So far, G and Grimble had shown a certain amount of temperance with regard to nocturnal sessions. They had eaten, shared a bottle of red with their dinner and maybe had a final beverage, either in a nice, sophisticated bar or back on their balcony where Grimble had cleverly created lighted ambiance with some led lights and a Corona bottle. The room helpfully had a mini fridge and they had stocked it with essentials: cava, Corona, shandy and strawberry milkshake.
However, Calella had a thriving night life of sorts. Evidently, and thankfully, it was no Magaluf, nor was it as frantic as Benalmedena but it had a splattering of clubs and pubs. Their first attempt at night life had not been as expected. They had decided to watch the Barcelona v Madrid match at a bar they were told was Barca’s Calella HQ. This was probably true given the memorabilia and colour scheme. It was also clear it was going to be rammed. Grimble being short of stature and not really that interested in footie, despite her helpful assertion to the Arsenal mad G that she liked the vibe of the crowd, knew that this whole encounter would not end well. She would be pushed, shoved and maybe even hugged depending on the score by sweaty men wearing fan shirts. They left before kick off, had dinner and retired to the balcony where they could hear the Barca fan base roar in pain as Madrid slipped three past.
They were resolved to live it large on one night of the holiday and so Grimble took to the not too trusty Trip Advisor to discover the hot and not so hot spots. She furthered her research by picking up fliers for various night spots. Memfis promised lots of fun past midnight but so far, when they has had seen it from a bar, it seemed to offer long queues of juveniles waiting to get in. Bobs seemed to be for an older crowd as the name was hardly hip hop and happening. They had passed it on their trip to the lighthouse and saw that it offered an agenda of karaoke, dance offs and foam, hopefully not all together, and litre cocktails. The Frog was discounted immediately as it had a stupid name. Finally, the flier for Kauai opened to a picture of a bar maid wearing a T shirt that proclaimed, Your Cock and at a loss to explain what this actually signified, they rejected it.
To make matters and research easier, G and Grimble spoke about expectations for a good night out. A decent dinner, good bottle of wine and, at that point, both should have agreed another drink on the balcony and bed. However, determined to prove to each other that they still had what it took and knowing that they loved laughing at, as opposed to participating in, the karaoke back in Highworth, they added this feature to an ideal night out. They also ascertained it had to be a place with a bit of life, though they were extremely vague as to what this actually signified. Grimble performed tireless research as G performed a siesta and came up with a plan. A dinner in a highly rated tapas place followed by a trip to Calella’s only English pub offering nightly karaoke and the additional bonus of high stakes bingo, whatever that meant.
The evening started well as Grimble had natural tapas selection ability. The only point of consternation was what to drink. They loved a decent red with dinner but knew from past experience that to stick to red throughout the night guaranteed a horrid hangover. In addition, Grimble’s research suggested that the English pub’s selection of red would not be extensive. But what drink went with red? The simple answer was bugger all. Therefore, G and Grimble decided to live for the moment and select drinks on a whim. A highly risky strategy.
Advised by Grimble’s trusty Google maps, they wandered a couple of hundred metres from the town centre past a couple of decent looking cocktail bars until they could see the neon sign illuminated in red proclaiming an English pub. From the outside, it was scruffy and this extended to the interior. The exterior walls were stacked with blackboards filled with chalk lists of every sport fixture imaginable. Whilst the interior, though compact, had at least five ancient screens to watch the variety of sports. The pub name really should have made G and Grimble consider their destination choice. Alcatraz. Why would anyone consider a high security, seeming impossible to leave US prison an apt name for a watering hole?
Looking at the wall decoration, it was clear the owner had a rather strong allegiance to Man Utd. given that someone had drawn, in what seemed like crayon, representations of various team dignitaries from the ages. They went to the bar and were approached efficiently by a silver haired gent whose dialect hinted that he was the infamous Manc owner of Alcatraz. Now G and Grimble had to make a snap decision on what to drink after red wine. Grimble requested GnT, and added Bombay to which the owner just stared and to try to clarify, Grimble added a belated Sapphire. He confirmed with his staff that no such bottle graced the establishment and Grimble was left with a desperate choice of Gordon’s or Beefeater. Accepting Gordan’s served in a vodka glass she reassured herself it was better than Larios, Spanish gin. Now it was G’s turn and sensing he might get red wine vinegar, Grimble stepped in and ordered Desperado. G hopefully asked for a slice of lime and ended up with a quarter of lemon reluctantly stuffed into the bottle neck.
