The familia Very Bored have just returned from a week's break away from the blazing Catalan sun, and what better place to cool down and experience some typically grey and drab British summertime weather than Yorkshire. We got up to all the usual stuff whilst were back, shopping, eating Gregg's pasties, marvelling at just how much make-up young girls wear today, fighting with my inner self that I really, really didn't need to know why apparently according to Reveal magazine Lindsay Lohan only has months to live, (I was good and didn't waste 2 quid finding out, although if someone does know maybe they can enlighten me for free) and the now obligatory drooling in the cheese aisle in Sainsbury's, you know, like you do.
We also decided to catch up with some friends and have a night out in Leeds. Having previously lived in Leeds for 10 years, I have some very fond memories of the place and jumped at the chance of visiting old haunts on Greek Street, not to mention having an excuse for wearing ridiculously high heels and make-up for a change. One of the best things I've found about drinking in Leeds city centre over other towns is that the majority of the bars and pubs have a broad cross section of people drinking in them. Older people (like what we are, eek) rubbing shoulders with the young 'uns without feeling that you've somehow stumbled into a youth club by mistake, and to start with our venue of choice The Living Room didn't disappoint, well that was until it turned midnight.
Suddenly the witching hour brought about a bizarre change in drinking patrons. Out went the nicely dressed and coiffured people and they were replaced by ladies of a certain age (older than me that is...) dressed in overly tight dresses that perfectly showed off the cellulite on their arses, their scalps adorned with badly matched cheap clip-on hair extensions, scraped into a heap of greasiness. The men didn't fare much better, in fact they made 'sex pest' Peter Crouch look like a candidate for the next Bond film, salivating over the totty and calculating how many halves of pear cider it would take for a fumble? Even the music changed from perfectly listenable to Razorlight and Amy Winehouse numbers to shite pop music circa 1985, I do recall a couple of Whitney Houston numbers being trotted out!
We could, of course, have moved to a different bar but firstly we had a table and were comfy and discussing the finer points of Sam Pepper on BB11, and secondly I rather suspect that this wasn't the only bar to see such a turnaround of punters. We stuck it out until about 1.30am until we decided it was time to call it a night. Well that was the plan, however once the fresh Leeds night air had hit us t'husband decided that we needed to get some food. Obviously at such an hour most eating establishments would be shut, it was OK though, t'husband had a plan!
Now t'husband is no stranger to taking me to shit eateries. I remember only too vividly going out with some customers a couple of years back to find our first choice of restaurant shut (a not uncommon event) and everyone deciding that they were too hungry to drive into the next village and that they should go to the local cut-price Truck Stop just off the N340 instead. I didn't feel at all like one the girls usually found on that particular trunk road perched upon a white plastic chair touting for business, well not much. A lesson was learnt that night, if I was to be the only female in a group of diners, then I'd probably best not wear a pair of red stilettoes, still it gave the truckers something to talk about! Anyway, I digress, where was I? Oh yeah shit eateries...
"Follow me" orders t'husband, being the only born & bred Yorkshire person amongst us we duly obeyed. T'husband and his best mate striding purposefully ahead whilst his wife and I trotted behind, retrieving our heels from gaps in the cobbles every 4th step or so. We descended down into an area that is known locally as the 'dark arches', a depressing and slightly scary area during the day, at nigh on 2am though it takes on a whole new persona. Now first let me say that I am no stranger to binge drinking, nor sadly, being completely arseholed on a Saturday night, but the scene that we were confronted with was something I had never encountered before. There in all it's glory stood the Mill Hill Kebab shop.
The Mill Hill Kebab shop is not without it's history of controversy. It was the venue for the alleged assault of a student by then Leeds United players Lee Bowyer and Jonathon Woodgate back in 2000, following an altercation at the now boarded up Majestic's nightclub. Something tells me that Mill Hill Kebab shop isn't much of a stranger to fights. It's not often that I can say with complete confidence that I am the most sober person around, nor the best dressed, but my social standing went up many notches. The fact that I was still wearing my clothes probably helped. Whilst my friend and I stood outside, (our brave menfolk having been despatched to negotiate the enormous queue) dodging the reeling drunks and trying not to lean on or step in any puddles of vomit we watched a couple of less than lively lasses pass by. The first, a deliriously drunk specimen staggered past, the back of her top ripped open and hanging off her at the front to reveal to all and sundry her generous bust, "bloody hell" remarked a kebab laden punter exiting Mill Hill "she looks like an Alsation who's back legs 'ave gone", a cutting quip but to be fair he did have a point. Her friend bringing up the rear appeared to be minus a skirt, unless big knickers and 40 denier tights are now on-trend? "Oi love, where's ya skirt?" another junk food muncher called out, the lady in question turned, shrugged and scuttled off after her pal.
We turned our attention to our husbands who seemed to be enjoying some banter with a hen night posse from Durham, dressed in red tutus, leg warmers and complete with the ubiquitous nicknames printed on t-shirts. We smirked and finger wagged at them as they barely concealed the fact that they were loving the attention. Another hen party dressed in golfing regalia (how odd) ran around smacking 'for sale' boards with Early Learning Centre golf clubs, one young lady in particular seemed to be suffering from drunken tourettes, needing as she was, to run out of the kebab shop every couple of minutes to shout "bastard" at the top of her voice at a random passer-by. It was only as we were walking away, t'husbands munching stinky greasy kebabs and us, for some unknown reason, eating chicken nuggets and chips, did it occur to me that the Kaiser Chiefs, themselves from Leeds, must have frequented this place often. How else would they have come up with the lyrics for I Predict A Riot?
I also wondered how I'd managed to not stumble across this underbelly of Leeds nightlife in the ten years that I lived there. I concluded that it could only be because I don't like kebabs and I was probably asleep in the corner of a curry house somewhere on Briggate, yep a much more refined drunk.