Away With the Birds


Lovely night at the premiere of Birdsong. A joy to be at a first night not crammed with the sweepings from the Big Brother cutting room floor and the small parts department of TV soaps. It was an evening positively rammed with event.

I began with an hour’s massage at the pile-driver thumbs of my favourite pummelling house in Walker’s Court. These hours are high on my “better than sex” list. Although I have to admit to spending much of them fantasising about what sex would be like with one of these quiet, iron-bodied boys with the eyes of a baby spaniel and the body of a Karate Kid. Tingling from top to toe (what these boys do to my feet takes a walk right along the border of the pleasure/pain threshold), I wandered down towards the Comedy Theatre.

In front of me is a dapper figure in a black velvet suit. It clutches a mobile phone into which firm-to-stern Glaswegian tones are pouring. “Just one thing you need to know” – I recognise the voice – “none of this is my fault!” I am gripped, but lose him in a seethe of Japanese outside KFC. Across the road, I see him in Pret A Manger, still talking. Peter Capaldi. I drift on and arrive at the Comedy.

Heading up to the cloakroom I see not only Rachel Wagstaff, the conduit for Birdsong’s transfer to the stage, But Sebastian Faulks himself in conversation just outside. I ooze past the man who in three and a half pages of prose has helped me to orgasm more times than I can remember and deposit my bags. I feel hot and nervous. I must say something to him, but why would he give me time? Luckily the charming Rachel recognises me from a discussion panel we were both on in Edinburgh.

I take the opportunity to tell Sebastian what a fan I am…and that we at the Erotic Review have written of the quality of the sex in his book. He looks panicked and starts touching himself all over. I wonder what I have started. “My phone,” he says, “I’ve lost my phone.” He continues hopefully, patting himself down. “Nightmare!” I say. “Call me,” he pleads. Rachel lifts her own phone and places a reassuring hand on the arm that powered the hand that wrote the book. “Oh,” says Sebastian, gazing down, “It’s in my hand.” And it was. “That’s how nervous we are,” says Rachel. He is really very sweet, Mr Faulks. And apart from that, the play…is reviewed in this month’s issue.

Having spent the three hours of the onstage Birdsong sitting beside Rachel’s agent (a charming young man), I line up to reclaim my bags alongside the towering figure of Baz Bamigboye of the Mail. His Friday showbiz pages are the reason I always buy the Mail then. A soigné, smart, highly articulate chap, we reminisce about the afternoon we spent at The Ivy exploring their Dessert Wine list. Ah, happy days. I tell him I risk social exclusion by friends and colleagues each time I appear with the Mail under one arm. But it is worth it for his pages, I say. “My wife won’t have it in the house,” he reveals. Ah the things you learn in cloakroom queues…Baz’s thoughts you can read in the Mail. Mine you can enjoy inside…

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