It was Toby’s birthday last Friday. To celebrate Toby, Fiona and I went to a pub. Toby wanted to go to the Hoarse Horse because he wanted to see one of his old school mates: Willy the Wailing Whale from Wales, who was performing at the Hoarse Horse.
The Hoarse Horse is a very small pub which is known for their good fantasy flavoured cocktails. After we’d found a place to sit we each ordered one of those famous fantasy flavoured cocktails (virgin ones for Fiona and Toby!) and an extra large portion of tortilla chips with rainbow dip, which is made of tiny bits of the rainbow and the tears of a unicorn.
After waiting for an hour the pub was so full that you could barely breathe and Willy had to start performing. Since Toby had told me Willy is one of the best musicians he knew I had high expectations. He’d even compared him to one of my favourite artists, Jack White. The moment he started playing the piano I knew Toby couldn’t have been more wrong. It sounded like a 3-year old playing the piano for the very first time, just punching keys. When I thought it couldn’t get worse, he started singing. I felt like I was trapped in a box filled with chaos, anger, sadness and Japanese noise… His lyrics weren’t very good either, he just cried out random words. It was so horrible that even Rebecca Black could teach him a thing or two about writing lyrics. After each song more and more people started booing and left the pub. I felt like following their example but I didn’t want to hurt Toby’s feelings, so I stayed.
After two more hours of pure torture Willy was finished and joined our table. He asked us what we thought about his performance. I didn’t know what to say: I didn’t want to hurt him, but I didn’t want to lie either. Before I could think of a proper answer Fiona asked him what he thought of his performance to which he smugly replied: “This was the best gig I’ve ever given, but clearly the world is not ready for my music.” At this point Toby interrupted him and loudly asked him: “What do you mean? I thought it was great!” To this Wally replied: “I know it was, my dear friend. But we seem to be the only ones. The pub was full before I started and look at it now, it’s nearly empty.” Toby turned to Fiona and me, and asked us what we thought. To avoid problems I simply replied: “It wasn’t my cup of tea.” I hoped this would be enough, that they’d leave me alone with my thoughts but then Wally fired questions me: “And may I ask why not?! What was wrong with my music?! Is it not good enough for your human ears?! Do you think you could do better?!” I didn’t like his condescending attitude and the superior tone in his voice when he asked me those questions. The smug smile he wore on his face a few minutes earlier had been replaced by an agitated and threatening look. Before I knew it I was giving him my full and honest opinion: “Yes, I think I could do better. As a matter of fact, I think anyone could do better… Listening to your music felt like being stabbed in the ear with a machete. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s caused more brain damages over the years than Justin Bieber’s music. I can honestly say that I’d rather listen to an album by Coldplay than listening to your music, and you should know that I hate Coldplay with all my heart…” After this I sat back and crossed my legs. Fiona was looking at me in awe. Wally stood up and said goodbye to Toby without even glancing at me. I had destroyed him completely, which on the one hand made me feel so good but on the other hand it made me feel a bit guilty. When Wally had left the pub Toby turned to me and said: “How could you? That’s one of my best mates, and you’ve offended him. You could have tried being respectful! Was that really necessary” Before I could apologise Fiona said: “Toby, didn’t you hear his music? It was absolutely horrible! And he clearly can’t cope with people having an opinion about his music, unless if it’s a good one. Didn’t you hear how he talked to her when she said that she didn’t like his music? He wasn’t very respectful either, was he? He needed to be put down and that’s what she did.” I added to this: “Toby has a point though: I did go too far. But he wanted my honest opinion, I gave him what he asked. I know I was harsh but he didn’t ask me in a polite way either, did he?” Toby didn’t reply to this. After he had been quiet for more than 5 minutes I told him I was sorry about what I’d done. To this he said: “I know you are and I understand why you felt the urge to break him down, I really do. I am not saying that you shouldn’t have given him your opinion, I’m just saying that you didn’t have to be rude. You really hurt his feelings… I think you should apologise to Wally for the way you reacted.” When he’d said this he gave me Wally’s phone number.
I walked outside and phoned Wally when he picked up the phone I apologised. I told him that I meant what I said but that I should have been more respectful and considerate of his feelings when saying it. Wally interrupted me and said: “No need to apologise, hun. You were right: my music is terrible. I’ve been living in a dream world, telling myself that my music didn’t sell because people weren’t ready for it. But the truth is people will never be ready for it because it’s horrible. You’ve woken me up and made me realise this. I want to thank you for this.” I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t expect he’d accept my apology, let alone that he’d thank me for being cruel to him. I told him that he was welcome and wished him all the best luck in the future. After this I hung up and went back inside. I told Toby and Fiona about what had just happened. They were just as shocked as I was, but they were happy that he wasn’t angry with me. To celebrate we drank one more cocktail and ate the rest of our tortilla chips. After this we went home.