Thursday, June 12, 2003
Cocktails At Eight
Last night I met up with a friend from my former clubbing days. He's quite a few years younger than me, the one who, when we first met in the coffee bar at Trade, asked me: "So, Stranger, tell me about the London scene in the Olden Days." Amazingly, we still talk to each other. (And one day I might even talk about those "Olden Days" as well.)
We arranged to meet in the G.A.Y bar, on Old Compton Street, on the grounds I needed somewhere to sit down. It’s a huge place, decorated a migraine-inducing fluorescent orange, popular with fresh-faced, just-out-of-school, up-for-it punters who pack it nightly, no doubt drawn by the connoisseur range of alcopops, and the fact the bar sells Mars Bars and tubes of Smarties.
Some of these young puppies probably haven't started shaving yet, and neither they, nor their female hangers-on, seem to hold down jobs. Who'd employ anyone with that dress-sense anyway? Baggy bumless parachute-trousers with straps and chains and things hanging and flapping from them; trainers stacked so high they get vertigo wiggling on over to the bar for the next Bacardi Breezer. (And no, I am not being an old fart either; I was young too. Once. And New Romantics never looked that silly.)
The walls are lined with plasma screens blasting out the latest pop promos of bands of young people whose faces I don't recognise, and whose songs I'm sure I heard Bananarama singing years ago. I might add the music was so deafening that after the first Smirnoff Ice I insisted we move on.
Next stop was a smooth and airy lounge-bar just round the corner. "Gay-mixed", this one, therefore still nelly enough for me, but less noisily so or in-yer-face. Here people "doing drinks" were dressed sensibly - DKNY and Diesel for the media-boyz, Nigel Hall or Paul Smith for the ad-whores, why, I think I even spotted an unstructured Armani although it was probably just a two-piece from Next. And instead of Mars Bars, we could opt to choose from an à la carte menu, and even have the over-priced cocktails brought to our table by charmingly inept bar-staff.
It was all so much more mature and, well, sophisticated, compared to the poptastic partying back at the crèche, my darlings. And, as I sipped my third cocktail, I realised I'd been tapping my feet on the parquet to Perry Como and "Magic Moments", not to mention lip-synching to Dionne's "I Say A Little Prayer", for the last hour and a half.
So, I think it’s finally time to admit, my dears, that your Invisible Stranger might just be tottering over into that dark and terrifying abyss known only as an utterly pretentious Middle Age. And I'm going down screaming, I'll have you know, with a whisky sour in my hand.