City Musings from author Andrew Carter
I enjoy being from Leeds and I like how proud people are about being from Leeds. It’s a wonderful city. There have, however, been occasions where I have met people who take this pride a bit too far. A few years ago, I was in the Three Horseshoes in Headingley. My friend and I were on the three to four pint threshold and had just won eight pounds on the itbox so a taxi to town was being mooted. I was in a good mood. I’d just been to the toilet and was stood at the sink when a scowling balding man with black teeth sidled up next to me. ’
‘Go back down south you student scum!” He said through beery breath.
This was not the most amiable of opening gambits and also rather presumptuous. Why had he decided that I was Southern, a student and scum just by the way I was washing my hands? I was taken aback didn’t quite know how to react.
”Um. I’m actually from Leeds mate.” I said. Chucking in ”mate” was a bit risky but in order to leave the toilets with my teeth, I figured that it was best to try and establish some level of rapport with my aggressor.
”Prove that you are from Leeds.”
Panicking, I told him that I was a Leeds United fan then found myself explaining where I had grown up, and indeed still lived, giving him sound directions as to how to get there. I made a couple of references to local landmarks to further verify my knowledge of the city. In hindsight, giving my home address to a man who quite possibly wanted to kill me was not a great decision. There was a lengthy pause while he considered the information.
”Bloody hell, sorry.” He said.
Thank god. Was it over? ”Come here pal!” He said then wrapped his arms around me in an embrace with a force that nearly caused me to stumble backwards into a urinal. It was ridiculous how quickly the situation had changed. I thought it best not to express my disgust that he hadn’t washed his hands and reluctantly reciprocated the hug.
I left the toilets with the man’s arm draped around my neck. He started to sing.
”Marching on together…”
I joined in.