Rami invited the entire shop to a work dinner, intended to be the last good-bye dinner or some such melodramatic reason.
I have lost count of all the good-bye dinners I’ve been emotionally blackmailed into by now. No one really ever fucking goes anywhere.
Especially Habib, who can’t go anywhere because no one else would be fucking stupid enough to hire him.
For some inexplicable reason Rami picked this restaurant near Goodge street we’d been to a few times before. Well, it’s not really inexplicable. Rami is both a man of habit and semi patriotic (it was a Grik joint).
Greek food, you think, yum you think?
Not this place. It was unabashedly vile in every possible way. I didn’t recall the food being quite so inedible previously. Perhaps I was drunk at the time or perhaps the old ‘Grik’ chef got into a heated debate with the manager (also ‘Grik’) and was replaced by MJ’s chimp.
All the meat, from the prawns to the chicken to the pork, were equally luke warm, bland and all tasted like leather tossed on the same cheap ass £1.50p BBQ from ASDA. It amazes me that the manager of the place is as ‘Grik’ as they come, as Charis might say (in fact never stops saying) if you cut him he’d bleed hummus. Salad! They couldn’t even muster up a half decent Greek salad! What a fucking rip off.
We were placed in an upstairs ‘banquet room’ and I can only thank God that the government in all its wisdom hasn’t yet decided booze isn’t good enough for us and banned it like everything else.
The music initially was a selection of doleful Greek songs no doubt about buxom Greek women lamenting their tragic loves. The dirges continued with determined tedium well into the meal but about half way though the DJ had a sudden change of heart and decided now would be ideal to play some Greek techno.
By the time desert arrived the DJ still unsure and started playing what sounded a lot like the a Greek version of the chicken-dance song. I use the term ‘DJ’ very loosely. He was actually a teenage waiter who kept forgetting our drinks.
From Greek tragedy to Greek wedding, Rami was in his element. He suddenly did an impromptu dance grinding his hips disturbingly to one particularly ‘moving’ number. Unfortunately he then pulled his *cough cough* groin muscle and collapsed in some loo muttering curses.
In the middle of our starter (the best part of the meal) I hear this weird vibrating noise on my right, like someones phone going off. The 2 girls on my right looked at me and laughingly asked me if I wanted to know what it was. I began to worry, in the back of my mind that it might be a vibrator. To my horror, she flipped up her top and flashed me her breast pump, vibrating happily. She was actually pumping her breast milk. At dinner!
Naturally I yelped loudly and then went out for a fag.
It thus with some embarrassment that I must confess that the smoking ban was in a way a blessing in disguise (at least on this occasion), affording an easy and constant escape route from the hideousness that was dinner.
Every time we left the table Gerry (who was a bit drunk) would fake a look of shock and shout loudly
“Ja-neeen!! Ja-neeeen!! Are you guys leaving? Where are you going? Will you be back soon? Why are you smoking you guuuuuys?”
The manager would occasionally come out to banter with us while we smoked at one point staying out so long and talking about all his football bets in such detail that even the upstairs party began to seem exciting.
“You know I paid 10 pound on Arsenal nil one. 10 pound, then, I put 5 pound on Arsenal 2-1, 5 pound. Then another 10 pound on Arsenal 2-0. 10 pound you know I made 30 pound on 2-0, but I lost 10 pound. 10 pound. Then I put 10 pound on Chelsea, 10 pound.”
Then just as I hoped the endless circling of his Arsenal betting wins and losses was over he began another monologue about all the strategies employed for the entire EU football games. *groan*
Interspersing his enthralling gambling anecdotes, he began hooting at girls walking by, yelled
for no reason and then hurled abuse in Greek informing a random driver how to take it up his arse. It was no longer surprising that the place was so deserted on a Saturday night. Rami’s loyalty is the only thing keeping this place going.
Shocking as my tepid approval of the smoking ban on this one occasion is, I did find another social situation where the ban was quite handy. (In NO WAY does this mean I shall EVER approve of this c**t of a ban)
Went to the ‘Catton Street Group’ meeting on Monday. Georgina (the leader) was remarkably sulky (for whatever reason) and said barely over 3 words to anyone. When she finally did speak it was only to Anna, who having recently gotten ‘hitched’ in a gun-shot Las Vegas wedding, is now called ‘Mrs Spratberry’ (what a delicious name, like a British Mrs Robinson).
I was relieved to find 2 of my favorite smokers there: The Firecracker and Amalia. Every time we went out for a smoke it afforded some excellent time to exchange gossip without the involvement of the whole group (none of who smoke, dull bastards)
The only downside being that those damn wenches kept nicking my fags.