GORDON SANITAIRE by Gordon Urquhart (XXIX)

Old Times

The venue bills itself as one of the eighteen funkiest bars in the world, and while this sort of claim would ordinarily make me run in the other direction, there I was. There we all were. The original Buffet Buggers, a dining club of carousers and ladies’ men with villainy in their souls who had not met, and certainly not dined, for many years. The times we had! I’ll tell you about it one day. But suffice to say our escapades often included the kind of car chases and explosions you might find in a James Bond film. Perhaps I exaggerate somewhat. But there was certainly danger and excitement, and the odd dollop of romance, just a little bit, and it was usually rounded off with Romeo y Julieta Churchills all round. They were the club’s official Cuban and we smoked them to excess, but in the good way.

The sons of the Buggers all became close at school too, and this kept the ten original members acquainted. It was a career milestone of one of the boys which brought us together.  Hugo Mortimer’s son Rupert is about to become a Crown Prosecutor and that’s a very big thing indeed. Morty was proud the way only a dad who cut a swathe through the Supreme Court, defending colourful racing identities, and adding extensions to his house every year, can be when his son makes such a success of life working for the other side. If Rupert does a good job, and there’s no reason to expect he won’t do a good job, he could be a district court judge in ten years.

So we toasted Rupert’s success and caught up, as I hear younger people say. We spoke to each other, asked how we’d been getting on, filled each other in. That was the fathers. The sons mingled. Three of the boys, who are all in their forties now, went over to a table of young ladies and asked them to dance and danced with them. Our party was a men only night, so the boys had left their wives at home, and it was good to watch them have some fun on the dance floor. Unfortunately the twins couldn’t attend as Jeremy was delivering a paper at a surgical conference in Lake Como and Marcus is still on a year-long tour with the Wiener Symphoniker[1]. The dads sat and gossiped while the sons amused themselves with members of a hen’s night, which arrived at the venue later on.

I asked Morty about his dad, and I couldn’t have been more surprised when he said that Mr. M was coming later on. Mr. M and I got on very well when I was growing up. I think he thought of me as more of an ideal son than his actual son, which seemed a bit hard on Morty, who was a decent bloke and a good cards player and an entertaining presence in the court room.

Patron numbers had begun to thin as the elderly gentleman made his way into the bar. His head was magnificent, a face full of gravitas and a mane of thick silver hair. He wore a leather jacket and corduroy trousers and his shoes were English suede brogues. It was like looking in the mirror. He always seemed so sophisticated when we were growing up, and he still does.

He shook my hand and said, “Is there a brothel nearby, where we can get a drink, and, perhaps, something else?” We laughed. Some things don’t change.


[1] The Vienna Symphony Orchestra to you and me.

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Published in: on August 27, 2012 at 8:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

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