I happened to be in Austin, Texas last weekend, which bills itself as the “Live music capital of the world.” I was visiting my friend Rob, who took me out to a local honky-tonk to hear some. We went to Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon.
Ginny’s is a simple rectangle of a building with an assortment of castoff decor. The pavement under the pool table had potholes. The paint on the ceiling was pockmarked and peeling. The door to the beer closet had no lock on it. You could call it run down, beat up or dingy. It was my kinda place.
Here’s my cruddy cell phone pic of Ginny’s. Those are some genuine Beautiful People (what other kind of man wears a pink shirt?) standing near the bar. Better still, that’s an elderly couple dancing in front of the band.
We bought a couple of beers, my friend asked for quarters for the pool table. We could play for free, the bartender told us. The coin-op part was broken.
The table was tucked into a corner between the excess chairs, and a spare stage riser. For certain shots near the rail, there was no other way to get behind the ball than to park your ass on the chairs.
The table’s felt was stained, one rail was warped, and one side pocket had a hole in it wide enough to let the ball fall out the side. At one point I sunk a shot in that pocket, and my friend ran out the front door like the joint had caught fire. He returned holding the ball.
But you know, the quirks were part of the fun. We shot pool and drank beer and listened to the band. “Peewee Moore is a self proclaimed Honkytonk/Outlaw Country Singer/Songwriter in the same vein as Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Johnny Paycheck, and Hank Williams. He has been barnstorming around the country with his trio dubbed “Peewee Moore & The Awful Dreadful Snakes” doing an endless string of one night stands from Austin TX to you name it. ”
Deep into the band’s second set, Rob said that at some point, all the trucks, hard times, whiskey and women become interchangeable components of some greater country ür-song. “Freightliner woman, you jack-knifed my heart.” “I would drown myself in whiskey but my wife used it to bathe the dog” … But I digress.
Rob also mentioned that the table we were playing on was mildly famous. It turns out that one night a week, Ginny’s puts a board over the table, and a cage of chicken wire over the board. The board is a grid, and each grid has a number. Contestants pay money to stake claim to one of the numbers.
Then the chicken comes goes in the cage and cruises around does some version of the Poultry Strut. Sooner or later, the chicken takes a shit. Whoever owns the chicken shit-besmirched square is the lucky winner of Chicken Shit Bingo. Yee haw!
(You can skip the first three minutes or so, if all you really want to see is the, um, money shot.)