Blondie and I certainly know how to do Saturday nights in the West End.
Around 4.30pm, I managed to drag my ass off the couch and away from reruns of ER at last (finally recovered from my neon clad exploits of Friday night) and spruced myself up, ready for a wintery feast of small but wonderful proportions at Blondie’s new pad before heading into town for wine and theatre fun.
Fully intent on a relatively low key but alcoholic evening, our plans were well and truly flung out the window when we ran into PR queen BG at the interval of Crazy For You. She asked us what we were planning post show and we mused between The White Hart, The Nell and Shuttleworths, summing up which would potentially carry the most attractive clientele (I must say, due to the sheer existence of Rock Of Ages, The While Hart is winning hands down in that department at the moment). She nodded, humouring our humble Wendy tastes before suggesting;
‘Yeah, or you could come to Home House instead.’
Home House is a magical place. It is several floors of Edwardian Town House near Marble Arch, with a terrace and a nightclub and several bars and a restaurant and a games room and a roaring fire. It is where some very beautiful people hang out. And the drinks are usually on them.
Needless to say it took Blondie and I about three and a half seconds to cancel our pub crawling plans and hop in a cab with BG to the other side of Soho, where we soon stumbled into Home House, casually hiding BG’s comfy sneakers from the view of the shiny suited man with the guest list.
A few hours and a hefty bar tab later, Blondie and I found ourselves propped up in the corner of one of many lounges (BG was long gone and tucked up in bed), well into yet another bottle of red, and deconstructing my rollerdate in great detail. That was, until we were very politely interrupted by a pair of lisping French gents.
(You must imagine this next bit with the worst French accent imaginable, as that is how I tell this story)
‘Ah, my friend zere, ‘e sinks you are very beautiful,’ the stereotypical Frenchman declared. It was unclear exactly which one of us he was talking to. Regardless, he gestured wildly across the room to a group of soft eyed, floppy haired guys, only two of which did not already have girls hanging off their arms.
‘Eet is okay, see – I am already married!’ The first guy explained, as though the wedding band he flashed in our faces proved him immediately trustworthy. Thinking to myself that the night was still relatively young, and realistically we still had time to attract someone who spoke a language we could actually understand, I waved the guy off with a ‘we’ll be over for a drink later’, fully intent on never making good on that promise. Until Blondie promptly thwacked me on the thigh.
‘What are you doing?’ She demanded. ‘They looked cute! Why not?’
‘Really?’ I asked in surprise. ‘The French guys? Well, alright then.’
This is very important readers. See those last two sentences? They prove that everything that followed is entirely Blondie’s fault.
So we went over and said bonjour.
After our choice of Italian wine was somewhat bashed and a scary amount of Grey Goose vodka was introduced, we did actually end up having a nice little chat with the very rich French bankers.
‘What do you do?’ I’d asked politely. My curly haired Frenchman shrugged his shoulders and sighed.
‘Eet is very boring,’ he excused. ‘All ze french in London, zey work in finance. I don’t talk about my work. Eet is very dull. Besides you girls, you wouldn’t understand eet.’
Ah. Alright then. Well dear, I work in theatre and actually like my job. So you can deal with that. He asked me what he should see as a Frenchman in London. I suggested Les Mis – let him watch us bastardise his revolution with Matt Lucas and cockney accents and cute kids who get shot (oops – you knew Gavroche got shot right?)
Blondie, on the other hand – after explaining that she was not, in fact, Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway or Scarlet Johannson – was having a grand old time, chatting away in great detail about the film she’d just finished shooting that was going to Cannes next year. Apparently it’s called ‘The Curtain.’ She described the poster artwork and everything.
After a while (a while that contained our Frenchmen going out for smokes – and revealing to us that they were only as tall as our belly buttons, and that was standing on each other’s shoulders) we decided that we didn’t really fancy playing that game anymore. I, however, figured I didn’t mind giving the Frenchman my phone number, as we’re all the same height horizontal and I’ve always fancied a bit of continental lovin’, so when they returned we began to make our excuses.
‘Our friends are in Soho you see, and we said we’d meet them,’ I explained, thoroughly unconvincingly. Should have let Little Miss Cannes do the acting here.
‘Yeah,’ the Oscar nominee stepped in. ‘They went to a late show and dinner so we said we’d meet them after. But we come in here all the time,’ (lies) ‘so I’m sure we’ll see you again,’
‘I don’t have a card on me or anything,’ (lies, again. It just has my job title and real name on it) ‘but I do have a phone number,’ I hint. As in, take my phone number dear and you’ll definitely get lucky one day soon.
However, it seemed that après lots of vodka, les garcons did not fancy having to make the effort on a separate occasion and assumed that our clothes would simply fall off at the offer of a bottle of French wine back at their place. By this point, Blondie and I had already telepathically decided on Chinese food in China Town, and therefore were so not going there. I gave the curly haired Frenchman one more chance at my phone number.
‘You take mine,’ he suggested, but I wasn’t having any of that.
‘No, no,’ I shook my head. ‘If you give me that I’ll never call you. You’re the guy. Ball’s in your court dear.’
This did not go down too well. In fact, it prompted a hilarious drunken rant from the Frenchman about equality, which Blondie and I found rather amusing. We’ve read too much Jane Austen – you don’t have a hope when it comes to romantic equality sweetie.
Eventually, the Frenchman laid down an ultimatum.
‘Well, we ‘ave offered for you to come back to our place and drink fine French wine, so really, ze ball eez in your court,’
We considered this for all of two seconds, before promptly standing up and giving them a wave.
‘Alright, bye then!’
Twenty minutes later we were in China Town, marvelling at how you can still get decent Chinese food at 3am, and laughing at the expense of the Fwankers (French… bankers) and their Fwanky (French… swanky) wine.
C’est la vie!