Fancy An Orgy? (Part One)..

Pervy Ray, as the nickname suggests, is indeed a pervert. Licentious to the core, you might say. ‘Photo for the blog?’ he asks. ‘Hang on then, I’ll take my trousers off and get my knob out. I’m happiest with my knob out, you know.’

Are you wondering how I, a priggish, naive young musician, meet these lunatics? Well, through rock and roll trucking. Naturally. Anyway, it just so happens that my old pal Pervy Ray and I are loading trailers together in West London. The equipment is for the touring Stage Production of Batman Live and, frankly, there are far more trucks loafing about than we like the look of.

 

Swingers

 

‘Job’s fucked,’ tuts Ray, uttering what has long become his standard mantra. He looks at his watch and tuts once more. ‘If we could’ve got away earlier, I’d have taken you to Sue’s place in Birmingham – she’s putting on a gangbang tonight.’ (He fails to notice my expression of abject disquiet.) ‘It’s just round the corner from Aston Villa’s football ground and you can park a truck there if you’re interested.’

Oh, hooray. Yes, I can think of nothing finer than an amorphous mass of dick-swinging nudists. Just up my street. Sounds ghastly. Ooh, unless there’s a raffle. ‘Any chance I could take a flask, Ray?’ I enquire tentatively, wondering if there’s a silver lining. ‘Of course,’ he replies. ‘And there’s no obligation to partake. Nobody will say anything if you just want to watch and have a cup of tea.’ Well, it can’t be that uncivilised, then; a scone might be pushing my luck, though..

A little bit of work now gets in the way of this enlightening conversation; oh, it’s always been the driving and loading that ruins this job. We potter up the M1, abandon the trucks at Nottingham’s Capital FM Arena, and dive into Bunkers Hill pub next door. Pervy Ray resumes the filthy discourse before you can say…well, I was going to say Jack Robinson, but Bukake is the topic he brings up.

 

Gangbang

 

‘Not heard of Bukake?’ asks Ray in disbelief. Honestly, he’s so judgmental – if you admit to sleeping with fewer than four women at the same time, he rolls his eyes heavenward, genuinely astounded. ‘You haven’t lived,’ he says, po-faced.

‘Anyway, you’d love bukake,’ he continues, instantly sullying my reputation as a prude. ‘It’s not a gangbang as such, but it could turn into one. The object, you see, is to cover a woman in as much spunk as possible.’ It’s now my turn to roll eyes skyward and tut. No romantic talk here of mermaids combing their hair on the rocks, that’s for sure. ‘It’s a proper sport,’ he bellows indignantly, steamrollering any potential objections. ‘I was runner-up in the South East Finals, you know.’

 

What amuses me most is the blithe manner in which he churns out this greasy rhetoric. It’s as though he’s speaking of a casual game of bridge in a Gentleman’s Club. Or a jolly stroll in the Pennines with some cheese and pickle sandwiches. ‘Good afternoon out, actually,’ he concludes, somewhat proving my point..

I’ve got a brain as well, you know..

Trudging off to see some mummies in an ancient Irish church – the embalmed variety, not vulnerable single mothers – I get distracted by a sign. “Jazz 4-6.30pm”, it reads. I’m in like a shot.

Or rather, I’m barred by one of those enormous bald men that usually stand outside discos looking unapproachable. ‘You can’t come in dressed like that,’ he says. ‘There’s a dress code.’ Now it’s not as though I’m wearing a Borat thong; I happen to be sartorially impeccable, clad in a snazzy mackintosh, shorts and flip-flops. ‘What, for jazz on a Sunday afternoon?’ I counter.

Quite how this disarms him, I don’t know, but it does. ‘OK, I’ll let yers trew tis woonce,’ he replies in a heavy Irish brogue, softening a little. The jazz is a little disappointing, though. An ageing female flautist rattles off inoffensive, cocktail tunes – a far cry from the edgy improvisation that only a trumpeter on the verge of imploding can foster.

