Alex and I are in Carcassonne, and it’s the most obnoxiously beautiful city I’ve ever been to.
Yesterday evening we had a wine-fuelled picnic on the ramparts before returning to a bar themed around Medieval japery that we’d found earlier in the day.
As we paid the owner overheard our accents, then revealed himself as an Englishman and asked for our stances on the EU referendum. When we said we’d be voting in he offered us each a free pint in exchange for a conversation about the issue (“I don’t get to talk to British people very often”).
We’d have been mad to say no.
He took us to a table, the promised pints arrived, and he launched straight into an unsettlingly mad spiel about the referendum being part of an overarching Tory conspiracy to reinstate the serving class, almost exclusively for the purpose of giving Boris Johnson endless sexual favours.
He was also convinced that upon Brexit, Scotland and Wales would become independent and the Tories would break the country down even further into individual city states, with a Tory as mayor of each one (“they’re great at winning mayoral elections”, he assured us).
But let’s focus on the sexual allegations.
The allegations are, presumably, false.
If he is to be believed*, Boris has bought none of his own merit to the role of mayor and is just copying Ken Livingstone’s plans verbatim. His energies have instead been focussed on creating unusually small new-build houses in the suburbs that, when we leave EU and certain laws no longer affect us, will be filled with peasants kept in artificial poverty.
Young ladies within that demographic will be obliged to fulfil Boris’ (and other senior Tories’) every whim.
(A mad glint in the owner’s eye accompanied this claim).
The whole time he was ranting I was searching for ways to escape (the promised ‘conversation’ never materialised). Alex and I were next to each other rather than opposite so we couldn’t exchange urgent glances, and he was too far away to give a subtle nudge. We had no choice but to finish our pints while listening to endless madness.
Attempts to change the flow of conversation were futile, too. Asking about his youth bought tales of an autistic Nazi father who raised 12 children: 6 of whom joined the RAF, the other 6 the Luftwaffe (and who only liked the Nazis “for their uniforms”). Asking his opinion on perceptions of the Irish after The Troubles bought a protracted Islamophobic rant.
In short, it was nuts.
We’re still on the fence as to whether it was worth a free pint.
* Very important note: I in no way condone or endorse this guy’s viewpoints.