Thursday, January 23, 2003

I’d originally planned to go to Nag Nag Nag with Luca and Ian last night. Luca wasn't feeling well, and Ian confessed that while he’d love to meet me for a drink, he had no intention of going clubbing. I pretended this was OK, and met him at Comptons. After a couple of pints, I played on Ian's parsimonious nature: "You know the drinks would be cheaper at the club," I hinted. This was enough to get his whiskers bristling, and we headed off to The Ghetto, on Ian’s strict proviso that if there was a queue, we would wait no more than ten minutes.

Nag Nag Nag was once an experiment, a silly idea that a couple of queer DJs had one night: "What if we ran a club and played all our favourite 80s electropop tunes – would anyone come, do you think?" Come they do, in their hordes. We arrived half an hour before the doors were due to open, and already the queue was several hundred strong.

Ian’s threat of just ten minutes proved an empty threat, as we ended up chatting to a young Australian bloke. Antipodean, young, inexperienced, malleable – he had Ian written all over him, and we waited on line, while Ian bombarded him with his latest theories, for all of half an hour. But the doors still hadn’t opened, the queue still hadn’t moved, so the two of us gave up and went to Sanctuary for one drink, and then to the Edge for another.

Ian eventually gave in to his baser instincts and decided he was going to The Swan. I asked him nicely if he’d mind swinging by Nag Nag Nag, just in case the queue had diminished. He agreed, but it hadn’t – the line was at least as long as it had been when we’d left. But…

…Now, imagine an "Ideal World" scenario. The young Australian would not quite have got in yet and would indeed be at the very, very front of the queue. You would think for a moment about joining him, risking the wrath of all those who had been queuing for hours. But then you would notice that the security person on the door is someone you know quite well, and she would wave you in, for free, immediately.

And that's exactly what happened. Anyway, once in, you buy a beer which, when you turn your back for literally fifteen seconds while you take your jacket off, is nicked. Bloody students. You buy another beer, and then another, and another, and then another and then you see club owner Wayne Shires with - wait for it - Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant.

What do you say to Neil Tennant? Especially in an electropop club? While you dance, right next to the man himself, to Gary Numan, The Faint, Ms Kittin and Tobias Bernstrup, you mentally run through all the possibilities: "See - you guys were so far ahead of your time"; "Checking out the competition?"; "Don’t you wish your last album hadn’t been so bloody acoustic?"; "Where’s Chris?"; "I’m your greatest fan"...

But all this is academic for the moment: "Oh my God," shrieks the young Australian, "is that who I think it is? Wayne Shires? Wow! Can you introduce me to him?"

Neil Tennant swans off to the bar, where the 19-year-old barman – having no idea who he is – ignores him, leaving a red-faced Neil having to wait his turn like the rest of us.

Eventually, after far, far, far too much deliberation, you decide how you’re going to broach a conversation with Neil. You finally decide upon a line that you’re happy with, that isn’t too stalker-ish, yet which shows that you’ve followed his career, that you’re a fun, witty person.

"Hey Neil," you say, "

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