Last Saturday found me in England’s second city for a UKIP European Elections Committee Meeting, a committee of which I am Chairman, no doubt paying for my sins in a former life. Usually these meetings are held in London during the week but it is getting increasingly difficult to co-ordinate diary commitments to get everyone together. The meeting before this was 7.30am in a Bournemouth hotel and this one was arranged for 9.00am Sunday in a Birmingham hotel.
I had a ward Surgery on Saturday so I planned to drive down Saturday afternoon, check out the meeting room and have an early night. This plan was feasible because Clive Page the UKIP Press Officer, or “that Clive” as he is known in my house, wasn’t going to the meeting and hence there were limited opportunities to be lead astray. This was good because I have started a new diet (after tipping the scales at 19stone I thought it was a good idea) and so am off alcohol of any kind. However, I reckoned without John Bufton (The Welsh Regional Organiser and Lead MEP Candidate for 2009). John had failed totally to find a drink after 11.00pm in the Crewe by-election but was convinced his old stamping ground of Birmingham Broad Street would redress the balance. So off we went.
First port of call was an Irish bar with a good line in music and steady supply of water (for me) and larger for John. A good time singing along was had by all and even a little bit of jigging on the small dance floor. Was a bit taken aback by the Brummie style of dancing? I’m not used to having a young lady dancing so close to me that her body is rubbing against mine. I moved away of course, as any gentleman would, but she chose exactly the same moment to also move in the same direction so she stayed in contact with me for several seconds. It took some quite nifty footwork on my part to disentangle from her. Luckily she wasn’t offended by our obviously accidental body contact; I wouldn’t have wanted her to get the wrong idea about me. Her mate was also dancing very close to John so it must just be how they do things in Birmingham.
Anyway the Irish Bar was closing at 2.00am so we moved onto the 70’s disc bar that was open till 3.30am. Larger for John and more water for me. More upmarket in the disco of course, it wasn’t tap water, it was designer water. The bottle was plastic and so was John’s larger glass. The last time I had to drink from a plastic glass in a bar it was the Student Union Bar in Loughborough in 1986!
More very close dancing was going on in the disco bar and I notice the dancing got closer and more frantic the closer the time got to 3.30am. There were a very striking group of Brummie girls all dressed in yellow and black stripes who were remarkably like a swarm of bees. They definitely had the blokes buzzing round them that was for sure. Of course I was old enough to be their father but as I’ve never been to Birmingham before (apart from to change trains) then it was highly unlikely that they were in any way related to me. As possibly the only sober person in the place apart from the security staff it was an interesting experience observing how desperation overtook all other emotions and the need to pull and be pulled became paramount!
“Go Ugly Early” was the strategy recommended by one of the other RO’s. I couldn’t name any names but as a former navy man he has apparently had some success with this approach at various watering holes around the world. Looking at some of the blokes in the disc who were leaving with some very attractive girls it seemed like there was a shortage of ugly girls. Unless of course they had all been snapped up before midnight and were already home and in bed, leaving only the attractive girls behind to wait until sufficient alcohol had been consumed to make them appear ugly enough to approach, or more likely give the blokes enough bottle to make a move, well that’s how it worked 30 years ago in the Gemini!
Toddled off to my hotel bed, all alone and stone cold sober around 3.30am. Four hours sleep, breakfast (something that claimed to be muesli but looked like the scrapings from the bottom of the rabbit hutch) and then straight into the meeting at 9.00am. Ah it’s a wonderful life!