Life on Marsden: I never thought I'd be thrown out of a bar. Let alone because of a suit jacket

25 years of drinking and it's finally come to this

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The Independent Online

I'd never been chucked out of a bar before. Extraordinarily well behaved over 25 years of drinking in licensed establishments, I suddenly found myself standing on a pavement, deeply confused, my cheeks red with injustice and 25 years of drinking.

I'd experienced that typical end-of-night exuberance where you want to keep celebrating the unlikely sequence of events that led to you becoming a pissed human being in the year 2013. But as time ticked by the only establishments left open were ones that I'd never dream of entering under normal circumstances. In the same way as I'd never have lunch at Newport Pagnell services unless I found myself on the M1 at 1pm, I'd never normally opt to drink in a bar where my admission depends on the rapidly changing whims of a powerful man with a straggly goatee beard and an aversion to living creatures.

I walked past him and I'd almost reached the bar when I heard him call after me. "Oi! You can take that off," he said, pointing to my jacket. "No suit jackets in here." I raised my eyebrows. "Seriously?" I asked. "Take it off," he replied, aggressively.

I was nonplussed. This was a pretty regular form of attire. I wasn't wearing radioactive shoes or an ammo belt. I wondered what appalling havoc he imagined I might end up wreaking with the top half of a cheap machine-washable suit and an upbeat mood. As a spurious reason for denying entry, this ranked alongside having a surname beginning with B, possessing a needlework qualification, having eaten mince in the last fortnight or knowing all the words to "The Lambeth Walk".

"That's crazy," I muttered, rolling my eyes. "If you're going to have that attitude," he shouted, "get out. Get out, before I drag you out."

I reluctantly walked back past him, stopping momentarily to look him in the eye, hoping that he'd grab me by the lapels so I could point out to him how useful they are.

But I don't like confrontation, so I kept walking. I then imagined how, in the future, my children might say to me: "Daddy, have you ever been chucked out of a bar?" And I'd reply, "Yes, children, but I don't like to talk about it", conveniently omitting that the main reason for that is because the story has a weak ending.