When you have a shoe and a wall, who needs a Screwpull?
Reminds me of an episode from my youth when I was almost in a band called the Nonskills. I say ‘almost’ because there were too many guitarists. (Which reminds me of the old gag, How many guitarists does it take to change a lightbulb? Ten – one to change it and nine to say, ‘I can do that.’ Maybe you had to be there…) But yes, three guitarists is too many, and as I was the worst of the trio, and lived furthest from where practices were held, I only performed with them occasionally.
But one weekend, guitarist No.2 couldn’t make a gig, so I stood in. And prior to the performance, two of us bought a bottle of cheap Spanish plonk from Yates’s Wine Lodge on Yorkshire Street in Oldham (wonderful old building, now part of a crap shopping centre, sawdust on the floor, Australian sherries on tap, the ceiling was salmon pink and duck-egg-blue – the only place I’ve seen someone try to throw a pool table at someone else). We then discovered that we didn’t have a corkscrew. And not being aware of the possibilities of opening the bottle with a wall and a shoe, we chose to push the cork in and see what happened.
I can’t remember the precise price of the wine – £1.75 a bottle? But in order to achieve this price, certain corners had undoubtedly been cut. The label was basic, the capsule was basic, the cork was basic. And stubborn. We did manage to get it to start moving a little, but then came the point at which we discovered that the bottle was also basic. The bottom flew out, we got soaked, and we never got the chance to discover whether the wine was as basic as the packaging. Lesson learnt. As for the gig, it was really, really bad. The singer lost his voice, various strings broke, and the girl we all fancied went off with someone from another band. But the good news is since then, the quality of my guitar playing, the amount of money I spend on a bottle of wine and the size of my collection of corkscrews have all increased.