Friday, 5 February 2010

Friday night - down the pub

Now, down our way (with a nod to Sid Kipper), we have a fine old tradition. That is, Friday night is 'Ladies' Quiet Night In Night'. Just once in the week, the ladies insist on a bit of peace and quiet, a time when they can do their own thing without the men cluttering up the place and wanting to be fed or have their laundry done. "Out you go!" cry the ladies, pushing the men out of the door.

Thus it is that wandering round the darkened streets are the men of the parish, lonely, bewildered and lost. Is it not entirely natural that, spying a glimmer of light through the murky darkness, they should make their way towards it? And congregate at its source?

And thus it was that I found myself at the Yob & Asbo, enjoying a pint of Scrotum's Old Trepanner. Mrs QO, being no lady, was in her usual spot in the corner, beating all comers at arm-wrestling, while I leant nonchalantly at the bar, chatting to my old mates Jacques Derrida, Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward and Spock.

"Jacques, mon vieux. How is it that you are going, isn't it?" I enquired.

Jacques looked gloomy.

"As soon as we cease to believe in such an engineer and in a discourse which breaks with the received historical discourse, and as soon as we admit that every finite discourse is bound by a certain bricolage and that the engineer and the scientist are also species of bricoleurs, then the very idea of bricolage is menaced and the difference in which it took on its meaning breaks down."

Spock raised an eyebrow and sipped his Bunnhabhain. Penny giggled deliciously.

"Oh, Jacques, darling, there you go with your silly deconstructionism again. Have another Pernod, you silly thing."

I nodded at Abdul behind the bar.

"Same again, old boy. And have one for yourself. Now, Spock, tell us how you got on with putting the new roof on your shed."
"The task took the time I had allocated to it. Everything proceeded... logically."

Penny winked at me as she rummaged through her handbag for her cigarettes.

"Oooh, Spock, you're fibbing again, you naughty Vulcan. You must have hit your thumb at least once with the hammer."
"OK, you got me, Penz. It was a frigging disaster from start to finish. Bloody roof-felt wouldn't fit, sodding nails kept falling out, it was raining... I tell you, I was ready to nerve-pinch the cat by the time I'd finished."

We all grinned. Except Jacques, of course, who muttered: "The end of man (as a factual anthropological limit) is announced to thought from the vantage of the end of man (as a determined opening or the infinity of a telos). Man is that which is in relation to his end, in the fundamentally equivocal sense of the word. Since always."

Penny sighed.

"Oh, Jacques, you always say that, but you must admit that you haven't got the least idea what you mean, have you, darling?"

Abdul chuckled quietly as he put our fresh drinks down before us. I passed him a £50 note, recent winnings from my dear Mrs QO.

Jacques looked a little hurt. "Il n'y a pas de hors-texte," he said, helping himself to some peanuts from the dish on the bar and gazing in an obfuscatory manner at the dartboard.

I took a firm hold of the bar, braced myself, and sank a couple of inches of the Scrotum's. Apart from the world wheeling round a couple of times, and one of my ears falling off, it didn't go too badly.

"Penny," I enquired. "How's old Jeff Tracy? Seen him much recently?"

She gazed at me with an unfathomable expression and the merest hint of a smile playing around the corners of her exquisite mouth.

"Oh, you know, occasionally the old compact blinks and I have to go and see what the boys are up to on the island. You should come with me sometime."
"What, and trust old Parker's driving? No thank you. Unless perhaps Mr Spock here would take me in one of the spare shuttles?"
"No problem. I wouldn't mind a few days in the sun. That would be... enjoyable."

Penny smiled at us.

"It's a date. I'll tell Jeff to drop the palm trees. Oh, and Jacques, darling, do try and be nice, won't you? Those Tracy boys are so sweet, even if they aren't the sharpest knives in the world-rescuing lark. Oooops, must dash, poppets, time for a ciggy."

She was gone, leaving an elusive hint of very expensive perfume in the air.

Jacques looked a little morose, even for him. He's always had a soft spot for Penny.

"Deconstruction is inventive or it is nothing at all; it does not settle for methodological procedures, it opens up a passageway, it marches ahead and marks a trail; its writing is not only performative, it produces rules -- other conventions -- for new performativities and never installs itself in the theoretical assurance of a simple opposition between performative and constative. Its process involves an affirmation, this latter being linked to the coming in event, advent, invention."

Spock shook his head in exasperation, put a hand on Jacques' shoulder, and put him out of his misery with the old Vulcan nerve-pinch. The daft old philosopher slumped to the floor. He'd sleep it off as usual.

I drained my glass and fell over. I always know when to stop. Fortunately, Mrs QO had just finished her latest bout (I later found out that Big Mad Tom wasn't right for a month) so was available to pick me up and assist me homewards.

I like Friday nights. Good conversation, a bit of mindless philosophy, companionable insensibility... what more could an Observer wish for?

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