Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Flaming idiot.....

I had a whole other post planned for today but as I was lounging a top my bed sans trousers considering whether to have another min-twister ice lolly or maybe just a cup of tea and dark chocolate Kit-Kat my deliberations were interrupted by the pinging of my email notifier. It wasn't yet another google alert telling me what restaurant waiters are up to in sunny South Africa or the latest from celebrity chef and swear master general Gordon Ramsay, but rather it was something a whole lot more interesting.



It was instead a bit of celebrity gossip, hot off the press and straight to me from a chum at another restaurant. Okay celebrity is pushing it and I'm not sure tales from a Belfast restaurant counts as gossip but it was still rather funny. It was still an amusing little anecdote sprinkled with a little star dust. We don't get much star dust round these parts.

Belfast is awash with rock and roll types this week what with the newly created Belsonic festival taking place in the city centre. Belfast is always awash with rock and roll types to be honest. But most will never get the "deal" they crave so much and will instead end up working behind the counter at their local branch of HMV or Clements Coffee Shop. Don't be bitter pretty ones, don't be bitter just have kids and live your life through them.

Anyway I'm drifting off the point. Now it appears that a couple of the bands entered a local restaurant looking for pre gig sustenance. Where are the rock stars of old? Eh what's with the visiting of nice restaurants and what have you? Surely they should be getting wasted on JD and engorging on Bolivian marching powder. Do you think Ronnie Wood stopped for a steak and salad before a show in his heyday? I very much doubt it, unless of course he was trying to pick up a waitress or twelve.

So in walk these two bands, all rock star like with their special auras and magnetically sexy personas. From what I'm told people fainted with the majesty of it all. Or maybe not. The troubadours were seated and orders taken. All were said to be quite the lovely boys. Lots of lovely manners on show and generous smatterings of please and thank you. All except one.

There is always one.

The flaming manager of one of the bands apparently.

The brisk rude type, with his phone stuck to his ear when you're trying to take his order, too cool to look at a menu or non-important person, say a waiter for example. He finally completes his loud, sharing with the room, phone call and eventually orders a bottle of french red wine.

Voila, says the young waiter and pours him a glass. But moments later he calls her back to complain.

"Do you realize this wine tastes very poor? It's been watered down" says he.

"Doubt it sir" counters she.

"Oh but it has" he says getting a bit sneery about it.

Our intrepid hero of the dining room floor explains using words of two syllables or less that being a French wine that it is particularly intended to be enjoyed with food thus it maybe somewhat lighter than he was hoping for. This was of course delivered without any hint of sarcasm but with a genuine desire to educate.

The rest of the table nodded along with her explanation.

"Takes this away and bring me a Rioja."

Ego tripping at the gates of hell thought the young waiter but she did indeed take the offending wine away. The wine was given to the manager, who was of course beside himself with fear at the thought of someone exotic being offended or upset whilst on his watch. He tried some from the glass and did indeed agree that it tasted watery. He tried some from the bottle but this tasted perfect. Something was afoot. He was unconsciously screaming such was his bewilderment.

Mean while the waiter had returned to the table to discover a less brazen somewhat sheepish looking band manager.

"Eh I eh er um don't need the Rioja now."

"Excuse me sir?"

"Yeah I seemed to have poured my water into the same glass as my wine."

Jesus shootin heroin was that guy embarrassed. But she let him away with it and the rest of the night was rock n roll.

Flaming red face I'd say.......

So have you ever embarrassed yourself in a restaurant? I do it about three times a week but that's another story/post.

46 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

bendersbetterbrother said...

Passed it earlier this afternoon. Heard the Flaming Lips rehearsing. It sounded a wee bit good. Such a small venue too. I imagine all the offices nearby heard everything as well.

Manuel said...

bbb: I'm sure that woke a few of them from their late afternoon slumber....

Manuel said...

bbb: and damn it how did you crack the code?

bendersbetterbrother said...

Can we deduce it was the Flaming Lips manager then? Say nothing. Secret's safe.

Manuel said...

bbb: I'm saying nothing......ten points for each song you can identify though....

Dennis said...

Great story, Manuel. Many, many celebrities dined at my former restaurant: Queen Latifa, Sheryl Crow, Newt Gingrich, Neil Young, and tons of sports stars & others.

The best, however, was when Stevie Wonder came in with about 7 or 8 other people. It was so funny. The waitress kept unconsciously saying, "I see, I see" until finally Stevie breaks out with a huge ass grin and says, "I don't," and then started laughing.

On his way back from the bathroom, he had to pass our piano, and he whispered in the piano man's ear. The two of them played a Wonder song -- Stevie singing obviously -- and then for the next song, Stevie got behind the piano himself.

I don't really idolize anyone (except you, Manny, of course), but I stood about two feet from Wonder the whole time and I literally had goose bumps. Freakin' awesome!

- Dennis
www.donttipthewaiter.blogspot.com

savannah said...

now, let's see if your blog shows up if someone does a search for the flaming lips...it could happen ;-) xoxox

Manuel said...

dennis: jesus that's a lifetimes worth there! I would actually kill to see stevie wonder live and you get him at work one night! not fair. I heard he tips huge......true?

savannah: as long as it's not their manager that is....

Dennis said...

HUGE tipper, Man, and all around great guy.

Manuel said...

dennis: awesome......(by the way i'll email you in the morning.)

savannah said...

do you realise...from yoshimi battles the pink robots

Manuel said...

savannah: hence the lovely pink robot. But there are many more in there....

MJ said...

I came back from the ladies' room with the waistband of my panties hooked up into my jacket somehow.

