My First Ever Football Discussion in a Glasgow Pub. Red, White and… What?!
So last night I thought I’d take a risk and go out for drinks in the centre of Glasgow, although with a large amount of trepidation as this is something I haven’t figured out how to pull off yet without some ridiculous incident happening. We ended up in a pub just off George Square and I went up to the bar to order some drinks. However, because I drink Guinness and bar staff seem to think that it is perfectly fine to pour half your pint then fuck off and serve eight other customers while it “settles”, I was left waiting for quite a while. And it was while I was waiting that the one thing I wanted to avoid happened: the 50 year old, drunk Glaswegian guy propping up the bar spoke to me.
“Where’s that accent from? Sounds weird! Where’s it from?” he asked me. My heart sank faster than the Belgrano in one of Margaret Thatcher’s wet dreams. However, rather than doing what I usually do which is to ignore them or to politely inform them that I am under no legal obligation to socially interact with them I thought I would take my Scottish friend’s and mother’s advice and “make an effort Colin!”
So I turned round to him and said “Kent.” to which he replied “Really? So what team do you support?” Now this is a question that utterly infuriates me but again, I took a couple of deep breaths and informed him that I didn’t like or support football in any way shape or form.
“So what sport do you like then?” he went on.
“I don’t like sport. I’m not a sport person.” I said.
“Aww come on! You must like SOME sport!”
Remembering to make an effort I thought for a bit and said “Well, I quite like cricket.” In response to thishe exploded in derisive laughter: “Fucking gay!!!! Jesus Christ! Fucking English poof sport!!”
It was at this point that the words of my mother and friends to make “an effort” evaporated into thin air like the lager on his breath. I was making an effort, albeit it one that could hardly be detected or measured by the sub-atomic tracking equipment at CERN but I was still making an effort and it was getting thrown back in my face in the form of straight out insults. So I thought I’d have a bit of fun with him and so took my metaphorical gloves off.
He then banged on for the next twenty seconds about the fact that anybody who watched cricket was an “English gay-boy twat” before grabbing me on the shoulder and saying — “Want to know what we call cricket here in Glasgow? Eh? Eh? Snail Racing! That’s what we call it! Because it’s as boring as watching snails race! Get it? Get it? Snail racing! Ha ha ha ha!”
He then continued to laugh at his own joke as he drunkenly rocked back and forth on his stool whilst occasionally stopping for breath and to crack a series of staggeringly unfunny, clichéd, Glaswegian male orientated attempts at humour that were not only undercut with a certain degree of aggression but also of pathetic self-imposed racism.
I was just about to ask him if he was, in fact, a producer for The Comedy Unit when he slammed his wallet on the table and said “Know what that is?!”
I had look. It was a blue wallet with the word ‘Rangers’ and with a little picture of what looked like a dancing lion on it. I shook my head in the negative and said “I’m afraid I have no idea. Something to do with Daktari?”
“No. These colours don’t run! Get it? These colours don’t run!”
“So you’re a washing powder salesman?” I enquired.
“Fuck no! Red, white and blue! Those colours don’t run!”
“Actually, I’m afraid you’re totally wrong.” I informed him. “I did a whites wash last week and a blue sock and some red pants got in there and trust me, it was a MESS! Completely ruined my cricket whites! I don’t know where you’re getting your laundry advice from but it’s incredibly inaccurate.”
“No!!! Rangers!” He then lifted up his top and pulled at his red, blue and white football top shouting at me “Rangers don’t run!”
In an act of spontaneous and naturalistic acting in which I impressed even myself I gave him a look of apparent sudden realisation and said “Ah! So that’s why they’ve been down in the third division?”
“Well look,” I went on. “I know nothing about football but the one thing I do know is that one of the most important abilities you want to look for in your players is for them to be able to run. How else can they get to the ball before the other team? Do they just stand about motionless on the pitch? That would be so dull! It would be likewatching… snail racing. Are they a Paralympic team?”
It was at this point that the vein on his head started throbbing uncontrollably, so much so that I was actually tempted to stop and walk away but I thought I’d just go with it as I was sure it was the only form of aerobic exercise he had indulged in in years and hey, I was still “making an effort.”
“That’s not what I meant! I meant that Rangers don’t run AWAY from anything.”
“But you’d run TOWARDS things?” Hey, I was curious and wanted clarity. “I mean you, for example, run FOR a bus?”
“Of course!” he replied.
“But you wouldn’t run away from say, killer robots?” I pressed.
“They aren’t real!” he protested. “I’m trying to tell you about Rangers!”
“Yes, and all you have told me so far is that they are stationary objects that are overly concerned about laundry issues and don’t believe in robots. See, this is why I find football confusing.” I confessed. However, I could see that I was starting to wear him down and the fire and light were starting to fade from his little glazed eyes. But he had enough strength for one last go.
“Look it’s very simple — Rangers, we the people, that’s RANGERS, don’t run away from anything! Get it? There is nothing Ranger’s runs away from!”
It was then that my drinks finally arrived so I picked them up and said “Actually that’s also not quite true. I can name one thing they run away from.”
He then banged the bar again and said “Fuck you! There’s nothing! What? Go on then! Just exactly WHAT do Rangers run away from?”
I looked him in the eye and said, “Financial responsibility?”
It was then that something utterly incredible happened and I sight that I have never, ever witnessed in my life before. The drunk Glaswegian man sitting at the bar said to me “Please go away, I don’t want to talk anymore.”
However, before I went back to my table I did feel a bit bad and wanted to leave things on a decent note so I told him I hoped he enjoyed the rest of his night, introduced myself as ‘Bernardo Fairweather’ and bade him farewell.
Anyway, it just so happens that I was out for drinks with the smoking hot redhead that I was out with when I got barred from every pub on Bath Street simultaneously one night a few months back. I sat down at our table and she asked me if everything was okay to which I replied “Yeah sure, I just got talking to a drunk Glaswegian guy at the bar.”
“Oh,” she said. “Oh… do we have to get our coats and leave then?”
To which I replied “No baby,” and lifting up my jumper I grabbed my beige, corduroy shirt and said “These colours don’t run… but maybe we should move to a table by the door because if it kicks off they can sprint like fuck.”