It’s cold in the Venta in the winter. The double doors onto the terrace are always open, just in case people passing by assume the bar is closed. I don’t mean Manchester mist cold, or Newcastle nithering: you can’t see your breath outside, not at 11 in the morning. But it is cold inside. And the older the building the colder it is. Places designed to leak out the oppressive August heat don’t stay warm at this time of year. That’s why there’s a coffee in front of me; and if there’s a brandy in it, well it’s a traditional drink. Not for 11 a.m., I admit. It’s called a Carajillo; a short lung-tar consistency coffee with a shot of the house’s cheapest brandy. It should be drunk last thing at night, before you go home. The name means ‘little cart’. Too many and you would need one.
Andreas - whose name is Andres, but the Ventaboyos and OAPs from Bolton and Brighton can’t get their head round the Hispanic version – is shaking a not inconsiderable booty behind the bar. On a good day he looks 60, I know he’s 52. I ask him if he’s keeping warm.
‘Nooooo,’ he draws it out, answering in English, as he always does. ‘I like this music.’
The radio is tuned to MalagaFM, the soundtrack to your life; which sounds better in Spanish, but not much. The station’s unerring nose for the ripest of cheese is confirmed again: ‘My Coo Ca Choo’ is inspiring Andreas’ terpsichorean feats.
‘Hey, he has a residency in Nerja, you know.’
‘He play in Nerja?’ He stops dancing, looks at me like a dog at a bone.
‘Yeah, all this month.’
‘Dios, Alvin Stardust. Me voy.’ Shocked into Spanish.
I guess he does like the music, if he’s going to go to the gig. I order another way-too-early-see-me-home-drink and wonder if he’d be so keen to see Shane Fenton or Bernard Jewry.