 

One For The Road?

 

As I’m ordering a second pint, I notice the clientele are predominantly men – smartly tonsured men. And a sizeable percentage of them are wearing figure-hugging T-shirts. Whoops, have I unwittingly stumbled into a gay bar again? The trouble with being straight – and perhaps a little naïve – is that I never grasp the extent of a situation until things become dicey.

 

You see, a clever ploy that poofters* use to disarm their quarry is to talk of girlfriends. This once put a certain young intrepid reporter so at ease that he happily ended up in a flat in Wimbledon. Oh, it’s no good talking in the third person, I suppose – the victim’s identity is blindingly obvious. It was the prospect of being cooked a meal that enticed me, and it wasn’t until after dinner that his intentions became clear: I was dessert. Gulp!

Massage, Sir?

 

He whacked on a pornographic film, ostentatiously undressed, and offered me a massage with a heat lamp. Straight men just don’t do that, do they? I was only nineteen..

 

Anyway, back to the present. Tact is the key at times like this; a splash of diplomacy and discretion can work wonders. ‘Is this a bar for queers?’ I ask the barmaid. She nods. Possibly adding insult to injury, I ask which side of the bar is least queer. ‘You’re on it,’ she replies. I change my order to half a pint – got to keep my wits about me – before tossing my own salad in Spar to unwind..

[*Obviously, lest anybody be in doubt, this post is tongue-in-cheek]

Sri Lankan Spots..

“Leopard back that way,” yelled a safari driver. He gesticulated wildly, and Nelson wrestled with the stick, struggling to engage any gear in his 40-year-old Jeep.

Grinding and clunking abominably – second gear was painfully absent from the box – we turned around noisily, enveloping Yala National Park in a cloud of acrid, noxious exhaust. This vehicle was exactly the fauna-disturbing rust bucket I’d hoped to avoid.

We’d taken the bus to Tissamarama. The lemonade bottle had been unfastened from the rear bumper, our precariously wedged rucksacks falling unceremoniously from the luggage compartment. That’s when I saw Nelson’s Jeep – a shell of a vehicle, utterly bereft of functioning gauges. As if on cue, it slid backwards into a tree.

The jeep’s rear axle was kaput. Nelson frowned and began knotting together two bicycle inner tubes. Ah, a makeshift tow rope! And so our safari began, flouting all my eco-friendly intentions.

“Leopard won’t care about noise,” shouted Nelson above the din. Much as I hate to admit it, he was proven right.

Wildlife Galore

Axle fixed, we approached the National Park gate, passing rice paddies peppered with fan palms. Sri Lanka’s lush expanse looked freshly painted. “Leopard footprints,” exclaimed Nelson, as a land monitor changed its mind about crossing in front of us.

A regal peacock sat sentinel; water buffalo, surrounded by hopping cattle egrets, gazed listlessly from a drinking pool; hoopoe birds – like mini zebras wearing skull caps – went about their morning business. All seemed unperturbed by the engine’s roar.

“Careful – branches,” warned Nelson, driving us deeper into the Park. Foliage brushed our cheeks as we spotted samba deer, monkeys and mongoose, purple swamphens with their ravishing red legs, and a Malabar Pied Hornbill in a leafless tree.

Pelicans flew in formation above; huge painted storks barely glanced at our dilapidated chassis on wheels. A middle-aged elephant swirled his trunk, coiling and uncoiling it lazily. But by lunchtime the fabled leopard – the big draw – had remained elusive.

A Lucky Afternoon..

We relaxed, taking time to contemplate a plaque to the tsunami victims of 2004, a harrowing reminder of the death toll here.

The Indian Ocean crashed seductively nearby; we grew soporific from the tropical heat and mountain of curry. Suddenly all hell broke loose. Radios crackled, engines gunned. Leopards were to feature on the programme after all.

