By the end I was even cheerily tucking into some nachos whilst listening to someone reciting a fairly grim poem about bodily fluids. Incidentally, these nachos were kindly donated by an American poet who stopped seconds into one of his poems before remembering "I'm meant to touch myself during this one"; truly the high point of this (and indeed any) evening.
Our industry is unrecognisable to what it looked like 20 years ago when I first started out in the licensed trade. Having good food, reasonably priced drinks and excellent customer service are no longer virtues to brag about, they are now the norm and the expectation of every customer who comes into our bars.
Mr Bantock was the first manager of Blacks on Dean Street, and it was his recent death, along with other shocking events such as the legendary Gerry's launching a web site, that really made me feel like the times truly are a-changing for the "classic" Soho club scene.
Austerity, technology and concern for the environment have come together to create a climate where many more Londoners can share, rather than own.
As a restaurateur one is subject to reviews. It was bad enough in the days when one only had to fear the crapulous pundits of print casting their judgement after a long lunch. Today our scourges are the customers who think they can make or ruin us by posting their troublesome pennyworths online.
The day after the ball, I felt fine. I did not harbour the dread that follows a night of self-abasement. Still, the picture of my pasty visage was a giveaway. I had shamed myself. The newsletter was quarterly so I would have to endure its presence in the canteen for some time. I could destroy every copy but they would only be replenished by a keen intern.
Houses boarded up, a mixture of soggy bits of paper, puke and cigarette butts carpeting the streets, people in all kinds of bad states passed out in shop fronts if they were lucky... That's the sight I was met with when I arrived at the Notting Hill Carnival in the early afternoon of Bank Holiday Monday.
'This is the perfect breakfast drink', our otherwise tactiturn barman announces as he puts a Prestige Fizz - Bombay Sapphire gin with vermouth, celery, cucumber and mint topped with champagne - on the 30-foot-long bar.
That's because the transition won't be instant - the years of deciding the details of a split will be a grim and drawn-out sigh. English public opinion is already becoming adversarial on the subject of negotiation with Scotland, regardless of the outcome of the vote.
It was then I realised why being double the average age in that venue was such a shock to the system. The disdain I felt was merely a thinly veiled disguise for my jealousy. I was just envious that I haven't got the energy to get that excited on a Wednesday night.
One of those characters who could be anything from mid 50s to mid 70s under his unkempt, dirty beard and shock of unwashed, greying hair, Mikey told me he had been a part of the Soho sex trade since he was a teenage lorry driver, bringing in box loads of porn from Amsterdam, the fruit and veg of the performers buried under a mountain of actual fruit and veg.
Being cultured isn't easy. You have to go to things, absorb those things, tell people about the things you absorbed and pretend they have enriched your life in some way and then answer questions when people start asking you stuff.
If you have some collateral, that doesn't mean you shouldn't invest. And I may have a solution for you - dealing in modern art and vintage late twentieth-century furniture. You may think this is the reserve of the posh and rich. But, as a one-time working-class lad from East London, I can tell you it absolutely is not.
When people ask me if I ever have Botox and I say, 'Yes, but more in my armpits than in my face,' they look understandably confused. There aren't many wrinkles in the armpits, after all -- but these days Botox is about more relaxing wrinkles.
Six months of house-hunting in London and I still haven't sealed the deal. But I have met estate agents. Dozens of them. And it is almost unsettling; they have not been the rude, arrogant, cretinous benders-of-the-truth that the generalisation might suggest. They are different. Or, more accurately: indifferent... I wanted to interview one of these guys to see what the market looks like from their end...
You don't very often see pimps visibly plying their trade in my neighbourhood these days, which is both a sign of Westminster Council's success in its relentless campaign to crack down on the sex trade, and, perhaps, an affirmation of what the local girls proclaimed loudly and with varying degrees of success in court, after the dodgy police raids of last December.