He stared closely at the motorway which paraded as a promenade in a small, nearly charming town north of Malaga!
He and Andrew had performed the previous night – in more ways than one !
The manager of the ‘Hotel Estacion’ (which was nowhere near a fucking station!) was most disturbed. Paul knew he could add to the squat proprietor’s malaise by telling him that the food he had served up at his tawdry establishment was what one might call – ‘mierda’!
Pero – no!
It was the day after the night before. Paul knew he had created enough of a disturbance with the little night-time drama that had occurred at an unholy hour in quite ungodly circumstances. His husband, with good reason, had left him sitting in a one horse bar, in a no horse town. He was not proud of himself. He had no idea if Andrew would return. His partner, after all, had slept in a skip. Not for the first time Paul had thought -surely! But it was still unedifying – for both of them.
He apologised profusely to the small man who owned the hostel.
But deep down he cared not.
He found it terribly boring to be the one who forgave all the time. Or so he thought.
And he wasn’t sorry.
And he wasn’t wrong.
Or so he thought!
Fuck ‘em all!
Especially the idiot who’d posted anti gay propaganda on their website that morning.
And the squat, sour-faced hotelier.
Paul had been thrown out of better places!
He lounged, partially shaded ‘neath a dodgy parasol along with an equally questionable ‘Cognac’, waiting for his partner to return. It had been a while, and Paul was starting to suspect his husband may never come back.
A bicycle passed.
It’s rider stunning.
And coolly puffing on a huge joint! Paul saw at once that there were plenty more in fish in the reefer – he just wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to cast out his line!
Not just yet.
After all – a Cod in the basket is better than two in the bush!
Or something like that!
Even if the Cod could be rather ‘Cod’ at times.
Even the grumpy waiter was starting to look appealing.
Paul assumed it was just panic. He and Andrew had ridden such tempests before. They always had their worst rows in small hotel rooms. The confinement and the cheap bedding suited neither of them.
As Paul sweltered ‘neath the moth-eaten brolly, feeling more contrite by the minute, it dawned on him that he remembered very little of the previous night’s events.
He knew this to be a very bad sign!
Perhaps he had been a tad to blame for the early morning fireworks!
But then again, in Andalucia one can hardly complain of noisy explosions at 3am.
There would, after all, be no ferias!
Some weeks earlier ‘The Lola Boys’ had travelled to England to do a couple of shows. The weather had been surprisingly glorious and the verdant surroundings made both of them feel a touch poignant.
As they awoke on the morning of their first show, it was not difficult to imagine those feet in ancient time may actually have walked across Surrey’s golf courses green.
It was wonderfully bucolic.
Adding to the frondescent appeal were a couple of sexy golfers whose pitch and putt action was most attractive! What swingers ! A hole in two came to mind! It had been a marvellous way to tee off.
This was good.
As usually, the day of a ‘Lola Boys’ show did not imbue Paul with the sunniest of dispositions. He was well aware of this and put it down to nerves, but at times it was almost debilitating.
For him and his partner.
He now made a conscious effort to not play the diva – at least not until the spotlight came on. But he found it difficult – especially once he’d applied a touch of ‘guy liner’! At times it was as if the monster had taken over.
‘Lolastein’ was loose! There was nothing anyone could do.
Thankfully any real drama in the homeland was avoided. Both shows went swimmingly and no-one had to endure anything offensive – other than a dreadful lunch on the river at Richmond.
‘The Pitcher And Piano!’
Not a piano to be heard and the only pitcher had been the memory of Phil Tufnell, who’d been at the boys’ gig the night before. Most disarming he was too. Despite Paul making a couple of rather dodgy cricketing jokes at his expense. Mr Tufnell creased up and played ball, so at least Paul knew he wouldn’t be batted out.
Not quite yet! Not even with such dreadful puns!
The audience were also bowled over at the second show in Twickenham. Two in a row felt almost like proper work. And as Paul vomited privately into his sweaty shirt after the second encore, he couldn’t help thinking it wasn’t a good idea.
This working lark!
He found it hard to believe he’d once managed eight shows a week in the West End.
And gone clubbing afterwards!
The only theatre he could think about stepping into now was one which did facial surgery! He made a mental note to hit the gym on his return to Spain.
