Picture the scene …
A gnome, Robin Hood, and Adolf Hitler are inadvisably staggering home drunk along an unlit canal tow path at 1:30am on 20th December 1988.
Robin Hood is so drunk, he can’t remember picking nympho Nicola up 1/2 an hour earlier and dancing around the pub car park with her. Were there kisses? He will never know, but Nicola will never quite look at him the same way again(which could equally mean there were farts!? whoooaaaaa).
For some reason, instead of going home after the 3 mile walk home, Robin takes a needless 2am diversion up the hill to the local beacon where they used to light signal fires to herald events such as the Spanish Armada. The diversion makes no sense and characterises the random oddness of the night.
The next day he wags school, nursing the mother of all hangovers. Not helped by the dreadful realisation that he lost one of the pointy boots he borrowed off his smelly sister(Ribena Hood). They were too small for his feet and the damage those evil boots inflicted that night remains with him till this very day. So the story goes. No one makes shoes for his unorthodox right-angled feet. NO ONE!
Well I know this will come as a great shock, but I was that Robin Hood. Far from it being a scene out of a David Lynch film, we were in fancy dress and on the way home from the 6th form Christmas party. 29 Christmases ago. I was a younger somehow even handsomer man, but minus the humbling plethora of amazing life skills I have accumulated since(I can do farts with my armpit, plus hum and whistle at the same time)(Oh really? Can you do that? Huh? That’s what I thought. Oh – you cryin now bro? Huh? Cryin like a lil bitch? OK I’m sorry that was unkind. Please forgive me …)
I don’t know how much was me and how much was that British culture of teenage boys being cajoled into becoming alcoholics overnight once they hit 14, but by that age, I was drinking far too much. So, stopping to be violently sick every 10 minutes, I set off retracing my steps from the barely recollected death march the previous night. Violently undoing whatever pleasure had been earned the night before by publically debasing myself by the roadside, on a quest for a girl’s shoe.
I found said boot, which of course she never wore again anyway. Probly should’ve asked the miserable harpy if I could borrow them in retrospect. But she would’ve definitely said no, and they really completed the classic Robin Hood look(well if Robin Hood was some kind of emasculated nonce with no combat skills whatsoever and a penchant for flamboyant pantomime clothing). Hitler was equally naff. For starters, the guy wearing the outfit, Robin(I know right?), had bright red hair and a kind face; both non-starters for the Hitler impersonator. And the outfit would’ve been laughed out of the Wermacht for its rude lack of quality, and the absence of any appropriate military insignias whatsoever. These fancy dress shop hucksters just don’t even try do they?
On the other hand, Chris the gnome had made his outfit himself. Despite its patent half-arsedness, it was still better than both our paid-for outfits; a damning indictment on the standards of the English fancy dress shops circa 1988. But also, Chris was fairly small and already had gnomish features which helped tremendously.
After the hunt for the boot, I collapsed in a chair, drank lots and lots of tea, and ate whatever my body commanded me to in order to mend itself. Meanwhile I watched a bad old film, Tom Thumb. Of course I’m saying it’s bad to sound sophisticated but I love it really. A miniaturised Russ Tamblyn dancing around with paranormal toys. CHRIST what’s not to like? Then later, the news came on about a Boeing 747 crashing over Lockerbie, Scotland after a bomb went off en route to the US. A sobering spectacle indeed.
Oh shit, I can’t end on that downer? It defeats the entire object of the post.
OK so here is a song that I was told I’d been dancing to alone that night, dressed as Robin Hood of course. To this day though, I have no recollection of the incident whatsoever and I think they were possibly lying because they were jealous of my panache.
Only I know deep down they weren’t and they weren’t.