Thursday, February 26, 2009

An enjoyable evening with a headbanger

A month ago, I got an email from fellow blogger headbang8 asking me whether I'd be able to meet up with him in February when he was due to visit London. Although I don't usually meet people who know that I'm GB, I do sometimes make exceptions for established bloggers. Actually, these days I think a more honest statement would be to say that I like to make exceptions for established bloggers :-). So far at least, all the bloggers that I've met have been fascinating people, so a nice dinner getting to know them has always been good fun!

It turns out that headbang8 is going to be staying at the Groucho Club in central London, so he suggests that we have dinner there. Being keen on good wine, I have a look at the Groucho Club's online wine list and send him my thoughts:
For various reasons I don't think it's super impressive, but I'll be more than happy if they've still got the 2001 Barolo 'Cannubi Boschis' from the Sandrone Luciano winery.
So when headbang8 tells me that he's managed to get them to put a bottle of that wine on one side for us, I happily agree to have supper there. In the past when I've been out for dinner with other bloggers, I've always paid for both of us, on the basis that I don't expect other people to pay for my expensive wine habit! However on this occasion headbang8 is quite happy to split the bill 50:50, so everything is agreed.

Although I've been inside a few of the private member's clubs in London, I've never been inside the Groucho Club so I'm interested to see what it's like. For myself, I've never seen see the attraction of belonging to a club. I reckon it's better to wine and dine at different places, because if one's a member of any club one would feel obliged to use it, but then one would be stuck with the same food and wine list all the time!

On the day, I arrive on time and I'm just trying to work out if there's any room for us to sit in the ground floor bar when I spot a familiar face.

"Headbang8?" I ask.

"Ahhh, GB, there you are :-)," he replies.

Face to face, Headbang8 is a jovial looking chap, just as I imagined him to be from the photo that he'd shown me online.

"I don't think there's much room for us to sit down here," I say, "although perhaps it'd be possible to sit on these bar stools here."

"Let's try upstairs," replies headbang8, "there's another bar up there :-)!"

We manage to find a couple of chairs in the upstairs bar and soon we've ordered some aperitifs, a beer for headbang8 and a mojito for me. One of the first things that I ask him is about his boyfriend, who he refers to as Master Right in his blog.

"With a name like Master Right," I start, "I assume that he's much younger than you?"

"No actually, only a few years younger," replies headbang8, "He's Japanese, and the name Master Right is related to the Japanese meaning of his real name!"

I tell him about my boyfriend problems, and headbang8 is very sympathetic.

"I could tell from that post that you did in December that ex-boyfriend P was going to break your heart," he says.

"Yes," I reply with a melancholy tone in my voice, "he did :-(."

While we're chatting, the sommelier brings us the bottle of Barolo to inspect.

"Will this wine be all right, sir?" asks the sommelier.

Sitting in the bar, I can't remember the exact details of the wine that I'd seen on the web site, and spotting my confusion the sommelier seeks to reassure me.

"It's the one that was mentioned in the email :-)," he says smiling.

"Then I'm sure it'll be fine :-)," I reply.

We continue chatting in the bar while we finish our drinks, before moving into the restaurant next door. We get shown to a nice corner table, and once we're seated at the table, we get our first taste of the wine.

"It's not nearly as good as I expected," I say having taken my first sip, feeling a bit disappointed, "I think this wine will probably be excellent in a few years time, but at the moment it's a bit young!"

"Actually I remember that the wine you mentioned in the email was eight years old," says headbang8, "and this one is only 6 years old, it's the 2003!"

Using the internet access on my PDA, I manage to find the email where I mentioned the wine, and indeed the wine should be the 2001 not the 2003. We make a complaint to the sommelier, who then finds the email that headbang8 had sent him to prove to him that he hadn't specified the vintage.

"But I did specify that it's the wine mentioned on your web site!" replies headbang8.

"And in any case," I add, "surely you know that for wines of this quality the vintage is important, so if the email didn't specify you should have asked!"

Even though it's the wrong wine, the 2003 isn't a nasty or undrinkable wine, so we refuse to let the incident spoil our evening. We have a leisurely meal, and afterwards we retire back to the bar area to finish off with some Champagne.

"So do you have any other hobbies apart from blogging?" I ask while we're waiting for the drinks arrive.

"I don't usually get asked that!" replies headbang8, "just needlepoint and scrapbooking I guess!"

"Fair enough!" I laugh. "Apart from blogging, I guess my hobbies are gambling, gym, wine, and MEN of course :-)."

We carry on chatting for ages, during which time we polish off another couple of classes of Champagne! Eventually though, it's time to go home, and headbang8 kindly insists on paying for the Champagne on his account. Getting up from our seats, I give him a goodbye hug before heading downstairs to find my coat. As I'd expected, headbang8 turned out to be excellent company, so I just hope that he thought the same about me!


