The Perfect Night Out – Boris, are 24 hour tubes what you really want?

It all began so well; such promise. London is a vibrant, energetic city and it was drawing its last warming breaths before the onset of winter on a glorious, balmy, late summer evening as I walked across St James Park.

I mean blimey; it is the middle of October, and before you ask I reiterate, I am not following the GoSober edict.

I wander up onto Piccadilly, and climb into the XK120, picture of Margaret (Thatcher) on the dashboard and I gun it towards Green Park, reaching 140mph before a gentleman in a high–visibility jacket steps into the middle of the highway to wave me over.

Autograph hunters are everywhere these days and now, I’m going to be late to get to BAFTA.

Not happy with a signature, I have to walk along an imaginary line in the yellow brick road, dissatisfied; he asks me to cross his palm with silver and then makes me blow into a bag. The last thing I want is for this sample to turn up on ebay. My genes are a rare and precious thing and I’ve been saving myself for Maggie, well I was; until that night with entire Kardashian family. Since then it has been a never ending spiral into debauchery; me the Third Duke of Wimbourn, alone at 3 am in the Victoria Secret shop on Bond Street, with my reputation for Lycra!

Clearly that was after Peter Bradshaw, after Alan Clarke.

Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher

Anyway I put that in to inject a little heroine, I mean humour into the piece.

I was going to BAFTA for dinner and a film. The evening was hosted by Rankin the fashion photographer. BAFTA has a large cinema tucked away at the back of Piccadilly. Rankin gave a very touching speech before the film, and we settled down to watch Cinema Paradiso. It is a lovely, sentimental film, a snapshot of life in Sicily, one of my favourites as it seemed to be for nearly everyone else there.

This was followed by an Italian themed dinner produced by Anton the marvellous BAFTA chef.

The tables were a free for all and by chance I sat next to a cycling dentist from Pimlico. No, he doesn’t tie a length of string to a loose tooth and cycle away. London is such a small city. We chatted for ages about bicycles; he also took part in the Prudential ride, and he too has eventually dried out.

Dinner ended with a Limoncello…….. Shouldn’t it always?

Clearly the night was young, so Dr T and I wandered to share a glass of wine with Vash. He really is such a great host. The wine flowed and then hen party in one of the alcoves started an impromptu karaoke……

I took this as a sign to leave and try to an order a taxi. Addison Lee, no joy; Uber, surge pricing; Black cabs, nowhere to be seen. The decision was made, could we make the last tube? We head for Leicester Square, it’s now 00.30, and the last train is imminent. Down the escalator to the platform, fingers crossed; the sign says Cockfosters 3 minutes.

Those of you who regularly use the tube late at night will know the dread of reading this. Will you, or will you not fall asleep and wake at Cockfosters. I remember a friend telling me that he had fallen asleep, drunk on the tube home one night only to be woken by someone rhythmically and violently kicking him in the shins.

He woke with a jolt to see, not Vinnie Jones, but his wife standing over him, berating him about the embarrassment of finding him in this state in front of a group of total strangers. I think a better revenge would have been to tie his shoelaces together and light the blue touch paper.

Sorry, this is turning into a bit of a shaggy dog story, and with our mayor looking as he does; he now enters stage right. Boris steps out from behind the curtain; dressed as Ulysees, Dave Cameron’s Ghost of Christmas Future and he’s in bed with Bob Crachit and the turkey!

BJ has muted the fact that the tube should run 24 hours, in order that we will no longer wake up in Cockfosters or Epping, Upminster or Uxbridge and not be able to catch the next tube home.

Last night we alighted at Caledonian Road, where there is a lift to take us to the surface.

About 15 of us formed an orderly queue, and we entered the lift with a member of TFL staff who was clearing the platform of stragglers, and so began the slow ascent to the summit.

After a few moments the vertical motion stopped in a way that made you think, that this is not a pause created by Harold ………..Pinter.

