Miss R and I started the evening by meeting for a coffee in a little cafe near Oxford Circus (which played lots of cheesy 90s pop like Hanson) and then we went to the club for a bite to eat. They have a small menu, but the prices are low and the food is good. We had at least an hour to gossip before other people started turning up. The music got progressively louder and the place got more populated.
It was noted that a few of the guys now have beards and soon a plan was hatched to start a beardy boy band, sorry, man band. One would be on the air harmonica and the cow bell, one on the maracas, one on the banjo and one on the ukelele. A barbershop quartet, if you will. Their first song will be a cover of 'Stonehenge' by Ylvis. You know the guys who did 'What does the Fox Say'? I hadn't heard this before, but I looked it up today and it really made me chuckle.
At some point, Miss R spotted an old friend from her childhood by the bar, A, and we all got introduced and I had a good old chat with him. A was saying that he used to teach sailing, then he became a horse trainer and is now a barrister. A friend of his, B, turned up later and I spent quite a while sandwiched between the two of them telling stories about their misspent youths, their family upbringings, dangerous sports and what they are scared of (...that something will happen to their wives, as it turns out. Aw!). A was saying that if anyone represented him on screen it would be Captain Jack Sparrow, so then we had one of those conversations about who would play us in a film, we decided on Natalie Portman for me or maybe Sandra Bullock ('I like Sandra Bullock. Not Amelie though, she's a bit frail and you're not.') while B would be played by Simon Pegg and A by Jon Richardson (the comedian from '8 out of 10 Cats'). We went outside so they could have a smoke and B spent a lot of time trying to persuade me to have a cigarette which I gracefully declined. I have no idea how many drinks they bought me but I haven't drunk that much in quite a while!
The volume was turned up and more booze was consumed so some of us had a little dance around (me? dance? never) in the small space that was available. There was quite a bit of 90s hip hop going on, and the only way to dance to that is to posture wildly and expansively and jump around quite a lot. Those who weren't dancing around like mad things were hanging out chatting in the booths. Miss R had left her lipstick on the table and the guys started playing with it and taking photos of themselves. Eventually I pulled out some red lipstick and applied it to A so he spent a lot of time pouting and kissed one of the guys near by on the cheek. It did come off, but not before B had taken a photo and sent it to A's wife.
Later on A's little brother - who is incredibly cool, you know the kind of long hair, one earring, cocky swagger kind of cool - and his gorgeous, equally cool girlfriend turned up and hung out for a bit so I got to talk to them for a while as well. At the end of the night they all wanted me to stay in London and carry on partying, but Miss R was looking a bit worse for wear so I decided to go back in the taxi with her and make sure she got home ok. I hope I see them again though, they were fabulous fun!
A few people left to go onto other clubs, but four of us got in the taxi to go back to our sleepy little town. Miss R made it home alright (though we did have to stop so she could have some fresh air and I could use the facilities) and I was in bed (with my head spinning a little) by about 3.30am. Probably the least dramatic of her birthday parties... but one of the loveliest. Lovely venue, lovely bar staff, lovely food, lovely music and lovely new friends made. Smashing!