Old New Amsterdam

Ah yes, the big apple, the large cheese, the windy city... Well, maybe not officially, but there was one dirty sod in Greenwich Village last night doing his level worst to earn the city the title. I went out to a little bar -- OK, let's be honest and call it a skanky wee dive -- in the Village with Sarah W last night for beer and hotwings. And then a wander through the surrounding streets looking for somewhere else to have a quiet drink and a chat. Rather than a noisy drink and a shout.

I always used to think it was a daft trick played by empty bars -- crank up the volume to pretend there are more people there, even though everyone can see the place is empty. What are we supposed to do, wander in, look about, hear the pounding music and think, 'Well, I can't see anyone, but they must be here, 'coz the music's really loud. They must all be invisible. Let's stay for a couple of pints and yell at each other till our ears bleed.' ? Silly sods. And the aforementioned skanky wee dive was packed, so they didn't even have that excuse.

But loud though it was, the deafening music couldn't overpower the smell left behind by the bloke who had the table before we got to it. By the festering diapers of the little baby Jesus, it was honking. God knows what he'd been eating, but I didn't see 'Mouldy Badger Casserole' on the menu. My last night in Iowa, someone had been out frightening skunks. That whiffed big-style -- think burning rubber and rotten eggs -- but it still wasn't a patch on Captain Farty, chief farty person of the Farty People. We should have called Homeland Security: that guy's arse was a weapon of mass destruction.

Where was I? Ah, right, so Sarah and I are wandering round Greenwich Village, looking for somewhere quieter and less stinky, passing all these porn and 'kinky fun' shops*. You know, the kind of place where they have mannequins dressed in revealing leather and PVC nurse's outfits. Some even had their nip-nops hanging out.

I wonder if there's a market for anatomically correct mannequins for sex shops? You could have them with detachable naughty bits for ease of cleaning. Design them right and you could pop them in the dishwasher. That'd scare the hell out of the Mother-In-Law. Well, would you want your cutlery and crockery washed along side a bunch of dirty plastic willies and boobs?**

Yes, anyway, we ended up at this little place holding an open mike night for whiny women on the piano. You know, the kind of thing where they're either sharp, flat or all over the bloody shop. The urge to stand on a table and shout, "LEARN THE BLOODY TUNE!" was almost unbearable. Especially when one particularly angsty woman -- whose upper register was like having a dentist's drill applied to your scrotum*** -- launched into some sort of torch song about how her boyfriend was a bastard and her mother didn't understand her, and wasn't it a shame you just couldn't find nice sling-back heels when your feet were the size of a Buick?

Much though I feel her pain, or at least the pain she inflicted upon my poor ears, Iowa was a much more normal place.

* Just in case my wife's reading this, I should point out that the locale was Sarah's decision, not mine. To paraphrase Eliza Doolittle, "Oi'm a good boy Oi am! Washed me hands and face before Oi come, Oi did!"
** Tee-hee, he said 'Boobs'!
*** Those of you without scrotums can get a hands-on empathic demonstration of this by grabbing those of the nearest man and twisting. You may want to buy them dinner first though.