Our Encounter With The Birmingham Piss Troll
Anyone who spent their formative years in Birmingham, or anyone who’s ever visited and has bad people as hosts will probably know about a quaint little night-club called Subway City. I’m sure every city has an equivalent; It’s the kind of place that sells face melting alcohol for about 50p a shot, will provide really drunk people with disastrously dangerous poppers for a reasonable price and at any given time will have a 10 man strong group of metal-heads standing in a circle facing each other, occasionally with their shirts off, playing air guitar to Enter Sandman and only pausing to compliment each others moves or to kick newbie 15 year old punx like me out the circle for not nailing the solo properly. I have no idea if it’s still like this since I take every precaution to try and avoid Birmingham like the plague now, but back then it was a real haven.
One particularly neat feature of Subway City was the fact that it was right next to a kind of bridge over a canal with a little set of stairs to the side that was perfect for pissing off if you wanted to avoid wading through the veritable sludge of human waste that unwaveringly occupied the toilet floor inside. You know the kind of stairs that kind of go down and round in a column so that when you’re standing at the top step you’re directly above the bottom one? Kind of like in a castle turret or some shit? Well anyway, it’s at the top of this set of stairs, or more accurately at the bottom of them on the towpath next to the canal that one of the most bizarre episodes of my life so far eventually transpired.
It happened at around 1.15 in the morning on a cold October Saturday. There I was, minding my own business, attempting to spell my name in the canal waters beneath me when I saw it, suspended in the darkness below like the moon in the night sky; A mask. Underneath me. Underneath my piss. And we’re not talking your average Tesco £1.20 ‘Crazy Halloween Vampire’ mask here, we’re talking some custom made, guitarist from Limp Bizkit style (it wasn’t him, I checked, he was on tour in Germany at the time), Mercedes-of-masks level shit. Obviously my reaction to this was to do what any rational, considerate human being would do, i.e. shouting “oh fuck! sorry man!” and immediately diverting my stream of piss away from the man with the mask who was on the receiving end of it. What happened next is where things get really alarming.
It moved to follow my stream of piss.
What ensued after the moment of realisation that he was enjoying it can probably be most closely compared to the epic struggle between a champion angler and the award winning Bass he’s trying to reel in at a big fishing competition, only instead of the fisherman’s line there’s a stream of piss, instead of the fish there’s a HUMAN BEING’S FACE, and instead of trying to reel it in this particular angler was trying his frantic best to avoid the fish/face at all costs, all the while constantly screaming “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING!?” at the top of my voice.
It was so upsetting I even considered the nye-on-impossible and potentially bladder infection inducing ‘mid-stream stop’, but luckily the tank was close to empty and I could see he was tiring, so I chose to ride it out and put the whole traumatic experience behind me and go back into the CLURB (intentional spelling mistake) feeling violated.
Obviously I spent the next week recounting this story to anyone that would listen, to varying degrees of audience belief. I don’t blame the haters, it’s a pretty outrageous story to believe and the whole time I was never sure of who believed me or not. One thing I was sure of, however, is that it was over. It was soon to be a thing that happened in my past that maybe someday I’d tell girls about to try and make them laugh or some shit, and I could rest safe in the knowledge that I was never going to piss in anyone’s face ever again for the rest of my life.
I was wrong.
The next week I went back to Subway City because there wasn’t a great deal else to do in Birmingham.
So did he. (or she, the mask didn’t give much away and I’d hate to suggest that only men are capable of enjoying masochistic urinary acts).
My reaction was pretty similar to the last time, only this time I immediately went back inside and grabbed (after washing my hands, you animal) a friend to come outside with me and verify the story. Sure enough, as soon as the piss began to fall, Maskman (/Maskwoman) came crawling out of his/her hole like an intrepid bear cub leaving the den for the first time, to bask in the warm shower of someone else’s recycled alcohol for the minute or so of forbidden happiness they’d been looking forward to all week.
During the weeks and months that followed I think most of the people I know (and a fair few I didn’t) were rounded up and taken to the spot so they could experience first hand the creature we soon came to refer to affectionately as ‘The Piss Troll’, and various missions were undertaken to try and answer some of the unavoidable questions that were bound to arise from a situation such as this. At first, we were far too scared to go down the steps and confront it head on, because let’s be honest, if a person’s willing to enthusiastically seek out strangers to piss on them, who knows what THE FUCK they’re going to do up close and personal, so we started trying to shout down and communicate with it. However it didn’t seem too happy to talk to us, which I think is kind of rude considering it was more than happy to bathe in our piss on a weekly basis. I mean, whatever happened to small talk? It just made a kind of groan, which obviously scared us off from going down there even more.
Ultimately though, I think we all knew in our hearts that it was only a matter of time until curiosity would get the better of us and we’d have to go down there and face our fears, so one night we descended the stairs en masse (for safety, obviously) ready to face whatever we found at the bottom with courage and acceptance in our hearts. Unfortunately, it would seem the Piss Troll was a lot more willing to accept our piss than it was to accept our friendship, because before we’d even made it down to the second level of the stairs it’d bolted, leaving only the smell of stale urine and the crushed hopes and dreams of a group of bemused teenagers in his wake.
I guess we must have spooked him that day because try as we may we would never catch a glimpse of The Piss Troll ever again. One can only hope that he/she found a piss spot as fruitful as that one to lurk under and fulfill his/her questionable desires. Maybe somewhere in the Jewellery Quarter.
So there you have it, there’s a piss troll in Birmingham that wears a mask and lurks under bridges waiting to be on the receiving end of some high quality U-R-I-N-E. Bet you never knew that?
Oh and on the off-chance that the troll itself is reading this, all I can say is; “Buddy…. we’ll always have the memories.”