent - just horrible. The paper was coming off the walls in damp patches and the decor was like an old railway waiting-room with one difference. The lighting. I've never been in such a brightly-lit boozer. It was glaring.

The staff was an Irish bloke about twenty-five. He had the beer gut of a much older man. It was straining against a grey vest that in its turn was trying to pop out where his shirt buttons were missing.

From his pained movements and sharp sighs and groans it was possible he was suffering the worst hangover since Pisa. He hadn't shaved that day, although that was hardly likely to upset the clientele.,/p>

Actually I feel sorry for the Irish who come over here to wear big letters on their backs. They generally leave the wife at home on holy soil and only see her at Xmas to father next year's crop. In between Xmases they doss down in cheap rooms and send the wife's money home by postal order and drink themselves silly to fill up the void.

Thumping each other and kicking Chinese waiters is about the height of their swinging lives. They don't seem to have much interest in the local women and they tend to stick to their own pubs. 'It's gone Irish,' you'll hear people say about a rub-a-dub that's been taken over by the big men with the pixie ears. It's not meant as a recommendation.

I say sorry but not enough to want ten of them home for a cooked meal.

1 comment:

Darren said...

Pages 130-131

The excerpted passage doesn't necessarily give you a flavour of the novel itself, but it does throw up what was still the stereotypical view of the Irish in Britain as late as the mid-70s.