Newark, Newark


After six months of awanderin’, our travelling tootsies once again caressed Her Majesty’s United Kingdom at 5am in a grey Heathrow. There was no time to get teary eyed though as Susie’s brother Dave was shortly to create a union of hearts with his betrothed and I was headed straight to Newark for the stag do.

I can’t reveal everything that took place over that weekend as I’m saving it for my tell-all novella – ‘Dead Stripper in the Airing Cupboard’. However, as a taster I am at liberty to divulge a few key moments of our testosteronal tear-up.

We had rented a cottage on a Lincolnshire farm for three days of manly pursuits. On our first night, the farmer waltzed in during a game of poker as if he owned the place which in fairness he did. He looked like a cross between Bernard Manning and Peter Kay but proved to have the comedy timing of June Sarpong. He stood silently surveying the room like a quietly disgusted PE teacher. I didn’t bother waiting for Farmer Sneery McArrogant (if that really was his name) to speak before taking an instant dislike to him.

“Are you playing for money lads?” he eventually enquired. Our vague murmuring provided confirmation that yes, our late night game of poker did on this occasion involve financial incentive. “I wouldn’t mind getting involved with that” he wheedled. We all decided that now would be a good opportunity to check text messages, tie shoelaces and carefully examine the tablecloth. After an eye-wateringly long pause we felt sure that the message must have got through. It hadn’t. “I want to play poker” he clarified, thinking our reticence was because we hadn’t understood the question. The silence that followed was finally broken by the tinny clang of a penny dropping and our thick-skinned host reluctantly swaggered off into the night.

Early, the next afternoon we decided to try our hand at clay pigeon shooting. Having just arrived back from Oz, my choice of clothing for our unprovoked attack on clay pigeons consisted of either shorts and sandals or skinny black jeans and BSWT’s (Bright Super White Trainers). I chose the latter combo. Farmer Bernard’s sneer when he saw me in Russell Brand’s cast offs, very clearly yelled ‘London mincing ponce’. His attention was quickly diverted though when he clocked Yaw who had arrived that morning. Yaw was and probably still is, black, unlike the rest of the all white group. An inconsequential point you might think. Not if you’re Farmer Bernard who’s glinty little eyes fixed on Yaw like a squirrel on a 6ft acorn.

“Where are you from then?” Bernard asked. “London” Yaw replied. This seemed to throw Bernard who was perhaps expecting something more exotic. He stared at Yaw for slightly longer than was absolutely necessary before addressing the whole group. “You don’t mind if I have a bit of fun with you do you? You know, just banter?” We all nodded and slightly chuckled. Good old Bernard and his ‘ways’ we thought. 

He continued “I like to have a laugh and some people can be overly sensitive yeah?” Ha ha, yes Bernard those prickly types eh! We know what you mean. That’s not us Bernie, we’re right up for the crack. 

“I like to take the piss out of people, nothing serious. A few comments here and there. You know how it is? Racist jokes and so on”. Ha ha ye… HUH! What just happened? Did he say racist jokes?

Without pause, Bernard hopped lightly from foot to foot like an athlete gearing up for the starter gun, leaned forward conspiratorially and began what he believed was a racist ‘joke’ although it was actually an ugly, incoherent ramble. His expression as he spoke resembled a dog that had jumped on the furniture, knew it was wrong but was waiting to see if it could get away with it. His distasteful confidence withered as he was met with complete silence and he sheepishly stopped halfway through. He clapped his hands once, stood up straight, readjusted his sneer and asked us to follow him. Looking back, I wish we had told this deeply unpleasant bigot (I’m not keen on Bernard FYI) to shove it but it didn’t seem right to allow Lincolnshire’s Eugène Terre’Blanche to ruin the whole weekend.

Before any shootin’ could begin, Farmer Bernard whined that he had to run through some ‘safety procedures’. He rolled his eyes to indicate that these namby pamby regulations had been imposed by those stuffy bureaucrats in Brussels. We assured him that although being male and therefore already familiar with the fundamentals of handling weaponry – running through the basics of not having our faces blown off was an acceptable inconvenience.

Mark's stance makes a humorous caption unnecessary.


Apart from one member of the group (Pete), this was a virginal shooting experience for the rest of us and it showed. Nobody had yet found the target as I took up arms. Even so, I was quietly confident that hitting a rapidly moving disc that was only marginally larger than the bullet itself at a distance of about 50 metres after minimal instruction from a sociopath sounded relatively straightforward so approached Bernard with a confident, bouncing stride.

As I cradled my weapon (don’t) adjusted my stance and centred myself into a holy state of oneness with the Universe, I became aware of laughter rising from my fellow Stag attendees. I was wearing enormous ear protectors at the time so the chuckles had to be pretty riotous to make it through. Inexplicably, my ‘hipster’ attire and textbook shooting stance appeared to be the cause of some mirth. I chose to ignore the laughter and concentrate instead on my appetite for clay pigeon destruction.

RIGHT - If there are any young kids out there looking to get into clay pigeon shooting - make this image your bible.


WRONG - Pete embarrasses himself and everyone else. Shambolic.


I fired my first two shots, swiftly followed by my second two. At this point it occurred to me that a vital element of the clay pigeon shooting experience was missing – the clay pigeons. I asked Bernie why he hadn’t released any pigeons and he helpfully explained that he hadn’t bothered as I had absolutely no chance of hitting them. It seemed that I had committed the man-crime of not being immediately comfortable with a loaded gun. In my defence IT WAS A LOADED GUN. I explained that while I accepted that stance and ‘aiming’ all had some role to play, ultimately it boils down to ‘point the shooty bit in the air and pull the triggery wotsit’ and I should be allowed the opportunity to at least miss. Bernie, however was floating on a bed of air, having firmly put the ‘skinny jeaned London ponce’ (ie. me) in my place. His joyous nipples were clearly visible through his body warmer as he set us up for the next round.

As Bernárd arranged us into teams, he asked me my name. I said it was Hawkeye to demonstrate my delicious sense of self-deprecatory humour. Unfortunately, like all my other shots that afternoon, this very much missed it’s target. After the ten minutes it took to explain that my name wasn’t really Hawkeye we were ready for our second round. On this occasion The ‘Bernster’ was sweet enough to allow me to actually shoot at something. 

I chose to deliberately miss in protest at the shabby treatment I had received. 

Having spent the day avoiding being shot, we headed into Nottingham city centre, the UK gun capital, to spend the evening pretty much continuing in the same vein. We were all fully suited and booted and imagined we looked like sharp, East End villains. We actually looked like the Foxtons work Christmas party.

Estate agent chic.


As the night wore on, Jesus Juice was supped, revolutionary dance moves were created and I for one partied like it was 1999 in the sense that the cut of my suit was at least eleven years out of date.


4 Responses to “Newark, Newark”

  1. 1 Ho


  2. 2 davexxxx

    Tyipthi (thank you I’m pleased to hear it)

  3. 3 Billis

    Love it DBN. I have been religiously checking for updates. Then I realised I cud subscribe and checking for updates was a complete waste of my time.
    One day I wanna be as cool as you.

    • 4 davexxxx

      Thanks Ian. You are in that tiny but elite crowd of subscribers who I’m not actually related to. Congratulations! You win good Karma (cannot be exchanged for cash).

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