Idle Eye 26 : The Last Order

What a shame. The past seven days have thrown up more blog fodder than usual as the hapless pilots of our land have steered us into Pastygate, Granny Taxgrab, a phantom fuel crisis and the splendidly-monikered Peter Cruddas taking bungs for No.10 access. But, if you will forgive me, this week I’d like to focus on something a little closer to home. The ill-conceived, boozed-up tripe you have come to know and love will be back next week: You have my word.

Very sadly, friday saw the last day of trading at Idle Hour Barons Court. It was a day I know Nibs was dreading, not merely because it was the end of an era, but also because all the hope, energy and love he put into making it look and feel so special was scythed down into administration, arbitration and all those other things beginning with ‘a’ that, by their very nature, are the polar opposite of soul. And, let’s face it, soul is what you need in spades to get these things off the ground in the first place.

I’m feeling for my little bro right now. In the ’90’s I watched him blossom after a prolonged training period in America, where he learned the hard way how to marry personable service with efficiency. After a few minor hiccups over here he poured everything he had into Idle Hour Barnes, which he turned around from being a grimy backwatering hole to a much-loved local hub. And despite fierce competition (never a bad thing actually, sharpens the resolve) it remains more popular than ever to this day. Not one to rest on his laurels, he branched out on more than one occasion: Putney, Henley-on-Thames and finally Barons Court. All way better than your average gastropub but the problem they shared is that there is only one Nibs. I’m trying not to be mawkish here but the facts speak for themselves: Dilute the talent and the most remote suffers. It’s a brutal truth, made worse when you consider the human cost of loyal staff, goodwill of investors etc.etc..

So, now he’s back down to what he does best under one roof and my gut tells me it will soar. As you may have read elsewhere in this shower of drivel, there will be an extension in place by the end of the summer, a spanking new website, some stunning new wines on offer and, best of all, he’ll be there to give it 100%. And, on a more personal level: Hang in there, bro. You’ll bounce back, you always do. And I’ll keep on writing the bollocks. It’s what I do.

Goodbye Barons Court. You were a magnificent ideal. You had the courage to aim for the stars against all the odds and in your short time you gave a lot of people something to remember. And like so many of the great romantics you died beautiful and you died young. Now, upwards and onwards…

Idle Eye 24 : The Coren Nation (In Search of Giles)

Just off the blower from a feisty chat with our Nibs as per:

Nibs: I’ve got a subject for the blog.

Me: I’m halfway through one already. But thanks anyway.

Nibs: No, I really need you to put this in. Half the ****ers who booked for Mothers Day never showed and we were fully booked for a month previous. I’ve turned away over 200 potential punters and we still lost out. I’m livid. And if you ask them for a credit card they get on the horse. Now, make that funny.

Me: Well, bro, it’s not.

Nibs: I KNOW it’s not. That’s what I pay you to do.

Me: Hang on a moment. I’ve just spent twenty valuable minutes writing about how we track down Giles Coren using hunting as a metaphor, given it an hilarious punning title that includes his surname for search engine purposes, I’m balls deep in attempting to link you two bastards together and now you want me to bin the entire thing because you lost out on a few quid?

Nibs: Something like that, yeah.

Me: Ok. Maybe we could shoehorn the two together, something along the lines of Giles finding the blog because all writers google themselves and then feeling your pain about blowing out bookings as the main thrust.

Nibs: He wrote about exactly that in the Times on saturday.

Me: He what?

Nibs: Exactly the same. In his restaurant review. Check out the website.

Me: Perfect! I’ll start now.

Nibs: Tread carefully with Coren, though. I don’t want you buggering up any chance of a review just because you feel like taking the piss.

Me: I hear you, bro. But he’s no fool. I think he’d sniff out any whiff of sycophancy a mile off. Far better to have him riled than for him to think you’re fawning. Trust me on this.

Nibs: I’ll leave it in your hands. But what’s the title?

Me: I thought The Coren Nation was quite sassy.

Nibs: Yeah, I quite like it. But I’m not sure about the Nation bit. What’s the post got to do with the rest of the country?

Me: That’s not the point. It gets in Giles, and there’s a certain gravitas to it, particularly as it’s the Diamond Jubilee’n’all.

Nibs: What about ‘I Can See Four Giles’?

Me: Don’t think he wears glasses, bro.

