[Editor’s note: just so you’re aware in advance nothing scary happens in this story, just in case some of the juxtaposition makes you think of scary things and me walking in dark alley’s by myself with strange men] So on my way home last night I was walking back from Clapham junction, and I decided to take the route through the estate for some reason. I’m never sure which way is the best way to go so I’m pretty inconstant. My brother thinks that through the estate is safer because there’s more places to escape too as apposed to the tall walls the other way. Where as Nick just thinks that being on “their” territory is why it’s a bad idea. Anyway so I was walking along in there and there was just this one other bloke who was walking, some distance away, on the other side of the street going the same way as me (so his back was facing me) and all of a sudden he says very loudly (or at least it seemed loud on a very still night in a very echoy place) “I’m just going to have to take a piss”. And then he does. He just stops walking whips down his trousers and starts – in the middle of the street! Now I know that sometimes you just have to go, I know that these things sometimes just suddenly happen. BUT! Honestly! Really? Everyone surely knows that the best way to deal with these things is to go into some corner and try and to attract as little attention to yourself as you can. Surely? But no apparently. He was just standing in the middle of the pavement as free of shame as the day he was born. He wasn’t even against a wall!
The only time this kind of thing has occurred in my life before (not people relieving themselves in public and trying to hide it but the other thing) was in fact at a tube station (for some reason the name of it’s gone at the moment but it’s the one which is one further North on Tottenham Court Road than Goodge Street – Begins with a W [Warren Street in case you were wondering -Ed]). I was travelling up the escalator to the street level (last set of escalators) and the woman in front of me suddenly started going. It was incredible. I quickly sidestepped the cascading waterfall that she had created and wooshed away up the stairs but I feel that some of my fellow travellers were not so lucky.
Anyway, talking of sidestepping I seem to have for some reason totally sidestepped taste. But I’m going to blame the guy in the street last night. If it hadn’t been for him we’d have just ended with the story about the toilets in the crossed keys. Actually this reminds me that I haven’t been back to the Crossed Keys for ages. Every time I hear that name though I can’t forget the fantastic occasion in which I lost my brother while I was sitting in that pub. It was my birthday last year I think and there were a number of us in there. The group certainly included Stewart and Rod to begin with but I can’t remember who else. But Joe and Kris weren’t there. Anyway Pete arrived late, completely steaming with a mate of his that he’d met up with down in a pub in Kensington. I’d met this guy once before, but didn’t know him very well and he didn’t know any of the other people who were there but that was fine – at first. Rod had to go early for some reason (early squash game, early meeting etc) and so he was about to toddle off and my brother said that he needed to go to the cash machine. This was not necessary, I mentioned because we were only going to stay for one more beer in the pub and then go off to the restaurant and there were plenty of cash machines on the way there. But he insisted and when my brother is a bit drunk he’s a hard man to argue with. I don’t by the way mean to imply violence or difficulty, what I mean is that once he’s drunk he just looses all normal reasoning functions. He tends to veer off into outright surrealism. Which is great fun but does tend to mean that sense is left a bit by the wayside.
Anyway so off he goes to show Rod the way back to the Covent Garden Tube (Rod knew where it was but Pete insisted) and then to find a cash machine. Now in April it was quite warm and Pete left his jacket (and his phone) in the pub. And by the time he’d found left Rod at the tube station and had had one more drink inside him than he’d had when he found the pub the last time he’d totally lost his bearings. Sadly however – family trait – he couldn’t remember the name of the pub either. He kept thinking it was called the Crossed Ts. And if anybody said the Crossed Keys to him then he would assure them that he was certainly the one who should know what pub he was looking for not them. We couldn’t phone him because he’d left his phone with us. When his coat started ringing we realised his mistake. Anyway in the end he made it back and we made it to Signor Grilli’s although that wasn’t the only time that we lost my brother that night. Later on, just when the food order was about to happen Pete was suddenly missing. We assumed that he must have just gone to the loo. But when he didn’t show up after a bit we were beginning to get worried. Eventually the waitress came up to me and asked if the reason we were waiting to order was because one of our party wasn’t with us. When we said yes, she revealed that Pete had already placed his order with her and that she knew exactly where he was. He’d gone to Tescos (also on Goodge Street) to buy a packet of cigars so that we could all celebrate my birthday properly. Ignoring the fact that he was the only one who smoked at all!