I was in a good mood last Sunday. The day before my beloved football team won and I’d been offered an epic new job, the latter of which shortly afterwards had me strutting down the road like the Bee Gees in the Staying Alive video.
On that Sunday my mate Daz and his missus Nat were running a retro gaming day at Asgard in town (up the market. Roughly where the MEB shop was back in that day. Showing my age a bit there). You can play board games and do Warhammer stuff along with enjoying food and booze. Daz has held these events at Katz previously, along with one at The Walsall Arms where I turned up late, didn’t play a game and spent most of my time applying for a job, which I didn’t get even though I smashed the interview.
He’d also held one at Asgard previously. I’d turned up (late again as I was trying to be good), but as I walked in the one member of staff was all over me demanding to know what I wanted. He also refused to serve me a drink (booze or pop) as it was after 9 o’clock. I have a rule that says if places don’t want my money one night, then they don’t want it any other night. So I left and went to Wetherspoons.
So when Daz switched his events to Asgard as their new home I was a bit disappointed and I said I wouldn’t attend while they were there. He was fine. He is currently boycotting a pub in Chasetown so understands these courses of action.
After he had two there I started to feel bad, and as the third one approached I had a word with myself. Stop being a nob, and go and support your mate. So I did. This time it was friendliness on the way in. £2 to enter which I was more than happy with.
I said my hello’s to Daz and Nat, then it was time for gaming. I knew what I wanted to play and I didn’t mess about. River Raid. Back in the 80’s you could borrow Atari 2600 games from Walsall Library, but you were not walking in and grabbing this game off the rack. No, this one you had to reserve and the waiting list was normally 3 months, but when that card dropped through the door and you could go and collect it you were the Billy Big Bollocks of Walsall for that fortnight.
After that I played Defender, a game that I spent so much of my childhood on. Maybe if I’d prioritised homework over it I may not have left school with no O Levels. Oh well, if I get reincarnated I promise to try harder at school next time. Maybe.
I switched to Adventure but I really couldn’t figure out what to do and had a crowd of football fans been about I’d have expected them to stand behind me singing “you don’t know what you’re doing”.
I visited the toilet and liked the wall decoration and was about to take my phone out to grab a picture when another man walked in which startled me so I washed my hands and ran off.
I was peckish and wanted food but some of the words on the menu baffled me. Korean Fried Chicken. Our twice marinated chicken with Kimchi and Gochujang Ketchup. What? I was tempted by the Fish Finger Bap – white fish goujons with lashings of garlic aioli. I could have Googled garlic aioli but couldn’t be arsed, so I just went for the goujons neat. They came with a pot of mayo which was nice.
This was washed down with a kiwi and lime Old Mout Cider, and then it was time to enter the high score competition. Donkey Kong. I fancied my chances but then I lost my first life while trying to work out which button was for jump, and I threw away my last one by being a bit blase while going to remove the last rivet on level 3.
I was pondering moving on but still fancied getting a picture of the toilet wall decoration. This time I was successful in getting the picture, but just as I’d put my equipment away the same man from earlier came in again. I like a coincidence but come on.
On my way out I spotted the board games section. One in particular caught my eye.
Anyway I’m glad I went, the next one is at Asgard on March 27th. If you want more info on these events please visit www.retrogamingnight.co.uk
It was too early to go home and I was still beaming at the fact that I’d be putting my notice in at work the next day so I opted to head for more goodness. As I strolled up Leicester Street I could hear someone belting out my second favourite Pink song Just Like A Pill. Unsure if it was emanating from The Registry or Tap & Tanner I walked along until I could ascertain it was coming from the latter, so in there I went. Turned out it was someones birthday and it was an actual Pink tribute act doing a turn so I nursed my drink hoping for a bit of Leave Me Alone (I’m Lonely) action but it wasn’t forthcoming so I moved onto St Matthews Hall, the Walsall Wetherspoons.
The place was bustling as usual and the plus point was the 3 beers on from Titanic due to a meet the brewer kind of event 3 days earlier. The Raspberry Pale was excellent and such a bargain at £1.99 for a 4.7% beer although this has now increased to £2.10 in the last couple of days. I really must get those 50p off CAMRA vouchers which seem to be breeding in my Living Room and take them to the pub one day.
From there I “popped” to Walsall Arms to round the day off. It was very busy with a fair few happy folks in Liverpool shirts. After I’d got my beer Jaz the wonderful landlady came round with a tray of shots which she was handing out. Red or clear so I opted for red. I think it was cherry sour but it was ace. Mind you it was free so I was always going to enjoy it.
I found a seat and settled down to enjoy the work of DJ Gaz-Sonic -Palmer. He really is the most entertaining DJ around town at the moment and he was on good form as per usual. Then came the moment of the day. He played N-Trance “Set You Free”, one of my all time favourites. I didn’t care, I stood up, raised my arms and sang along loudly. It was at this point after about 8 months of being at my lowest ebb since the 90’s I realised that things are going to get better. What a moment. And then Jaz who I’d told about my new job when I walked in sent me over a celebratory pint. What a moment again. Cheers Jaz.
I stayed for another couple but eventually opted to head home. Via the toilets of course. As I entered there was a lad washing his hands blocking my ingress (a word I learned whilst interviewing Walsall FC Secretary Roy Whalley in 1989, and I’ve not used it until now). He moved to the hand drier and I gave him the customary nod as he looked round. I positioned myself at the urinal and was about to get my equipment out when there was a tap on my shoulder.
“Did you used to DJ in the Dog & Partridge?” he asked. “No” I replied. Now after working in Customer Services for 11 years I have learned that if someone asks you a question and they don’t like the answer they either shout, go silent or ask the question again. He opted for the latter so I said no for the second time. “Oh right, I thought you did”. Conversation over he wandered off and I got back to the matter in hand. I have DJ’d before, twice in The Fitters and once in The Hatherton and would love to do it again but I’m a bit miffed that there is another Phil Mitchell/Matt Lucas/Michael van Gerwen look a like hoovering up my potential spinning the wheels of steel work.
So to summarise it was an epic day. I won the Donkey Kong tournament, I put Leave Me Alone (I’m Lonely) on You Tube upon getting home and even found time to Google garlic aioli. According to Jamie Oliver it’s like a spicy mayonnaise and when made well is phenomenal. So on the next retro gaming day it’s all about playing Paper Boy, Unicorns & Urinals and phenomenal mayonnaise. Roll on March 27th.