Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Wednesday, 26 September 2012
The Severn Bore
I have so few opinions, that to give one to others is an act of extreme generosity. My opinions are precious. How is it then, that the supply seems to be almost inexhaustible?
Anyone who goes to pubs as regularly as I do will recognise the above - that's just the nature of mixing alcohol with humans. At least in most British pubs, other people's opinions are all but drowned out by very loud, piped music. There is one notorious bore who goes to my local, and is always complaining about the music. He says that the relentless and ubiquitous music is 'killing the art of conversation' in English pubs. Well, since he has reached the age of about 65 without ever having mastered that art, I don't think he is qualified to voice an opinion on the matter in any case.
I actually started to go to a different pub to avoid this particular bore once, but he found out which one and started to ambush me there as well. This other pub has never played music in it's 300 year history, so was the ideal venue for him to corner me and give full vent to his bewildering array of contradictory, right-wing, misogynistic, single- issue-political and generally downright crappy opinions on everything.
I would sit in silence (if you discount his booming voice) for so long until I could stand no more, then let him have it between the eyes with a barrage of ill-humoured and venomous invective, usually peppered with the foulest expletives. He never saw it coming, and was (and still is) so bloody thick that he could not understand my verbal explosions. He would not recognise himself in this description, even if he were to read it, he is that out of touch with the rest of the world.
Now I go into my preferred local and - fearing another unjustified attack - he gives me a wide berth, leaving me in peace to chat up the bar staff.
I can remember the first time once, when asked for my opinion on some burning issue, I thought for a bit, then realised that I really had no opinions on it - one way or another - and said so. What a liberating feeling that was, and how paradoxical to reach an age when one's opinions tend to become calcified into stock answers, to be able to admit you have nothing to say about something.
Once you have admitted that you have not bothered to form an opinion about a certain topic in public, you become infused with a sense of renewed youth - even though youth is expected to have an opinion on everything - usually borrowed from others and tried out on their peer-group to see if it fits.
In reality, of course, everyone around you thinks that you have just become old, lazy and tired of life.