Monday, April 04, 2005

Saturday Parade

We started at Monkey’s at 6 p.m. with a glass of wine and kisses all round. Dalibor had not slept in days, having travelled from Illinois to Prague by some circuitous route with about 64 layovers. “We have to leave the house or I won’t make it,” he said, so we left the house. Paraders this day were Monkey, Dalibor, P and me, Max.

Our first stop was for a beer on a terrace by the river. We then walked over Charles Bridge, which was when Jono rang. The poor boy was stuck at work all weekend and was calling for company. I tried to be very sympathetic but Monkey was the opposite, telling Jono to just leave his office, get on a plane and come join the parade. From the bridge we walked to Friends.

Friends is in a cellar space and you have to walk down two flights of stairs to get to it. “Dalibor, these stairs are wooden,” said Monkey. “Do you realise that if there were a fire in here we would all be trapped? This place makes me really uncomfortable.” Monkey says this at least once every time we go into Friends. We had some more beers and waited to hear from Pablo Escobar. Actually, Pablo had gone missing so we were waiting to hear from his friend McPontiff (not his real name) instead.

At last we left and went to see McPontiff. After exchanging money for goods, we decided to forego dinner and continue on to U Zpěváčků, my home away from home. Some nights U Zpěváčků is a really mellow neighbourhood bar, and some nights it is just the weirdest place in the world. Saturday night was a freak show. Charlie the bar manager was whacked out; the place was filling up with Americans who wanted to watch the NCAA tournament; the pope died: the place was just brimming over with an odd energy. Mike the barman, luckily, remained his normal capable self and kept the whole place from collapsing in on itself. We ate halves of the thingies we had obtained from McPontiff.

The four of us sat in the back room of U Zpěváčků and just talked and talked and talked, occasionally being interrupted by other people coming to say hello, or making trips into the front room for more drinks or to see who else had come in. I danced with Tim. Dan and Radka came in but we could not find Rusty. DL rang from Melbourne (welcome to Max’s Gay Parade, DL!). Finally the weirdness got to be too much for us in our altered state, so we left. The original four paraders went back to Friends.

Friends was too loud and then there was that problem of the wooden stairs so we did not stay long. Monkey, Dali and I decided to go to Stella, and P decided he would go home to bed.

Stella was uneventful: just three friends drinking some beers, smoking some cigarettes and spreading mutual love and adoration. But then Stella was closing (it was about 4.30) so Monkey decided we should walk over to Le Clan. We rang Rusty on the way.

Le Clan is an after-hours club that is a world unto itself. There are two bars, rooms with couches and tables, a dj and a small dance floor, and toilets with mirrors in the stalls which are mounted perpendicular to the wall to facilitate the snorting of cocaine. You always run into people that you know there.

We took a couch in a back corner, sharing a table with two Czech men. They had their conversation, we had ours, until suddenly one of them started talking to Monkey. At first Monkey was resisting speaking English with them but Dalibor jumped in when the first man started in on how Americans were all alike and all idiots because they smile too much. I stayed out of it from the beginning, never interested in arguing with stupid drunk people. This man was called David, and he and Dalibor went at it. The man’s friend, a big obnoxious arsehole called Lada, whom we soon learned was a member of the Czech parliament (ODS), got in on the conversation every once in a while, but only in Czech so that Dalibor did not know what he was saying. I refused to translate because nothing he said had any value. The gist of it was that all Americans are stupid, just like Russians, and all we care about are our swimming pools and Porsches. And on and on, repetitive and just plain dull. Not only would I not translate, I also refused to respond. Finally Lada started repeating himself in his shitty English, so I finally said to him in Czech, “I understood everything you said. I am simply not interested in your views of my country.” Meanwhile, Monkey had dived in and was arguing with both David and Lada about whatever ridiculous point they were making at whatever given time. Monkey really enjoys that sort of thing. I just wanted them to go away. Rusty finally showed up so I just talked to him. After what seemed like years the two arseholes went away.

The parade was able to relax again. We chatted amongst ourselves until two Danish boys came over and said they wanted to talk to us. They were lovely: Sune and Thor, both students and both currently doing internships at Danish embassies, Sune in Bratislava and Thor in Budapest. They were in Prague for the weekend. Sune had fair longish hair and looked a little bit like a lion, and Thor had short dark hair; both were handsome lads. They were sincere and clever and the conversation was good. It got rough when Thor told us that his kid brother was a soldier in Iraq and Monkey stated that he would never let his brother go to Iraq, that he would do anything to prevent him, including grievous bodily harm. Thor had not wanted his brother to go to Iraq, Thor had done everything he could to try to dissuade his brother, but had stopped short of actual physical harm. Monkey took exception to that. Thor was getting upset, Monkey did not want to back down from his statement, and finally I had to tell Monkey that he was being insensitive and he had to stop. I felt very sorry for Thor, having to worry about his brother in Iraq, and knowing that of course he did not want him to be there. And then Monkey wanted to take blame for the whole situation because it was our country’s actions that had created the need for Thor’s little brother to go to Iraq. Serious stuff for a parade.

A group of three men sat on the couch opposite our little area. Suddenly one of them threw a bottle in our direction, and it landed on the floor between Rusty and Sune. Rusty and I moved back round to the other side of the table so as not to have our backs to the rowdies. The next thing we saw was two of them getting it on, the third one having left. Then they pulled a waitress in between them, then another girl joined, and it was like a free erotic show, although not a very good one.

Then it was 8.45 and time for all good paraders to go home and sleep.


knottyboy said...

Damn and blast! I've been depressed for the past couple of days and I was just to childish to admit that I was fucking jealous as all hell of not being there right now. Chin up dear boy, I'll be there soon enough.

Monkey's Max said...

Come see us, lovely Knotty. In fact, why don't you leave everything behind and just move over here? There is loads more fun to be had.

Monkey's Max said...

Apologies to the real McPontiff for misusing his identity in this post.