Thursday, November 21, 2002

While we were upstairs at Sanctuary, a guy approached me: "Excuse me, but didn't you used to study in Coventry?"
"No," I answered, "I've never even been to Coventry. Must be someone else."
"Sorry," he said, and walked away. But then he turned back: "But you are from South Africa?"
"Er, yes. How do you know that?"
"Don't you remember? We met about four years ago at that place in King's Cross?"
"Central Station?"
"No, no, the other one. It's not there anymore."
"The Bell?"
"Yes, The Bell. We met there on a Sunday. I had just been to a Marc Almond Christmas concert. You came back to mine, in Maida Vale."
I was about to tell him that I'd never been to The Bell, that it had closed before I even arrived in London, but the mention of Marc Almond intrigued me.
"Which Marc Christmas concert was it? The Palladium? Union Chapel?"
"Oh, that doesn't matter," he said, "but you came back with me. I was staying in a posh flat in Maida Vale."
"No, sorry."
"My name's Andrew? I'm a teacher?"
"Andrew! Why didn't you say so? Of course! You teach - let's see - Information Technology? I remember. But this was more than four years ago - I'd only just arrived in London - it was more like eight. I wouldn't have known where Maida Vale was at the time. And it wasn't The Bell we met at, but the Market Tavern. Yes, yes, yes. How are you? You know, I sometimes ask your friend - you know, Ian, the one who only says hello to us every other time we see him - about you, but he says you don't speak to each other anymore. That was years ago. I was living in, let's see, Putney at the time. God, that takes me back…"

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