The man who looks like a professor comes into the bar. The disco ball hanging from the ceiling is sending shapes and lights across the room. He finds a seat at a table just inside the door. Puts his bag down. He nods at the man at the next table as if to say ‘Hey, keep an eye on this?’, and the man nods in return.
‘Your bag is safe man. Despite the fact I have had six pints of delicious Scraggy Bay, I will ensure that your belongings are secure, for we are decent people and it should be ok to come into a bar and leave your bag for a minute while you go to the bar without some brigand making off with it.’
Sometimes a nod can say so much. The man who looks like a professor goes to the bar and orders a drink from the man behind the bar, with his beard and his flat cap, and takes it back to his seat where his bag waits, safe and sound. The man at the next table has ensured that no villain has profited from his brief absence.
The music plays. The bar is loud. The man who looks like a professor sips his drink. He may not even be a professor, he simply looks like one. In truth he could do anything. He might be tech guy who has an app or a website, attracting people to his start-up – for everyone in Dublin has a start-up these days. Angel investors. They’re not actually angels though, they just call themselves that to make themselves feel holy.
He might be a chef, thus explaining his late arrival into the bar. The dinners are all cooked. It is late. Or early, depending. It is a fledgling day and people are dancing. The man who looks like a professor, or who might be a chef, sips his drink. Perhaps he’s a compassionate assassin – killing only those who really deserve it once the price is right. Sometimes he wonders if you can be a killer for hire with morals but then he looks at his bank balance and stops worrying about it.
Like that one guy, who was pleading for his life, crying for his kids, well, he shouldn’t have done that thing he did, and then he’d still be alive. And anyway, thousands of currency via untraceable BitCoin later have helped pay for the drink that the man who could be an assassin but who looks like a professor is drinking right now. It’s the circle of life. Or death, if you’re going to be like that.
The DJ is bouncing in his little space at the end of the bar. He’s wearing a t-shirt advertising a Brooklyn beer very far away from Brooklyn. He’s got one ear free, the other listening to the next record. He’s trying to mix it. The beats are close, but not quite close enough. Instead of a seamless transition that makes some people in the crowd go ‘Ooooh, I didn’t even hear this one come in’, there’s that jarring ‘du-dum, du-dum, du-dum’ as the bass drum kicks don’t match.
The man who watched the bag of the man who looks like a professor is talking with his friends. The new songs kicks in as the DJ realises his mixing is poor and he fades down the old one. He turns up the volume a little bit as the new song begins to try and hide his mistake and while most people don’t notice the man who watched the bag of the man who looks like a professor used to DJ himself and judges the DJ in his Brooklyn t-shirt. The song is good though, so he forgives him a little.
Then he sees the man who looks like a professor, the possible chef, the perhaps murderer of those who really should be murdered for their deeds, get to his feet. He stands. The lights in the bar cast reflections on his face as he closes his eyes. He puts both hands behind him as he stretches, moving his head as far as he can from one side to the other, the internal vinyl crackle sounds that makes drowned out by the music, and he takes a step to his right.
It’s not a dancefloor specifically, but he makes it one. He spreads his arms wide as the music builds. There’s nothing else but the beat. He shifts side to side, movements so tiny you can barely see them, but then it builds and the drums go dududududududududududu and the chorus of the song kicks in and he’s off.
The man who looks like a professor or a chef or a killer or a bus driver or a binman or an anaesthesiologist is none of those things. He is a dancer. He dances. That is all he does. It’s what he was put on this earth for. Legs that listen to arms that obey the head move in majestic rhythm and he lets himself go. He is the man from Future Islands but much less terrifying.
He looks straight ahead, those around him give him space because he deserves room to make his moves. The DJ notices and pumps up the volume a little more. The man responds by dancing harder, better, stronger, but not faster. He stays with the music. The man who watched the bag and his friends watch on from the next table, slightly awed by his presence.
He continues his epic shimmy until the song ends, and then that’s enough. Those four minutes of completely letting himself go is sufficient. He sits down and sips his drink. The man who looks like a professor catches the eye of the man at the next table, the one who watched his bag, and nods again. His work here is done. He finishes his drink, picks up his bag, and leaves the bar.
The music keeps playing.
We play Man City at 4pm.