Friday, May 09, 2003
Empty Chairs At Empty Tables
A few nights back, I had a pleasant pint or three in the Salisbury in London's Theatreland. If you don't know the pub, drop by next time you're in the area. It's a bit of a tourist trap, especially in the evenings, but putting up with the odd Teuton or two thousand is worth it for the interior magnificence alone. It's a glittering example of late-Victorian opulence, dazzling you with splendid frosted-glass windows and giant, beautifully etched mirrors; polished mahogany, plush velvet banquettes, and bronze, art-nouveau lamps and fittings. If a preservation order hasn't been slapped on it, there should be.
God knows how many years it's been since I was last in here. Way, way back when I was a regular, it was the capital's biggest gay pub, and the only homo alternative to the notorious Golden Lion, where Dennis Nilsen regularly dropped round for a rum and rent boy.
Over there, where the pay-phone used to be, that's where Miles and I… And that place at the white marble-topped bar: yeah, Ben and David always stood there… And do you remember when Alastair…? And wasn't it a laugh the time Stephen…? And then New York Buddy, of course…
"Phantom faces at the window,
It's OK. I snapped out of it and back to 2003, and, as I said, ended up having a thoroughly pleasant evening. But I don't think I'll be returning. For much the same reason as I just can't see myself ever going back to Heaven on a Saturday night.
Too many ghosts, my dears, just too many bloody ghosts.