Sunday, 28 December 2008

Remember When?

Emsworth used to have a fairly infamous drunk, known just as Les, who would terrorise, in his own subdued fashion, the gentlefolk of the town. Usually barred from most shops & pubs, he would arrive regardless of this, shabbily dressed in a dirty-looking overcoat & flat cap, barking unintelligible,presumed obscenities at anyone who would listen; or more accurately, at anyone who looked as if they might be offended easily.

Les was reputed to have risen one morning from a large refuse bin to scowl at the townsfolk, seemingly having spent the night inside it, but I'm not so sure...I saw him once leave a pub, doubtless having plied his drunken, disorderly, abusive trade upon those within; he staggered outside, shouting as usual, then quietly mounted his ancient looking bicycle & rode off at speed, keeping as straight & sober looking a course as anyone could hope for.

I imagine that he really did have some sort of speech impediment, since even when being pleasant he was difficult to understand - I was singled me out one night in the Town Brewery (yeah, way underage I was) & after some loud gesturing, it became clear that he simply wanted me to pick some tunes from the jukebox... his treat, the loose change thrown on the table in front of me. I was quite touched.

I always found Les amusing, or rather the response of those he came into contact with; after this I used to watch more carefully & reckoned I could see his private glee at getting a reaction. It seemed, or perhaps my young mind hoped.. that his antics were some kind of public performance, and that there might be a rational man inside. Certainly Les would disappear for months at a time, and there'd be reports, ha! 'sightings' of him in some nearby town or village, allegedly dressed immaculately & acting perfectly normally. I miss seeing him swagger and shout; or hearing of some surreal sounding situation he'd been spotted in; perhaps I mainly miss being young & entertained.

When You're Young -- The Jam      buy

Play it again Sam -- Dory Previn buy

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