This was a few weeks ago now. I was packing up in St. Andrews at around four o'clock, and two men come up to me. They were clearly inebriated, and one had a pair of black facepaint glasses on - the other, a facepaint moustache. They spoke in a mock-Cockney accent:
"Mate of ours - it's his birthday, likes - and we will pay you a tenner, right now, if you come to the Vic and sing a song for him - just one song."
So I find myself in the Victoria cafe/bar with a tenner already in my pocket and more strange characters, all with lace doilies on their heads (their answer to my enquiry - "We're Jewish." Right). They introduce to me their friend Benjamin, who I take to be the birthday boy. They hand him a birthday present. It's a bible, signed inside: "To Benjamin, All the best - Jesus H. Christ."
The two men I met in the street introduce me to the others. They are delighted: they say "We knew you were bringing presents - we didn't know you were bringing a person!"
I sit and say: "So what do you want me to play?"
"Whatever you want."
I explain that I know quite a lot of songs, and we eventually settle on a KT Tunstall - Black Horse and the Cherry Tree. They demand more when I finish, at which point Man with Facepaint Glasses slips me another tenner under the table. So I play Kumbaya at their request and it goes on for a long time due to the one guy who knows all eleven-or-so verses.
Then they say: "Benjamin's gay, so play something suitably... gay." I guess the chords and words to I Want to Break Free."
After this I say: "How about we sing Happy Birthday or something?"
Despite being quite drunk, it is clear that Benjamin feels a little awkward.
Man with Facepaint Moustache chimes in at this point: "Actually, we weren't quite telling the truth. This is actually a coming-out party. He's the last one! We always knew, though - it was pretty obvious." he says to an abashed Benjamin.
I say, "OK... well I'm sure we can still play a song for the occasion... or just change the lyrics of Happy Birthday..."
In the end the song goes:
"Happy out-day to you,
Happy out-day to you,
Happy out-day dear Benjamin,
Happy out-day to you."
My coming-out party gig ends with a bible reading. I have no idea why they wanted me to read three verses of Genesis; doubt I'll ever know.
My total takings for the day were: £71 and a bunch of daffodils, then £20 for playing at a coming-out party.