Nibs: Well put something in brackets after, then. If you don’t like it you can always say it was my idea anyway.

Me: Ok. I’ll think of something.

Nibs: Call me back when you’re done. We’re fully booked again and I want to be sure the buggers actually show. Quite like ‘I Can See Four Giles’: Think you should use it.

Me: Done deal, bro. If you’re up to the wall can I post it anyway?

Nibs: Just promise me you’ll use the title.

Me: Sure.

Nibs: Thanks. It means a lot.

Me: I know…

Idle Eye 21 : The Squeezed Middle

Boy, I’m in a mood. The thieving car insurance gypsies* I generally use without batting an eyelid have raised my premium by 21.39380268313%. Now, ordinarily I am predisposed to taking a slight annual hit because, despite my never having made a claim, I am happy to help out anyone who is prepared to jaywalk the M4 in order to provide for their families: Good on ‘em, or at least what’s left of ‘em. However, this year’s astonishing price hike has tipped me over the edge in a kind of Michael Douglas/Falling Down stylee. If only the ineffectual, middle-class sop that I am could pick up an AK-47, stroll into Insurance House, Basingstoke and spew bullets about the place, I surely would. Trust me.

But we don’t, do we? Being British, and instilled with values we don’t quite understand from a time we never lived through, we just take it. Again and again. I rang up Nibs to express my dissatisfaction with the status quo but he was doing battle with his own personal nemesis, the inkjet printer:

Nibs: They deliberately make them so they break and the IT departments just cash in. I’ve just spent £30 on inks and £30 on support and it still doesn’t work. Bastards! BASTARDS!!! And don’t get me started on the till.

Me: What’s up with the till?

Nibs: Same bloody thing. They force you to use their crappy hardware that breaks 50 seconds after they deliver it and then charge you £300 callout to have a look and £200 per hour to fix it. We’re in the wrong game, bro.

He’s right, we are. Because we are both victims of The Squeezed Middle. That wretched, unrepresented state we get labelled with by politicians when there are no better words for being screwed over. It starts in the supermarkets, filters down through insurance and services and takes a scythe to our pay packets along the way. Suddenly we’re all scrapping at each other (when in fact, we’re all on the same side) and the only ones smiling are the string pullers. And you can only reach them if you’re prepared to ring a premium rate number and stay on hold for longer than it takes to grow a beard. It’s enough to make you, well, jolly cross actually.

So what’s to do? I shopped around for a new premium in a fit of pique but after speaking to a couple of brokers I finally understood why these people have your balls in a clamp. Because the alternative is actual contact, albeit only verbal, with the kind of human detritus that diminishes the quality of your life by its very proximity. Screw it, I’ll pay the difference: JUST….GO….AWAY!!!

Hold up, just had a text through. Apparently I’m due £25,000 compensation for that accident I had. Now, as much as I’d like to chat..

*cleared with Viz Comic & Romanian High Commission

Idle Eye 20 : The Liquorice Nose

When it comes to raw booze, Nibs has sure got me down. Of course he has: Secreted from the same womb over four decades ago it would be hard not to. So when an open invitation came from Idle Hour HQ to hop over to Lords Cricket Ground and consume some of the finest Portuguese wines available to humanity under the guise of ‘Restaurant Taster’, it was a done deal. Assuming the mantle of potential clients who can say ‘liquorice nose’ without pissing themselves, we slid in amongst the cognoscenti, making a beeline for the overwhelming reds. Nibs, to his credit, was magnificent: Doing that slooshing thing like they do in Sideways and never once being pathetically grateful for free alcohol as I was, he came across as a man at the top of his game. I, on the other hand, did not:

Wine Grower : Thank you for tasting. This powerful Reserva has very smooth attack with beautiful structure and well present tannins which provides long and very soft finale and slightly spicy sensations.

Me : So why is everyone spitting it out, then?

Call me old-fashioned, but in this time of austerity I was deeply disturbed to see man-high black plastic bins that we were supposed to spew our unfinished samples into. To be honest, if it wasn’t for Health and Safety issues I’d have been quite happy to leap into one of them with my mouth gaping like a guppy fish and guzzle up the slops. We’re talking £25-30 a bottle here: Just think what you could do on eBay with the right label and a PR chick in a power suit.