The poor chap from TFL, was this his worst nightmare? He knew the lift was going nowhere, and slowly one by one we turned and looked at him.

Armed with a walkie-talkie, he began to contact Houston. Well OK, not Houston, someone upstairs, no not that far upstairs, we hadn’t got violent; yet!

Houston replied that there was a problem with the power and engineers would need to be called.

Step by step, we all became aware that we were going to be here for a very long time.

It was now 00.45. There was no mobile signal unless you stood right next to the door, turned around three times, stood on tiptoe and held you phone as high as possible in the top left hand corner. See photo below.

The lift engineers were summoned, from who knows where? We had no ETA, and the temperature began to rise, thoughts of the movie ‘Devil’ started to enter everyone’s mind.

Fortunately we were a jolly bunch, no-one seemed to be suffering from claustrophobia, there was only one poor guy who had done too much whatever, and was sitting rocking gently in a corner.

We kept expecting Boris to make a famous Zip Line entrance, but as time progressed and we got to know each other, it became clear that everyone was quite normal, apart from me. There was a whip round to see what supplies we had between us. A bottle of beer, a bottle of wine, a couple of bottles of water, a large of slice of plum cake, e-cigarette and a jar of Nutella!

This was likely to only last about 10 minutes.

I was beginning to hallucinate that I was Steve Tyler, and we were headed for Love in an Elevator, “Good Morning Mr Tyler, going down?” and that was my kind of elevator music.

Now an hour in and the mood was good. Houston still couldn’t tell us when engineers from the International Space Station would arrive to assist in our teleportation from our predicament, and to this point nobody had mentioned football. The Nutella had done the rounds, but it was only a small jar.

One of the guys had managed to get a tweet out, and thankfully nothing worse than that. It was now really hot and the ventilation was failing.

Just as the topic of conversation turned to football, someone with a large handle started to crank the lift down. It took a while but we reached the bottom of the shaft, however we were not free yet. No sooner had we touched bottom than we slowly started to rise once again, as if on some slow motion bungee chord. Would there be enough spring on it to get us back to the top?

Slowly out of the window in the lift, I thought I could see earth, the continents, oceans, cloud systems, the door burst open and we were confronted by TFL staff, engineers, firemen and paramedics.

We had been trapped for 1hour 47 minutes; longer than some, not as long as others, psychologically unaffected by the experience.

So my word of warning to Boris is, sort the systems out.

This was an appallingly slow reaction to a situation, which although not an emergency and didn’t involve injury or a large degree of stress, was unpleasant and poorly handled.

24 hour tube service? Only if it works 24 hours.

The Lift Crew

The Lift Crew

On a lighter note, Jake will be Elfing himself this Christmas, will you? Get the App.


Copyright © 2014 Adrian Holdsworth. All Rights Reserved.

August 2012 – Volpe Newsletter

Firstly, Jake is back from holiday – oh joy. And just as I was able to catch up on some work.

Congratulations to all our medal winners, a magnificent haul. It seems a shame that they won’t all be honoured in the time honoured way, a large contract with the BBC. They should be rewarded for their efforts, but somehow like exam results it is fashionable to move the goalposts just as the ball crosses the line. Perhaps to do a U turn, just to show we care. Of course by “we” I mean Dave and Nick, who I’m sure I will be snuggled up under the duvet of coalition as soon as it gets cold and the electricity prices go up.

Most of you seemed to scarper as soon as the Olympics started and were not to be seen again until we dropped the baton. But it did mean that you could get a table in any restaurant in London, and cross Piccadilly without looking.

Jake is now offering me his iphone 4S 64GB, so he can upgrade to the new iphone 5 when it comes out. At what he says will be at a preferential rate, he is even going to throw in a very attractive gold Wolves case! Aaaaaaarggghhhhh. Many of you missed the start of the football season. Oh, poor Jake; the first game a loss and now the board are selling off the crown jewels, left right and centre. Their season is over.

