LL, the drummer for the Harris Tweed band popped into the factory the other day, and over a coffee we started reminiscing over funny things that have happened in the course of earning a living. Mine have been well documented [some might say ad nauseam!]in this column but he has had no-one to write his down except for myself.
At one stage LL was working in publishing, selling advertising in a fashion trade magazine, and consequently his name was on multiple guest lists in the vague hope (pun intended!) that by inviting him, the event would be guaranteed coverage.
They say that being on the beautiful people’s guest list is a bit like working for the Public Service – once you’re in, you’re in – you have to do something really bad to ever get the flick. It’s quite possible to go from one trendy function to another without ever stopping, if (a) you’re on enough guest lists, and (b) you don’t die from liver failure first!
If you befriend the gossip columnists and bloggers there’s even the chance of getting your picture in the chatterati pages of the newspapers or online. Even more chance if you’re a female and can organise a ‘wardrobe malfunction’!
One such night he had been invited to the launch of a trendy new shoe boutique in the city. We’re talking late 70’s here, and this was one of a glut of such things that mercifully seem to have gone the way of most 70’s things including flares – for the moment!
The night was a star-studded affair full of beautiful people all standing around making sure they could be seen to be seen getting absolutely tish-faced. Many of the women were wearing so much gold that they all ought to have had their own personal Armagard truck waiting outside for them. And the guys – I remember LL saying that if you ever wondered what happened to all those kids at school whose heads you wanted to shove down the toilets, well, you needed to look no further. There was also a security guard at the door, an off duty policeman, to ensure that only the chosen ones could enter and bask in the warm glow of self adulation.
The shoe boutique was on the ground floor of a building that was so new that it was the only occupied floor – all the other levels were unfinished and vacant.
There were about a hundred or so guests crammed in for the launch, but since the place was just a little shop, it only had one toilet. The human body (even those of the beautiful people) can only take so much being poured into it before things start leaking out the other end.
Once the guests had all been there for a while, they started to get the urge to ‘splash the boots’, so to speak (since it was a shoe shop!) and pretty soon the queue for the toilet was stretching around the walls of the shop.
LL was busy working the room with advertising on his mind, but wasn’t immune to this call of nature. With the abundance of free drinks he was rapidly becoming as tired and emotional as a newt. He had resisted the pressure buildup for as long as possible, but now the call was getting louder and more insistent! Deciding that he couldn’t wait for what was looking like half an hour or more in the queue for the toilet, he wandered upstairs to make an urgent inspection of the plumbing on the next floor.
Upstairs turned out to be deserted and pitch black darkness. He lurched around banging into locked doors in the dark, but after roaming around for a couple of minutes and cracking his shins on piles of wood and various tools, nature got the better of him and he decided to have a quick leak in the corner.
Well, it was rather like opening the floodgates at Hume Weir. A seemingly endless stream, a veritable Yellow River gushed out until a sizable puddle had formed around him. Unknown to LL, the upstairs floor had been built with a very slight slope on it, which led back to the staircase. It had obviously been designed to cope with any flooding, but was being irrigated now by a flood of a very different kind. LL groped his way to the edge of the stairs, preceded by a coruscating golden stream, which slowly trickled down ahead of him step by step.
Beautiful people standing underneath the stairs were surprised when a gentle golden shower began falling upon them and their drinks, and looked up to see what was causing the miniature Niagara Falls which rushed down the stairs and collected in a pool at the bottom.
Unaware of all these waterworks, LL shakily made his way down the stairs, and was greeted by stony stares from the rest of the guests. Those closest to the stairs made a show of carefully placing their hands over the top of their drinks to avoid catching any drips or splashes!
Sensing that something was amiss, he decided that right now would be an excellent time to leave the party. Grabbing his overcoat, he sloshed his way towards the front door.
As he approached, the security guard accosted him, stepping in front of LL and putting up a hand like a policeman on traffic duty.
“Just a moment, sir,” he said,
“What is it, my good chap?” mumbled LL
“Excuse me sir, but did you p15s upstairs?” he inquired
“I beg your pardon,” said LL, “What on earth do you mean?”
The security guard ploughed on in a loud voice, as if giving evidence in court.
“I saw you climb up the stairs, sir. After a few minutes I saw that there was p15s coming down the stairs and I have reason to believe it came from you.”
A pall of silence hung over the room as everyone watched the little tableau at the front door.
“I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about,” waffled LL, rapidly sobering up and becoming aware of what had happened. “Get out of my way this minute and let me pass”
“I shall have to ask you again, sir – did you or did you not p15s down the stairs?”
“Don’t be ridiculous, my good man,” LL protested. “What an absurd thing to suggest.”
And so saying he ducked under the outstretched arm, elbowed his way past the security guard and made a run for the street, ignoring the cries of “Stop, that’s him, stop that p15sser, stop, stop” that followed him as he ran down the street and made his getaway.
Strangely enough, his name never appeared on that particular guest list afterwards!
* P15s – a common euphemism for bodily fluid generated when drinking excessively!
First published in CX Magazine (October, 2015)