Within ten minutes sat at the bar, G and Grimble did agree that the pub was correct to name itself after a penitentiary, however, given the nature of the staff, more appropriate would have been that great Manchester prison establishment, Strangeways as, my god, their ways were strange!
Their overt friendliness was not endearing: it was scary and intrusive. G and Grimble were happily and quietly character assassinating the rather unusual clientele when they were interrupted mid flow by a barmaid who, it seemed, needed to know their names. Had this been an isolated case of derangement, they would have let it pass but every barmaid, and even the doorman, requested their names over the course of the evening. And insisted on telling G and Grimble their own, which they promptly forgot. Added to the need to be identified, was the unrelenting request to know if they were having a good time. There was no clear answer to this. They weren’t having a bad time for G and Grimble were on a big night out and determined to enjoy themselves regardless of the giant inflatable cock in the corner or the diminutive but highly belligerent Welsh girl who, somewhat inebriated, was threatening to deck her friends for no discernible reason.
So fascinating was this study of human behaviour that G and Grimble ordered the same drinks again and surprisingly were charged a euro less making them wonder if the prices diminished as the night drew on or if, like at the hairdressers with the top stylist, having the owner serve them cost more? They had hoped for a good old laugh at the karaoke but it was not to be as it was karaoke on request and there were few requests. However, G and Grimble were given a detailed itinerary of pub events for each and every evening. Prize Bingo started promptly at 9pm, karaoke around 11pm. They could bet on everything and anything, all the sports listed on the multitude of blackboards. Food was a bonus, only English from England. As they had only left English food from England five days earlier, for G and Grimble this was not as enticing as the barmaid had hoped. Full English was €2.99. Sunday lunch confusingly was served from Wednesday.
As the barmaid left them alone for a moment, G and Grimble pondered on how the Alcatraz was supplied with English ingredients as claimed. Did they take weekly trips to Gib or did they venture by road the 900 miles to Blighty? Or perhaps they booked a cheap Barcelona flight and stuffed a case with pork products. All these methods seemed to negate the potential quality of the €2.99 fodder. And, really, did they bring the eggs all the way over from the UK when Spain definitely had lots of rural space with chickens not blighted by any recent egg contamination scandal?
For reasons that can only be explained by this being a big night out, they decided to have one last drink. One of the barmaids begged to talk to them as she claimed that they were the only normal people in the room. As they looked around, this was clearly true. G described it as a benefits crowd which were mercifully friendly whilst Grimble declared it was Swindon with sun. Even with the warm fuzziness of drink, it was evident that G and Grimble did not fit in and, given their working class origins, this was not meant in a snobby way. It was just fact. G and Grimble were attired for an evening out and not dressed for the beach at 1am. They both still had a full set of their own teeth. They wore nice smelling scents that didn’t cause a rash and their tans were bronzed and natural due to careful application of sunscreen as opposed to crimson red or tango orange. Plus, they could actual handle their alcohol with some decorum and noted that many of the now diminishing crowd were dancing drunk, which meant hobbling horribly to no sound in particular.
However, as this was their big night out, G and Grimble kept telling each other and the insanely friendly staff that they were having a great night. It was not until they left, and were well out of earshot of the pub, that Grimble looked dolefully at G and hesitantly asked if they would ever have to go there again? G smiled and assured her that even if the bingo prize was significant enough to buy them a new boat, they would not venture to Alcatraz once more. As they wandered happily back to the hotel at a respectable 2am, they resolved to have small nights out with dinner, a bottle of red and maybe a drink at a nice sophisticated bar or on their Corona bottle illuminated balcony.