Its tail twitched. Its legs hung insouciantly either side of a branch, head lolling and yawning. We each jostled for optimum viewing position, necks craned. Remarkably, however, this wasn’t the piece de resistance. Twenty minutes later, driving pell-mell along dirt tracks, we found what the other safari driver had been yelling about.

There, a few yards away, was a bobbing yellow head, her spots all but hidden in the bush. She walked purposefully and powerfully, seemingly unfazed by the Jeep’s pernicious emissions. We snapped away, hearts soaring at this magical beast.

Let’s hope a leopard can change its spots, though: Nelson certainly needs a greener Jeep..

The dratted mobile phone..

There’s been a complete breakdown in communication since the advent of the mobile phone. Would you agree? It seems we’re now at the stage where we can’t survive without them. Well, cave-dwellers in Papua New Guinea probably manage. And perhaps the odd pensioner venturing no further than the paper shop. Coo, just imagine having to rely on that archaic device, the landline telephone.

 

In the late nineties, I regularly drove trucks down to Italy…without a phone. No, surely not? You rebel. How did you cope? Well, it’s perfectly simple: we planned, in those days. When I left a truck yard, I was incommunicado – not indefinitely, but maybe for three days until the goods were delivered. (Or four days if I found a particularly nice river and invented a breakdown).

 

Pinot Grigio?

 

I would ring from a factory and a fax would then be sent with instructions for the next job. All I needed was an address for the return load – twenty tons of wine out of the Dolomites region, for example, or umpteen collections of tiles from the Bologna area.

 

Nowadays, in this hopelessly inefficient modern era – in which we are contactable “24/7” – organisation no longer features so highly on the programme. Transport managers know that they can get hold of drivers, and so they don’t necessarily disseminate all the information required.

 

Partly out of forgetfulness; partly to hold onto a morsel of power, perhaps. Nebulous arrangements are often made, backed up by ‘I’ll text you further details.’ Grrrr. How are you supposed to plan unsavoury evenings off route if you don’t know what your route is?

Another disadvantage is listening to boorish oafs babbling into mobile phones on trains. You know the chaps. They’ll talk ostentatiously of acquisitions and slutty secretaries – ‘yah, we’re looking at half a mill or so, Bill. Christ, lovely rack on that little filly, by the way. Yah, yah’ – and affect a peculiar sniff that grown-ups make when they’re pretending to be important.

 

And then there’s the dull prat announcing to his wife that he’ll be home shortly. ‘Train’s a bit late darling, but I’ll be home in ten minutes,’ he may begin. And that ought to be where he finishes; surely in ten minutes’ time the conversation can flourish face to face? But no. It always continues with something like: ‘Really? Uncle Alfie’s in bed with his leg? Ooh, I know. Hospitals, yes. Course my aunt’s still got the scar…’ Jesus, will you shut up!

Flirting and Dating

 

The issue I actually wanted to address, though, is that the mobile phone has replaced the “little black book”. I mean, who actually writes down a phone number any more? You know in smoky bars – oh, even those are gone now, as health and safety prosper – when we used to exchange numbers on a beer mat or paper napkin?

 

Well, now it’s all just a few punches of the right thumb – or left, if you’re homosexual – and ‘Bob is your uncle’ as they say. Well, Bob is no longer your uncle if you lose your phone. Nor, indeed, is Fanny your aunt if the sim card self-destructs.

Blast! Is that a One or a Seven?

 

Granted, that napkin/beer mat may have been smudged in the rain, but if it survived the journey back to your hotel, and on sobering up you vaguely remembered who Natasha was – or was it Vernonica? I’m terrible with names – you backed it up, didn’t you? Not in the crude sense of capricious external hard drives, but on actual paper. Or, if you’re a cad, a little black book.

 

So imagine how doomed you’d be if all your juicy sim card numbers evaporated up a radiowave… Yes, obviously I’ve no idea how cell phones work, but are our lives any better than they were twenty years ago, before the advent of the mobile phone? Anyway, I must dash – I’ve just had a text message from a young filly with a splendid rack..