Journey through space to the Planet Fabulous, where the Ruler of the Universe will see you shortly.

Monday, January 17, 2005

My Weekend

"To us!" he said, raising the glass skyward in salute.
I returned the gesture, raising my glass to my Evil Best Friend Declan. "To us."
Ten years. Ten years of knowing each other.
A whole decade of being aware of exactly what each other was capable.
He drank champagne like shots, and for once I followed suit, draining mine for dutch courage. It tasted oddly bitter. He smacked his lips and noticed my empty glass, moving in to fill it, keeping his eyes on me.
"I don't want to drink too much, if that's OK." I said, putting my hand over the glass.
"Yes, yes," he said. "It does seem the time for abstinence, doesn't it?"
He seemed oblivious to my hand, and carried on pouring and talking, leaving me covered and making me move my hand in surprise. I noted the glass was subsequently filled while I wiped my palm down my coat. I wondered whether it was on purpose.
"Well, I'm going to be taking it easy in the New Year too," he said.
This was new. I'd long held the belief that 'Dec' was short for 'Decadence'.
He airily punctuated the air with his cigarette as he carried on. "Oh yes. It's this marvellous new thing. Apparently you only have one drink per hour - really cut down. Gives the old liver a chance to recover."
"How's that going?"
He flicked at the ash, causing it to land In the hair of the lesbian on the next table. "Marvellously. For the first hour, I drink vodka. The second, whiskey.. the third, well. I forget, but there is a third. A wholly remarkable third."
I nodded, slowly. All movements are best done slowly in Declan's presence, I found.
We sat in what felt like amiable silence for a while, before I whistled through my teeth and muttered "So, ten years, eh..?"
He concurred affably, puckering his lips in thought as he pondered over the last decade's adventures. "So many memories. So many. Oh, and I read your blog-thing on Friday. Very good. Though you forgot to mention my favourite chat up line."
"Which is..?"
"'It puts the lotion in the basket, or else it gets the hose again'."
I laughed, nervously. High pitched. I tried to cover by pouring some more champagne, but my shaking hands caused the rim of the bottle to tap against the glass like I was to make a toast. People in the bar looked around, but quickly averted their eyes.
We sat some more, listening to the jukebox which was playing some really remarkable tat. I asked whether it was a nice gesture of my host that he'd managed to collate the past decade's songs by way of a celebration. He shrugged. "Like the elephant's graveyard, Leicester is the place where all music comes to die," he said.
"What do you mean?" I enquired.
He swept his hand expansively out to the dance floor opposite. "Look out there. They're dancing to the Macarena. In a moment, Las Ketchup will come on, and they will all know the moves. Then we'll get Whigfield's 'Saturday Night', and there will be more dancing in time."
I gasped, looking out at the bobbing crowd. It was true - they moved as one.
"But that's monstrous! Terrible!"
"I know. Marvellous, isn't it?" He cracked a smile that, for some reason, reminded me of Highgate Cemetery. "We're even getting former stars popping in to do PA's, now. We've had them all. Elkie. Lisa Scott-Lee. Michelle McManus..."
The overweight chanteuse? I'd last heard of Michelle McManus after she'd won the UK version of Pop Idol and had one hit. She, frankly, seemed an embarrassment to the record label who had to employ her, who then had to market an hefty lass with bingo-wings in a marketplace designed for stick-thin talent vacuums. And then she became an embarrassment to the UK public who'd only voted for her thanks to some vestige of Blitz spirit and the misguided belief that whoever comes last should be revered.
"I thought she'd disappeared?" I said.
"We last saw McManus going on her holiday just before Christmas. You know, she was going to go diving just off Sri Lanka, in the Asian ocean..."
It took a while to work through my head.
"You're going to hell, you know," I said in a rare moment of candour. "Right down to the River Styx."
"I am aware. But I bet you I'm going to get a riverside apartment."

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