Id never been recognised for anything id been proud of, so imagine my surprise at being “Heartstringed” in Ashbrooke Stores, on Sunday, About 10.30 am, near the Rustlers Burgers. I didn’t buy one. But drug addled caustic readers of Blighty, this is Sunderland and we do things differently here. Now, when they make Frankie and the Heartstrings the movie the following scene would be played out in The Cotswolds. The sound of leather on Willow, the comforting clinking of fine porcelain tea cups and the pithy banter resonating from a brilliant white pavilion. A young Dave Harper (Played by Garry Wilmot) would amble towards the Pimms booth looking to quench his high summer penchant for refreshment. The bartender (played by Billy Childish) raises an eyebrow, never furrowed, just a curious acutely aimed glance.
Bartender “Aren’t you Dave “Pearl” Harper?”
Me “Why, yes I am, maybe you know my Father Winthorpe?”
Bartender “Not at all, I heard you on the gramophone on the Sabbath, I must say I preferred the flip side”
Me “Then we have established common ground Bartender, I bid you god day”
I’d turn on my spats and then, click my heels as a delightful miss; parasol in hand glances unmistakably my way.
But this is FUCKING Sunderland darling and this is the reality of my first spotted moment. Im not played by Garry Wilmot and the chap in Ashbooke Stores is almost certainly not Billy Childish. I enter the convenience outlet upon a quest. A quest for Coke Zero, Marmite Crisps and a copy of the Observer (This is a lie; I bought the News of the World. Less tits in there, right Thatcher?). I get a double/triple take from a chap wearing an electric blue track suit, very clean trainers and sporting a beard that I am less than happy with. If you are going to sport facial hair, have some fucking pride. Unkempt facial foliage s tant amount to rolling a cheap sausage in pubes. Anyway, the chap approaches with no air of caution, maybe he wants a Rustlers Chicken Burger, maybe he wants to hurt me. Both offend me as much as the other.
Blue Tracksuit Bad Beard Man “Ere, yeh In Frankie and the Heart Attacks?”
Me “er, actually, no im in…..er………yes, yes Im in Frankie and the Heart Attacks”
Blue Tracksuit Bad Beard Man “Our lass heard yehs on the radio like”
Me “Really! Wow, cool isn’t it”
At this point the chap/social commentator has almost left Ashbrooke Stores and has relinquished caustic eye contact.
Blue Tracksuit Bad Beard Man “Mebee’s for you it is, I fucking hate music!”
Me “Bye then”
I can’t say id want it any other way. The chap didn’t have to say anything, but he did and I understand why it has to be like that around these parts. It makes a fuck of a lot more sense than some trust fund hippy milking your prostate on Shoreditch High Street whilst sourcing the perfect frappacino. The chap had an honesty that had been ingrained upon him. Not one thought given to how he handles his approach. So man in electric blue tracksuit, I thank you for your honesty, bluntness and integrity. I thank you from the heart of my bottom.