Back Home


666 Great Junction Street

Part 26

'I don't think friends are so great. I don't think families are brilliant either.'

Dawson Creep, investigative reporter and merry misanthropist, was defending his philosophy of life to Fat Boab, the barman in Wilkies bar on Great Junction Street.

'The general public are generally ugly and thick,' he went on. 'The people who drink in this bar,' he said, wobbling on his stool while waving his arm round the empty pub, 'make me feel physically sick.'

Fat Boab, far from taking offence, though a little sad that his natural detachment and professional role as mediator and all round middle man prevented him taking a swipe at the egomaniac in front of him, rolled his eyes resignedly. 'You wouldn't be saying that if there was anybody in here,' he said.

'Oh, I would,' said Dawson. 'I would.'

Fat Boab looked Mr Creep up and down. The feint pin-striped suit wrapping his lilac shirt and purple pure silk tie screamed arrogantly back at him. 'You don't look like you've been in too many scraps,' he said.

Dawson, keeping a tight grip of the Courvoisier in his left hand, tapped his right temple slowly with his forefinger. 'It's all up here, you know. Everything I need to get by. All the fighting I need. All up here.' He tapped his head again.

Fat Boab stared at the thick wash of black locks sculpted atop Dawson's cranium. 'You mean, it's all under your wig?' he said.

Dawson refused to be baited. 'I'll have you know that this head of hair has been caressed and filtered through some of the finest aristocratic fingers in Europe,' he said triumphantly.

'Female, male or animal?' asked Boab.

'Oh, you think you're smart, don't you?' said Dawson. 'Well, let me tell you, you're…' Dawson racked his brain for his favourite bon mot, only to be rewarded with an almost audible clang indicating the wit cupboard was bare. 'You're…you're not!' As if to enforce the profundity of his statement, he capped it with an exultant 'Hah!'

'What you here for anyway?' asked Boab.

'Well, if you must know,' said Dawson, sweeping a rogue wisp of hair from his forehead, 'my editor sent me down here to write a piece on the ever changing face of Leith.'

'Well, it's certainly changing,' began Boab.

'Oh gawd, don't we all know it, though,' said Dawson. 'I'm sick to death of all these interminable "How Leith has changed" pieces. Yes, we all bloody know Leith is changing. So what? "What's the angle?" I said to him. "Yours," he said. Well, I was kind of flattered that he recognized my unique voice could twist something new out of this ragged old goat of a story, but really, I said, I wasn't so sure it would work. But he insisted. He said people loved hearing about Leith - its people, its transformation, its distinctive character. I said, I hate the new bars, I hate the old bars, I hate the idea of a sense of community and all that rot. I just can't stand the place. "Exactly," he said. So here I am. Give us another.'

He jutted his empty glass at the weary barman.

Next week: Hack to the future



The Soundtrack