Last night as we sat around a bowl of potato wedges analysing the deep and hidden depths of X-men 3, I realised several things. The first was that I had not paid close enough attention to the very last scene in the film and had been off flapping away somewhere with Warren Worthington III’s wings. The next thing was that I was having a sense of deja heard.
“Yeah Claire says she hates Wang’s Bar, but then I asked if she wanted to go for a drink after work and she said she was going to Wang’s.”
Yep it was Wang’s bloody bar again. Now at the moment I hate this bar with a passion, but I haven’t really questioned why. Is it that bad? After all how many bars in Paris do I wander into and a glass of wine and a plate of crisps materialise before me within seconds. Wang’s two expression face then appears behind the glass – he’s either smiling or scowling- and he usually enquires about my day and then I get plastered; slowly. But let’s face reality, since Easter I’ve probably had a drink at Wang’s, what, once? Yep once. Mostly I wander past between the hours of three and four, wave at Wang through the window as he’s having his lunch and head off home or to the gym. So why do I hate that place so much?
“It’s soul destroying, I sit with all those miserable people moaning on and on about the same old dross and I just don’t want to be there. I don’t want to listen to that shit anymore, it depresses me.”
That’s a little sound bite from me. Claire had innocently asked me if I was going for a drink after work and I had lashed back with that. Well actually I had said I was going to the gym first and although that was a perfectly good answer had felt the need to add that little snippet afterwards, and that’s the short version, there was more. But on further analysis, although it is soul destroying and everything, in the end it is not strictly true.
Wang’s bar is round the corner from work and it has the ability to draw you in and get you comfortable. Wang’s round smiley face – when he is smiling that is – his ability to memorise everyone’s name and drink of choice and the seemingly never ending supply of crisps, peanuts, spicy peas and fishy smelling twisty stick things. You also get to see the reflection of the Eiffel Tower twinkling in its glass every hour, although now that daylight has increased that is less a possibility unless you get really stuck there. Oh and there’s an Italian Version of the cinema ad for ‘Last Tango in Paris’. A scene was filmed in here in the days when it wasn’t filled with pissed Anglophones, and busloads of Dutch tourists. But in the end it’s like flypaper. You come in straight from work and you begin buzzing angrily trying to extricate yourself, but slowly your resistance gets worn down and you end up resigning yourself to your fate. But that’s still not why I hate it.
The reason why I hate Wang’s Bar is because he’s stolen my friends. I can resist; Champion has now got a range of Kettle Chips that far outstrips Wang’s and a 4€ bottle of wine lasts a lot longer than a 4€ glass at Wang’s, but I want my friends back! Every now and again I can tempt them out by staring them in the eye and dangling something promising and exciting in front of them. “Comedy Club, live bands, Indian restaurants, Mexican restaurants, cinema, picnics,” I say slowly in hushed tones as if talking to a small child. And then I go and spoil it; “Another bar.”
“What do you want to go to another bar for? Wang’s is cheap.”
But it seems that I am beginning to win the souls of my friends back with the help of my other friend; sunshine. One thing Wang’s Bar hasn’t got going for it is a terrace. He’s trying, but when you’ve got the equivalent of a dual carriageway passing in front of it, it just doesn’t cut the mark.