Seasoned tasters know there is an arc upon which, once the apex of saturation is reached, there is a dramatic drop-off in acumen. Unfortunately, it also gives the end user the illusion of clarity and infinite knowledge, coupled with ill-advised Herculean courage. On reflection, perhaps it would be fair to say that I reached this point approximately fifteen minutes after entering the building. And when we finally met the biodynamic bloke Nibs had been searching for, my eyeballs were colliding against their own sockets like bumper cars at a Mayday fair. The only way through was mimicry: So when Nibs whizzed the wine around the glass, so did I. Then he took a deep sniff. So did I. Holding the glass against the pristine white tablecloth, he assessed the colour. So did I, losing a few precious drops in the process. But then came the crunch:

Nibs : She’s a feisty little number, for sure.

Me : Indeed. And traces of liquorice nose…?

Bionic Man : I’m sorry?

Me : Liquorice nose. It’s in there. I can taste it.

Bionic Man : You are tasting the nose?

Me : Yes I am.

You can guess the rest: It wasn’t pretty. And due to a clerical error I missed my stop on the train home. So, next time you’re in IH Barnes, ask Nibs for a go on the Portuguese liquorice wine. Just don’t tell him I sent you..

Idle Eye 18 : (Spread) The Love

Have I upset you? Have I? Come on people, let’s have it out: Stats were down this week after what was, it must be said, a very promising start which petered off to virtually bugger all as it progressed. Now, I don’t mean to insult your collective intelligence as I know full well that a healthy percentage of UK cognoscenti are already following, but this ‘ere blogging business is not a one way street. Sorry. Here’s the deal: I sit up all night once a week (or twice if the muse is off-duty) constructing a tightly-woven, semi-articulate drawl linking my own sorry existence with that of Nibs and the Idle Hour. Somehow I manage to make this amusing and/or poignant, depending on your viewpoint. On cue. And the only task I require in return is that you read the bloody thing and occasionally drop me a line or two in the comments section so that I know I’m not pissing my God-given talent up a wall. It’s not a huge ask, is it? Or am I missing something here? Help me out.

Hmmm… In retrospect, probably not the killer romantic opener I’d been planning for the 2012 Valentine’s post. You see, as usual I’ve been on the phone to Nibs, trying to sniff out the lowdown on what treats he has in store for you lovebirds out there. From what I can gather, it’s probably something along the lines of special menu, candlelight, attentive yet respectful staffing and no Techno. Or Hard House. Or Death Metal. (Personally, I think this is an oversight: We are living through difficult times, and the days of a half-carafe of Mateus downed to Renée and Renato are mercifully behind us). I had planned a majestic, almost cinemascopic opening paragraph alluding to the great lovers and those who have lived their lives as if each day was their last: Anthony and Cleopatra, Romeo and Juliet, Bergman and Bogart, Frank and Betty etc…etc… From there I would make a contrived narrative leap over to Idle Hour Barnes where miraculously I would mirror these iconic figures with you lot, and this inexpensive literary technique would make you all feel a bit better about yourselves, thereby convincing you to spend a bit more money and consequently securing my position as a viable financial option. Yes, I was going to do all the above. I was. In spades. But then I saw the stats.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: ‘Oooh, get him! Has one bad week and he throws all his toys out.’ Well, no. I’m sorry, I thought we were all adults here and, frankly, that’s just a cheap shot. I expected so much more from you. And anyway, it’s not just about my so-called ‘bad week’, is it? It’s about love, it’s about respect and it’s about…er… Actually, screw it. It IS about my ‘bad week’. You want quality? Well, quality costs. And right here is where you start paying.

Idle Eye 16 : The Curse of Celebrity

I despair, I really do. We are living in an era where all you have to do to be the zeitgeist is get your bum out or unleash your rotten larynx onto a public so anaesthetised by mediocrity that to hit a note accurately is the equivalent of a presidential motorcade. Without the sniper, obviously. Although, my stars, we certainly could do with one. Does anyone remember a time when to be a celebrity meant that you actually had to have something of value to offer? When footballers earned not much more than Bob the Builder and spin was something you did in tennis not politics? And when did it become acceptable to get your house done up by TV producers with one eye on the ratings and the other on gullibility? The list goes on and on as our resistance to cack shrinks like the polar ice caps.

