On Sunday there was a tribute act at the Short and Curlies. I don’t often surrender myself to these community events, but this is an occasion that’s hard to resist. Baz runs one about every three months. The first time we had Pelvis Resley, a bloke of about 60 in a white suit that was far too tight in the crotch area, and who sang as if he had a mouthful of marbles; although when up close I couldn’t help feeling it would have been preferable with extra strong mints. Last time we had Barry Mangolow, whose facial skin was as tight as the real Barry, had a voice that was slightly better, but danced as if two badgers were having a ruck. It was a miracle that no one was hurt; during the singing of Copa Cabana he swung the microphone so vigorously that many of the punters assumed the crash position.
Anyway, that is all by the by, this time he had managed to get Garibaldi Barlow.Mand was exceptionally excited, especially as she has the knack of confusing fact with fiction and had told herself that this was the genuine article. It took some persuading by Jacinta and Garth that we were going to be seeing an imitation, in the end she was only convinced by the fact that the real Take That (or what is left of them) were about to embark on a run at the 02, and therefore unlikely to be appearing in the Short and Curlies.
The pub was packed on the night in question, even the miseries had managed to get a baby sitter, although after the hug between Suzy and Garth at the Grand National event Roger kept his wife in the corner of the bar, wedged between him and Margaret. Personally I was hoping that this would be of some consternation to Garth and that he would do a dance routine with Suzy later in the evening, finishing with the words, ‘No one puts baby in the corner’, but instead he and Mand seemed to have their lips glued together, so this particular flight of fancy was unlikely to happen.
Even Shane the vicar had shown up for the occasion, although he sat on the seat outside the pub for most of the evening, with his dog Joe sitting peacefully beside him. I get the impression that Shirl had the glad eye for Garibaldi Barlow, she had worn a blouse that was even lower than normal and praised him enthusiastically throughout her introduction. He took to the stage area, with a wink in Shirl’s direction and launched immediately into a ‘Million Love Songs’.
Garibaldi's voice seemed quite high to me and after a few verses he appeared to be joined by a backing singer, but even though I looked round the pub I couldn’t see anyone else, if it was a recording he clearly needed a new set of ears, it was awful.
Garth and Mand managed to disengage their lips, I was standing quite close to them and heard her tell him that Gari had been known to sing at people’s weddings. I don’t think the full implications of this statement sank in until she went on to describe the long white dress and silver flowing veil that she was intending to wear, at this point Garth made a swift exit to have a smoke outside with the vicar. Mand did not deter from her description, turning instead to Jacinta, who was trying to focus on Gari,
‘…and in tribute to my love I will wear silver flip flops’.
Jacinta’s look could only be interpreted as a signal to stay silent but by this time Mand was on a roll, when Gari finished his song she dashed up to him to whisper something in his ear.
Before bursting into, ’Baby you can light my fire,’ Garibaldi said a few words, ‘This one is for a couple with truly original names, but I bet it makes their love even stronger, here’s to Man and Grass.’
Mand looked mortified and fled outside to find the object of her desire; as the door of the pub opened I finally realised who the backing singer was, Joe had his head flung back and was howling at the top of his voice.
Garth took one look at Mand and pointed to the dog, ‘I dunno who you are marrying darling but forget the wedding singer in there, just book Joe’, and with that he sauntered off home.