The most overused phrase in the universe, well my universe actually, is "you'll never believe who I met last night!" which invariably turns out to be someone I once worked with who nobody else cares about. But sometimes not.
Now, Borough Market in London is superior to Portobello Road in a number of ways. It has more stalls selling Comte Cheese, Organic Sausage and Oysters, (which all cost a fortune), plus a handy old roof. But being just south of London Bridge, in other words miles away, I rarely go since I can spend my time in the Notting Hill market, buying metal scoops of fruit and veg for a quid (these used to be a bargain, but are now a brilliant way of not weighing anything) and too many of those delicious Portuguese custard tarts from Lisboa. What would be the point of hanging around with tourists gawping at Southwark Cathedral or The Clink? (And Vinopolis - what was that meant to be?)
However, it's so SuperCoolTrendy that on Day One of Spring you can lunch outside in any one of a dozen SuperCoolTrendy eateries, munching your way through rabbit food, tapas or more carniverous fare, while thanking the Lord that someone else is paying, (because you know what the bill's going to be). Menu stuff is "meat on a plank 19" which is a big flabby steak for nearly twenty quid. And if you overstay your welcome, stay all day, and stick to the House Red or White, (it ceases to matter after 4pm, especially if swallowing by the gallon) you won't get hangovermixusdrinksups.
Although I have to say that a little later, say 6pm, when you've found yourself in some adjacent former market trader's pub, you'll be valiantly ordering beer for your friends. You have to order because they can't. Any kind of beer. Just beer. In a glass. Yeah, that one. Brilliant. Cause frankly you can't take another drop of that stupid wine because your mouth is so puckered it's like a small cat's arse, inside and out.
And the people who've just popped in for a quick one after work have been in the office all day and do want to know where you lot have been as they try not to eye the semi-comatose colleague in the corner. But one of them is talking to you as if you've just left your office too - great! she doesn't know you're three sheets - so one politely asks which part of England one's from because one can't quite place the dialect under the RP.
"Frankfurt" she says - Jeeze - she's German and speaks perfect English and - bloody hell - where'd you learn English that fuggin good?
"Glasgow" she says, and you laugh out loud because - bugger me - this perfectly spoken German woman then describes every haunt, street, club, and dive in your favourite city and, what with her being German, and you not, and you feeling, well, a little woozy shall we say, although compared to your compatriots, one of whom appears to be still asleep, you're SCS (stone cold sober) this is very funny. And she can do a mean Scottish accent. Not one of those Krankie ones but a proper grown up growly one. Impressive, no? Buy her a drink too!
And the conversation wanders and meanders until we get to Shanghai, as you do, and she's not only been there, done that, got the tee, she's only visited the exact part of Shanghai you know (outside the centre) and - wait for it - been to exactly the same toilet as you, the very one you've dined out on for ages, the communal trench in the floor, on the 4th storey of the residential block, where men have to park their arses sideways and women squat legs akimbo above a dry, undrained, stinking to high heaven, filthiest in the world, most unhygenic ever, dumpathon of human excrement which a bloke has to shovel up and cart away every few weeks. The exact same one. And she too can demonstrate how to "go" in that isolated but communal Shanghai bog, to the fascination of all, even although it never was an especially funny subject before. Even Mr Asleep stirs to laugh/snuffle/sneeze . Glasgow to Shanghai in one go - shit! (literally)
So, do you know who I met last night? Do you?
No. Neither do I. I forgot to ask her name.