Who’d have thought there would be two retro American-style underground Bowling Alleys 400m apart in Bloomsbury? Well, clearly not our stag party, as over half of us found ourselves in the wrong one for the first confusing hour and a half of the evening. It had been a while since I’d bowled, and I was glad to see that I still possessed the consistency of my youth; first ball in left gutter, second ball in the right gutter. Every time. Whilst I did my level best to politely (and skilfully) avoid them, Whitfud kept knocking down the pins in the middle of the two gutters and making a right mess. Fortunately they had a machine that cleared them all up each time, so I don’t think anyone minded too much.
My first ever stag party turned out to be a rather sedate affair, and perhaps surprisingly that suited me fine. Conversation and cigars seem to be the order of the day. As the night wore on, it befell to the Norwegian Tore – whose name is nowhere as near as easy to pronounce as it is to spell. The best approximation I can manage is "TuoOhhgruk" – to liven things up a little, producing as he did some racy photos from Whitfud’s youth which made the rest of our college days seem rather dull in comparison. Although saying that, personally I’m rather glad knowing there aren’t any photos in circulation of me perched atop an Abu Ghraib prison-style human pyramid butt-naked and grinning idiotically. But I suppose it takes all sorts.
Whitfud was stepping out with the soon-to-be Mrs Whitfud when I first met him some six years ago. That state of affairs didn’t continue for long though, undoubtedly much to Whitfud’s chagrin. And so, for the vast majority of the time I’ve known him, it seems – whether he knew it or not – that Whitfud was just waiting for things to work themselves out in the way these things in life so often do (I fancy that one day he will come to know this intervening time, in which he had to befriend the likes of me, as The Wilderness Years). And now they have worked themselves out, which evidently makes Whitfud happy. And that makes me happy.
At some point during the evening, Whitfud attempted to convey these sentiments to us all. We sat listening in the dark of Lincoln’s Inn Fields and although we couldn’t see one another I’m sure we all shared a warm smile as Whitfud spoke of coming full circle to find himself back where he belongs.
"That was beautiful" said Tore drawing deeply on his Cuban Cigar as Whitfud ended his heartfelt speech, "but not very manly."
Right I’d better go as I have a Wedding to attend. To the Town Hall!
4 weeks ago