Films Dogs Might Enjoy
Posted on September 25, 2004
And that, readers, is the topic of a BBC Radio Shropshire discussion. I urge you all to tune in, if not tonight, whenever you’re in the area. In fact, it’s worth moving to the area – the late night DJ is really that good. Still not good enough however, to keep my friend, Pete, in town. He’s moving back to Uni tomorrow, but not without a few fond memories of a fairly fun summer. Tonight will surely rank up there with some of the least rank evenings of the past few months, as plans for a farewell few in Shrewsbury were shelved in favour of drinks at Telford’s newest and I suspect only Italian American bar, Frankie and Benny’s.
We arrived feeling a little underdressed but nevertheless utterly surprised at Telford’s alarmingly large, pinstriped Italian American community. To our further surprise was the way in which bar staff served glasses on napkins and lit our cigarettes for us. (So impressed was I that I gestured a tip on the counter, which was ultimately retracted and spent on booze. There’s a tip for you.)
Nothing could prepare us however – not even the Italian for Beginners tape playing in the bathroom – for the surprisingly moving speech by one half of the Frankie and Benny brand. With the words of leadership and wisdom usually reserved for the Presidents, football coaches and Morgan Freemen of American movies, Frankie or Benny (it was hard to tell which, or if indeed it was either), spoke to the small crowd of kitchen staff, waiters, bar men, managers and us, waiting patiently for our mention in the long list of thank yous.
It never came. The applause signaled the end of the speech (though I half expected an orchestral crescendo) and, drying a glass (I suspect, only for effect), the bar man leaned in. “We actually don’t open until Monday,” he said. “This is an invitation only event.”
Then, with a courtesy not bestowed the Italian American stereotype of cinema, we were politely asked to leave. “You guys just sort of snuck in,” he said. It was the easiest break in yet, and a rather painless break out. No violence, no guns, no hitmen: hardly Reservoir Dogs. Now there’s a film a dog might enjoy…I’m calling Radio Shropshire. Goodnight.