Zara, Hadham Road, Bishop’s Stortford (61%)


Saturday 12th August 2017.

1987 was a big year for a restless stripling kiss-chasing screaming girls across Parsonage Lane playground…  Inspired, fifteen year old, zitty punks squatting pumped hams like Brian Jacks (who pips Geoff Capes to kiss-chase gold at The World Athletics Championship).

Steamy possibilities awakened by a squawking Cilla Black jiggling her booty to Graham Skidmore’s dulcets… That was ’87. Stiffening a Leslie Crowther quiff in dad’s shaving mirror; down the roller-disco, seducing hot prospects with a tug on a gasper.

Thirty years on, a bunch of crumpled crocks hawk into cuspidors and barely remember. Chasing an old dear struggling with her shopping bags down Wind Hill, just talk. Though kiss-chase lips moisten and pucker at the thought.

Stumbling into the Robin Hood pub where Mr Knight once salvaged Stuart Rooney with subtle misdirection: “We teach them up to eighteen,” he’d said. Stuart Rooney made drinking age in short trousers, in my opinion. (It all came too precociously early for Rooney, even death…) It’s an Indian, of course, now. I remember marking the fetching interiors, including lavies. (The Ladies blocked u-bends a trifling fine point.) Other details, suffering the chromatic aberration of drunken memory, muzz into a curry puddle dipped by happy paddlers. Now and then, into sharp focus: a timid onion patty; that scavenged butterflied prawn – rather good; those sloppy seas of lamb madras; inadequate naan triangles.



The Rose & Crown: Scott and Andy’s muso roots/artistic stage; where Bobby and I once cracked balls. Rocking covers blared the house; arms aloft, busting the geriatric shuffle. Remember how the US military broke Noriega with their pounding siege of guitar-based rock? Before long, wearing the look of a fallen dictator, I ushered out the old regime. Exiled to the sweet ceasefire at The Jolly Brewers audible words fell like reams of ticker tape from upstairs windows (when in ’87 civilian opposition claimed the streets of Panama City). Except this was Bishops’ Stortford, England. And there was no unsightly evidence, next day, to clear away or bury.


Judge ‘Gonzo’ Pickles
Fred ‘Skippy’ Pickles
Bobby Duffy
Andy Levett
Scott Simpson 


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