Anyway, I’m on the phone to Nibs because I saw that Nick off The Apprentice at my work last week, and he had that Keira Knightley off the films at Idle Hour Barnes. Not last week, but recently. In the last 18 months, anyway. And she said it was her favourite pub in London. And I was going to ask that Nick off The Apprentice to check out the Idle Hour but at the last minute I got scared and I went red and he saw me and I got really embarrassed. So I pretended not to see him and then he walked past me and then I did this really loud cough and then he turned around and I was like, so, uh! And then I went into WH Smiths and got some Malteasers. And Heat magazine.

Perhaps we’re all missing a trick here. I recall a time when Kylie, whose work to that date had been considered risible, was implausibly embraced by the fashionable music press. NME, Sounds, Melody Maker, all of which had been championing fiercely independent bands, suddenly turned on a sixpence and tried to make us all believe that this (admittedly) attractive media puppet had significant cultural value that we were not yet aware of. I fervently believe that this was the fulcrum point of our demise.

Anyway, I’m on the phone to Nibs because I heard that track off the last Take That album was on an advert. And the advert was, like, really brilliant. And then I got to thinking it would be really brilliant if the Idle Hour had, like, a song, sort of like the Take That one, not exactly like it but kind of the same, and it was on an advert for the pub, but with Take That doing the music. Or even Kylie. Cos that would be really brilliant.

Art, as in nature, has ever-decreasing circles of influence. One day these circles will become so small they no longer have the space to turn. Then, and only then, my friends, will we understand. Last orders at the bar, folks. And I’ll have a P please, Nick…

Idle Eye 14 : The Bagging Area

Let’s talk cheese. Why the hell not? It’s a staple. Good, honest fare made by farmers and Blur and consumed in quantity by the French, West Country types and yours truly. Soft on the palate and hard on arteries, this formidable foodstuff has done the rounds for centuries and is showing no signs of letting up any time soon. So it came as no small surprise to learn that sleb chef Anthony Worrall Thompson has sullied the reputation of our dairy doyen by popping into Tesco in Henley-on-Thames and nicking it. For Heaven’s sake man, get a grip! Now, clearly Tony feels the same about the Empire of Evil as I do but really, cheese and discounted coleslaw? My heart actually bleeds for the guy so I thought I’d use my Bro-given platform to offer him a little assistance for the future:

  • First rule of shoplifting: Always shoot above your status. There’s very little point in doing time for sandwich fillings, no matter how much quality bubbly you wash them down with.
  • Second rule of shoplifting: Never admit culpability. Ever. Even if they find you with a boot full of hooky lager and an empty petrol tank, you hold your head up high and come on all Penelope Keith. It’s the British way. None of this ‘Oooh sorry, I’m a klepto, I’ll make amends’ crap, it’s balls out, chest in or bust. Either that or think very hard about the products you have stolen and seek culinary advice. From a celebrity chef, perhaps?

Speaking of cheeses, Nibs brought over a selection from the Idle Hour last week. You know the sort of thing, a NASA-funded one that removes the roof of your mouth, another so creamy it should be ‘R’ rated, some blue, some borrowed etc.. And, it must be said, they were outstanding. All of them. In case you’re wondering, yes, the Alex James one made an appearance, woo hoo! It’s called ‘Blue Monday’ for all you Eighties throwbacks out there, it’s made in Kingham, Oxfordshire and apparently it’s eye-wateringly expensive. Of course it is: The man drank a million quids worth of champagne in three years, he’s got to claw it back somehow.

Hang about, I’ve just come up with a solution. No win, no fee, and it works like this: Tony, you load up the Bentley with the three crates of champers you actually paid for and head over to Alex’s in Kingham (it’s not far from your manor, I checked on Google Maps). In exchange for these, Alex will donate as much Blue Monday as he can squeeze into the boot and/or passenger footwells because he laaavs abitavit! (BTW first check whether he’ll bung in a bit of cheap slaw on the side). Then, when you’ve sorted your respective addictions, head on over to the Idle Hour for a conciliatory slap-up where Nibs will show you both how it’s done proper.

Honestly, I blame the parents.

Idle Eye 13 : The Resolutions

I’d like to start off 2012 with an apology and then we’ll get down to business. It seems that one or two of you were deeply affronted by the insinuation made on the Cast & Crew page that Nibs’ and my own dear mother is somehow affiliated with the Nazi party. On reflection, I have come to the conclusion that this may not be the case (despite some damning evidence to the contrary I am legally bound not to disclose) and I apologise unreservedly for any offence caused. So much so that I spent the week after Christmas tracking down the only surviving member of the Waffen-SS, one Herr Josef Ümlaut, to make the apology in person. I am, and have always been, a gentleman.

