Thursday, January 03, 2008

Hospital food (through a straw)

LIKE a persistent FBI investigator, this blog is trying to piece together the events of the early hours of New Year's Day in the hope of discovering the whereabouts of a set of missing front teeth.
Not mine, you understand. You may recall I broke one of mine on exactly the same day last year in Sydney when a particularly tough piece of pork crackling was to blame.
No, the latest incident happened after a fab New Year's Eve party in the City Arms, with music provided courtesy of my own personal DJ Jase. The great and the good of the Meeja Wales formation-boozing ensemble gathered at this favourite haunt in Cardiff to ring in 2008 in style.
The Prince of Darkness and the Wonderful Withers of WoS had got the jump on the rest of us, however, having begun to celebrate the end of another fondly forgettable 12 months with some early supping in the Romilly in Canton.
By the time I arrived at 7. 30 the Prince was already tucking into the vodkas with merry glee while WWW was complaining in typical fashion. This time his exact phrase was "It doesn't matter what I drink, I just can't get a buzz on".
Soon the gathered clan was joined by the Fab BB - making yet another great departing gesture before his move to the Smoke - Mad Liz, Smashy, Nicey and Tucker. There was talk at this stage of perhaps moving on, but then DJ Jase roared into action. First he played some Stones and Bowie songs which brought an excited response from the Fab BB, dressed in a jacket which had obviously been filched from an inattentive Royal Navy employee. Upon it was displayed an old war medal and what appeared to be a Metropolitan police badge. "I got it off the internet," he announced, proudly. What he got the war medal for is another matter - battling against the hordes to reach the front of the stage on Men dressed as Ladies night, perhaps.
As I prepared to retire for a ciggie outside my DJ played his mastercard, forcing Withers and I to move into the bar and dance floor area. XTC's "Senses working overtime", my signature tune and one of only two songs by the band our DJ actually possesses, blasted out through the speakers. "1, 2, 3, 4, 5!" we sang with hand gestures indicating that, at this stage of the evening at least, we could still count.
Soon the night was in full swing. There was Rock N Roll by Led Zepp, followed by an excellent set of Ska songs featuring Bad Manners and the Specials. The dancing became more and more frenzied as the beers passed effortlessly down our throats.
The Wonderful One then came up with a masterstroke, and soon Jilted John by Jilted John was blaring out of the speakers. Time for an impromptu pogo. Anyone of my age knows the words off by heart and can roar them at the top of their voices, which I proceeded to do.
As midnight approached the kind bar staff began to give out paper hats and party streamers to help us see in the new year in the appropriate manner. I was delighted to take possession of a paper pirate hat, which went nicely with the magic pirate fingerless gloves that Wren bought me for Christmas. To the uninitiated the Pirate is the symbol for my wonderfully ordinary football team Bristol Rovers - the Gas, as we like to call ourselves.
So 2007 passed out of sight and in came 2008. And with it an early mystery that would tax the combined brains of Poirot, Colombo, Ironside and Sherlock Holmes.
By 1.30 I was safely tucked up in bed with my "The Gas Are Going Up" DVD. And next day past pretty uneventfully as I lazed about, watched more DVDs and made myself a pretty enjoyable supper of Bacon and Beans gratin, a recipe for which I shall post on this site at a later date. There are far more interesting things to impart.
At around 6 I had a phone call from the Wonderful One. "How are you, mate?" I inquired of my colleague.
"Pretty bad, actually," he replied. Hmm. Not an unusual response from the most miserable man in the world. On this occasion, though, he had good reason.
"On the way home I tripped over somehow, landed on my face, knocked out my front teeth again and ended up in A and E," he explained matter-of-factly. Apparently Withers who, as usual, had been carrying the bare minimum amount of money, somehow came across a taxi driver infused with season goodwill who took him to the hospital.
The next day he looked like he had gone six rounds with Mike Tyson. Apparently, even the hospital staff found it hard to believe he had simply tripped and landed on his face. Anyway, the upshot was he was off work, having to visit another doctor the next day. The nerves in his face were damaged, among other things. Terrible.
Details of the fall are, however, very sketchy. And because of that the mystery has been growing. It was fuelled by the appearance of Mad Liz at work on Wednesday, having used strategically placed make up to hide a black eye. "I don't remember how it happened... I must have fallen over," came the excuse. Sound familiar?
Now certain things come back to me, like the way the wonderful One, resembling one of those zombie characters in Shaun of the Dead, was reaching out towards our scatterbrained photographer and pursuing her around the City Arms in the later stages of the evening. I also understand they were the last two of our gang to leave the pub in the early hours.
Could the two injuries be intrinsically linked? Or is it just an incredible coincidence? Who knows? All I can tell you is that ze leetle grey cells are trying to get to the bottom of it.

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