The e-mails went back and forth in the weeks that followed and a plan emerged. We would meet at the Pitcher and Piano Public House in Holborn on Saturday January 22 at 7:00 pm before heading to the Sushi restaurant next door for some quality cuisine and even better singing. We would then take a taxi to the nearby Reflex 80s club to dance the night away.
Myself and Mr Simon Lee Goldstein, a fellow Arsenal fan, arrived at the pub slightly late―We had to rush after watching Arsenal demolish Wigan that afternoon― and our late arrival meant we were forced to quickly knock back a pitcher of beer between us before heading to the restaurant.On entering the restaurant we walked downstairs to our own room which provided sufficient space to eat and a perfect opportunity to showcase our vocals. There was a big screen, two microphones and Big El among the group who was itching to show us what he can do. As for Gemma, who by this time had got her head round the fact we were all together for her stag, it was a case of going with the flow and making the most of the copious amounts of alcohol being offered to her.
Those of you who know me well will be aware that I do not like Sushi. I have tried it several times before anyone asks but simply do not like the taste. In the days leading up to Gemma's stag I was confident that my dislike for Sushi would not be a problem as there would be plenty of other options on the menu to choose from. But once we made a group decision to order Kosher food only I knew I was in trouble. As the alcohol flowed, the food emerged and more and more songs were murdered by us raucous men, I soon forgot my long-standing dislike for Sushi and ended up eating quite large quantities of it. I even found myself eating Salmon Teriyaki which is unheard of for me!!!
After taking it in turns to serenade Gemma and Humphrey and Big Ell had finished the extra amount of food they had ordered for themselves, it was time to make our way to Reflex for some more fun and frolics. It wasn't long before we were dancing and singing along to some of our favourite tunes in a venue I had previously frequented for one of my more recent birthday celebrations.
Gemma was clearly having a great time and coping much better with the booze than certain male stags have in the past―Leo Brownstein and Richard Elton please don't think I am referring to you. She also looked great in the 80s attire we had acquired for her and was clearly relishing the attention she was getting from us handsome lads and Simon. Shortly after arriving at the club we discovered a dance competition was taking place at Midnight. Gemma and a few other boys took part―Gemma had no idea she was participating until her name was called― and did not let the team down despite none emerging victorious. Could I have done any better? Methinks not.At about 1:00 am we decided to leave the club and visit a traditional stag destination― a strip club― to complete Gemma's stag experience. After a short taxi ride we arrived at our destination. We may have been on a stag with a difference but were now at a strip club with a difference. The place had no strippers, very few women and was little more than your average bar! To make matters worse most of us paid £5 to get in!
The next idea was to head to another venue―Metropolis―an establishment often visited by groups like ours looking to view naked ladies and have private dances with them. On arrival certain people including Gemma―who was finally starting to feel the effects of the alcohol she had consumed― and myself were tired and wanted to go home. Some of the boys went inside to finish the night off in style while others headed for the hills.
A surreal yet thoroughly enjoyable night had come to an end. Gemma was a fantastic sport and however lucky she was to be surrounded by a group of men with such big characters―none bigger than a certain Mr Langdorf―we were even luckier to be in her company with the chance to kick-off her wedding celebrations a few months early.