In the very early days of BarLifeUK, when co-founder Simon Webster and I were young and full of vim, the TV show Californication, which followed the sexy mishaps and misdeeds of past-his-prime writer Hank Moody (played by David Duchovny) and his best friend and literary agent Charlie Runkle (no-one remembers who played Charlie), was extremely popular.
I watched the show religiously because it was funny and rude. I also watched it, truth be told, because I privately thought of myself as a less attractive, talented, and sexually active version of Hank Moody. However this was a super-secret fantasy that I never mentioned to anyone, in fact I packed it away in the highly secure vault of not-to-be-shared-even-while-shitfaced secrets that will one day explode my brain and kill me (everyone has one of those, right?).
And so there I was, in 2014 or so, bowling about the UK’s cocktail bars writing edgy articles (they had a bit of swearing in them sometimes) with my best mate Simon doing deals and bringing in the money by my side. I was, in my mind, the living, breathing, real-life incarnation of Hank Moody. I just couldn’t say it out loud for fear of being mocked.
But then, something magical happened…
In The Matrix, Neo is able to dodge bullets and fight Agents because he is ‘one’ with the digital construct and can see things coming before they actually happen. As fantastical as it may sound, I have experienced this phenomenon myself, in real life, down the boozer.
If memory serves, it was Tooting’s The Manor pub, and Simon and I were waiting for our turn on the pool table, chatting idly about TV and whatnot. Simon swallowed a mouthful of cooking lager, put down the glass, and that’s when bullet time started. I saw neurons firing in his brain, sending electrical impulses through his brainstem towards his mouth. Muscles and tendons contracted, and he began to speak. Then, as the first syllable left his tongue and was clearing his teeth, a second group of neurons fired. This burst was far bigger, and much more intense. It was a recall command. In that instant I witnessed Simon’s brain realise it had said something catastrophic, and desperately try to stop him from speaking, before it was too late.
“You know, we’re a bit like Hank Moody and Charlie Runkle…”
Two things then happened simultaneously – Simon’s pupils dilated as the horror of his words sank in, and I felt what can only be described as a shit eating grin spread across my Wish Hank Moody face. It was absolutely fucking marvellous. In one ill judged comment, Simon had validated my most secret self-indulgent fantasy, while dooming himself to a year or so of being referred to as ‘Runkle’ whenever I wanted to irritate him. This, as we all know, is the sort of cornerstone upon which life-long friendships are built. So thanks for that, Runkle!
You may well be wondering what the fuck any of this has to do with anything, but I promise it’s all connected. First, it’s Simon Webster’s birthday today, that’s the big news. But by happy accident, today is also the day news broke that RZA, of Wu-Tang fame, who also happened to play the character ‘Samurai Apocalypse’ in Californication, has partnered with Sriracha (yes, that one) and Ballantine’s to produce a whiskey-inspired hot sauce, which Flying Goose CEO Jittiporn Jantarach describes as “unlike any other”. I bet.
See, I told you. Everything is connected when you can see the world in bullet time.