We started at McMurphy’s, which Eleanor later described as “the tacky sports bar with the bad drinks.” We didn’t stay there long, obviously. On our earlier scouting walk, we had been attracted to a small tiki bar that was connected to a beachy looking Japanese restaurant in one of the alleys off Colorado Boulevard, so we headed there. But as soon as we walked into the tiki bar, someone turned the music up – it was bad and it was way too loud, so we walked straight back out. Jake’s was only about 5 metres away across the alley so we went there.
On the scouting walk, we had met Skater Girl who had been sitting outside Jake’s smoking a cigarette. She had told us that Jake’s had pool tables, a full bar and karaoke. Eleanor doesn’t sing, but Max loves karaoke. And we both play pool and we both drink.
We stayed in Jake’s for the rest of the night.
First we met Lindsay, the bartender. I later chose her as the girl in the bar I would most like to take home with me (it’s a game), but I was aware that I might have been enamoured of her only because she was giving me booze and being nice to me, which was, after all, her job. I call that phenomenon ‘bar girl syndrome’. I have seen countless men in Prague fall victim to it. Lindsay made us beautiful Bombay Sapphire martinis – very dry, chilled glasses, two olives, and she gave us balls for pool.
Eleanor and I played anarchist pool for 2 hours. Anarchist pool is when you don’t play by any conventional rules. There is no penalty for scratching; if you hit the black ball in, you just take it out again – no one wants to continually have to rack up the balls; you don’t have to call any of your shots and even absolute accidents count as long as one of your balls goes into a pocket. There was a lot of bilingual swearing as Eleanor and I tried to outdo each other. There was a lot of laughter as well. And we often declared “combo” as we played because we had heard someone at another table say it. We had no idea what it meant.
There was an interesting and diverse crowd in Jake’s. There we were, sophisticated, cosmopolitan, mature women sipping our martinis. And then there was Bikini Girl, wearing her pink bikini top and white sweatpants seemingly without any knickers. She was repulsive. There was also the couple at the bar who were very nearly fornicating in public all night. I heard a man complain about them to the manager, but the manager just shrugged it off. There were also the frat boys, the lesbians, and the karaoke whores, amongst others.
After our 2 hours of anarchist pool, Eleanor and I went to sit in the bar where the karaoke was happening. And of course I did. I sang my old karaoke standard, Joan Jett’s I love rock ‘n’ roll. That was my North American karaoke debut, by the way.
I got talking to a boy called Zoran because he had sung Billy Joel’s Piano Man beautifully, but I had thought that he was much too young for Billy Joel. I asked him if he could sing Elton John to my Kiki Dee for Don’t go breaking my heart (the duet that Jono and I always do together), but he said he didn’t know it.
Meanwhile, Eleanor went to the toilet and was gone for a while. It turned out that she had joined a conversation in there with a girl called Diem and Skater Girl’s girlfriend. They were trying to solve Diem’s boyfriend problems – Eleanor referred to it as “bathroom bonding”.
Zoran was one of those we had earlier classified as the frat boys. He was there with his brother Thomas and some other friends including Midget Boy. Late in the evening, Midget Boy seemed to be getting off with Skater Girl’s girlfriend. Watching them dancing their mating dance together, Thomas remarked to Eleanor that Midget Boy was still a virgin.
Eleanor: Why? He’s not hideous or anything.
Thomas: Yeah, but he’s really short.
Poor Midget Boy must have been about 4’8″. I hope he got some last night.
And then the bar was closing. Lindsay called a taxi for me and Eleanor and we went outside to wait. Zoran and Thomas asked us to join them for a bite of late night sushi, but you can’t get a drink after 2 a.m. in California and we had already ordered the taxi anyway.
A cop car drove slowly past us so I waved at it and yelled, “taxi”. The cop stopped the car, got out and beat the shit out of us, but luckily someone videotaped the whole thing. Not really. The cop just looked at me in surprise and then smiled and laughed. And then our real cab pulled up.