So it’s not there anymore, and for how long that’s been the case I could not say. But once there was a bar called Bacchus, in Bournemouth and they played much varied music. Friends I still have would clutch pints long drunk under hair long shortened whilst the pick-n-mix schedule meant whilst it might have been blues, perhaps a covers band, it might – and usually was – jazz then at least it was never pop. This was the 80s. Some things are important. This was so long ago indeed that in this very bar/venue I once spent the night blagging my way to be served, only to have to go back next day because I’d dropped my school bus pass there and yes, they had it. It was returned without a word.
Bacchus was a place mostly in my memory, sticky. Sticky walls, sticky pints and upstairs where at times we went for lunch sticky seats. And the stickiest of them all was our host, a man of such horrible mien that still and more than a quarter century later we still when together shudder. We still whenever faced with particularly poor service or dire food catch one another’s eye and with a sigh refresh our good will with the simple phrase, ‘steak and kid-er-ney pud.’
For our host was horrid. He was foul. He had a plaster on one tooth and tiny, doll like hands. He had a lushly thick comb-over whilst not being in the least bald. His clothing was... stained. He took our order with interest at our daring and recommended the steak and kid-er-ney pud. And then he would ask if we wished cutlery. Which when answered with a yes he would take from the pocket of his conservatively sticky nylon trousers. And then, the horror of it, breathe faintly upon each piece and polish it with a rag. Once I’m sure when he thought I was not looking he licked (just a touch) a fork. There was food and from somewhere indistinct, screams.
Then one day there was no Bacchus.
And we never did have the steak and kid-er-ny pud.