The Cast

Staggers Gay index
1=straight as a dart 10=bent as a crook
Dave Pollard (DP)
2 – the browner the straighter
Matt Gormley (MG)
1 – remember the Guildford 3? No homo he.
Mike Page (MP)
4 – quietly homophiliac
Paul Sharpe (PS)
8 – a genuine loss to Battyland, still being mourned by the pink community.
Your correspondent (CD)
0 – ironically favoured among faggots. This coureur des femmes is a paragon of metropolitan concupiscence.
Ed Thorn (ET)
3 – another quiet one, but his serenity hides a latent, very un-gay aggression
James Chapman (JC)
5 – too staunchly evangelical to admit it, but there is an almost androgynous quality to his sensitive humanity.
Dave Vincent (DV)
3 – tall, lean, perhaps there he has a doppelganger out there some where with an utterly ravaged arsehole
Noel O’Callaghan (NO) 6 – a consummate, at times dissolute, womaniser. And yet… and yet…no. I couldn’t possibly imagine it. But then again…

The cameos

The football whores: we were looking for football but were too few in number to satisfy our urges. So we found some football whores that we could fuck. ET was particularly merciless. Chopper Thorn unremittingly aimed bullet shots at goal, from every angle, like a crazed gunman running amok in a Kindergarten.

Chatty Barmaid in Smile’s Brewery Tap at 12.30 on Saturday afternoon:

Ed: 4 pints of bitter please
Chatty barmaid: Do you warnt et in a jarg? Oi was at my uncle’s funeral last noight. Wart a noight that was.
Stags: oh, right. ….

Later, Chatty Barmaid to her boss: You’ve Chantal on Saturday noight? Are you troying to get me to and in moi not’iss?

Jo, opportunistic, lascivious, flirting with the entire male contingent in Walkabouts night II, orbiting in ever decreasing circles, whose fulcrum, whose Sun, were the Staggers.

The soundtrack

Is this the way to Amarillo, by Peter Kay’s overweight identical twin, MG

Crazy frog and axel f, beat Coldplay to No1.

Our guide

The Good Beer Guide, acted as our Virgil, our faithful, virtuous teacher, lighting our path in this west country divine comedy. Especially indispensable as noone had a road atlas.

The running gags

• 1/5 is a wife beater – out of the 5 of us on the Friday night, ET was identified as him by popular consent.

• Gaydar. Gay index (see above)

• DP: What do you do if there’s a terrorist attack on the train?
MG: Run like hell and convert to Islam

• MG: There were a group of kids smoking dope in the first class carriage. I told them to put it out, and they called me birdshit (for being white) and ‘MoFo’

The Matt Factor

• PS told MG we would be playing pissed football on Saturday. Worried that he was going to fall behind while in transit, MG drank 2 pints of lager and 4 glasses of wine on the train to Bristol. He arrived pissed. We were still fairly sober having spent 3 hours fucking our football whores.

• MG to the Aussie troy at the door who was refusing to let NO and others in because they didn’t have their Walkabout hotel card keys: Things get done don’t they. Things get done. I’m going to put my hand into my pocket and shake your hand.
Aussie bouncer, speechless, and £10 better off, waved us through.

• Saturday 28 May. Round table of all the staggers at the Port of Call, York Street. MG describing Croydon pond life. E.g. Joe ‘mad dog’ Hunter, who regrettably can’t join us in our revels. He’s a sweet, charming man , currently serving at her majesty’s pleasure for beating up his girlfriend. Again. Oh and he’s been refused bail for threatening to rape her and kill her kids. Apart from that he’s a diamond.

• Another fragile soul is Oompa Lumpa Les. Suffers from Tourette’s e.g.

Barman at Stag and Hounds: Bottle of Bud Les?
Les: Focking coont

Les’s favourite talent is to crack glass ashtrays on his head at 2am. His favourite dance move involves taking his shirt off, climbing onto the window ledge and, by clutching metal rods protruding from the top of the frame, performing a pirouette with his 2 northern stumps.

Another distinguishing characteristic is beating the shit out of fellow drinkers and then offering to buy them a drink. Once, he belaboured an unlucky punter outside the Stag, and left him for dead in the middle of Croham Road.

Rest of the pub: Les, you can’t just leave him there in the middle of the road.
Les (returning to his victim beating and dragging him towards the pavement): Get up you focking coont, get up.

• Every time CD went to toilet, MG: Well? You must have something lined up for him? Wot no strippers or anything? I know, let’s put him on a train to Edinburgh. Oh fuck it, let’s just beat the shit out of him.

The unalloyed debauchery.

We enjoyed the west country female offering.

Pink protruding bands of blubber at the midriff, exposed plastic harness thongs barging down the buttock cleft. We noticed shiny puce love bites on neck, like 14th plague victims. A group were seen sporting t-shirts, bearing the legend:

I’m a virgin (but this is an old t-shirt)

They loped around town moulting, flobbing, shrieking, punching each other in the stomach and burping in the faces of passers-by.

