Thursday, 22 January 2015

Crystal Update

I promised to update you on the potassium aluminium sulphate crystals I started growing in my airing cupboard. Due to the misleading nature of this blogpost's title and its accompanying photo, it proved to be my most popular post ever - garnering over 200 hits in the first hour. Which just goes to show no matter how long you spend carefully tailoring philosophical insights to delight your intended audience all they really want is the possibility of cheap drugs.

I'd always imagined growing crystals to be a spectacularly exciting thing to do. When I had my first chemistry set, I dutifully performed under appropriate supervision all the experiments included in the set except one: I was never allowed to grow copper sulphate crystals. My mother had read in the newspaper the story of a child who died as a result of waking thirsty in the night and, blindly groping in the dark, necking his copper sulphate solution instead of his glass of water. 

That didn't deter me though. I just figured I would wait twenty-three years until I was old enough to conduct my own experiments. But that I would conduct it safely in the airing cupboard because, as my mother knew all along, I am a terrible one for waking thirsty in the night and, blindly groping in the dark, necking the nearest wet thing to me. For all I know, potassium aluminium sulphate solution tastes exactly the same as three-day-old dusty ribena.

Over the course of a few weeks I turned this... 

...into this:

And now I have a load of aluminium sulphate crystals hanging around that really serve no purpose. They are not even very decorative. 

Friday, 16 January 2015

Barstools and Beer Bottles

Early on in my bartending career, I had a barstool thrown at me. To be fair, I don't think the punter in question intended me as the target. He was just throwing a barstool out of sheer rage at the unfairness of a world in which he wouldn't be served another drink in that establishment and it happened to head in my direction. He then stood in the centre of the pub glaring at everyone and shouting, "Bring your best man out - I'll fight him - send out your best man!" One of the regulars, a smart traveler girl called Mel, yelled back "He's behind you." The drunkard who wanted to fight the world whirled around to face a rather tubby and scared-looking Dorset police officer who had responded to a call and wasted no time radioing for back-up.

That was more than a decade ago. This week's nutter had a bottle to hand. And the intended target was definitely me...

Normally, I leave the dealing with nutters part of the job to the boss, but he was going loco down in Cancun. A man who looked drunk and wired had been muttering obscenities and was getting louder and people were starting to notice and feel uncomfortable. When I suggested that he move on after that drink he became abusive and threatening, emptying out his beer bottle onto the floor and holding it by the neck weapon-style. "Do you know who I am?" He asked before telling me (information which was extremely handy when I later reported the incident to the police). I bravely legged it down to the bottom bar and screamed "What the hell?" (the chosen swearword may have been stronger than this) as the bottle flew past me and lodged itself in a cardboard box full of spare glasses. 

Fortunately, the pub's pool team, the Temple Hashtags, were casually thrashing the Maid Marian Maids at their chosen sport in the bottom bar and responded promptly to my cry for assistance. The sudden appearance of six men, some of them with pool cues (although any experienced pub-goer knows that pool-players care far too much about their cues to use them as weapons) was sufficient to see my would-be assailant off into the night.

Now I consider myself to be a liberal person. But people who throw things at other people deserve, and I don't want to sound harsh here but I honestly think these hurlers of barstools and breakers of bottles deserve up to TEN (no wait ten might not be enough let's say twenty) deserve up to TWENTY hours of anger management counselling and a HUNDRED pound fine to be given to the hurlee. Actually make that TWO HUNDRED pounds. (I want to buy myself a Chromebook.) 


Wednesday, 14 January 2015

January Daffs

As you can imagine, the Xmas and New Year's holiday is an incredibly busy time for philosophers poets bartenders. So apologies for being away from my laptop for a month or more. My new year's resolution was to write a blogpost a week, a poem a month and a novel by the end of the year. Today is the fourteenth of January and I have just switched on my laptop for the first time. After I switched it on, I nipped out to do the shopping while it warmed itself up. (With a six-year-old computer there is no point asking it to do anything in the first thirty minutes, it will just have a tantrum and make you start all over again.) Lidl is selling British daffodils! Did I mention that today is the fourteenth of January? Does that seem a little early for daffodils to anybody else? Somebody must be farming them.

Obviously, with the new blogpost a week format that I won't be sticking to, you can expect the quality to be quite variable. I want to share an anecdote from work about a man who threw a glass bottle at me, but I'm still working on how to relate the story truthfully but make myself look like less of a coward - so I'll save that one for later.

So laptops and daffodils this week - meh - but keep checking back for pictures of broken glass and a severely damaged cardboard box and a suitably embellished tale of bartenderly heroics.