He wasn’t even middle aged for goodness sake! Not in Victorian terms.
Back in Espana ‘neath the moth-eaten parasol and Paul sat some more.
He ordered a final brandy for what he hoped would be the final time, and then caught sight of his husband. He necked the methylated grape juice, threw too much cash towards the petulant owner, and he and Andrew got into the car. They then drove the two hours home – in deathly silence. (Other than a tirade of Donna Summer emanating from the radio).
On their arrival Andrew hit the pavement. He obviously had no intention of joining Paul indoors.
The boys spent a night apart.
The next day Paul was slightly concerned. He looked towards Lola, he and Andrew’s Pomeranian, who herself was looking to the door, waiting for her other daddy to come home.
Paul wished he would too.
But he wasn’t holding his breath. He poured a gin instead. It seemed wiser than pining!
He wasn’t Pomeranian!
A couple of weeks later, after he and Andrew had made friends again, (which, in truth had taken all of ten minutes), Paul was again shaded ‘neath another bargain brolly. This time in deep contemplation.
He wondered if he even wanted to continue with ‘The Lola Boys’! He knew, at times, his voice was as ragged as his fishnets – and no amount of slap could disguise a completely worn out ‘eek’! But he still enjoyed performing, and he could never imagine Andrew ever wanting to give up singing.
In fact he’d warned his partner, the one with the forty a day habit, that it could be the voice that gave up on him. But Paul understood addiction – there was no use in preaching. Besides, Andrew still sung like a dream despite Paul warning him of the nightmare which could follow – so his remonstrations only fell on deaf lungs!
That evening ‘The Lola Boys’ performed at a charity gig in the affluent enclave of Sotogrande. Or as they liked to cheekily call it – ‘Snottogrande’! It had been a great success. Despite two ignorant homophobes making their affliction clear by marching out during one of the boys’ more raucous numbers. Paul knew he could not chastise them for their taste, that was their prerogative. But walking across his spotlight was unforgivable.
Especially when he and Andrew had mics in hand!
Send in the clowns !
Andrew began first,
‘Oh, I see we’ve lost a couple of you already – obviously off down to Gay Pride in the port.’
‘Yes’, Paul heard himself say, ‘you’ll be much happier down there – there are hundreds of homosexuals for you to party with.’
Paul knew he was pushing it when he continued as the miserable pair left the premises,
‘I wouldn’t mind really, but I think I was slightly more attractive than her!’
He knew it was cruel.
But it was funny.
And it got a big laugh!
‘Fuck ‘em,’ he continued with aplomb and more laughter.
But underneath it was always a struggle to suppress the rage he felt for being judged by how he made love. He knew Andrew felt the same. But he’d learnt the best way to fight half-wits was by using one’s full wit.
And it felt so good!
Surprisingly the uncomfortable couple returned about an hour later. They took seats further towards the back of the stalls, but Paul couldn’t fail to be amused that when it came to the end of the evening they both knew the ‘YMCA’ by heart.
Andrew was sure the ignorant duo weren’t able to get a taxi, especially on ‘Gay Pride Night’ in Manilva, and so were forced to return. But Paul was more suspicious.
Methinks the couple doth protest too much, he thought.
They were quite clearly village people !
On route back from their show, Andrew asked their trusted ‘roadie’, Csaba, to drop Paul and himself off at the remains of the party which was still smouldering in Duquesa Port. Unfortunately there was still some proud fire alive in the fiesta’s embers and the boys stayed up burning their candles at all ends!
At dawn, they were walking, still clad in guy-liner and glitter, up the steep hill home! As cars drove past them, on route to respectability, Paul attempted to look as proud as possible. It was difficult in a crooked sailor’s hat and running mascara but that was the point wasn’t it?
He felt neither proud nor gay – just tired.
He knew, as he marched uphill past the golf course, much like Ingrid Bergman as ‘Gladys Aylward’ in his favourite ‘The Inn Of The Sixth Happiness’, that this old man would not be playing one.
Not on anyone’s drum.
Let alone two. Or attempting to buckle a buggery shoe.
He was heading for the shade – yet again.
Knick-knacked and paddy whacked! He’d be giving no dog a bone!
Being gay could be so tiring!
Where was that dodgy parasol?
He needed to sit.
And regain his pride!