The Navigation

I was driving along a particular junction in Lancaster today and I suddenly really wanted to go drink a beer in one of the skankiest pubs I’ve ever been to.

It was a canal boat permanently moored up and reachable through basically a field and muddy footpath. The only reason I ever went to the Navigation was as a wing woman for, mostly, my gay housemate in my second year at uni.

I’m pretty sure it was gone by the time I got back from Japan, it might even have been gone before I graduated the first time.

It was full of plastic tat and had a parrot that crawled along the ceiling and sometimes shat in the booze.

I have no idea why I just suddenly had the urge to go drink a pint there. It was very old school gay and I’m not certain I ever saw another woman in there, even behind the bar. But today I wanted to clamber round a gate between Hawthorne hedges, negotiate the muddy path and go drink somewhere tacky that felt like it was on the edge of town rather than being right in the middle of it.

Where it was there are new built blocks of flats and it looks smart, a little further along the canal on the opposite bank is the shiny middle class White Cross which couldn’t be further from the kinda scummy Navigation if it tried.

I didn’t have a beer tonight because there’s no trashy gay bar for me to go to. but if there had been I would’ve, that’s where I should’ve been but times a thing and it’s long gone. Why I would want to be somewhere that was pretty unpleasant I’m not sure, possibly because it felt real, less like it put on a show I guess.

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