LB and I descend into the pit down a flight of steep, wide steps and I laugh under my breath that it feels like we’re Cinderellas entering the ball. I’m not overexaggerating much. LB attracts male attention anywhere she goes and here men outnumber women at least five to one.
I am fuming. It’s half past ten on a steamy Thursday night and I’m miles from home on a terrifyingly overcrowded dark platform. The next train isn’t due for ages. The tube strike has broken London’s transport system and everyone is miserable. At least I’m not alone in that.
I was primped to within an inch of my life: blow wave sleek, nails shellacked in inoffensive beige, Hobbs heels on, hair hidden under an equally beige hat, dressed modestly, lipstick lacquering my lips. The only hiccup was my name badge: Miss Alexander E. Alexander. I was about to go rub modestly-covered shoulders with London’s best coiffed and I was going to do so as an Alexander.
“It’s a stress headache, so you should drink your wine.” Forget doctors, see Twiggy for medical advice. Our resident medical expert tops up Paris’s wineglass.
This weekend we went to Riga. As you do.
Mixing friends is chemistry. Add people to a beaker and wait. You usually get a reaction. Sometimes it bubbles along nicely. And sometimes it blows up in your face.
Monday afternoon, a bank holiday. It’s pouring with rain and the window in my bedroom is open to let out warm air and let in splashes of cold water. We’ve ordered Indian take-away and are waiting.
Somewhere between Aussies in uniform, sweaty boys in Bintang beer singlets, plentiful cheap beers, we had stepped through a black hole to an Australia that never quite existed. It was 4pm. We could stay here all night.
There was only one little problem with this genius plan.
Because being an Australian in London is apparently much like being in high school again, let’s talk about boys, shall we?
So, let’s go back to the dark and rainy and neon-lit Clapham High St, midnight on the verge of Good Friday.