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by Phil Thornton
The waitress called us �guys.� I saw my arse. My wife told me to stop being pathetic. But she called us �guys!� It�s no big deal, she�s being polite. But �guys!� Come on! Who the fuck says �guys� apart from those whoppers in Friends and phoney wannabe Yanks from the Home counties. And �guy� is surely a masculine term and my wife is most definitely female but then again �those guys� in Friends refer to �you guys!� all the time and it applies to Phoebe and Monica and the fit one as much as Chandler, Joey and the geeky one.
A fish restaurant in Stockton Heath is not and never will be a
coffee shop where the word �guy� is still annoying yet somehow appropriate. �There you go guys� she says as she places our starters on the table; mackerel in four marinades for me, a bowl of tomato and mozzarela for her. Now if Guy Ritchie and Guy Chambers had been sat where we were sat then she would�ve been technically correct to refer to as �Guys� but what kind of twat is called Guy these days anyway? Twats like Guy Ritchie and Guy Chambers that�s who. And Guy Pierce who must get mighty pissed off that every brit-crit refers to him as �ex-Neighbours hunk, Guy Pierce� now that he�s proved himself to be a very capable Manhattan Hollywoodstar in his own right. And Guy Fawkes, obviously. Except he was boss cos he almost blew up parliament and would�ve wiped out the entire aristocracy in one blast which is why we commemorate his evil papist plot by lobbing the cunt on a fire every year. Except his name wasn�t even Guy but Guido, the wop bastard.
The word �Guy� pronounced Gee to rhyme with �me� in its original French form came over with the
Normansand I suppose Guy is a better name than . Do you know any cool Norman ? Norman Collier? Norman Wisdom? Norman Cook? Except his real name�s Quentin and he�s not cool whatever his name is and Quentin is perhaps the worst name ever, apart from Geoff. Or Nick. Or even Jeff. Or Nic. But the word �guy� being used as a general catch-all term for men came with Damon Runyan and his �wise guy� Normans patter books. Guys n� Dolls? Brando and Sinatra are guys. They are fellars. They are dudes. They are hombres. They are the kind of men who have �dolls� for girlfriends. Or Molls. What a great word that is; Moll. Molly Malone. Buggsy Malone. Buggsy Seigel. Bugs Bunny. In those days even the cartoon rabbits were wise guys. New York
In this context however, the waitress hinted at an intimacy with the customer that felt both insincere and somehow out of place. I would�ve said �out of plaice� in order to shoehorn a lame piscine joke into this guff but they weren�t out of plaice, they had lots of it but I had mullet with slivers of pan fried vegetables and she had bream with mash for our main courses. With a side order of chips ofcourse. I�d actually ordered boiled potatoes but the old couple next to us had a plate of thick cut chips that looked excellent so I changed my mind. I shouldn�t have bothered. They were almost McCann-esque in texture and flavour.
�Here we are guys� the phoney waitress platituded as she put our plates down. �She�s said it again!� �Why don�t you write a piece for that shite fanzine you do that makes no money� she replied. So I did! �Hooked� it onto a restaurant review infact. Hooked? Fish? See what I did there? Ofcourse we don�t go to many fish restaurants but we do like fish. Although finny addy and smoked mackerel apart I think must fish is much of a muchness really. It just tastes like well, fish. I�ve had monkfish that�s been beautiful and monkfish that�s been horrible. I�ve had fruits di mare that�s made me orgasm and fruits di mare that�s made me vomit. I�ve had cuttlefish cooked in its own ink and Ibizan fish strew and by and large it�s not the fish that makes the dish but how it�s prepared. Just as a good gravy can disguise a bad piece of meat so a good sauce can disguise a bland piece of fish.
For eleven quid a piece with a free glass of rather good house red thrown in, I�m not gonna complain though. We went for the two courses before 7 o�clock cheapo option naturally. Looks like loads of others were on the same graft even in leafy, well-to-do Stocko Heath (the posh bit of
). Loch Fyne�s a great idea to get us eating our fishy cousins again even if it a chain of 31 similar gaffs around the country. The restaurant is spacious and although they placed right in the window, I enjoyed staring at the various mutants who passed by as we slurped booze and scranned fish. The a la carte menu is a bit steep but worth trying on a special occasion such as a lottery win or your daughter�s engagement to one of the Futcher twins. There�s even a fish counter on hand where you can buy fresh oysters and salmon and shit and the place has a reassuring smell of the sea instead of cheap hypo. The service was prompt and pleasant from gals who look like Klaxons groupies and call you �guys� but that�s OK in the grand scheme of things. They�re not torturing retards and throwing them off railway bridges are they? Warrington
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