Bad-mouthing your country, I'll bet

It was only a joke, but it could have led me into bad trouble. After I did my MPhil at Cambridge, I sometimes frequented the University Centre, widely renowned as one of the ugliest buildings in Cambridge. It was built in 1967 at the height of Sixties concrete brutalism, and serves as a graduate centre, with meeting rooms, bar and restaurant. The bar then was depressing, chrome and bright lights with televisions blaring. However, it was usually empty and it was central and fairly near to Pembroke College.

I was in the bar once, when the bartender, knowing I was President of the Adam Smith Institute, said, "Here's someone you should meet. He's the Liberal Democrat organizer for Cambridge."

I humourously put on my best Lou Gosset drill sergeant voice from "An Officer and a Gentleman" and asked, "Where you been, boy? Bad-mouthing your country, I'll bet, and listening to punk rock music." It did not go down well. The man put down his pint and said in a shocked, incredulous voice, "What did you say?"

It turned out he'd never seen the movie, and I had to explain the scene from the movie very rapidly, and that it was a joke. Fortunately he saw the funny side of it, and thought his lack of knowledge of it, and his reaction, made it even funnier.