Tales of the City

Clive and partner Angus, invited us for dinner; a civilised and sophisticated affair, attended by some of our other long-term London life friends, Debbie, Ian and his partner, Matt. Clive is my oldest friend, more like a brother really. We attended the same school and have travelled down the years together, not always agreeing, sometimes quarrelling but always caring.

Debbie is a voluptuous head buyer for Fenwick’s who travels between the fashion capitals of the world seeking the latest accessories. She is Miss Mortgage Free of Kingston-upon-Thames so the girl from The Valleys has done good.

Ian is the manager of a Soho porn store, though he prefers to call it a ‘lifestyle’ shop, principally for his mother’s benefit. When pressed, he readily admits that R rated DVDs and poppers are the biggest draws. Apparently, regardless of the brand, poppers (or ‘room odorisers’ to give them their proper retail name) are all made by a man called Colin in his shed in Carshalton. Ian is particularly proud of his Christmas windows this year with little bottles of lube and condoms sitting prettily in sparkly trees between a pair of overpriced designer knickers and the new Armistead Maupin novel. “Beat that John Lewis!” he proudly exclaimed. Matt is a banker and has recently moved to a new position where the dealers know what wine to drink. He tells me this is the only qualification required of a banker these days. They are the archetypal urban gay couple with a penthouse flat in Bow and a mortgage the size of the Irish bailout.

The evening frolicked along handsomely. I miss the intelligent banter and repartee. It’s not something we get much of in Yalıkavak where espousing the malevolence of the Daily Mail is the usual stuff of debate.

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