Actually, I lied. An equally nice place is tucked up in a proper Soho boozer with a load of PRs and hacks, gossiping like a bishop and sliding gratefully into my happy place. Tonight, Edelman — something of a byword for buttoned-down corporate press relations — is attempting to change that image, and not without a measure of success. I note with pleasure that it takes but a single drink for them to lose the modern habit of starting sentences with "So..." ("What's going on with Vista losing all its features coming out late?" "So: Microsoft is committed to reliability above all..."). I'm going to start CASBEWS — Campaign Against Sentences Beginning With So — and print some red cards that people can hold up in meetings where the practice is out of control.
Back in town we find ourselves upstairs in the George Orwell Bar at the Dog and Duck, as perfect an example of the London pub as it is possible to imagine. Mozart and Constable are reputed to have drank there, but the artistry on show tonight is of a different order altogether.
The evening goes splendidly: a number of people are jumping a number of ships at the moment and new projects are all about, so the goss flows free and greasy despite containing nutritious meaty chunks. Dennis is starting an online IT publication, and has tempted a number of staff away from VNU and other places (not, as far as I can see, from CNET, which retains its vice-like grip on we happy throng), while down in the depths of the West Country Future Publishing is burnishing Project Steel. The consensus is that Future will do its usual very effective trick of coaxing ten staff into doing three jobs each, by way of compensating them for there being nothing else to do down there.
As the pub throws us out, there is an unsteady triage. Those who are definitely dead slouch off home, those who are a bit too lively (if this was Victorian scandal, one would say Lord V____) go to a strip club, while the uncertain decide to try and grab a final drink somewhere people keep their clothes on. I am a member of this latter crew, and we succeed in finishing the evening as we wish.
However, I had not intended to be out this late. I text the Scottish Historian to explain why I'm not on IM. Back comes the reply: "Ah, the computer says you are..." — I'd forgotten to log out from work in my haste to get Edelmaned. It's not nice to feel ignored all evening, even if the thing doing the ignoring is a comatose computer in an abandoned office.
Fortunately, I have ShoZu to hand, a rather nifty service that runs on camera phones and uploads pictures to Flickr as you take them. Via the miracle of text, I point my beloved at the appropriate Flickr account and proceed to document my journey home on London's late night bus network. It's not quite the same as being there, but it's a very safe way for the viewer distant in space and time to enjoy the sights of the mobile asylum of the night bus.
Perhaps I'll take it to a press event or two. Share the tedium!