“The bubbles are rising, all golden and twirly and popping at the top of the glass. It’s given me an idea” says a random Lager drinker, who just happens to be using my web-surfing credits at the Cyber Café, as I nip round the back for a leak.
“If it was up to me,” says Lager man – who can now have square brackets ‘[…]’ (like those? – YES!)
[If it was up to me, I’d grab those poor sods from 1982 (that’s Duggie Chop and his mate) cos they’ve been stuck in that room with them musos breathing in 'Bob Hope' for too damn long. I’m gonna take ‘em back to the river (canal) bank, man! – hey…where am I going…AHHHH. (he becomes a cyclist)]
“As the sun sets, the sky is like a blank canvas, especially in February,” said Duggie’s mate, watching Duggie fiddle with his rod.
“You been reading poetry again?” said Duggie and he pricked his finger on a hook.
“No, not today. But look Dug. It’s like cracked ice on top of liquid Turkish Delight, that sky. Surrounded by peach melba and touched up with crushed Parma Violets,” said his mate.
Duggie added, shaking his head: “don’t forget the Corporation-grit-grey, I can see titillations of that up there, you soft get!”
Duggie went back to the canal edge and cast his bait into the middle of the water. Live bait. He was after the pike: “I’m gonna get that bugger!”
“Especially after what he did to poor old Mr Stickleback – scared him half to death,” said Duggie’s mate.
“Needs taking down a peg or two,” said Duggie.
What’s the underwater equivalent of a peg?” said Duggie’s mate.
[Mr Stickleback: “There isn’t one! We don’t have clothes lines or noses!”]
A guy cycled past with a retro-spec ‘ghetto-blaster’ strapped to the back of his bike, blaring out ‘old-skool’ Heavy Metal [actually, Maiden were at the forefront of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal back in the day]: Iron Maiden’s eponymous first album.
“Hey, Paul Di’anno on vocals, he was the greatest singer Maiden had, wasn’t he?” said Duggie.
“Get outta here!” said Duggie’s mate, “the greatest if Maiden had wanted to stay a pub band, or touring with the likes of ‘Saxon’ forever.”
“A bit strong,” said Duggie, “but I know where you’re coming from: Brucie had a bit more ambition .”
“And a bit less booze,” said the cyclist, who’d decided to hang out with the guys and threw them each a luke-warm can of Red Stripe.
“I always think of Lucozade when I hear that opening riff to Phantom Of The Opera on that album,” said Duggie’s mate, ”remember they used it in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LtaD63zYoQ. Something like a set of traffic lights change or a runner runs around a track or something…”
“Nah. They used Running Free [also from Iron Maiden, Iron Maiden] for the ad with the runner,” said the cyclist, sneezing a stream of lager though his left nostril.
“Got me into ‘prog’ that did,” said Duggie.
“What lucozade?” said his mate.
“No, Phantom Of The Opera,” said Duggie, easing his fishing line a little, so the bait wiggled. Just to tantalise that big fat pike, “all those time changes and guitar sections. Like a bloody opera. Di’anno sounds great on that track. In fact, I’m gonna stand by this: Di’anno sounds better on all pre-Bruce Dickinson tracks than Brucie does when he tries ‘em.” Duggie cracked open his Red Stripe, spraying lager over the cyclist’s rucksack.
“There’s something in that,” said the Cyclist, sucking the dregs out of his can and opening another.
Duggie’s mate was fiddling with a jammed ring pull on his can while he spoke: “I like the way Di’anno does Remember Tomorrow. He was a better ballad singer than the ‘Air-Raid Siren’ [Bruce Dickinson’s old nickname].
Duggie bit into a warm pie. “Cover was great,” he said, “a punk Eddie, just starting out. A sneering smile, leather jacket, spiked hair and all. A Derek Riggs classic.”
“I like the back cover, too,” said Duggie’s mate, still no closer to opening his Red Stripe, though he tried, “such a simple stage backdrop, tht silver Eddie head with smoke coming out of it, behind Clive Burr…”
“Now he really was the best. Best Drummer they ever had,” said the cyclist. The other two nodded, while eating their pies.
“Amazing how the Iron Maiden stage show got so big. I mean by 1985, they had hundreds of ‘arctics’ circumnavigating the globe. Says so in the ‘Live After Death’ album.” Said Duggie’s mate.
But the other two were looking at the canal. Duggie’s float was bobbing like crazy.
“It’s the pike!” said Duggie, “I’ve got him!”
“Be great to see that monster,” said the cyclist, “he’s legendary. Once ate a puppy. No word of a lie.”
Duggie’s mate was still flicking his ring-pull, the salt from his pie was making even a warm lager seem inviting, but it just would not open.
“Wow!” said Duggie as he pulled his line, “look at the size of his snout!”
“Like a bleedin’ duck-billed platypus or something,” said the cyclist, “and look how he’s snapping! The worm didn’t stand a chance.”
“Worm?” said Duggie, “I put a bloody mouse on there!”
Just then, Duggie’s mate’s can of Red Stripe exploded into a huge fountain of golden bubbles.
One bubble grew to the size of an elevator and before Duggie’s mate could warn the other two - and the pike - they were all inside the bubble and drifting upwards.
Upwards and on their way back to 1982. Duggie, his mate, the cyclist. And the Pike.