It is a Wednesday night and suddenly I find myself with time on my hands. Having written all day on botany and femininity, then gone for a swim in the decrepit local pool, and not feeling like reading, nor having a TV with which to spongify my brain, I am left with my blog. So now it’s time to write about our jaunt to hear CousinA play in his band, which I intended to get down a few weeks ago. CousinA used to live south of the river, and whenever we went to visit I would always feel conspicuously overdressed. So this time, hearing that the rugby club where he was playing was in the middle of a paddock south of the river (according to H), and having visions of sinking into the grass in my stilettos, I elected to dress down. I was colour coordinated (in green) but I wore sneakers (the only pair of flat shoes I own). You can imagine my horror then, to get inside and find the men in shirts and trousers, and the girls in spangly tops and high heels. I couldn’t work it out – it was a rugby club in the middle of nowhere – and on expressing my consternation to CousinA, he explained that this was a big night out for the girls, that they only went into the city for big occasions, and they were here to find a husband.
Then the girls perched, like budgies on a branch, on the top of the benches running about the room so they could see the band and of course, have their assets viewed by the blokes. But the blokes stood with their backs to the girls, watching the singers, and ignored them. I couldn’t understand that either; if you like a girl/boy you go and talk to them.
Anyway, CousinA sang his stuff, and was very good and got everyone in the mood for a dance, and once he was done we went off home with his guitar so he could carry on partying. On the DLR, a man with many piercings and a small woman with bottle blonde hair and huge black boots asked us whether the DLR went to Lewisham. H explained that it wasn’t going all the way and they would have to get off at Mudchute and catch a bus. We also had to get off at Mudchute and catch a bus. So at Mudchute we trundled to the bus stop, following the couple.
Then H, being like the friendly Labrador that he is, decided to strike up a conversation (one of these days he’s going to get stabbed, but that’s his choice). It transpired that they were cousins and were going to the White Swan, a trashy gay pub which is apparently an East End institution, and they don’t allow women in to the amateur strip nights on Wednesdays. H once took my supervisor and his boyfriend there after our house party (on a Saturday, I hasten to add) and thus corrupted him (well, I’m sure my supervisor is already corrupt but I don’t want to think about that). The man began a discussion with H about the kind of men he liked, which H kindly repeated for me afterwards (‘I like big, muscly men, y’know?’) Then the man noticed my hearing aid and said, ‘Oi, we’re both deaf too.’ He proceeded to elaborate on how he and his cousin had each lost their hearing but, ironically, I couldn't hear what he was saying.
Then a bus went by and suddenly H shouted, ‘Jess, we’re on the wrong side of the road!” This was my fault because I had looked at the bus timetable but not the bus map. We ran after the bus, swinging the guitar, the small woman clomping in her built up heels, but it was too fast. In despair, I agreed that we should walk to the main road and find a taxi. The cousins went ahead of us and proceeded to have an argument.
On the main road, we flagged a cab and bundled in. The woman must have been on E because she was talking so fast. She had kids, and this was a rare night out for her, I gathered. We pulled up at Limehouse, and H said, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll pay for it,’ and the woman, who was getting out her wallet, said, ‘Oi, orright,’ and put her wallet away and got out of the cab. The cousin followed her and they took off immediately without saying thank you. I would have been disgusted if they hadn’t been so entertaining, and I admit I had the bad grace to start laughing while they were within hearing. One always seems to get more than one bargains for when one goes to visit CousinA, but that’s one of the reasons why we love him.