Posted by: docdenbow | May 5, 2013

“Yow ay gunna believe this…….but….”


When I was a kid a mere whipper snapper I knew this lad who was teller of tales that were taller than the average bear. He prefaced his unusual exaggerations (lies) with his catchphrase…………….

“Yow ay gunna believe this…….but….”

We’d all then sit back nursing our unfamiliar pints of beer that we were pretending that we liked, arms around our girlfriends and listen rapt to the story unfold. His would tell of his sexual prowess (lie) and his ability to sink untold numbers of pints of beer (true) He would tell of the shoulder rubbing with several Black Country celebs, and those who would pass through to play football at the Molineux or play gigs at the Laf, the Civic or the Wulfrun. Occasionally he would regale us with tales of evenings spent quaffing ale with TV stars who were appearing at the Grand Theatre.

Naturally all of these narratives were dismissed by us as the ravings of a loony.

Yet for all of his pints of lager with Bryan Ferry, curries with Derek Dougan and holidays with Lennie Bennett, about which we would take p*ss unmercifully, really and truly there was a sad undercurrent looking back.

It was approaching Christmas 1975, I was approaching 17 years old and was deeply attached to my girlfriend Steph. We were virtually joined at the hip and spent all our time together listening to Queen, Deep Purple, Glenn Hughes and Roxy Music – mainly in the dark snogging – if we weren’t at the Poly disco on a Friday night having a little dance. This lad (The Storyteller) was a little jealous, not because he fancied Steph (he may well have done) but because, I suspect, he didn’t have a girlfriend. Me and another lad Mike (who was going out with a girl called Vanessa at the time) thought that The Storyteller was just trying to draw attention to himself by holding centre stage as an orator and trying to make himself look more interesting and thus more appealing to girls. It didn’t work as all of the girls felt that he was about as attractive as a road accident and perceived him, as we did, as a loony.

On the Sunday 7th of December 1975 me and Steph went to see Queen on the Night At The Opera tour at Wolverhampton Civic Hall and we spent the days afterwards telling all of our friends just how great they were. Of course the two of us going on and on about Queen was taking the spotlight off The Storyteller – not giving him the chance to weave his magic spells or keep his audience entranced.

As our little gang paired off, as little gangs do, The Storyteller was left on his own. Tagging along with mates and their girlfriends he was a bit of a nuisance, especially as he would drink a fantastic, unbelievable amount of beer and frequently end up so p*ssed that instead of giving your girl a goodnight kiss at her door, you would have to stop him getting his face punched or pointing him in the direction of the bogs to spew and then ensuring that he got home in one piece, without you having any chance of any mutual tonsil tickling with your girl.

Both me and Mike moved on to new girlfriends, me with Jean and Mike with Chris. The Storyteller, in spite of our best efforts, would spend many an evening in an alcoholic haze. Like a stray dog he would end up following me, Mike, Jean and Chris about, thus becoming a gooseberry for all of us. We couldn’t go anywhere without him. Looking back, I guess it was sad really. There was one occasion where the four of us stayed at my brother’s flat in Teddington for a week whilst he was away and The Storyteller somehow made us feel guilty that we’d left him behind. So much so, mine and Mike’s phones were ringing off the hook the moment we got back to Wolverhampton. If I remember correctly he even phoned Jean and Chris as he couldn’t get hold of us.

His finest moment came at Wolverhampton Poly on a Saturday when we used to go to the Students’ Saturday disco. Out of the blue The Storyteller announced to me, Mike, Jean and Chris that some girl or another on the dance floor was really pretty. Coming from The Storyteller this an unheard of statement. So with full agreement of all I was sent to manoeuvre the girl’s friend over to us whilst The Storyteller could attempt to chat her up. Off I went, bought her girl’s friend a drink and told her that my mate fancied her mate etc etc and she came and joined us. The Storyteller walked straight past the object of his desire to the bar where he duly ordered himself a pint. The object of his desire, who was indeed very pretty, was soon dancing with another chap as he returned to us.

“Where the f*ck were you?” I gently enquired

“You’re a tw*t.” added Mike

“Are you gay? asked Chris

“Fancy leaving that girl alone on the dancefloor.” was Jean’s contribution.

“Well,” says The Storyteller, “It was a straight choice between the bird and the beer – and it was no competition.”

Get the picture?

We all move onwards and upwards. Mick and Chris married, Jean and I broke up when I moved away from the Midlands and I later married Mrs Denbow and had 2 kids.

Yet The Storyteller was a constant. For years, nothing changed. His life never changed in any real way apart from a couple of years where he latched onto a raving nutcase of a woman, until that came to a timely end, and divorce.

He found another couple to play gooseberry with and spent all of his spare time in the boozer. He drank for England, something he did all of his life. I guess it caught up with him in the end as he died a few years ago.

Although he got on my nerves from time to time he was a great bloke, a real friend and I miss him terribly; as do all of his mates.

Ciao For Now Mate,

Your Friend,

Denbow

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