What ought to have finally persuaded Dave he was insane was when he, Jim and Dave's
then girlfriend Jenny bought that damn pub in the Highlands despite the fact nobody con-
cerned had any experience running any sort of licensed premises, or even a shop. This
seemed like a good idea at the time, but wasn't. I remember sitting in Dave's house in
Uxbridge along with Jim, trying to convince them they were both mad - in fact that all
three of them were mad - but they weren't having it.
Ah, Dornie. It's hard not to like a place set in the midst of glorious mountain scenery
with one of the world's most picturesque castles barely a stone's throw away, but in the
case of Dornie it was worth making the effort. There were some good, friendly people
there, in the village and the area, but working behind the bar at the Clachan was enough
to convince you the village was home to a disproportionate number of chip-shouldered,
hypocritical, right-wing sexist shites.
They'd put down their copy of the Sun long enough to tell you in some detail what
they'd like to do to these hippies who smoked dope and dropped E, then they'd order their
eighth or ninth whisky of the day and plenty of change for the cigarette machine. Later
they'd drive off. Or, sometimes, the wife or the daughter would arrive by car and try to
drag them out of the bar to take them home for their tea.
These guys could even turn what ought to be an act of generosity into one of ag-
gression. I came to think of it as Aggressive Dramming. Aggressive Dramming usually
took place when you'd told a bunch of these people you weren't drinking, or at least wer-
en't drinking much - maybe because you were going to be driving later - but then found
the bar in front of you filling up with unasked-for whiskies whenever you turned your
back. Insisting, even with a smile, that you really had meant what you said and therefore
wouldn't be drinking the whiskies tended to be met with scowls and accusations of being
a Poof (in a seriously homophobic, non-ironic manner). A surlier bunch of rednecks you
couldn't wish to avoid.
There were occasional fights. I think I feel the same way about men who start pub
brawls as I do about countries that start wars.
Anyway, if Dave, Jim and Jenny were mad, so was I, because later on I put money
into the pub.
It was in Uxbridge one night that Dave and I got to talking about why, despite me starting
to make mildly serious money from my books, I had no intention of buying a Ferrari.
'Because I'd just get all overenthusiastic with it and wrap the fucker round a bit of
Highland scenery and kill myself,' I told him, sort of semi-presciently.
Dave looked thoughtful. He nodded slowly. 'That would be a terrible, terrible waste,'
he said solemnly (and like an idiot, I started to make a bashful, self-deprecating gesture
of acknowledgement), before he added, 'of a beautiful car.'