So we booked a table at a Soho restaurant for Saturday evening. Not realising Saturday was Pride London Day. As opposed to London Pride Day which would attract streets of Keith Flett lookalikes.
We walked through Soho as the party was winding down. Or was it winding up for the night to come? Well, we walked through Soho in a bit of an alcoholic daze, unfazed by the bloke pissing against a wall and the broken bottles underfoot. In the restaurant, we sat at a window table so we could see younger people drinking, chatting, kissing, hugging, punching and littering. A glass or a bottle was thrown at the restaurant window. I felt bloody old.
At 9.30 precisely, the street cleaners came and removed all the rubbish from the street. A little later the fire brigade turned up to sort out a gush which was making a bit of a river of one side of the street. They came, they went and everybody carried on doing what they were doing.
I'd chosen the restaurant from the Time Out Guide 1998. Back then, Phill Jupitus was a regular. The food was supposed to be decent and the portions were meant to be large, plenty enough for a man of Jupitus' girth. Of course we didn't see him there and no wonder, for he would have needed ten main courses as his starter.
We left the restaurant, unsatiated, and walked back through the partying crowd, just avoiding stepping in a drunk young woman's vomit. We missed our train by 30 seconds. With half an hour to kill we went to the nearest pub where they graciously relieved us of £9.50 for two glasses of wine.
We stepped off the train the other end and my stomach was demanding more food. So into the kebab shop it was for a nice hot portion of chips. While we were waiting for the order, a very unusual family got out of a cab and joined us at the counter. Dad had a head like a violent billiard ball and big earrings. Mum and the kids looked like they'd stepped out of a 1973 holiday camp. This was obviously the climax to their night out. Kebabs and chips to take away.
They seemed to be regulars. All it now needed was Phill Jupitus to walk in to make it the perfect evening.