Bemusement arcade

One of the most hilarious facets of professional football is when a substitution is about to be made and the manager/trainer stands next to the player about to come on, leans right into him and gesticulates wildly and incomprehensibly while shouting a load of gobbledygook in the poor bloke's ear. The funny bit is the look of utter bemusement on substitute's face as he clearly fails to understand any of the instructions on offer.

That self same expression of bewilderment is the one I'm sure I must wear when witnessing some of the antics people get up to down at The Shakespeare. Just last night at the quiz we had a team, only half of whom ordered a drink. I explained politely that it's free to play but each person must have something because the game takes three hours to prepare and, well, you know, it's a business and all that. The two people in question trudged reluctantly to the bar to order and came back with a packet of crisps each. No, really. On one of the hottest nights of the year, two young men were actually willing and able to sit for an hour and a half without drinking anything at all and munching on some Pringles. They didn't win the quiz - or any prizes for joie de vivre, for that matter.

My favourite did-that-really-just-happen? moment was the memorable occasion when a short little chap asked me to turn the music down a bit so his wife could breast feed their baby. Unable to discern how those two things could possibly be remotely connected, I simply thought 'Blimey, poor child', and turned the volume up a tad. They didn't even notice.

Running that remarkable incident a close second was the young lad who strolled into the bar recently looking around inquisitively for a minute or so, before approaching me directly.


'If you mean, 'Excuse me, please, where's the toilet?', it's through that door. Are you a customer?'

'No, I'm eating on the terrace of the restaurant opposite.'

'Well, you should probably use their bathroom then.'

'Yours is nearer.'

'Get out before I offer you a swirlie in our 'nearer' toilet.'

Ok, I didn't really say that last bit but certainly gave the cheeky tyke short shrift.

We should keep a record of all this, I suppose since some of it really is first class comedy.

Cheers remains one of the funniest TV series ever screened and I'd always imagined it to have been penned by a crack team of scriptwriters. Knowing what I know now, it was probably just some bloke who once owned a bar and kept a diary.