From an old website, Alien in Montreal
Ah, jazz night. I used to go to a great little pub in Lancaster, England on a Sunday afternoon where a jazz band used to play and they gave away free sausages. It was, inventively, called 'Jazz and Sausages', or something equally clever. The point is this though, I used to love those Sunday afternoons in that pub.
So, I see something called "Jazz - Frans Ben Callado", advertised at the Bily Kun at 6pm on a Tuesday. I pack my bag and head down there for five thirty, to get a seat.
The Bily Kun is famous (at least for some people) because of the ostrich heads it has, stuffed and mounted on the walls. A whole line of the birds leer at you as you drink your pint, and I suspect that the odd feather floats down as they creep into decaying old age. I often wonder if people would be as enthusiastic if they had cow heads on the wall, or horses.
But, they certainly add character, along with the wall of light-switch fittings, old wood, and comfy 'sofa-area', where you are forced to rub knees with strangers on busier nights.
The crowd, pre-jazz, is different to the usual Friday night techno-lovers, I note – suits, rich dresses, cultured accents, raised chins, older average age. I fancy that the atmosphere is like the bar in any theatre, ten minutes before curtains.
An old man with a silk scarf leans towards me and asks a question about something finishing. All I catch is 'blah blah blah terminer?', the rest is lost in the noise of the pub.
I suspect he's asking if the band has finished already, but I err on the side of caution and say, 'Je ne sais pas.' Which is true.
At ten to six I start to have doubts. There is no sign of any band. There is a piano, but nothing else. There is jazz playing over the speakers in the bar, but nothing live is going to happen. My heart sinks – this isn't like my Sunday afternoon fantasy at all.
Six O'clock comes and goes and I realise that the odd crowd is merely the after-work drinkers, and that's why there are suits and nice dresses and older people too. The theatre atmosphere is all in my mind.
I drink my pint and leave. I prefer it on Friday night.