Then had a devil of a time trying to unwind them from my jacket.

Manuel said...

mj: eek...red face for you! also trying to work out if there's a song reference in that.....

Medbh said...

A bunch of dudes witnessed me peeing in a gastro pub one evening when the door lock didn't work. They had a good look and I was deeply embarrassed.

Anonymous said...

How does one unconsciously scream? In a song, p'rhaps?

Jesus shooting heroin.

Ego trippin at the gates of hell

How many points is that?

Blondefabulous said...

I once waited on Billy Bob Thornton whilst working in Memphis. He was unshaven, unkempt, spoke monosyllabically, and was generally of the appearence of a bum on the street! Still, he wasn't a beligerent fool who barked orders and tried to make me scrape and crawl to serve him...... I thi=ought this was very gracious of him..... seeing as how I heard on the news later that evening that he and Angelina had just split up. It could have been oh so much worse!

PS- RIP Issac Hayes. Another smooth, classy customer I served. He was the man.

Anonymous Boxer said...

I live vicariously through you and your other commenters. Love the Stevie Wonder story.

Manuel said...

medbh: oh medbh.....that's not good.....

anonymous: a lot......missed one all the same....

blondie: in every respect the real bad santa..

boxer: isn't that as cool as it gets.....!

B said...

so who were the bands?

and people who live through their kids seem to be extra bitter generally.

Manuel said...

b: are you being serious? eh? kids today! it was the flaming lips and mogwai

Manuel said...

allegedly.....

boy_wonder said...

Ah but at least he ponied up

The Idle Wanderer said...

To answer your question Manuel, yes, I have embarrassed myself in a restaurant, but I see no need to brag about it (ok, I shat my pants - I wasn't very well).

B said...

Did Wayne Coyne enter the restaurant in a giant inflatable ball thing?

Manuel said...

boy_wonder: indeed......

the idle wanderer: spill! actually no don't, you probably have done enough of that already....

b: no but I've seen the photos and he does look great in the ball thingy........

iced coffee said...

great story,
ya gotta be careful the way you're playin this...

Manuel said...

iced coffee: ah but the truth is my shield!

The Idle Wanderer said...

Well, I was younger, out with family - hadn't been very well for a few days but felt I had recovered enough to go with them. Turns out I hadn't.

So if any of you were in the Bay Tree in Banstead a few years ago, and happened to stumble across some soiled boxers shoved behind the U-bend, I'm can only apologise.

Manuel said...

the idle wanderer: nice.......why did I probe? eh? was it not enough just to take you at your word......

paddy said...

Peter Buck from REM played with Robyn Hitchcock at my venue a couple of years ago. I was beside myself the whole time and died a death when Mr Buck informed me he would be drinking red wine for the evening. There had been no rider demand for wine so all I could offer him was the house swill (band venues in country Australia don't stretch to fine wines as a rule) Thinking honesty is the best policy I let him know its fairly shit wine. Moments pause from the big fella - "Cool, you'd better make it two bottles then." He proceeded to stand in the crowd guzzling away chatting to the locals and watching the support act. Ended up grabbing a third bottle to go after the gig and autographing a poster for me. Great bloke.

The Idle Wanderer said...

Manuel, do you realise that if you'd probed on that day, you'd be speaking to mr ambulance driver?

I'm sorry - just getting in on the act!

belfastyouthworker said...

the flaming lips were amaaaazing last night!!! can't wait for the enemy on thurs! ps: going to tedford's tonight!

Maxi Cane said...

I once offered a complimentary bottle of wine to our best customer at the time and his mother.

Pity it was his wife.

Quickroute said...

Alcohol and simple math don't go had in hand as my sympathetic waiter pointed out to me when I added 54 + 10 tip = 44 :-(

Native Minnow said...

Hey, at least he owned up to his mistake. A lot of those types would probably still put on the tough show, just for appearances sake.

B said...

paddy: Robyn Hitchcock is brilliant!

Manuel said...

belfast youth worker: well? come on......

Jaffa said...

i like to embarass young, ahem, 'rock' stars, particularly when they're asking for another bottle of cheap champagne whilst i'm trying to clean down my bar; it went something like this...

him: (finger clicking) another bottle over here (note the lack of manners)
me: I'm awfully sorry sir, the bar closed twenty minutes ago
him: but i'm with the band
me: *bemused face*
him: i'm with mcfly (hands up if anyone remembers who they were)
me: mc-who sorry?...and went off about my business

that one felt particularly good!

Jaffa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Manuel said...

*jaffa: welcome! mc fly - *snicker* I mean are any of them old enough to be buying booze? .....had a quick peek at your blog.....what's that all about then?

Jaffa said...

Hi Manuel, I believe one of them was 17, and kept sending his manager to the bar thinking I wasn't wise to it...amazing how people think hospitality staff are all blind, deaf and tres dumb...
didn't realise anyone else would be able to see my blog (as you can probably tell from it's unpolished nature), anyways, I write for a liquor trade mag in south africa, and i just post my published work up on my blog so my dear old ma can see it...I may develop it further but not for now...
Love your work, thanks for taking an interest!

Manuel said...

jaffa: south africa eh......I did a post about a south african lady I had in for dinner one night....you should check that out.....I'll keep an eye on your blog.....

Jaffa said...

I read it last week, frickin hilarious, they're all like that over here...and then some, surprised she didn't have her 'boy' in tow (it's absolutely de rigeur here to have a young brown-skinned boy following two steps behind you, in case of the need for physical exertion)...

Manuel said...

jaffa: I was that boy!

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