Jewel in the Crown…on the High Street

The world can be a violent place and I assume very few would disagree with that statement. According to one internet fact, humanity has been at war, in some form somewhere on the globe, for 92% of the time we’ve been here.

To put that into context, if humanity had been around for a week we would have only had from Sunday afternoon off from the fighting and then probably only because of the overtime rates being too high to pay. Aside from large-scale conflicts mankind also excels in its microcosmic cousin, the punch-up…the barney…the scuffle. It is this arena of conflict, specifically the ale-house brawl, I shall be concentrating on this time as we ride the mental merry-go-round (or crazy carousel for our New World readers) of ‘The Bickering Press’ once more.

“Did you spill my pint?!” “Are you looking at my bird?!” “Like fuck One Direction are better than Motorhead!” “Are you laughing at my mule?!” All genuine statements I have been witness to as precursors to a fight, in the setting of a public house or attached carpark. This form of the impromptu physical confrontation generally confirms to a set pattern. Stage 1 – a verbal to and fro as illustrated above; Stage 2 – a bit of unwelcome physical contact in the form of shoving, commonly known as ‘handbags at dawn’; Stage 3 – a concerted attack employing various techniques, punch, kick or butt being the most popular; Stage 4 – bit of blood, minor damage to clothing and bystanders splitting the combatants up with the phrase: “Leave it, mate, he’s not worth it,” voiced at least once; Stage 5 (optional) – handshakes, peacebuilding drinks at the bar followed by some regretful, “You’re my best mate, you are,” speeches of the slurred, and sometimes tearful, variety.

Obviously this is the relatively harmless drink-fuelled fracas variety of violence, nothing of great note and a relatively common occurrence in licensed establishments the world over, generally involving two idiots who when sober would be highly unlikely to resort to physical violence. But we could do without these pickled pricks, arms swinging like windmill sails, barrelling round the alehouse and threatening the drinks we hold in our hands. Why should our nights out be ruined because two tossers can’t handle their booze? It’s a monumental pain in the arse for the majority of pub customers and as such needs addressing; therefore I shall be tackling and putting an end to it for the first time since 900AD.

What I propose, to cut down on the number of social situation altercations is the re-introduction of a system that fell out of fashion in England around 1852. I say out fell of fashion because I found it quite difficult to pinpoint an accurate date for it being made illegal; in fact it may never have been legal or illegal as such in the first place but merely tolerated as a social foible instead. It also appears to have been the reserve of the upper class, the rest of us peasants happy to kill each other without requiring a formal invitation, a set time and a specific geographical location. What I intend to raise from the grave of history is the art of duelling.

Bear with me, I know you’ve all got visions of blokes at thirty paces shooting pistols into each other’s mugs; clouds of smoke drifting across misty fields at dawn, as seconds hold the coats and womenfolk lament into lace handkerchiefs. No, that’s not what I am proposing at all. I have a system in mind that will lower the injury/fatality rate not increase it and it will all be to the benefit of deserving (see: ‘It’s in the Bag’ for clarification on deserving) charities too.

Picture the scene. A couple of ‘gentlemen’, let’s call them ‘Bill’ and ‘Ben’, have been drinking in ‘The Crown and Gusset’ for many hours and a discussion is in full heat at the bar.

“It’s Clive,” says Bill.

“No, ya prick, it’s Hair Bear, Square Bear and Baby Bear.”

“Hair Bear, Square Bear, Clive! Nob ‘ead!”

Baby Bear!” rebukes Ben, getting a little heated.

Clive!” shouts Bill.

“Utter bollocks, I’m going to smash yer face in, ya tit!” announces Ben, rising from his barstool.

It is at this point the bouncer/s or landlord will step in and calm the situation with the presentation of two sturdy leather gloves, one to each gentlemen. The potential duel-ees have thirty seconds to make the decision to slap their opponent’s face or not. If the thirty seconds elapse with no slapping having taken place then the gloves are handed back to the bouncer/s or landlord on the understanding that whatever the matter of contention was it is now considered closed and may not be referred to again for the remainder of the evening. Hands are shaken and the harmony of the night remains intact. If however if one, or both, of the parties in the disagreement lays a glove across the other’s cheek a duel has been instigated and a legally binding contract has been evoked. Contact details of the two soon to be combatants are taken and they are then put into taxis and sent home forthwith to prepare for the coming battle. You see, already my system is reducing collateral damage to the innocent bystander of a pub brawl by rescheduling it to a different place and time and things are only going to get more advantageous as we plough on.

