Sunday, 17 November 2013

Getting left with the tab at Kool Britannia

I was pondering the other day a good simile for the mess that Tony Blair, Gordon Brown et al. left for us to clean up in 2010. There is a conceit to the current Labour efforts to distance themselves from the whole panoply of buzz and spin that emanated from the collection of sleazeballs that surrounded Number 10 in that period.

The one that particularly grates for me is Cool Britannia (or should I spell "Cool" with a "K"?).

The whole concept reminded me of the type of night out one encountered in one's twenties when one of a gang of friend's would suggest going out to a new eating spot.. which for the sake of argument we shall call Soho's latest hotspot, Kool Britannia. This new  place has a celebrity chef and is cutting edge and we are all told the evening out can be done within our usual cheap and cheerful budget.

We arrive, the background music is good... the food tastes fine.. the decor is funky and cutting edge.. the people in the line outside "ooh" and "ahh" at our good fortune to have been able to get into this "must have" destination. Sometime around dessert time, the member of the group that suggested the place, lets call him Tony for the sake of simplicity, announces he has another date and has to dash.. Tony's a cool guy.. bit of a minor public school twit.. but he bathes in the reflected glory of his American millionaire friend, George and always get his friends into the coolest places...

So Tony does some quick maths in his head. Takes the cost of an average dish on the menu, guesstimates the wine bill (divided by thirteen) and throws down his share and departs. His Scottish friend (we all know how canny they are with cash), who we will call Gordon, is delegated to work out the bill when the rest of the group finish up the meal. Tony of course forgot to factor in that he had had the lobster main course... while everyone had pasta... but as pasta was below the average dish price this should "all net out". Tony also forgot to factor in the service charge/cover/tip. He's a busy man so we should excuse him his forgetfulness..

Then the fights begin. Several want to shave the tip to make up for Tony's shortfall. Others don't have enough cash to make up their share. The restaurant doesn't want to accept credit cards or breakup the bill. Gordon ends up telling the rest of the group they have to pay a lot more than they have ever had to pay before on a night out with Tony and his ilk. 

The group disperses into the night grumbling about Kool Britannia being a clip joint, Tony being a sponger and Gordon being not as good with money as had long been rumoured. Understandably, none of the disenchanted group will ever go to Kool Britannia ever again. They swear to give Tony a bollocking the next time they see him but his mobile is now disconnected and rumour has it he is selling snake oil nostrums in the US. Even George doesn't talk to him anymore, as he is hiding from his own friends that feel he bilked them.  

Despite the thronging crowds at the launch, the enthusiasm has waned fast, Kool Britannia has gone into receivership owing a heap of cash to some buddy of Tony's who works at Royal Bank of Scotland.  

Tony had a friend called David, who also apparently is now selling snake oil in New York. David had a brother called Ed, a feisty little chap who talked a good game, but was always that annoying younger brother type. He keeps calling the group trying to tout some new eatery he has a stake in... probably best to put him straight to voicemail. 

Ah well, we live and learn...

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