June 10th, 2005



The Landlady has accused me of name-dropping in the past. The shame of it. If I mention my old friend from Norwich, Matthew Colman, by name and not some device, it's only in the hope that someone reading this might just be wanting to purchase an exemplary piece of traditional English garden furniture. I'm not convinced that they'll be able to afford any art dealt by his brother, James, but I mention him because he seems to have specialised to some extent in current Outsider Art and also represents Colin Self. Self is a Norfolk native, like the Colman brothers, and you wouldn't be wrong to conclude that the family may have gained some advantage over the years through dealing a fine yellow powder to the world. It is most certainly amiss of me to indicate that they are apparently both descendants of Sir Claude George Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, but there's some nice names on that list: Peregrine Bertie, Baron Elphinstone, Doon Aileen Plunket, (Honourable) Fenella Hepburn-Stuart-Forbes-Trefusis. That's pump-action, never mind double-barrelled. Not that I've any idea who most of these people are. I'm trying to remember who those other Bowes-Lyons were, the ones locked away in an asylum. The answer's just a click away: Katherine and Nerissa. There's an excellent film in there for the making. Apologies, Ma'am, the Tatler moment is concluded.

It was a pleasant evening with Matt and two other friends. The evening, as anticipated, sigh, concluded with one friend encouraging me and Matt to join him for another drink. The problem is that I know too well that these drinks always involve going to some bar or another until he finds one with a sufficiently high ratio of women so any conversation evaporates away. I just leave him to it after the first couple of drinks. I've never liked shouting at strangers. Fortunately I had Matt with me this time, but neither of us were able to sustain much dialogue over a bog-standard R'n'B soundtrack.

It's a shame because I really like the interior of the Atlantic Bar (annoying site, but you sort of get to see it), even I haven't much time for some of the clientele of recent past and present. It was formally the ballroom of the much-faded Regents Palace Hotel and giving the bar a maritime name does help you imagine that you might be inside some luxury ship of years past. Dick Bradsell (who I know, but what the effing hell is this journal turning into?!? The social pages of ES Magazine? My least favourite publication in the world. Is it important that I know him? Not really. Sorry, Mrs B-V, nevertheless I do like cocktails and there's no finer barman or authority on the matter in the country.) was instrumental in setting the bar up, but he's long gone. This would be a wonderful place if you got rid of the R'n'B and could hear the chink of glasses over a more subtle soundtrack. Preferably a band with someone crooning into a large valve microphone with crisp pronunciation. And a sign at the door reading "NO MIDRIFFS" and a giant iceberg that would crash through a fake wall every night to signal last orders at the bar. Matt and I downed our drinks and headed for the door when our friend had finagled his way into an office party and I'd tired of them [the office] trying to grab my glasses for comic routines. Perhaps a sign reading "NO SPECTACLE WRANGLING" as well.

I got in a cab. Put on the headphones. This track popped up. One of those random tracks that I hadn't heard in years and maybe had only listened to twice before in my life.

Mars Close Up - Peter Thomas Soundtrack Orchestra

We may as well have the theme tune for this seminal German sci-fi series while we're about it. Here's some background on Peter Thomas.

Space Patrol (Raumpatrouille) - PTSO

I was glad to get home. So were the glasses.