By 2pm we’ve left Harborne. It happens to us all eventually.
After crossing Hagley Road (home to my old sixth form, St Philip’s College), the number 11 saunters wistfully along the Bearwood High Street as another song comes to mind. This time, it’s the sublime This is What She’s Like from Dexys Midnight Runners’ wilfully uncommercial and criminally underrated 1985 album, Don’t Stand Me Down:
On the album version of the song, The Little Nibble café on the Bearwood Road gets name checked during some pre-song banter (legend has it that Kevin Rowland and his bandmates used to meet there for tea-dinking sessions). Sadly, The Little Nibble ceased trading in January, Dexys haven’t recorded a studio album since Don’t Stand Me Down and I’ve been sitting on the top deck of the number 11 for long enough now to start making connections.
We take a right onto Sandon Road and into Edgbaston, passing the former home of my good friend, the macaroon-chomping friend of Garfield Jez Higgins. I remember going to a barbeque there years’ ago. Jez and his goodwyf Nat are vegetarians, so this – understandably enough – was a vegetarian barbecue. Our mutual friend – the talented comic artist and occasional thug, Tony McGee – arrived at this vegetarian event clutching a greasy megaburger in his mitts. I vividly remember him wantonly flaunting his tasty bovine-based snack with scant regard for the feelings of others. At least, I’m pretty certain it was Tony.
I hope it wasn’t me.