The 17th century Chaperone

As the seething masses disgorged from Walkabout, PS transformed himself into a sensible, vigilant teacher on playground duty. A clutch of staggers loitered by the kebab shop; an unidentified member of the group was being lured into sharing a cab with one of the local girls; 1 or 2 of the group were staggering out of sight around corners trying to remember the way back to lodgings. PS monitored the situation keenly: It’s potentially messy, but I can just about control it, he thought to himself.

The next morning, PS: I’m sorry for being 17th century chaperone last night, I really am.

The temperature

May 27 was hottest may day since 1944 89.4F
Warm and overcast for the rest of the weekend.

Sunday 29 May; indecision in the ambivalent Marches

• A piss stop in the thickly verdant territory above the Wye Valley.
Sprinkling on a cattle grid, PS says, I’m interrupting some ladybirds copulating.

• Canoes. Drifting insouciantly down the Wye. PS remarked thoughtfully: Did you stimulate her sufficiently that her cunt juices ran in rivulets down her leg?

• On the road from Monmouthshire to Oxford, all were gratified to drive through the village of Box Bush.

The stark warning

MG to CD: When I watch Crimewatch, and I see some bloke being kicked to death, I think of you


Parking the minibus on St Giles to sink a pint in the Lamb and Flag.. The easy affluence in the area was palpable. A floppy blond haired young boy reared into view. ‘Hello Tarquin!’ hollered PS.

Oxford chat in a gay pub (not in the Good Beer Guide) 8pm. The only sit down meal of the weekend.
One donnish figure held forth at the adjacent table thus: “John who wrote the gospel is not John the apostle. He was John the amanuensis of John the apostle.” Etc.
One or two of his interlocutors were American

PS: Anything said in an American accent becomes more shit, simply by virtue of being pronounced in an American accent.

The next day, a docile blackbird nested silently in Johnny’s garden.

The casualties

My mobile phone, drowned by Sharpey in a pint of ale in the Portwall Tavern. ‘false, fleeting, perjur’d Clarence’ in a vat of Malmsey wine.

Walkabout night 1. Dave Vincent, eyes reeling, smiling benevolently to himself, a trickle of spittle coursing gently down his chin. Gets escorted out by a bouncer.

Matt. DV’s photos provide a revealing reportage. Matt dominates each of them, wedging himself between 2 other staggers, mouthing some laddish obscenity, fat arms and mitts clutching a bottle of corona. Later in the evening, the same triptych recurs, only with Matt now sagging somewhat, battle weary.
Finally, the day after we did a group photo outside the minibus. Matt was now a pale shadow of his former self. His frame hunched, his visage downcast: it was time to return to Sussex and resume fatherhood.

The quotes

MP: I had a stab at it in the toilet
(Can’t remember the context, but it’s very funny as a standalone quote.)

Thing’s get done.

The wisdom

Put a lentil in a jar every time you shag in your first year of marriage. Then take one lentil out for every shag thereafter. You will never empty that jar of lentils.

The refrains

• ‘Yeh but, no but.’ Everytime we passed a bristol
• It’s a bit brown in here. Every time we entered a pub with DP
• ‘O shit. O shit! Stupid twat’, as ever hapless but earnest PS remembers another oversight or error with the minibus. In order:
- pranging Julian’s Ice Cream Van on Clifden Downs.
- Getting a parking ticket on the first morning in Bristol
- Forgetting to pay ‘ fucking red ken’s car tax’ while cutting a slow swathe through central London on the friday.

Post script Bank Holiday Monday

Pishill. A noon pint at the enchanting Crown Inn. A busy dog called Arch sniffed around us:
PS: Right one more piss and I’m getting you spayed.
Josh and Jeremy (who else?) were behind the bar.

Then we watched a buzzard swooping above us, before gliding out of sight.
PS: Life is lovely isn’t it? We’re close, why don’t we swap [partners]. I just want to have some sex.
CD: you should have got in that cab with Jo. I wonder if she had any diseases. I wish I had something to take back from this weekend. A rash. Even a tick.

Monday afternoon. Sharpey, Xian and Nursey at Highbury Corner with a final pint. Blast of stereo as a car drives past
PS: No, I don’t want to listen to your music you cunt!
Later, PS to Nursey: There seems to be a lot of interracial going on in Ireland. It’s good you can widen your gene pool: fewer 6-fingered babies.

PS: Tuesday

DV resumes work at Tear Fund the next day.
Born again Christian colleague: How was your weekend.
DV: Yeh, it was fucking brilliant. We met so many fucking slappers

Renshaw (MG’s token black friend) was stopped driving to work by a policemen.
Policeman- there was a burglary in thornton heath last thursday. Where were you?