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Waiting for Ian

(A gay stroll, just to pass the time of course)

It’s when you’ve been shat on from a great height that you suddenly find the most amazing friends that have always been in your life; or wonderfully just appear.

So it was with Ian. After two years silence he suddenly got in touch. At a time when I was realising that someone I really liked a hell of a lot was a waster – and a very ill mannered one at that.

When it was arranged for Ian and myself to meet up, I made the train booking etc. to travel up to London from Wales on the Friday. Ian suddenly remembered that he had a prior arrangement so I had three hours to kill – in Central London.

Now this was at 6.0pm on a Spring evening. Not really the best time/weather for sightseeing.

No problem I thought, a couple of halves of lager, not too much of course (me?)

So, getting off at Tottenham Court Road tube I slowly made my way to Seven Dials. I like the shops round there; but first a quick half.

I called into ‘Box’, a gay bar I’m assuming, where my shaven hairstyle seemed to fit into place even if my warm fleece jacket didn’t. What with all the butch t-shirts and usual late winter attire for the fit brave young things (and those of my grand age putting fashion before comfort!)

Never mind, I bet they catch cold before I do at the first sneeze.

Half pint Stella lager - 1.62 (gulp, and that’s not just my lager)

Now the staff was politeness itself. But it’s not a place I would recommend for those alone.

Walking down Neal Street itself is a pleasure. But I made sure my plastic card was safely tucked in my jeans – no retail therapy this evening.

The shops are really cool man (do people still say that), and the people walking the street a nice cosmopolitan blend.

Some advice: if you go into one of the fashionable shops (which I wouldn’t with my lovely, but homely fleece jacket) and you’re wondering where the shop assistant is, take a look at the exit – see the trendy little thing by the door on his/her mobile – well I’d guess that’s a good place to start, especially if the conversation is revolving round the latest party dahling.

On to ‘Neal Street East’ (oriental shop). Now I can walk in here in comfort and don’t feel at all threatened. The staff smile even if you’re not buying (well most of them – some were talking about a party the night before – yawn, I mean, I wasn’t there!)

Through Covent Garden, and a little walk round the ‘Opera House’. Nice building, but I wondered why it hadn’t been re-named ‘Lottery Hall’; you know, something Joe Public can associate with, like ‘The Dome’.

I get the idea that perhaps Joe Public isn’t expected to go to the ‘Opera House’.

A drink I thought. Gosh, I found myself in ‘Brief Encounter’. I seem to recall this used to be a very popular place, so perhaps this was just an off night. The lager was somewhat a more reasonable price, the barman friendly, and the other customers must have been working ever so hard during the day in there nice suits, and in need of some soft lighting, to hide the creases in their trousers.

An unusual venue I thought for so many suited people.

Downstairs, when it opened at 7.30 pm, was rather interesting with a young couple whispering keenly into each others receptive ears about the days office events.

And not to be overlooked was quite an attractive Asian/Oriental on his own; cleverly averting his gaze from my enquiring glances (obviously feeling in awe of my fleece jacket)

On out into the night.

By now it was my mission to see if there was anywhere that sold lager other than Grolsch.

And of course kill time till I met Ian.

Up through Leicester Square, round the back street past all the interesting little Oriental stores, and convenient dark doorways (ever so useful at night I should imagine).

Up onto Shaftesbury Avenue, and into Soho.

To the ‘Village’.

Cute bar staff, obviously into gym workouts etc. But determined not to get muscle bound, just well proportioned in the right places.

And the novelty of getting my change on sweet little silver trays, now that would go down a treat up the Welsh Valleys I thought.

I liked the ‘Village’. You could stay on your own (and probably would if you went in alone), but not feel awkward about it.

And they sold ‘Kronenbourg’ Yeehaa a decent pint of lager!!

It was essential I took advantage of my good luck, so had a pint or two.

As surely did the increasing number of Asian/Orientals who frequented the back bar. My estimation of this fine people has gone up immeasurably since realising their splendid taste in lager, and their amazing ability to consume it without anyone noticing it in their possession.

But now I was spoiling myself. And time was passing, surely I should call into ‘Comptons’, this place is a must.

And so it was. A bit like a Workingmen’s club on a Saturday Night. Only you wouldn’t take your father there (your mother maybe?)

The kind of place you actually would end up in conversation with someone if you so desired; and they could see a good quality fleece jacket when they saw one.

Look at the time. No excuse, I got here three hours early.

Mad dash to the ‘Half Way’. Just by Charring Cross station.

So-called I guess because it’s half way to Heaven from somewhere. The ideal place to meet up with people, and you want a chat.

Don’t be deceived by the small bar upstairs, it’s got a nice atmospheric bar downstairs. Yes this is one place I’d always suggest for meeting people.

And Ian walked in through the door minutes later. ‘Sorry about the confusion over arrangements’ he said. ‘That’s alright’ I said ‘I managed to pass the time’.

‘Where now’?

You know, when you’re in the company of a good friend, you don’t really care do you.