So where were we? Ah yes, 2012. Well, we all enjoyed the fireworks (thanks, Boris) and we’ll all be working just that little bit harder to pay them off, right? But never mind that, it’s the Olympics, innit! THE OLYMPICS!!! Sponsored by health and efficiency magnates Coke and MacDonalds and mascotted by cuddly cyclopses Wenlock and Mandeville. Brilliant! I don’t know about you but I am going to be glued to my set for weeks, swilling official fizzy pop and burgers until I am fit enough to hound down one of those monocular LOCOG lackeys and lance it with a javelin. There, I said it. Now, who else can I offend this week? C’mon Seb, have a pop.

I also promised Nibs that I would make this blog more Idle Hour-centric in one of my less rational, claret-sodden moments of weakness. Well, it was New Year and I was welled up with the mucus of human kindness. So we discussed characters we could slowly introduce that, in time, you will all become familiar with, based on your favourite pubs’ staff, locals and such. It was a drawn-out process but we got there in the end. So, without any further ado, I would like to introduce you all to Timmy:

You:  Hello Timmy!

Timmy:  Meow.

You:  TimmyTimmyTimmyTimmy!

Timmy:  Meow.

Obviously, over time, Timmy’s inherent qualities will manifest themselves on the page and her (sic) antics will become increasingly unlikely and hilarious, but first I have to get to know the little gal and this far in it’s all she’s given me. However, I think you can already tell she’s got the X-factor and I’ll be exploiting this ruthlessly as you might imagine.

Lastly, but by no means leastly, I’d like to thank you all for reading this nonsense over the past few months. Perhaps if you stick with it, you will notice a maturity of style and keen wit develop as the weeks go on, and perhaps, in an ideal world, you will meet Giles Coren in a fancy restaurant he is being paid to eat in and beg him to review Nibs’ tiny but perfectly formed establishment. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

Oh, and Happy New Year.

Idle Eye 12 : The Bruises (Fah La La La La, La La La Lah)

I woke up this morning with two large bruises on my person. The first, a striking black bloomer, was nestling obstreperously on my right knee, and the other, an iridescent slow-burner like Christmas lights seen through an orange segment, sat resplendent on my left forearm. Now, I know for a fact that these babies weren’t there last night because I checked. It’s what you do from time to time when the body begins to rebel. So where did they come from? And what could they possibly want? At first I presumed they were oncoming signs of seasonal ailments suffered almost exclusively by the self-employed, but I was otherwise in good health and indeed had just carried a case and a half of holiday cheer in from the car. Perhaps it was the work of a rogue banker, splashing a small portion of his/her bonus on a voodoo curse in revenge for last weeks post. Unlikely, requires imagination. Bewildered, I called out for help:

Ursula:  What now? I’m making pies.

Me:  I’ve got two weird bruises. I think you should come and look.

Ursula:  Let me get this straight. There’s two shopping days to go, I’m cooking for eight, the flat is a tip and you want me to look at your bruises?

Me:  Something like that, yes.

In a second she was at my side, eager to discover something fresh and exciting about her partner. I peeled up the leg of my pyjama bottoms to reveal Exhibit A, glistening enthusiastically in the raking sunlight.

Ursula:  Is that it?

Me:  No, there’s another one.

I rolled up my sleeve with pride to the location where Exhibit B was vying for position. Ursula shot me a tender look that could have knocked small birds from trees and left, but at that very moment something astonishing happened. The darker bruise appeared to pulsate as I watched it, and as I drew closer I could see there was movement inside, the movement of what seemed like tiny people in what seemed to be a tiny pub, clearly enjoying themselves and raising their tiny glasses towards the huge figure looming above. “Merry Christmas from the Idle Hour Barons Court”, they cried in unison before clanking their respective tipples together. Squinting harder, I could just make out a miniscule bearded man in a Miami Vice jacket and penny loafers embracing another absurdly small representative from the Jägermeister company. In the background I spotted a lavish North African drinking space (ideal for pint-sized parties, by the way) and off in the kitchens an award-winning chef called Tony was creating a fabulous meal for everyone present.

