When I arrived at the door he opened it with a flourish (I was impressed, flourishes don’t come cheap) and waved me through. He was wearing a bright purple tie of crushed velvet. I had to admit that it was rather striking, but I wish he’d worn something with it.
“What do you think?” He asked, throwing his arms wide.
“I think it’d go nicely with a shirt and some trousers” I replied.
“Nonsense!” he barked “Conspicuous displays of nudity to provide the illusion of confidence are ‘in’ this season. Now where are my bloody glasses?”
“By the door, next to your normal glasses” I replied.
“Ah. Thanks,” he said, donning the specs. “Body fluids are in this season – homicide chic is so now”
He explained that his new job was as a restaurant critic. “But you have no experience of fine dining!” I protested. “Your favourite meal is a fish finger sandwich, Served with nutella!”
“I know... It’s perfect!” he said “having unqualified opinions and sharing them with anyone who’ll listen is so in right now”. He adjusted his tie. “That’s actually why I rang you. I thought you might like to join me for a meal. I was thinking we could go to this new place in Soho, the Cólvért. It’s very trendy, It’s got a gimmick and everything.”
“What’s the gimmick?”
“Duck pond dining. There aren’t any tables or chairs, you just sort of mill about with the other patrons, and the waiters throw bread in your general direction.”
“No tables? But what if you were to order soup?”
“You don’t order”
“It’s a fixed menu?”
“Yes. Just bread”.
“No thanks” I said. I didn’t feel like spending the evening standing up – if Michael insisted on going nude, the least I could do was get him behind a table. “How about that literary place? You know, the Byron Bar”
“I’ve reviewed it before. The food’s not great but the cocktails are good – especially Tequila Mockingbird and Pride and Prejudisaronno.” He was preening in the mirror, applying hairgel to the tips of his fingers, like a peacock, applying hairgel to the tips of his fingers. “I know,” he said, giving a thumbs up to his reflection. “We can go to ‘Split’. It’s a new experimental place that does fission cuisine”