No, no, not MY birthday - that's not until March 31 NEXT year. (Let's start planning now, friends and neighbors - I should have a stunning bash - done by other people).
No, this was my pal Margot's birthday, in a nice nominally Irish bar in midtown. I say nominally Irish because I know Irish bars. Irish bars (real ones) have Irish bartenders, Irish music on the jukebox, and, quite often, people step dancing and falling over a lot. Or just people falling over a lot. (Hey, some of those stools are pretty goddamn tall.) This bar had chicken fingers. Real Irish bars, if there's food at all, have corned beef on a steam table.
There aren't very many Blarney Stones left in Manhattan, but they were the absolutely best bars ever. They were invariably grubby (I never trust a clean bar - it might suddenly burst out in ferns and yuppies) and they were also the IRA underground. All the bartenders had lovely brogues, and a tendency to look over their shoulders. And they were cheap beyond belief. A small glass of beer cost fifty cents.
I once had a bartender friend who worked nights in Soho, and we lived in the same building. Every now and then he would ring my bell at 5 am and we'd have a beer or two and then take off for the Blarney Stone on Eighth Avenue and 14th Street. Well, you know...breakfast?
Well, once we had what I still think may be the shortest day on record. John and I wandered over to the Blarney Stone around 7 in the morning - oh, yeah, they opened that early - and VERY unfortunately, got into an Irish whiskey drinking contest with the bartender, newly arrived from the North of Ireland - via the Blarney Stone IRA underground. In case you should find yourself in this situation - trust me. You won't win the contest. My friend and I were back in our apartment building (yes, well, OK, in my bed, but useless) by 10:30 am.
I got sidetracked by the notion of Irish bars. I was actually trying to say that it was a lovely evening - Margot is a Richard III survivor (the worst production EVER) and my other three musketeers were there - John and Tom and Larry. John played Ratliffe, Tom was the Duke of Clarence, Larry was Buckingham, and I was Queen Elizabeth in this more than doubtful epic. But the four of us, being much of an age, bonded together - and to this day (about four years ago) we are the best of friends and go to each other's shows and hang out together in general. We think this is on the same premise that those who went through a war together do it - once you've been with someone in the trenches...
Oh. Something that came up tonight I must pass on. I have discovered that one of the funniest things I ever read in my life is on the Internet - and I can't imagine why I never looked it up before, because it would have to be. It's an account of a piano recital in Bangkok, and you just type in Bangkok Piano Concert and it will magically appear. Read it. It is now supposedly debunked and never happened, but it remains one of the funniest things EVER.
So read it.
It's 3:30 am and I should go to bed...I am due tomorrow at my pal Steve's place to watch the Pride parade - which, if one follows the weather forecast, is going to involve some very wet and bedraggled feathers and sequins. But I don't care - I love Pride Day!
Love, Wendy (spellcheck just told me that "internet" was wrong - when I hit it to find out what was wrong, spellcheck capitalized it. sheesh.)