Alice’s Restaurant

I HAD a few minutes to spare recently so stopped at the spot where the mystery litterer leaves his regular offerings to the God of Messy on the A1101.

I plucked up courage and using a plastic bag as a glove cleared the place of his/hers empty Marlboro packets, water bottles and the dreaded paper tissues. As I sleuthed around looking for evidence of who the culprit is I recalled Arlo Guthrie’s fabulous anti war song/tale Alice’s Restaurant written in 1967 in protest at the Vietnam War.

Arlo sings the true tale of he and a friend doing a favour for Alice one Thanksgiving; remember Alice?

Alice lived in the bell tower of an abandoned church and used to drop her rubbish from the tower into the church proper. They picked up the garbage (as they call it across the pond) and took it to the city dump.

But the dump was closed so they found a little cliff off a side road which had a small pile of garbage at the bottom. Thinking one big pile was better than two little piles they dropped the garbage there.

The next morning Police officer Obie phoned them as he had found Arlos name on an envelope at the bottom of the half ton pile of garbage. Arlo ends up with a $50 dollar fine and was told to pick up the garbage. When later he went to a US Army office to be processed and drafted to Vietnam he gets told to sit on the Group W bench because of his conviction.

Jokingly Arlo says he sat with all sorts of undesirables – mother rapers, father stabbers and father rapers! All these desperate criminals ask him what he did to deserve being on the group W bench with the rest of them? He tells them ‘littering’ which does not impress them so he then says ‘and creating a nuisance!’ At this the fierce criminals allow him into their gang for the day.

When he is then questioned by an officer he is banned from joining the army as he jokes when asked if he has been rehabilitated and replies ‘do I have to be moral enough to join the army, burn women, kids, houses and villages after being a litterbug?’

It’s a fantastic anti Vietnam song; amusing and delighting over 19 minutes and if never heard there are versions on YouTube with one of Arlo performing it in the actual church from the song. So like Officer Obie I looked around whilst gingerly clearing the garbage and found an old vehicle ITV form which gave the make and model of the van and the name of the company that owns it.

The Spanish version of the group W bench may soon have another person sitting on it.

La Montana Bar and Restaurant near Bedar completed its first year of trading under Mat and Carol and to celebrate they hosted a delicious 5 course gourmet dinner for 45 people. It was a warm evening so after dinner the dulcet tones of Tony Justice had many up dancing outside on the patio.

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