The Ministry of Duelling (there’s going to be a Ministry of Duelling, the MoDu) will, within a fortnight, contact the duellers and let them know when and where they will have to attend to confront each other. Once a duel has been initiated, with the old mitten to kisser, the duellers cannot back out of it, via pansy-ass begging e-mail for example, they must attend in person as demanded by the MoDu and see the event through to a conclusion.

Which brings us to the big day, a spectacle that will be a cross between ‘Live Aid’ and ‘Battle of the Bastards’ but with less bloody Elvis Costello and more “Give us your fuckin’ money.” Combatants will be afforded a MoDu approved second who will dress them in official duelling attire which could be anything, including comedy Sumo wrestler, peek-a-boo nun or, ironically, one of the ‘Hair Bear Bunch’. This is not optional nor negotiable. Next, the duellers will be brought to face each other and given a weapon of their choice…from a choice of weapons that has already been made. (What I list now is not exhaustive and I would welcome further weapon suggestions in the comments below, ditto for the costumes; let’s make this an inclusive structure building.) For example, 14-inch pink rubber dildos, custard filled condoms, boxing gloves wired up so every time a hit is landed the wearer gets an electric shock, etc, etc.

We now have the field of combat ready and the gladiators dressed and armed like twats all we need now is a crowd…a paying crowd. Positive numero two, the charity kickback. Tickets for a MoDu event will be a fiver per head and will be a full day of entertainment with a packed card of bouts, stalls and all the usual sideshows this kind of crap outdoor festival attracts. Monies raised will be divided between the charities selected by the crowd via popular demand. The events will also be televised on a pay-per-view basis and look at how the money for worthy causes just keeps pissing in even though you doubted my sanity with this idea all those paragraphs ago.

But there’s more.

Try and imagine yourself dressed as Marie Antoinette holding a damp, yellowed cushion from an old folk’s home, that smells decidedly dodgy, in your hand facing off against a bloke in a mask-less gimp suit with his tackle, dyed green, hanging out; how long are you going to want to be involved in this spectacular with your name, and Twitter account details, being endlessly rolled across the bottom of a million television screens for all the world to see? Not long I would imagine. (And remember, you’re not pissed up like you were when the argument started, all big balls and well ‘ard; inhibitions are fully back on-line now.)You are going to want to be out of there as quickly as possible and this is where the ‘Monkey Clause’ (it could end up as ‘Monkey Claws’ because I’m easily amused) comes into play. Once on the field you and your opponent can agree to stump up 500 quid between you to annul the duelling contract and get the fuck out of there a.s.a.p. but both must agree otherwise the, three one-minute rounds, battle goes ahead as scheduled. I reckon there will be a lot of grands being donated to charity rather than noses being slowed bloodied by vibrating, stain resistant, silicon cocks.

I know, you’re reading this thinking I am a complete toss-pot of an idiot, you think it would be impossible to put on such a show and it would never attract the attention suggested but maybe there’s no need of it in the first place. Let’s loop back to the difference of opinion in ‘The Crown and Gusset’ between ‘Bill’ and ‘Ben’ to run through the scenario once more. The argument has escalated and scrappy-doos are about to kick off when the gloves are proffered to both parties and this action is understood by all concerned. The belittling fancy dress, the, in the main, overtly perverted weapons, the global humiliation far beyond the confines of ‘The Crown and Gusset’ or the serious financial hit they could take in preference. I guarantee there will be 30 seconds of silent reflection by ‘Bill’ and ‘Ben’, the gloves would be withdrawn, un-grasped, and not one more toss would be given regarding the name of the third member of the ‘Hair Bear Bunch’*.

Now tell me I haven’t brought peace before time to the world.

* For the record, and to finally to put it to bed for once and for all, the ‘Hair Bear Bunch’ are ‘Hair Bear’, ‘Square Bear’ and ‘Bubi Bear’…although I still don’t believe it was ‘Bubi’ (pronounced ‘Booby’). It doesn’t even rhyme like the other two’s names. Back in 1984 ‘Were Bear’ was my choice, the theory being he wasn’t a bear all the time, only during a full moon…I may have had a couple of drinks.