I hate Burger King. I hate it in the same way that people hate McDonald’s. To me, it represents everything that’s wrong with the world, and it comes with worse chips. I particularly hate the way people think that its burgers are somehow better because they come with a tomato attached to it. This is gash. Burgers are either proper gourmet ones that come with thick malt shakes on the side, or the ones with Big Mac special sauce in. There is no in between, particularly not for £4.50 and a Superman cup. Anyway. A Sprite at Burger King costs marginally less than food at Burger King, and I was hungry. What a fucking mistake. I got that other-people’s-McDonald’s feeling of intense fury and disgust with myself. What with that and the fact I was forced to read Vogue for ten minutes, by the time Random Birth Twin rocked up, I was about as happy as syphilis.
Cocktails make us happy. This is what RBT and I do. Occasionally we play Scrabble, or go to the pub, or do something non-cocktail related, but mostly it’s cocktails. The drinks are mostly incidental, it’s just nice to have a conversation somewhere where you can deliberate about the amount of pretentiousness you put in your glass.
Last night’s stop was at Loungelover, off Shoreditch High Street, a place which has travelled so far through the kingdom of Ironia that it’s lost its passport back. It has flames and stone lions outside the front door. Jesus. Inside, impossibly smart staff stand at the door burning joss sticks (how very 1995) and talking to more interesting people on their mobiles. By the time you’ve adjusted your eyes to the gloom, it’s too late to leave – truly, Loungelover is a boho’s drunken eBay binge gone mad. Chandeliers, bits of anatomy drawings on the wall, self-conscious velvet sofas and really bad candles. Ouch.
RBT had one of the sugary girlie drinks he always has, followed by something with Wasabi in it that tasted of dip. You could have dunked sausages in it, not drunk it. I had a Mark Thyme. Supposedly it had thyme and tarragon liqueur in it, but mostly it tasted of bourbon, which kind of spoiled the point of having something as ludicrous as thyme listed as an ingredient. One thing Loungelover is very good for is playing ‘spot the media twat’. RBT spotted a kingpin example, wearing a white flatcap, black glasses and a scutty beard that looked like a cross between a soul patch (ask him – something jazz players have, apparently) and a goatie. Poor man. We decided he was a short film director and left him to it.
The whole point of us being in Shoreditch was to see ex-Gorky’s wunderkind Euros Childs play at the Spitz. He’s probably a bit old to be a wunderkind now, but having caught his set at Latitude, I didn’t really care. RBT sulked about not getting to go to gigs he wanted. He’s choosing next time, as long as it’s free. HSBC hates me. What with it being beyond meltingly hot in the Spitz, we ditched the dull support band for juice and stuff. Ooh look, they do oysters. “They’re quite good,” says RBT, a fish fanatic if ever there was one. “How come you’ve never had them? You’re middle-class. I thought you people ate oysters all the time.”
He’s got us confused with walruses. We get some oysters. In Spitalfields Market. This is weird: last time I was here I ate Welsh Rarebit and looked longingly at furniture with Polly. Bloody nesting instinct, I keep on having blissful daydreams about battered leather armchairs. We sit down with our juice and oysters next to two Americans, one of whom has those snakey tattoos down his arm favoured by unimaginative teenagers and members of Slayer. One thing nobody ever bothered to tell me about oysters is that you have to physically remove them from their shell. They’re attached by some kind of suction cup that required three minutes of prodding to detach, by which time the horrible thing was slopping around like somebody’s earwax. So much for elegantly sliding them down your throat: you need a Cub Scout to hand just to prepare the damn thing.
I chucked it back the way you’re supposed to, a sort of headbang in reverse. It tasted of sea water - worse, wrong fish. I didn’t feel particularly turned on by the sensation of it going down my throat, but it didn’t feel like snot either – not that I’ve ever swallowed two square inches of snot, but you get the idea. I suppose if you’d been starved of conversation, vision and sex for a long enough period of time it could be seen as feeling vaguely sensual – it sort of rubs against your throat instead of sliding – but only if you can deal with the fucking awful bitterness of the sea taste.
I had a second one to prove it wasn’t as shit as the first. It was. RBT had three, then we ran away to watch Euros Childs and drown, slowly, in our own sweat. Burgers, oysters and the Welsh. What a weird fucking evening.