Me:  (urgently) Urs! URS!!!

Ursula:  (in distance) **** off!

I was on the cusp of leaping from my bed when I noticed the second bruise. Not to be outdone, it was ebbing and flowing like a seasick calzone on a waterbed. I took a closer look out of fairness, and again I saw a myriad of microscopic pub-faring folk in mid-carousal just underneath the surface wound, only this time they were crowded around a log fire, being served what looked like mulled wine from a man wearing a somewhat vulgar Miami Vice jacket and Penny Loafers. At first they were blissfully unaware of my ugly moon face peering down at them, but eventually someone shouted and pointed:

Tiny Reveller:  (to room) There appears to be an enormous bloke watching us from above.

Me:  Fear not, small beer-swilling man, I mean you no harm.

Tiny Reveller:  But how are we to know this, vast crater-faced monster? We are here to celebrate what we call Christmas at the Idle Hour Barnes with our favourite award-winning landlord Nibs, Da Mudda and his brother. Could you come back another time?

Me:  His brother? Are you sure?

Tiny Reveller:  Of course I’m sure! Would you like to buy him a drink?

Me:  You know, I think I would, drunken gnome. Please send him forth.

In what felt like slow motion but actually was slow motion, I watched as a perfect replica of myself in 1/75 scale reached up and asked me for money. This was too much: I leapt back, banging my head against the Louis XIV mahogany headboard and instantly knocked myself out.

I cannot say how long I was gone for, but when I awoke I immediately noticed the bruises had disappeared. Oh, and that I’d pissed myself. Again. Looking around me I became aware that it was Christmas Day and my entire family had gathered around to celebrate the occasion. Da Mudda was smiling and pretending to like Bing Crosby, Nibs was smiling and pretending to like Bing Crosby and Ursula was going at my crotch with a J-cloth. And way, way off in the distance, I saw my own reflection. It was drinking an oversized glass of Jägermeister and giving me the thumbs up. And smiling.

Idle Eye 11 : The Voice of Reason

It’s that time of year when the jolly fat man, flushed from the effort of his exertions, comes for his annual handout and leaves you to clear up the mess. Sounds familiar? Yes, it’s that time again and don’t we all love it? I refer to the bankers’ bonus, of course, and the endless discussion thereof, from the red tops to Radio 4, from white van interiors to Hampstead tearooms it seems we cannot be rid of someone, somewhere, who needs to vent their spleen. And we, the Great British Public, absolutely lap it up. In these austere times when, Heaven forbid, we have to share bathwater, meals and the rest with our nearest and dearest, there’s nothing we like better than donning the gloves and having a good old-fashioned wallop at the City.

‘I think it’s disgusting, immoral and it should be illegal’ – A woman I just made up, the streets, yesterday.

‘We didn’t work our whole lives to be lied to and robbed at the end. Is this the right march?’ – A Public Sector worker, Whitehall, yesterday.

‘Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?’ – Simon Le Bon, a yacht, the Eighties.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. I’m supposed to be a vegetarian, lily-livered Lefty, right? What in God’s name am I doing pandering to these monsters, these harbingers of misery who put profit before people, bonuses before benevolence and continue to take, take, take as we mere mortals continue to reimburse their errors? Well, my friends, think on: Remember when ‘Call Me Dave’ campaigned vehemently for us all to hug a hoodie? Well, I took something on board that day. I learned that perhaps we should learn to embrace the unknown instead of taking a shot at it like the great collector and public benefactor Frederick John Horniman did when he first came across a walrus:

Stooge:  Sir, something stirs there on yonder iceberg. He is a fantastical creature, long of tooth and great of hair. And I do believe he is something of which we have never seen the like.

BANG!

Horniman:  Put him in the bag with the others, Bobbins.

So bankers, hear my cry! I come to you in peace, I bear you no ill will. All I ask is, well, now you’ve got more in your Armani pocket than I shall earn in a lifetime, that you spend it wisely. And it is narratively convenient that I happen to know just such a place for you to do so. Cross the Thames if you have to. Charter your private jets in the direction of SW13 and W6. Spend the wad of our King Mervyn here today and throughout the Christmas period. And do not spare the rod! The Idle Hour will cater for your every need, your whims, your festive fantasies. And with such style and finesse that you will wonder why you ever wasted your nights at Dirty Dicks. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll let me off.