To pass the time and look as if I am writing an angsty novel, I play ‘Arthouse Bingo’. The rules are easy – a point if you can spot each of the following, and if you get to 5, buy yourself another drink:
- Massively over-sized lampshades, preferably in black.
- No menus, just a huge blackboard with locally-sourced food, i.e. they went to the local Lidl, bought some salami and Parma ham and slapped it on a slate tile with a couple of sliced gherkins.
- A higher than average array of beardy men (and some women). Likewise, a higher than average amount of red trousers worn.
- A minimum of 30 European beers with ‘ironic’ names – the easy way to get intellectually inebriated.
- Lots of conversations starting with, ‘But is it art?’
- A tribe of wild-looking children running amok as the parents look on indulgently, ‘Juniper, Hugo and Mabel, darlings, untie Milly and come and eat your asparagus soldiers.’
- A book-swap corner – a bookcase where you can bring your old tat and swap it for a 1992 Driving Atlas of France.
- Coffee must be handpicked by an organic wizard in deepest Columbia.
- Lots of women with flowing hair, strings of hand-made beads and jangly silver bracelets.
- Old Skool puddings on the menu – spotted dick, apple crumble, custard, etc. Such fun!
- At least 5 terribly anguished-looking people hunched over MacBooks.
- If there is a cinema, listen out for, ‘Oh, but I preferred the book, the original Dutch translation.’
- Everyone speaks very LOUD. No need for music unless there is a visiting harmonica group from Patagonia.
Anyway, I passed a lovely couple of hours, braying loudly, speculating as to whether the huge painting in the bar was art or not. I rattled my beads intelligently and enjoyed my ironic glass of dry white wine. I have past form in these places – as a teenager, I considered myself to be the coolest person ever, standing by the bar, beret on, reading Jean-Paul Sartre and talking utter nonsense.
If I had the nerve (and legs), I would love to turn up in a denim mini-skirt and white stilettos. Only two flaws with that plan – one, I can’t walk in heels and two, the crowd would probably think I was the performance art…….