The Honourable Husband said...

Dear GB Readers,

You will be delighted to know that GB is, in person, a smart, splendid and fascinating chap. Who was actually quite gracious about a rather egregious mistake.

As a banker in one of the world's great financial capitals, he is, of course, partly responsible for you and me having to work until we are eighty-five, but his charm makes up for it.

Love, HB8

Anonymous said...

Charm however does not pay the bills...unless you're in the personal services industry LOL...

It certainly sounded like a good evening..I have never been to a ''gentlemans'' club..!!!
Glad GB you are not sitting around moping over P'... one thought, did the fact he knew about your blog and read your 'posts' have any effect on his desicion? Or do you think it was a positive thing that he knew? would you have told him if things were to have got serious or kept it hidden? like to know your thoughts
as always.... take care

GB said...

I hope I didn't give you the impression, HB8, that I'd been important enough to have played a part in creating the current financial crisis! Indeed, it's very possible that I'll end up out of a job :-(. None the less, thank you for the very kind words :-).

Interesting questions Anonymous (whichever of the SX commenters you are). Knowing about my blog may have had an effect on ex-boyfriend P, however overall I'm glad that he did find out. If one day I find myself a boyfriend who doesn't know about it, then working out if/how to tell him will be very tricky!

Love and kisses, GB xxx

Anonymous said...

Why tricky? unless a blogger has things to hide surely it's better to let their partner know?...or is this part of blogging, keeping things secret from the person they love while sharing with the rest of the world and fellow bloggers! As you have met other bloggers, if they were to meet your partner would you not have to lie to them how you know them, which is fundamentally being dishonest to your partner? or again is this part of the thrill? maybe some of your other readers/followers have thoughts on this?

Anonymous said...

If only my partner gave a crap about my blog. I occasionally tell him I've mentioned him, but he remains fixed to his position that blogs are 'for the self-indulgent'.

He may have a pojnt there....

Humming Bird in Hyde said...

I think the whole discussion about outing your personal blog is entirely dependent on the author of the blog and his circumstances - meaning there are no right answers if or if not to!

We all have various reasons for writing a blog in the first place - be it to have a reflection, a diary to re-read when we get much older, simply because we like to write, to have some small space to express ourselves or whatever else the reason. Associated with those reasons are perhaps why there may be a few authors who refuse to admit the blog to their partners. In most cases I think, it is not about trust, but about a personal space to call ones own. At least this is my reason.

Anony SX outlines an interesting and realistic scenario. I personally feel it best to avoid a situation like this instead of being 'dishonest'. I don't like his use of the word 'dishonest' because I don't see it black and white as that. If I snogged a boy in a dark alley then told my partner the boy asked me for a light - that is plain dishonest! If I met a blogger for a drink and I told my partner it was a guy from work, that can be seen as being dishonest but no malice intended as if I snogged the boy.

In the final analysys, there are many shades of grey and it depends on how harmful or productive the blog can be to you and your partners relationship. xxx.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry HBH if the word 'dishonest' didn't sit with you, so i will change it to secrecy' which still is not a way of conducting oneself in my books.... I wonder then if your partner knows about HBH blog' and how he feels? as I've read your posts and you have included him several times. By the way you have been quiet for a time..reason??

GB said...

Another interesting question, SX, is why none of the SX commenters have bothered to set up a blogger profile so that they don't need to be anonymous any more? Perhaps they jointly enjoy the confusion that the continuing anonymity causes??

Anyway, it's actually been on my pending list for a while to do an entire posting on the subject of blogs, who should know about them, and the associated difficulties. In fact there are lots of issues that haven't been mentioned yet, but let's leave the discussion for when I get round to doing that posting.

GB xxx

PS: I saw HBH in person very recently, and he's been exceptionally busy. I'm sure he'll return to do more blogging if and when he becomes less busy!

Kaite said...

Hi GB - the article I emailed you about is here:

Would you mind linking to it? I'd be really interested to hear what people think.

Anonymous said...

As far as I know GB i am the only SX who posts comments....perhaps i like to keep annoy so as to keep any identity secret as many bloggers do! I look forward to that post as it something that is very relevent in my life at the moment. If in the future i find a way to reveal myself (and no pun intended) i will until then take care and keep up writing SX

Anonymous said...

one last thought brought up by HBH... why would a blog be harmfull to a relationship? If a blog contains 'stories' that their partner knows about then surely this shouldn't be a problem? but if it contains 'stories' that talk of 'activities' that they don't, or of thoughts they are ashamed of, then this could be harmful.
Or is it that a blogger just loves to have a secret life? or is not confident in their relationship or of their partner?