Mr Clarke & Mr Keane

Date: 20th July 2021

The latest blog from SFSA writer Donald Stewart

“It’s a place where two beards can meet.

Mr. Clarke and Mr. Keane are waiting for the barber’s chair to become vacant.

They have tried small talk, but that has not worked well. Mr. Clarke says very little, smiles even less and tries ever so hard not to engage.

Mr. Keane says even less, smiles rarely and tries hard not to do much more than growl.

Picture the scene…

It is a woefully slow Tuesday afternoon. The barber is working away on a man in the chair, making him all neat and tidy when firstly in steps Mr. Keane who has turned up to get his beard trimmed and the streaks made whiter.

Always a welcome customer, due to not being full of small talk and therefore the tired old cliches of are you working, going anywhere on holiday or what do you think of that lockdown there, being an unnecessary part of the barber’s audience of one. He also thinks that Mr. Keane has no need of anything for the weekend. The barber knows he hardly talks longer than 5 minutes at a time to his wife…

The barber, however, does know that Mr. Keane has been looking to bump into Mr. Clarke for some time.

To. Simply. Have. A. Word. The barber thinks it may be double that amount of wordage being contemplated…

Just as he was thanking his lucky stars that Mr. Clarke was not present, who should walk into the shop but… Mr. Clarke. Mr. Clarke was beginning to feel his hair was somewhat overlong for his look and is also in for a shave.

Always welcome as a customer, Mr. Clarke does not indulge in the tittle tattle either and enjoys just sitting back and taking the leisure time… at his leisure.

Never one to avoid any circumstance, Mr. Clarke knows that Mr. Keane wants to have a word. He also knows what it is about. The barber knows what it is about. The neighbourhood knows what it is about.

And so, the verbal jousting has begun with it never being mentioned for the first ten minutes of their time together. Mr. Keane still managing to read his newspaper as they talk weather, politics, religion and prejudice in two words snippets.

Mr. Keane, however, decides to tackle it head on.

“So,” he begins. “How come you let them?”

Mr. Clarke responds quickly, “Ah didnae.”

“But the pictures,” counters Mr. Keane. “Show that they met, and you were nowhere to be seen.”

Mr. Clarke answers right away. “Aye. Ah wisnae. And?”

The barber feels the tension of the challenge. The man in the chair feels the tension in the air. If hair could ever get clenched, it would be now that the barber was feeling it.

“They were talking for over 20 minutes.” He points out.

“Aye, they were.” Confirms Mr. Clarke.

“Could you not have intervened?” Asks Mr. Keane, bluntly.

“Naw.” Responds Mr. Clarke, equally as bluntly.

“It has thrown it all into chaos.” Mr. Keane folds his newspaper to concentrate more fully on getting his point across.

“Twenty minutes!” He points out again.

“Ah wis there. I saw.” Responds Mr. Clarke, as if it is not obvious.

“I hardly speak to people for more than 5 minutes.”

“Ah ken, ahm here.”  Responds Mr. Clarke.

“I don’t care if they have known each other for over 20 years, you do NOT go and talk to an opponent for twenty minutes even if you are related to them!”

“I get that.” Says Mr. Clarke. “You seem to have said that quite a lot.”

“Chaos now. Utter chaos.” Mr. Keane replies once more as if nobody knows what is being said.

“Maybe.” Mr. Clarke counters.

“No maybe about it. Could they not have used common sense?” Mr. Keane pleads.

“Well…” Mr. Clarke begins before Mr. Keane interrupts. “How can you go and exchange pleasantries with someone you have just gone to war with?”

“It’s hardly war…” Mr. Clarke begins before Mr. Keane interrupts again. “I cannot believe that Mount and Chilwell could now be out because they caught COVID from Gilmour. How will they replace them?”

“I am sure…” Mr. Clarke begins before Mr. Keane stands, throws down his newspaper and stands up with his final words on the matter. “We have planed this Drag Race at the local community centre for months and you!” He points at Mr. Clarke with very serious intent and finishes, “have utterly ruined it!”

He then flounces out the barbers, slamming the door shut.

Mr. Clarke smiles, picks up the paper left behind, adjusts his sling backs and looks forward to an afternoon of being pampered. The barber just sighs and continues to cut the hair of the Mr. Pougatch in the chair. Next is the waxing…

 

Whilst the author asserts his right to this as an original tale, there is no evidence that a Mr. Clarke has ever worn slingbacks in a barbers and this therefore never happened, however much of the view expressed by Roy Keane after two England players were put in isolation at the Euros because of spending so long with Billy Gilmour who then tested positive.

The fact is that after the England game, two England players were made to self-isolate after the game as they had spent time talking to their teammate, Billy Gilmour. Mr. Keane was very unimpressed. Mr. Keane is very often unimpressed and revealed that as well as never talking to people for more than 5 minutes, that included any conversation he had with his wife; some have suggested she is the lucky one…”


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