Ballad of The Arousal Cafe – and other tales

A Car

Richard Lutz combs the smoking ruins of another seven days.

When I last left you, you were hanging over the precipice of another cliff hanger as I searched for a car. I will leave you in limbo about my final decision. But, God, I have travelled to the brink, looked into the pit of deceit and somehow survived.

Somehow, I mixed up the car I want to buy and the creeps who sell them. The good guys want to sell me junk. The seedy ones want to sell me quality. The former won’t stop phoning me with another add-on to the deal that involves a tin can on four wheels and satnav. The later promises to get in touch and never does over a vehicle that sings like a hummingbird and drives like a dream. My nightmare is to be placed on a desert island with only a used bbq pit, toothbrush and a cadre of car dealers who will probably bicker and cheat over the price of freshwater or the promise of a nearly-new grasshut with three years warranty.

To assuage my pointless wanderings in the car lots of the world, I head to Birmingham Town Hall in all its Greek Revival grandeur. I am here to watch some friends perform. They are part of a 200 member choir, and though I know little about the oratorios of Haydn (who I grimly admit I mix up with Handel), it is a joy. The human voice is a joy.


 The work is The Creation. And to hear the simple voice create a perfect room of sound is a pleasure – unlike the unctuous chirpings of car salesmen. After the performance, my two friends are both happy and full of life as they meet us in a cold night, a winter’s night, and we all watch  the orchestra also pile out carrying violins, brass instruments and, inevitably, the smallest musician wheeling a giant bass fiddle behind her. Into the night that is still full of music. And this, on the night that Chuck Berry died.

We go home and do what honest ordinary folks do these days. We pay obeisance to the rock and roll king, despite his personal seediness, and watch him and Keith Richards on a 1988 clip on Youtube. Now, that is tribute indeed.

Finally, we travel to the west coast. Not Monterey or Big Sur. But Wales – to the mysteries and intrigues of Barmouth, Criccieth and Tal y Bont. The long coast is shrouded in late winter mist…..or is that early spring mist? Barmouth itself is famous in my book for one thing: the local cafe is The Carousal.

But for years now the letter C is been ajar or missing. So it signals all to the joys of the Arousal Cafe. Here she be:

Anything for afters?

I will leave you to that thought: Cars, Chuck Berry and chips with…errr..(ahem)…. everything.