Kevin

Gone up to Blue Posts to meet Tom for a beer. We’ve been doing this for 20 years now, so it’s a pilgrimage of sorts. I am still here, he is still here, the Blue Posts is still here and it still hasn’t been refurbished.

We agree to meet at 5pm which is early, but all the seats are already either taken or have bags and clothing strategically positioned.

I order a pint and sit on a single stool by the bar which I realise is not a long term solution. But I convince myself it’s good to have a higher vantage point from which to observe possible seating areas becoming available. This allows me to sit there happily for a good 15 minutes sipping my beer, before Tom arrives.

When Tom comes he is determined to get a table so as he gets a round of beers, I turn to a guy who is on his own and ask if we can join his table. He looks rather startled and replies “It would be my honour” and it doesn’t seem like such a good idea anymore. He then continues with “I know this is wrong, but are you from Denmark?”. His name is Kevin. 

I soon realise there’s little chance of Tom and I catching up as Kevin is keen to get to know us. He asks “Are you guys visiting London, or do you live here?” We live here.

He seems to know a lot about vinyl which he is sharing with us. He has a Rainbow record on the table that he talks about at great length, and a bag of Agent Provocateur stockings, which he doesn’t. Given we’re here and I feel relatively trapped, I try to get some information on my old Bruce Springsteen vinyl records, despite having no idea where they are, or if indeed they exist anymore. He says “You my friend, are sitting on a gold mine” but he’s also closing his eyes and leaning backwards as he says so.

He then leans forwards and asks “Are you guys visiting London, or do you live here?” He appears to be very drunk.

I have now finished my pint and so has he, which presents a problem. I either stop drinking which I don’t want to do, or offer to buy him a drink which commits us to another half hour at least. Kevin seems to have noticed as he gets up and says “What are you lads drinking, eh?”, but Tom is quick to nip it in the bud and says we are about to leave. I’m glad Tom’s dealt with it and we exchange a knowing glance, but Kevin returns from the bar with three pints, so it turns out Tom hasn’t dealt with it, after all.

As I proceed to drink my third pint, I realise I’m slowly getting used to Kevin who seems rather nice, despite him having no interest whatsoever in anything we have to say. Tom mentions the band Pavement and gets a firm handshake though. So do I. But now that pint 3 has gone, I have to offer to buy him a pint back, the British are very strict on this. 

I’ve given up now, I don’t think Kevin will ever let us go, so I decide we’re here for the long run. Tom’s finished his pint and seems to be quite relaxed so I suggest another round, at which point he receives a text message. I know this as he takes out his mobile phone, extends his arm fully and looks at the screen. I gather Tom is dealing with the situation in a much more decisive manner this time: a friend is waiting for us at the restaurant, we must leave now.

Kevin isn’t saying anything now, and is lying backwards on the seat once more, resigned. I think Tom feels slightly guilty and so do I, but I’m determined to get Kevin a pint as payment for letting us go. As we get up, I offer Kevin a pint. He says “Nah, just a half”. But I’ve decided nothing but a pint will do. I insist “C’mon, a pint”. He looks thoroughly wasted and says “Go on, then”.

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