I woke up one wasted Saturday afternoon, in my freshers flat. The city wore out its mid-November lull and the days had been greyer than usual, colder than normal, and dreary as always. But, amidst this perpetual damp of existence and rising prices of a decent pint, there was one tinkling star— an institution— a place where it all came together: Saturdays at Mully’s Karaoke.
Many criticise my knack for romanticising the ordinary, but I shall never forget the words of this wise second year who once said “Mully’s is the place to be. It is my second home!”, as he regularly travelled from the depths of zone 2 to finish off his night in this basement, with his friends and a trusted glass of Carling. I have held onto those words ever since.
Saturdays at Mully’s are a pure commemoration. Some may call Mully’s a cesspool of dying dreams, but I disagree. One can meet so many people on Karaoke night and the beauty of it all is how everyone comes together when a mid2000s song plays on the poor set-up of the projector which flashes lyrics, or when strangers and friends alike mosh to ABBA.
However, last week may have been one of the best nights at Mully’s as I believe I may have just met the love of my life. My friends and I were on, what you may call, a pull and we were hoping to connect with like-minded people. The floor was sticky, the air was sweaty and there was shattered glass from cheap beer on the floor. In other words, these were the perfect conditions for dropping ‘game’.
Now, I haven’t really mastered the art of a good chat as I fear I may be deficient in charm, but I was persistent and my goal was to attract. And attract I did, as I accidentally locked eyes with an adequate-looking man who donned a mullet. As two magnets on the pull, I felt an immediate attraction to him as I saw him approaching me. He wore a UCL Rugby shirt covered in a melange of sweat, Guinness and Lynx. As he came closer, I could identify the stench of tobacco poorly masked with some gum. He smiled at me and said, “What you saying?”
Perhaps my heart fluttered with such excitement that I misheard him, thinking that he asked me what I studied, and my foolish, excited self said “I study History of Art! You?”. He nodded as the music grew louder. I wasn’t sure if he heard me though. Maybe fate was not on my side, as I feared this tryst would not last long so I had to act quick. He beat me to it and asked me if I wanted to go out for a smoke. I went out with this nameless rugby boy in the hopes to get to know him a bit more. As I followed him outside, I tripped a bit. He didn’t look back and kept moving and I got up, just a bit flustered, just a bit giggly and hopefully very lucky tonight.
He was rolling himself a cigarette. It was a bit wrinkly and his hands very shaky— maybe it was the cold or maybe he was equally excited. I observed him and kept smiling to myself. There was a moment of silence which could be mistaken for an awkward one, but I know one thing: the best kind of conversations are the silent ones.
His scrunched-up face was focused on his cig, and most of the filter was in his mouth. He turned to me, and said, “Have you not got any baccy of your own?”. “Sorry, I don’t. Roll me one?”, I smiled and asked. He takes the wrinkly cig out and hands it to me. I put the cigarette in my mouth and the soggy filter reeks a bit of saliva and Guinness. I sit next to him and light it up. What a sweet passive kiss!
It must’ve been 1 a.m. by now as I could see the crowd inside diffuse into separate groups on their way to the afters. I could see my friends emerge out and wave at me, asking me to join them. “You got Instagram or something?”, the rugby boy asked me. I nodded and typed it out onto his phone, promptly adding him back on mine.
“We should hang out sometime. Watch a movie or something?”, I proposed. “I guess”, he retorted, almost immediately.
I was thrilled, I may have a good thing going.
This is the start of something new and special. I have longingly looked at his Instagram and found so many interesting things about him. He really likes Imagine Dragons and Drake. He also reposts little videos of bald men talking about something called the metaverse— really niche things I look forward to hearing him talk about. It has been three days since I sent him a text, I assume he is busy but I have a feeling I shall see him very soon. Until then, he will have my heart, and we will always have Mullys…
This article appeared in CG issue 83.