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Unfortunately, riding around in the back of a Rodeo, down the suburban streets of Queensland, with a rifle in one hand, and a megaphone in the other: attempting to round up every bloated-bigoted-bogan out in his footy shorts, with a can of XXXX in one hand, and an atypical racist rhetoric in the other… Is far from a reasonable endeavour to undertake… For one thing, most of these blokes are overweight, and the prospect of fitting them all upon a transportation device, to fly, or ship them over here, would be a task even Noah would have second thoughts about accepting. Can we construct an Ark that large, and what kind of compensation can we expect from God?

These are the questions that arise, should you take it upon yourself to enforce some cultural education, and insight into my fellow countrymen. Although, it was only two hundred and thirty years ago, when our ancestors took the same pilgrimage aboard a ship in chains. There has been considerable growth in numbers since then. It’s just unfortunate, that progressive ideals within Australia have not seen the same flourishing expansion, as the population has.

The first few days upon returning to London, weren’t exactly warm, and well enjoyed. I can’t say, I had a lot of optimism about the tasks I had at hand. I did manage to complete the more challenging tasks quickly. I secured a bank account, and in only two short days, I had viewed three rental properties. My fourth viewing resulted in the place I would eventually call home. I canvased local areas with an abundance of job opportunities, and secured three call backs. Albeit, you come to realise all the simplicities you take for granted at home. I spent an entire afternoon trying to print CV’s, and copies of identification for less than thirty pound. I eventually forfeited, and paid seventeen pound for thirty-two pages of printed paper. And, retreated in frustration and dismay to a pub called The Hagerford Arms, on commercial road.

I wandered in somewhat conspicuously, with my tight black jeans, and dark blue coat. All eyes were drawn to this strange young man, in an ole blokes club. The room was small, and the locals were scattered about the floor. Some hanging their heads over their pints, as they sat on stools by the bar, and others lounging in the corner, eyes directed to the TV. They slowly returned to their conversations, and their eyes to whatever held their attention before my arrival, as I walked up to the bar, and politely asked for a pint of Guinness. I paid my three pound, fifty, and was instructed by the middle aged Liverpudlian Woman, that she would wait for it to settle. As I waited, I wandered over to the juke box, and took my time looking through the available selection from the digital touch screen. After careful consideration, I finally selected: Rip This Joint, By The Rolling Stones, before smugly returning to the bar to collect my drink. I heard a small chorus of scoffs from a few of the ole blokes, as the song opened, and I collected my pint, with a sip off the foamy top.

I found myself a seat in the corner beside a few of the gents, choosing not to amuse themselves with the house discussion. An NFL documentary was playing on ESPN, and I stared up at the telle attempting to draw no more attention to myself, than what I had already. From then on out, I blended in. No issue with a quite young lad, having an afternoon pint by himself.

The jolly locals, commit to continuous banter amongst themselves, and the “barmaid”. Some citing intent to have delivered her a proper valentine experience just the day before. Had they not of been caught-up with work, and their busy day, to day lives. Clearly, being too preoccupied yesterday to visit the Pub at one in the afternoon, unlike today.
‘Surely, you believe me lovey. I woulda come down for sure, but I just couldn’t get away. You have to believe me. I woulda gone all out for you lovey, it woulda been spectacular.’ His decree, only delivering disbelief to his apparent valentine, with a shake of her head.

Blokes wander in over time, Tony, Terry, and Garry. Everyone is greeted warmly, with a jostle of affection, here and there.
‘It’s Stan’s birthday tomorra, are ya all gonna come down?’ The woman from behind the bar announces, to her residents.
‘Stan? Who’s Stan?’ A man by the juke box cries out.
‘You know Stan, he’s always here on Thursdays. It’s his birthday tomorrow, we’re gonna have a cake.’
‘We’ll have to see about that. I’ll have to check the schedule.’
‘Schedule? You don’t have a schedule.’
‘I do too, I just know it off by heart.’

Not a far stretch, from a pub back home in the early hours of the afternoon. Overweight blokes, who have just knocked off, sitting around the local, sharing frothy drinks for hours on end. I suppose, I felt back home my presence might not have been as welcome, especially, if I were in this attire. Perhaps, I would have been confronted by one of the blokes, who had a few too many schooners. Say if, I walked into a local pub in Logan, selected my own music, and sat down in the back wearing tight black jeans, and ankle high boots. My audacious entrance might have been met with a hostile confrontation.

I can only speculate, as I had never been possessed to follow out such an experiment. But, here I was in London, just off commercial road having a pint in the afternoon, in the local pub for a bunch of ole blokes – who probably spend more time here than at home. And, I wonder, if things in my life don’t pan out, is this where I am destined to find comfort, and drown my sorrows? Harassing some woman trying to make a living, serving me drinks every afternoon? What’s the real difference between myself, and them? How long do I have, before my vice driven antics lead me to drowning my frustrations about the “hard-done-by” plight, of being a man in our world, in bar like this, with these sorts of blokes? Sitting around every afternoon, commiserating on what my life could have been? I finish my pint, and leave the pub, desperately longing for some weed, to help me forget this train of thought.

London, in Springtime Tatters

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