It is a similar dilemma for me, when asked, why there are never any plain blue or white shirts in the sale. It’s a simple answer, next season I will have to go out and buy the same thing again for more money. Have football clubs not grasped this simple concept? The key is in the word simple, or Joey Barton!

Talking of the crown jewels, I would have expected nothing less from Harry.

Well it’s not the first time, but once again I am writing this sat on an aeroplane. I have avoided jokes about the mile high club for the sake of the prurient amongst you. Is it really up, up and away?

Back to Florence again, life is full of hardship, but as Sam has been very quiet on the travel front, I thought I should take up his mantle. This weekend I should be meeting up with Sunil in a Castello near Viterbo. He is taking a holiday, wonders will never cease.

Things are going well there. But those of you who know, know, and those of you who don’t, I’m sorry for the moment my lips are sealed. Isn’t that so unlike me, but then I’m nothing but capricious.

And please, I am not helping “Dear Silvio” with his return. This is well underway, and they have found a stash of lire in a warehouse in Palermo which should boost the economy. ON everyone someone has written, please pass this on for luck……..

Obviously this was last weekend, but I was writing this beforehand, trying to show that there is input throughout the month.

Also I could recount every tube and bus journey, and the ins and outs of my Oyster Card, but I’d soon have you all asleep, and we’ve only just begun.

A few updates are in order. Jason is back from hols, and knowing his reputation, woe be tide any young ladies that might have been in his vicinity upon his Athenian travails, you know what happens. Shirley is not far from releasing her first born upon the world. By the time this is published she will have stopped working, and Marie tells me that the time is nigh. She could always spend her days reliving her pregnancy via my newsletters on the website, hoping the odd snigger may induce labour and get it all over with.

Some of you may remember Eugenia who used to come into the shop from time to time. Yes, she’s the one who we taught to see a second meaning in everything, a degree in double entendre. By we, I mean me, because poor Jake was too young and innocent. I did say he was! Eugenia is getting married later this year, to Ricardo from Ecuador. Eugenia is multi lingual. Good, avoided the obvious joke, but you know where I was going. She even speaks Swahili, which surprised the heck out of a friend of mine. I’m pretty sure she told him that his spear wasn’t as big as he thought. I think Ricardo knows what he is letting himself in for, and I did try to warn him, but perhaps he is blinded by her looks. She is very pretty. Sorry Gen, but you have grown into your ears. Oh, how I remember the days when we used to be able to pick you up by them!

Michael is in Mikonos, and has been on a diet for what seems like forever, and all he talks about is food, I think this has severely affected his mental state, and it’s made his legs turn yellow. Oh no, that’s the fake tan, and his feet are still cadaverous. B*$£h I can hear him say. I just wish I could be there to see him exit the water, a la Daniel Craig. I just hope he remembers to tie the cord on his trunks, up. But it would be so like him not to. However Michael is looking very svelte, he just tries to thwart me by buying macaroons from Pierre Herme (eat your heart out Laduree) this is the real deal.

Neil doesn’t appear to have noticed that I’m not in Ibiza, but I think his head has been turned by an Italian beauty supplied by Pink, who is down there helping Neil out.

Sorry another update, Neil has noticed that I’m not in Ibiza. By all accounts August has left him a nervous wreck. All of those acres of unadorned flesh have left his needles blunt, and only faithful Scratch for company.

And although he hasn’t been mentioned for a while my ‘D’ list celebrity “friend”, has been spotted promoting clubs on the beaches in Ibiza. This generally involves you walking around shirtless, tanned and surrounded by a bevvy of girls dressed the same way. However in his case it means dressed as a Pacha Cherry. A strange way of getting your five-a-day.

And finally Richard has been gone a year, but not forgotten. His chair remains, and perhaps I shall have a brass plaque made to honour him in his absence. Only recently have the emails been returned, perhaps he keeps tabs on my grammar via the website. He will always be able to return to somewhere, where he is known.

Sent from my ipad


Copyright © 2012 Adrian Holdsworth. All Rights Reserved.