Susan takes us a long to a house party of a friend of hers. Sadly I get quite excited as I haven't been to a house party for ages, but I prove to be slightly unpopular party guest and get us thrown out. I blame George Galloway, he's a bad man.
We're walking through Highbury on the way to said party when I am struck by the fact that really these kinds of parties are something of a rarity and I can completely understand why. That said, I've been encouraging (somewhat unsuccessfully) Susan to hold a house party of her own.
"I'm not having a party, besides my friends won't go out with you."
"Are you sure?"
"Quite sure, besides you had a house party at Christmas, so really it's not strictly true that no one has them anymore."
"People put cigarettes out in my yucca plant."
"You have a yucca plant?" Susan asks.
"Er, I think so, you know it's green with big leaves, I thought all plants like that were Yucca plants, but the point is these were people I knew, not to mention the food that turned up in generally weird places."
There must be like a rule, you know, like the weird food places rule.
"Weird places? Like where?" asks Adam.
"Well there was flan in the washing machine. I mean who would do that?"
Susan thinks this is very funny.
"Well that will teach you for buying flan. Anyway that's another reason I'm not having a party. I have a new washing machine."
The party is in a Victorian house, which save a few crucial details (ie it's finished and is in Highbury) it's identical to mine, which is not in Highbury and is nowhere near finished.
I say finished, that's not strictly true. I come over all Sarah Beeney and am aghast that the party hosts have painted the floorboards in the dining and sitting room white and the walls a pale kind of bathroom blue. What kind of insanity is that?
"The floorboards are white, what kind of insanity is that?"
"Gord you're pointing, people are looking, stop it."
"Besides, you painted all the walls in your house white?"
"I know, but white's the new…er, off white."
After a while, I end up in the kitchen natch and I'm talking to someone called Esther and her friends, who seem to be taking the piss out of her name because of something to do with the 1970s. Really I have no idea and I am explaining this when someone taps me hard on the shoulder.
I look around to see a twentysomething women with big red hair and freckles holding a baby and standing next to a guy with thinned out hair and a pin stripped shirt who is a good 15 to 20 years older.
"You're very naughty," she tells me.
Two things: naughty? Who says that and, two, I have no idea who this person is.
"I saw you earlier and you ignored me," she continues.
"Well, that's because I have no idea who you are."
"Are you sure we haven't met?"
"You know, I think I would have remembered."
Her husband guffaws at this. Apparently I'm hilarious.
"Oh you are naughty aren't you? You really do look like someone I know."
"Really who's that?" I shrug.
This question just draws a puzzled look, which she follows up with news of the Big Red Bus. Boy do I hate the Big Red Bus.
The Big Red Bus, in case you missed it in your area, is the bus of Gorgeous George Galloway and his Respect/Trotskyist/SWP pals. I would never have brought up the Big Red Bus personally as I never bring up politics as all the people I know are either failed to reform left wingers or road to Damascus Liberal Democrats who think they are the new lefties and so give me a hard time. When the truth is, rather than being the new lefties, they're just muddled and orange. I don't personally have a problem with muddled, but orange? I mean come on. Orange? There's no excuse.
I should own up to heckling our local Respect candidate as I shouted out something about the War and their refusal to come out and say that Iraq is a better place with Saddam gone. This precipitated the local hustings meeting descending into a row. Whoops.
I digress, the Big Red Bus was being discussed or rather talked of in baby talk by woman with the big red hair.
"Mummy's going to vote for the Big Red Bus isn't she sausage?" she says looking at her child.
"You're voting for the Big Red Bus?"
"It's our favourite colour, isn't it?" she says playing with baby's lips.
"Do you know who drives the Big Red Bus?"
"No we don't do we?" she says.
"You mean you're voting for the Big Red Bus even though you don't know who's driving? That's not very sensible."
See what happens? This is why I never bring up politics. Mr thinned and pinstriped continues his slowly deep-throated laugh.
"He's a rude man isn't he?" she says talking to baby.
"I'm just pointing out that Gorgeous George Galloway is driving the bus and well he's loudmouth with a moustache who plays the race card, demonises Jews, refused to condemn suicide bombers and is in league with Trots. Not to mention he kissed the hand of Saddam Hussein. He's a bad man."
"Oh but, we like the Big Red Bus, don't we darling?"
Really at this point I should have left the kitchen, it was definitely leave the kitchen and not return kind of moment, but it was five days before the election and it was blindingly obvious that to go any further would not end well.
"No, but seriously, you're not going to vote for the Big Red Bus are you? I mean that is madness."
"Yes we are, aren't we?"
You know, I'm sure the baby gurgled. There was definitely a gurgle.
"But do you know what the bus stands for?"
"We don't care do we, we like the red bus."
"You know, I think you're possibly too stupid to vote."
I say this apologetically. I feel bad about it, but really. Despite my offensiveness Mr thinned and pinstriped dished more of his slow deep-throated laugh, but the woman with the big red hair (who was voting for the Big Red Bus) jabbed me hard with her finger. OK, I deserved that.
"You're a very rude man and I think you should leave now."
This made me laugh, I never did meet the party host.
"Oh come on you mean this is your party?"
"No, it's my brother's."
"Is he voting for the Big Red Bus as well?"
"He's a very rude man, isn't he, David!"
Yeah I know, that phrase 'quit while you're behind'? Yeah, it means nothing to me.
I couldn't let it go. Just a small update. I blame the woman and the Big Red Bus and other misguided people who might have voted for George Galloway and got the Saddam loving former Labour MP re-elected.
I enjoyed the election and I learnt a couple of things along the way. Politics continues to bring out the worst in me i.e. notably old tribal politics, which have remained pretty much unchanged since I was a student. Okay, that's not entirely true, I might have become a 'little more' centre left than left…okay a lot.
I was glad to see another Labour government elected and while lots of people lost their seats, which was sad, the election of George Galloway was sadder.
I did look up the group I used to hang around with as student and early twentynothing and like most reasonably intelligent people on the left they were also arguing against Galloway whether or not they were for or against the War in Iraq.
It's not just the things he said about the war (that he "incited foreign forces to rise up against British troops".) He's duplicitous. He's an old style Stalinist (saddest day for George: the fall of the Soviet Union), in league with Trotskyist and largely elected by playing up to 'conservative. Muslim voters. He's a demagogue and con artist of the worst kind. The interview with Jeremy Paxman was, however, hilarious.
I think it must have been about half past three or something that result came in and at least half a dozen of us were still sitting up around my house. We were all pissed off. Even the Liberal Democrats.
I kind of wished I'd gone to bed then when a couple of people went home rather than staying up a little longer and still being on the couch at…half past six in the morning with something of a hangover. Ouch.
That's the other thing I learnt I can not stay up all night anymore without feeling pretty awful for several days afterwards. I think I'll tape the next one.